Monday 3 October 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ribut

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ribut 01

Release Date: April 2022
RRP: 6050 yen

The Ultra Galaxy Fight series has brought back a number of obscure Ultraman heroes back into the fold, but undoubtedly one of its greatest achievements is making a star out of Ultraman Ribut. Originally created as a joint collaboration between Tsuburaya Productions and Malaysian company Les' Copaque Production for their animated series Upin and Ipin, Ultraman Ribut has gone on to appear in all three recent Ultra Galaxy Fight instalments (New Generation Heroes, The Absolute Conspiracy and The Destined Crossroad) as well as make a guest appearance in Ultraman Trigger and star in his own Galaxy Rescue Force voice drama. Bandai Tamashii Nations have recognised this prominence with the release of S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ribut – the first of their Ultra Galaxy Fight figures to be released at general retail.

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S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ribut follows the usual packaging design for 'modern' Ultraman characters, coming in a teal and black coloured box with black bordering. Although Ribut has appeared in all of the new Ultra Galaxy Fight miniseries so far, the packaging specifically refers to The Destined Crossroad – the latest one to be released. In addition to the window section showing off the figure inside the front of the box also features a nice big image of the Ultraman Ribut suit, while the back of the box shows off the figure (along with its accessories) in a number of different poses. Inside everything is neatly stored on a moulded plastic tray, with the weapon/effect parts comfortably stacked on top of each other to make full use of the space.

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There's a joke among Ultraman fans that to newcomers heroes such as Ultraman, Zoffy, Jack, Neos and Ribut all look pretty much the same. Of course line them all up and the differences immediately become obvious, but it also isn't hard to see why given how they all have variations on the original red and silver body patterning with little else in the way of discerning features. When it comes to Ultraman Ribut though, there's definitely an extra level of modernity in the design. It's not just the sharper, more dynamic markings across the body that make it clearer – more significantly it's the sections of metallic blue across his forearms and shins. These are his G Crystals, which in fiction control the Galaxium energy within him. The most prominent of these is the one on his left forearm, which is raised into an Arm Cover armament. Ultraman Ribut definitely has an overwhelming "what's old is new again" feel about his design, which makes him feel particularly prominent when lined up against the far more varying New Generation Heroes. Bandai have also reflected this more modern feel in his colour scheme – using a far brighter red and shinier silver as opposed to the more muted colours of the Showa Ultraman figures. It really is a design which you only really fully appreciate in-hand, with elements like the yellow-tinted eyes and translucent blue Arm Cover section popping all the more on the design.

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Articulation is something that's been getting increasingly better with Ultraman releases over the years, and Ribut continues that evolution with a great range of movement. Altogether he features 
- Peg joint head 
- Ball jointed neck, torso, waist and wrists 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, hips and ankles 
- Butterfly joint shoulders 
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Thigh swivels
On first glance the shoulder cuts might seem a little more apparent compared to some of the other Ultraman releases, but you certainly can't argue with the range of movement they provide – giving the arms the ability to pull off all those staple Ultraman poses. Sure there's still no consistent presence of a bicep swivel present on these figures, but between the shoulders and the little bit of swivel you can get from the elbow connection ensure that signature cross beam pose isn't a chore to pull off. Everything else here is just the usual high quality S.H. Figuarts engineering, coming together to show why this line is still among the top when it comes to poseability.

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Along with the great design and fabulous articulation comes a plethora of accessories, which do a great job of showing off the unique abilities of Ultraman Ribut on top of the more traditional ones. Included altogether are five additional pairs of hands (ranging from various open and grappling hands to weapon holding and knifestrike/beam pose hands), an alternate red Signal Timer (the unique name for Ribut's Colour Timer), an alternate left forearm lacking the raised Arm Guard piece, Ribut Blocker shield, Spreader Rod weapon and a Galaxium Blaster effect piece. With how difficult it is to remove the smaller Colour Timers on the classic Ultras Ribut's comes across as a little daunting, but surprisingly it's just as easy to switch out as all of the newer releases (but not any less easy to lose however). Another daunting exercise that's actually quite easy to do is swapping out the left forearm – it requires a little bit of working to loosen but once that's done it should pop off quite easily. With the Arm Guard-less piece in place the Ribut Blocker should fit comfortably, plugging into the first moulded onto it and then supported with the removeable strap that goes around the forearm. The Ribut Blocker is just like the Arm Guard but on a much larger scale, with that translucent blue plastic piece becoming all the more prominent to create a great looking (and rather unique) Ultraman weapon. In comparison the Spreader Rod is far more simplistic – a thin rod of translucent plastic akin to Ginga's Spark Lance. Finally there's the Galaxium Beam – designed in the same way as all the Ultras' signature beam attacks but with its own unique shape. The translucent blue plastic is very vibrant and goes well with the Spreader Rod piece, while the initial flash piece the beam emerges from is nice and dynamic. Overall it’s a great array of accessories – like most Ultraman releases it may not cover the full breadth of their abilities, but the use of both melee and range attacks gives the figure some nice variety when it comes to posing. And that's far more than many would probably expect from an Ultraman Ribut figure.

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In a completely unexpected move, S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Ribut storms ahead to easily be one of the best Ultraman Figuarts Bandai have put out. As if Ribut's sleek "classic but at the same time modern" design with excellent sculpting and articulation wasn't enough, the quality and variety of accessories included really make this release the full package. Though he might not be a "core" Ultraman in that he doesn't have a series named after him, Ribut's prominence in Ultra Galaxy Fight certainly makes him the unofficial mascot of it. If all of this isn't enough justification to add him to your collection, then I don't know what is.

1 comment:

Manpig said...

"To stand for justice, and overcome challenges...that's the ambassador of light, Ultraman!"

This figure looks so good, and I'm so happy he comes with so many accessories. I'll have to wait a bit longer to pick one up because shipping from Japan in Canada is not worth it what with SAL being gone, but this is so high up the wishlist for Ultra SHFiguarts!