Thursday 1 December 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Evil Trigger

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Release Date: November 2022
RRP: 7150 yen

The Ultraman franchise has found a comfortable place in the annual Tamashii Nations event exclusives, although arguably the metallic repaints of the last couple of years have been nothing to write home about. For the 2022 event however Bandai Tamashii Nations have returned to the well of evil Ultras they originally started with back in 2018 with Ultraman Orb Dark, celebrating last year's Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z movie with the release of S.H. Figuarts Evil Trigger. Using the Ancient Sparklence, Zabil of the Ultra-Ancient Civilisation transforms into this shadowy figure, consumed by his desire to become a messianic figure for humanity.

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As tends to be the case with the Tamashii Nations event exclusives, S.H. Figuarts Evil Trigger's packaging comes with a unique sleeve piece in addition to the standard box design. The 2022 version sports a white background and nice big images of the figure amongst a diorama of Option-ACT buildings, which is a section of a larger image (featuring all of the event's exclusive figures) that was used in promotion of both the event and these releases. Under the sleeve is far more familiar territory, as it's the standard windowless web exclusive box with the design layout of all New Generation Ultraman releases - this time with a rather fetching purple colour scheme. The front of the box features a nice big image of the Evil Trigger suit alongside a similarly large image of the figure, while the back shows off the figure in various poses (as well as the accessories included for Ultraman Z Original). Inside the figure and accessories are neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray, with the accessory instructions printed on the inside flaps of the box rather than their own separate paper sheet.

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As the name suggests Evil Trigger is a New Generation reinterpretation of Evil Tiga from Ultraman Tiga - taking the character's striking colour scheme and applying it to Ultraman Trigger Multi Type. The purple/red/silver is replaced with a far more sinister silver and black colouring, the various markings across Trigger's body sharpened into an almost tribal-like pattern. The gold and silver of the chest, forearms and shin guards have also been recoloured with a striking combination of gold, blood red and metallic grey. Last of all Evil Trigger's eyes are light blue rather than the usual white or light yellow. It's a really striking look which has translated brilliantly to figure form, and if anything really highlights the need for a Shinkocchou Seihou Evil Tiga (quality issues on that release be damned). There is a little bit of paint blemish on my copy's right leg but otherwise the colours and paintwork is extremely sharp, the red sections particularly standing out alongside the translucent blue of the eyes and Colour Timer. Suits like this show off just how effective recolours can be when done well.

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Being the exactly the same mould as Trigger Multi Type the articulation remains unchanged, consisting of;
- Peg joint head
- Ball joint neck, torso, waist and wrists
- Swivel hinge shoulders, hips and ankles
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Single hinge toe sections
- Thigh swivel
Though perhaps not the full package when it comes to S.H. Figuarts articulation (though admittedly bicep swivels are a rarity on Ultraman releases), the Trigger body still has all the best bits to make up a really expressive figure. As was the case with Multi Type, the shoulders have been well engineered to ensure cross-armed poses can be replicated easily and without the shoulder protector preventing clearance. The figure is perfect for all the standard Ultraman Trigger poses, but more importantly it can capture all that maniacal look the character exhumed as well.

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While Evil Trigger does come with a fair few accessories, there isn't much of interest included that specifically relates to him. His personal pieces simply include four additional pairs of hands and an alternate red Colour Timer piece. That said, it's nice to see that the hand selection aren't just a repeat of Trigger's and do include a few unique ones to recreate some of the poses Evil Trigger makes in the film. Naturally the Colour Timer piece is identical to Trigger's in that it's a small, very easy to lose diamond piece that clips into the chest. I did notice that swapping them was a little more difficult here than it was on Trigger Multi Type, but still nowhere near as fiddly as it was on some of the earliest Ultraman S.H. Figuarts releases. So all in all it's a pretty basic selection for Evil Trigger - a unique energy effect for one of his attacks would have been nice, but certainly isn't preferable over the other accessories included in this release.

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Because for many people the most exciting aspect of this release might not even be Evil Trigger himself, but rather the alternate pieces that have been included for Ultraman Z Original - because it just wouldn't be an Ultraman release without accessories for an entirely different figure. However these are one that. make perfect sense for this release, consisting of an alternate head and additional pair of hands (the right of which is attached to a purple energy effect) to recreate the Celebro-posessed form Ultraman Z took in Episode Z (apparently known as Red Damage). Possession accessories are always a lot of fun as it feels like you're turning the figure into an entirely different character, and it's amazing how much a single red eye and slight change in posture can convey this. Head swapping is really easy thanks to the basic peg joint used on the Ultra figures, but getting the effect part hand (replicating his Energy Bomb attack) can be a little fiddly to attach. It's a really nice little selection of accessories, making it feel less like just an Evil Trigger figure and more like a proper Episode Z set.

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Striking the balance between creating an event exclusive that's desirable but at the same time not so important that it should have been a retail or web exclusive release can be tricky. Bandai certainly fumbled it this year with their Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider 1 in original colours, but S.H. Figuarts Evil Trigger fills that void rather nicely. In fact it's pretty much the perfect event exclusive - a striking recolour of an existing figure based on a movie exclusive villain. The sheer shelf presence of the colour scheme alone could have been enough to sell fans on it, but the added Ultraman Z parts really make this release into something special.

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