Friday 17 March 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Don Momotaro

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Release Date: October 2022
RRP: 7150 yen

2022 was a pretty big year for the S.H. Figuarts line as Super Sentai made its long-awaited return with not just one, but THREE releases from currently airing shows. S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer may have led the way, but with last year mainly belonging to Avataro Sentai Donbrothers it was wonderful to see the Figuarts revival carry on into the 46th Super Sentai series. The Tamashii Nations event got its easy exclusive with Zenkaizer Black, while the main line was also treated to an all-new S.H. Figuarts Don Momotaro. Leader of the Donbrothers and heir of the Don Clan, Don Momotaro is the perfect addition to the line's growing collection of red heroes.

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Once again we see Super Sentai Figuarts shift to the more-commonly used smaller rectangular packaging, as opposed the square boxes most of the older releases came in. The all-red box features a nice dynamic image of the figure on the front alongside the Avataro Sentai Donbrothers series logo, as well as a nice big window to gaze upon the figure inside. On the back and sides of the box you'll find the usual array of images showing the figure off in various poses, and then inside you'll find Don Momotaro and his accessories neatly laid out on his moulded plastic tray.

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"Ha ha ha ha ha! It's a festival!" When Bandai Tamashii Nations revealed that they would be returning to Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts, they certainly didn't half-ass it. On first glance Don Momotaro might not look all that different to the red rangers of previous years, but simply handling this figure (as well as Zenkaizer) really highlights the differences between the new and the old. As well as considerably better body proportions and improved articulation, there's just so much more attention to detail hidden in this (relatively simple) suit. Certain areas of the body (such as the abdomen and hips) have been moulded to give off the sense of billowing fabric, adding an extra sense of realism. The colours are really vibrant on this release, with the black, white and silver working together with the red to create a really satisfying layout and colour scheme. While you probably should be careful around the Avatar Gear top knot protruding out of the helmet (which in itself is an absolutely fantastic design element), the figure is really sturdy an doesn't show off any obvious signs of fragility. At a time where the Power Rangers Lightning Collection (which while a different line at a different price point is the next closing thing to collector-orientated figures of the franchise at this scale) is suffering from rising prices and a decline in quality, it's SO good to have these figures back.

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As was the case with Zenkaizer, the line's prowess when it comes to articulation has changed leaps and bounds since Super Sentai Figuarts were in their heyday. Altogether Don Momotaro includes; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, shoulder pads, torso, waist and wrists 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, hips and ankles 
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinge elbows and knees 
- Single hinge toe sections 
- Bicep and thigh swivels 
As wonderful as Zenkaizer was, the slightly more armoured suit design (along with the cape and extended collar) meant there were a few little restrictions when it came to posing. Though he still has extended shoulder pads Don Momotaro is a bit more basic design-wise in comparison, so is able to enjoy the full range of movement the line has to offer. Bicep swivels on a Super Sentai Figuarts still feels like a luxury given how few of them had them in the past, and it's amazing well implemented the shoulder pads are into the design – the shoulders can fully rotate freely and they don't really impact the movement there at all. One of my favourite things about this figure is how easily it can replicate the jump-action pose from the initial Donbrothers reveal poster, as well as cover off all the essential things like great action posing and of course that iconic laugh. Each joint moves exactly as it should, and it doesn't feel like there'll be an issue of them loosening over time like what has happened to so many other Super Sentai Figuarts.

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Once again you get a solid set of accessories here, which admittedly doesn't go too all out but contains everything you'd need for a respectable Don Momotaro figure. Along with the figure itself you also get five additional pairs of hands, the DonBlaster and the Zanglassword. The selection of hands on offer here gives you everything from the usual closed fists and weapon holding hands (two pairs), as well as a pair of neutral open hands and two pairs of specific ones for signature poses. The inclusion of both the DonBlaster and the Zanglassword means you have both the wider Donbrothers weapon/changer and Don Momotaro's signature one at hand, and while both feature no moving parts or anything like that they're both vibrant and beautifully detailed. The colours running down the blade of the Zanglassword, as well as the Avatar Gear wheel on both weapons, are particularly satisfying.

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While Zenkaizer's release may have been the far more momentous occasion, S.H. Figuarts Don Momotaro is proof that same quality will carry on with future Super Sentai releases. Even a line like S.H. Figuarts could have had trouble expressing Taro's larger than life personality, but this figure does it with as much fun as the Donbrothers series itself. Between the sharp sculpt, brilliant articulation and solid accessory count, this is another must-have for your collection. While it's a shame that we're unlikely to see the rest of the Donbrothers team in the line, Don Momotaro is a good choice in that he's able to stand pretty comfortably on his own as well. And if all future Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts releases are this good, then I might just be okay with there being less of them.

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