SH Figuarts Akiba Rangers – Triple Feature!

Something a little bit different for the table top this week, and my first ever triple review! This time around we have the Unofficial Sentai Akiba Rangers by way of SH Figuarts. I’ve often seen these particular figures for sale at discounted prices, so I thought I’d watch the show and at least get familiar with the characters and setting before picking them up. Maybe even figure out why they’re often in the discount/sales section.  Also, I figured it would be easier to review them all at once since they share a lot of similarities.

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with how funny the show turned out! The Unofficial Sentai Akiba Rangers show itself plays out like a comedy/parody series that both pays homage and sends up the Toei Company’s Super Sentai franchise that is still popular in Japan to this day. The story mainly revolves around the three main characters who get chosen to be Rangers, but their squad hasn’t been officially recognised as a Super Sentai group. So it’s up to them to find their own bad guys and fight them until they can get official recognition, as well as a sweet TV time-slot (and also merchandising 😉 ).  The trouble is… that they can only do battle in the “Delusionary World”, which sort of complicates things further.

It was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (This show adapted stock footage from the Japanese TV series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger) that made Super Sentai famous in the West, and it’s something that’s later made fun of in the show. After having watched and enjoyed the show (two seasons worth), I’m glad to finally have figures of the Rangers in hand to review.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

“Juu Mousou!”   (Deep Delusion)

The figures themselves are very good representations of the characters. Bandai/SH Figuarts have made figures for other Super Sentai characters in the past, so figures of this quality are a bit of a no-brainer for them. Out of the packet, the figures feel sturdy and the joints feel like they have a pretty good range of motion, mostly due to the form-fitting nature of their outfits. In hand, they definitely feel like they can hold all the poses that they can do in the show which is pretty cool, and what you want from figures of this nature.

Hikounin Sentai…
Akiba Rangers! (cue fiery background explosion)

Each ranger’s outfit is mostly comprised of their signature colour (red, blue or yellow) with black boots and black gloves. Akiba Red features a mostly all black and red outfit with a silver belt and “mouth plate” on the helmet. Akiba Blue and Akiba Yellow also have a silver belt and mouth plate, only they both have white areas breaking up their colours a bit. Each ranger also has the same transparent/coloured plastic window over their chest which sports the Akiba Ranger logo. Akiba Red is also a bit taller/bigger than Blue and Yellow which makes sense from a scale point of view. Each character’s helmet has “sculpted hair” instead of the usual common theme/motif that the more official teams tend to go with, which is a bit different.

Moe Magnum! Let’s go!

ACCESSORIES:

Akiba Red’s gear

Each figure comes with a selection of different interchangeable hands with minor variations between sets. They all come with 2 different white scarves that plug into a little ball joint located at the back of their collars. This particular ball joint is very tiny and appears to be quite fragile, so extra care must be taken when swapping out scarves. Also included with each figure is their very own Moe Moe Zukyuun gun that not only facilitates their transformations in the show, but can also be used as a weapon and communicator in battle.

Akiba Blue’s gear

They don’t really come with a lot of accessories, since they tend to fight bare-handed or with their guns. Although, during the course of the show they acquire new (Outrageous!) weapons, the Dekaranger D-Wappa, the Boukenger Bouken Scooper and the Jetman Jet Winger, which are included with SH Figuarts Deka Red, Bouken Red and Red Hawk respectively. It is also confirmed that these weapons will also be able to combine to form the Outrageous Cannon!

Akiba Yellow’s gear

ARTICULATION:

The Rangers all move quite well and their joints are sturdy enough to hold most poses. They all share similar joints which makes it easy for doing group poses. The head is connected to the top of the neck piece with a ball joint, which is then connected to the torso with another ball joint. These joints allow for full rotation, but can only offer minimal tilting in either direction, which is mostly due to the shape of the helmet. The collar also hinders neck movement which can be a bit annoying at times.

The shoulders are connected to the torso with a ball-joint/hinge combination which offers a pretty good range of movement. The arms can rotate fully and can raise up to about 90 degrees at the sides. Red has a soft plastic covering at his shoulders which can help in pushing the articulation a little bit further, but the girls’ shoulders are moulded in a hard plastic which can be a bit limiting.

There’s a bicep swivel of sorts in Red’s upper arms which is hidden quite well by the design. I wasn’t completely sure if he had a bicep swivel at first, the joint was a little bit stuck and I didn’t want to force it too much. The girls have their bicep swivel inside the upper arm which works for them, but the range of movement is not as good as Red’s.

The elbows have a double joint which gives a really nice range, they can pretty much touch their own shoulders. At the wrists there’s another combination hinge/ball joint which works pretty well. The ball joint at the end of the wrists also makes it easier to swap hands around. The chest and waist have ball joints which give full rotation (at the waist) and also give a decent tilt in each direction

Ground punch, because why not?
Jazz hands!
Oh my gosh, the official guys are sooo cute~~

The hips have ball joints that offer a decent range of motion, but with the girls it seems to be hindered a bit by their skirts. Luckily, the skirts are made of a soft plastic so at least there’s a little bit of give there. It’s easy to pop the legs off the joint while trying to get into a “high kick” sort of pose, but at least it’s easy to pop them back on again.

At the knees there’s a double joint which gives a pretty good bend. The range isn’t as good as the double joint in the elbows, but it’s still pretty good. It’s funny that these sort of double joints seems to work well with the smaller-scale figures than with something larger like the Play Arts Kai range (see: peanut knees/elbows). I was expecting a little bit more articulation in the ankles due to the dynamic nature of these figures, but the combination that they have there is okay I suppose. The feet can rotate and tilt a bit and the rocker helps to turn them on an angle which helps with stability. There’s also a hinge near the toes which is a nice touch and it’s something that seems to be a mainstay with the more poseable figures these days.

CONCLUSION:

I’m having a lot of fun with the Akiba Rangers. I started off not knowing anything about them and passed them off as just another Super Sentai series in a long (looong) line of Super Sentai series. In true proverbial fashion, I watched the show not knowing what to expect, and was really not disappointed. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously and the humour can be really cheesy at times, but that’s all part of its charm. It’s also worth noting that I was quite impressed with the action scenes as well. It’s your typical Sentai/Power Rangers fare with the martial arts and the sparks/explosions when characters get it, but the way that some of the characters get thrown around makes me really glad I’m not a stuntman. Some of those hits/landings looked pretty painful.

The figures on the other hand, I was expecting the usual high standard of figure from SH Figuarts, and again I was not disappointed. Once again, the figures follow in a long (looong) line of Super Sentai figures made by SH Figuarts, so it’s really no surprise that they continue with the same degree of quality. They are all very good representations of their respective characters and it’s pretty easy to get them to do their signature poses. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for their transforming mecha Itassha Robo, because what’s not to love about a Toyota Prius that’s decked out in anime decals and transforms into a goofy-looking robot?
It’s still possible to find the Rangers for a decent price, so getting the crew together wouldn’t be too difficult (maybe they’re less expensive since they’re “unofficial”?).

375 mL drink can for scale

The SH Figuarts Akiba Rangers can be found at the links below along with other figures in the SH Figuarts range.

 

 

 

 

The Akiba Rangers are facing their toughest enemy yet!
                                                                                                      “We can help! We’re an official team!”
“…”
                                                                                                                     “W-Wait a minute you guys!”
“Yeah… I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing here either.”

 

S. H. Figuarts Sailor Moon – Review

The 2016 Christmas break came with a glut of Transformers due to the new Titans Return range doing so well. I’ll eventually get around to reviewing some of the new stuff I got, but for now I’m doing something still “old school” – just not Transformers related. This time around it’s Sailor Moon by way of SH Figuarts!

Since originally airing in the early-mid 90’s, Sailor Moon has gone on to become a cultural icon that’s well known by anime fans and even non-anime fans alike. In fact, it was Sailor Moon that set a new benchmark for “magical girl” shows and since then the name has become synonymous with the genre.

Sailor Moon

A large portion of what makes the show so popular has often been copied, imitated, or referenced (I, myself, love a good transformation sequence 😀 ). To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sailor Moon anime, the show has been rebooted in the form of Sailor Moon Crystal (to mixed reviews) which follows the manga (or comic if you will) events more closely. I’m somewhat familiar with some of the names and terminology used in the original Japanese version, but I will be using names and terms used in the English version as that’s the one most familiar with me.

First Impressions:

Yay!

It’s a very good representation of the character and is instantly recognisable. She has that slender figure and her tell-tale extra long twin-tails that extend down from the buns on the top of her head. She’s decked out in her standard Sailor Scout outfit, the paint apps and decals are pretty good and she features a nice, clean sculpt. On closer inspection the paint apps may be a bit off, but not so much as to distract from the overall feel. Her hair is translucent in some places and her long twin-tails are somewhat movable. Her joints move freely and seem strong enough to hold even the most dynamic of poses.

Sailor Moon says: “Put ’em up!”
Or Karate style if you prefer.

Accessories:

Sailor Moon comes with an interesting array of accessories. Included in the package is her companion/mentor Luna the black cat. Luna’s head can rotate fully and tilt slightly due to a ball joint in her neck, but that’s as far as her movement goes.

Luna

There are interchangeable hands (left and right splayed hands and closed fists, right hand pointing finger and “peace” sign, right hand for holding her wand, a right hand with her Moon Tiara in attack mode attached, and a slightly open left hand).

Moon Tiara~~
Magic!

There are 2 Moon Wands – one with crystal and one without. A selection of 6 interchangeable faces is included – if you bought the 1st edition version that is. The 1st edition version features an extra “crying” face and a happy/winking face. The standard set includes a happy/smiling face, a shouting face, and 2 serious faces, one with tiara and one without (to simulate the Moon Tiara Attack). Also included is a custom display stand with “Sailor Moon” printed on its decorative heart-shaped base.

Moon Wand
I have the power!!

Articulation:

Her head has a fairly decent range of movement. It can rotate a full 360 degrees, can tilt left and right, and can tilt down okay but can’t tilt back very far due to the base of her hair. Her twin-tails have ball joints so they can move around a bit, but they might have a tendency to pop out if moved too far in one direction. The shoulders have ball joints which allow for a good range of movement – the collar can limit her range though. Her elbows can bend just past 90 degrees and the joints in the wrists offer some good movement.

Ka~me~ha~me~~
Haa~!

There’s a ball joint in her upper chest that allows for some decent twisting and tilting. There’s no joint in the waist, probably due to maintaining the sculpt, but the ball joints in the hips give a fairly good range. Her (teeny tiny) skirt is made from a soft plastic so it shouldn’t hinder her movement so you should be able to create or re-create some of her more dynamic poses. The knees can bend to about 270 degrees and the joints in the ankles offer some nice tilting and twisting.

“Fighting evil by moonlight!”

Conclusion:

Sailor Moon by SH Figuarts is a definite must-have for anyone familiar with the series. The figure itself is pretty good in its own right, and there are enough accessories to keep things interesting. It’s possible to collect all the Sailor Scouts now so you can build the full team. Even now prices are still reasonable, so building the whole team won’t be too much of a hassle. She’s lots of fun and would make a worthy addition to any figure collection.

Sailor Moon can be found at the links below along with the other Sailor Scouts and other figures in the SH Figuarts range.

The next generation of Magical Girls
It’s Tuxedo Mask!
Dynamic entry!
For you, my Princess
Hey, wait a minute!
Not quite the result she was expecting…

S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mk 45 – Review

Coming up next is my review for S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mk 45.  This particular suit appears in the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron and it first appears towards the end of the movie during the evacuation of Sokovia.  Also of note is that this suit’s Artificial Intelligence system is not J.A.R.V.I.S. as per usual, but a new A.I. called F.R.I.D.A.Y.

First Impressions:  

Compared to Tony Stark’s previous Iron Man suits, the Mk 45 appears to have a much sleeker/streamlined figure.  If there was a sports car version of Iron Man, then this would be it.  Underlying a clean and anatomical silhouette is a collection of fine details and panel lines.  It features a nice and clean sculpt and is a very accurate representation of the character.

Shiny
Shiny
Sleek
Sleek

Accessories:

Included in the package with the figure are left and right closed fists, left and right open/flat hands, left and right open hands and left and right splayed hands.  Also included are effect parts that can be attached to his hands and feet.  2 different sets of repulsor blasts for his hands and 1 set that can only be applied to his feet to show flight.  An instruction sheet is also packed in the box.

Mk 45's Gear
Mk 45’s Gear

It doesn’t seem like a lot of accessories, but then again Iron Man doesn’t use a lot of other weapons or equipment outside of his suits.

Articulation:

The Mk 45 suit moves very well and has a good range of movement.  The joints feel solid and are able to hold poses as you would expect.

His head can look up and down to a good degree and has a good left and right turning range (the neck piece can limit this however).  He also has a good left and right tilt.

Shape up
Shape up
He can hold a high kick pose if you have the patience ; )
He can hold a high kick pose if you have the patience ; )

The arms are able to move freely and have double joints at the elbows to allow a fairly decent bicep curl.  The shoulders are able to come out of the torso slightly to allow for more movement and the wrists also have good range.  The shoulder pads are attached to the arms instead of at the torso.

Fire Repulsors!
Fire Repulsors!

He is able to tilt forwards and back slightly at the waist and is only able to turn a little bit around the upper torso.  The hips move well but due to the design it is easy to rub parts together which may damage the paint work.  Knees are double jointed to allow more movement and the feet (die-cast!) are flexible enough to allow for some nice posing.  The addition of die-cast metal in the feet is a nice touch, although the left foot on mine has become a bit wobbly while the right foot is still fine.  I’m not sure if it’s an issue inherent with using die-cast for joints or if it’s due to my Mk 45 having quite a bit of play time.  😀

Obligatory ground punch
Obligatory ground punch

This is what it’s all about.  Can he do “the pose”?  In a word – yes.  (The true sign of a good Iron Man figure)

Squaring off against Figma Captain America
Squaring off against Figma Captain America

Conclusion:

Iron Man Mk 45 by S.H. Figuarts is a very nice figure and will make a very worthy purchase.  It’s a nice, clean design, there’s enough interchangeable hands to suit most situations and the added effect parts are the icing on the cake.  On the subject of the effect parts though, I will say this – I don’t approve of the way that they’ve handled the attachment system.  I don’t like how the palms of the hands have a prong for the effect to plug onto rather than having a hole in the palms where the repulsor sits and having the effect plug into that.  It’s a waste of a set of hands that could have been used for something else since you’ve got 2 sets of open hands for the same effect.

Dude...
Dude…
I mean seriously... dude...
I mean seriously… dude…

However, if you can look past this issue then you won’t be disappointed.  Iron Man Mk 45 can be found at the link below along with other figures in the SH Figuarts range.  (I look forward to collecting the rest of the Avengers 😉 )

In flight
In flight
Mid-air combat
Mid-air combat
... so it turns out that the Hulkbuster sort of busts Hulks...
… so it turns out that the Hulkbuster sort of busts Hulks…