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S.H. Figuarts

S.H. Figuarts – Ranma (Female)

Getting Sailor Moon Figuarts was a surprise.  But not a huge surprise when you consider there was a new redesigned series put out recently.  Getting Ranma 1/2 Figuarts was the real surprise.  For the most part the anime Figuarts I see tend to be based on newer anime and manga that I’ve never heard of.  But here we are, with Ranma 1/2 in glorious highly articulated plastic form.  Sadly it kind of seems like we’ll never actually get Panda Genma who was featured when these were announced.

The first release is the female version of Ranma.  In case you are unfamiliar with the premise, Ranma is a harem comedy anime series and manga, which follows the various romantic relationships surrounding Ranma and his crazy pack of friends and enemies.  The gimmick of the show, is that a lot of the characters carry some sort of curse, generally originating from the Jusenkyo Springs where they change into a different form and back when exposed to hot or cold water.  In the case of the title character, Ranma transforms between a boy and girl due to Ranma falling into the Spring of Drowned Girl.

That’s a pretty gross oversimplification, but that’s the general idea.  Originally shown in the announcement were both male and female Ranma as well as a giant Panda Genma, Ranma’s father.  Ranma here is pretty awesome, probably my favorite Figuarts of all of the ones I own (though Tuxedo Mask is a close second).

A lot of what I like is just how well balanced she is, which is really essential given the martial arts nature of the series.  Part of the plot of Ranma is that everyone has some sort of crazy martial arts fighting style.  Being able to pose Ranma doing martial arts moves really helps sell the figure.

She also has a great selection of alternate faces.  There’s a big smile, a small smile, a frowny serious face and the embarrassed face.  That last one is a lot of fun since as one might imagine, a dude turning into a girl could result in a lot of embarrassing situations.

There is also a good assortment of accessories and alternative hands.  The female version of Ranma also includes a hot kettle, which compliments the cold water bucket included with the male counterpart.

In case you can’t tell, I really like this figure.  Probably the biggest downside is that she’s a little boring without some of the other Ranma Figuarts to go with her.  Also, if you’re not a fan of the source material, there really isn’t a lot of incentive to pick her up.  This is definitely the best Ranma figure available, since it both looks good and is loaded with articulation and parts, in traditional Figuarts style.

S.H. Figuarts – Sailor Mercury

Sailor Mercury is the second of the team behind Sailor Moon and the second to get a Figuarts.  She serves the brains of the outfit as well as the techie of the group.  She also has one of the lamest abilities in the history of people with abilities in any medium which involves throwing bubbles at her enemies.  Not even cool bubbles like say, Mega Man’s Bubble Man, but lame bubbles.

She does gain some more powers as the series progresses though, themed around water and ice.  Plus her usefulness to the team is more than her ability to be less useful in a fight.  Sailor Moon tends to just one shot all of the bad guys anyway with her crown.

Sailor Mercury isn’t a straight repaint of Sailor Moon, though not surprisingly, they do share many parts.  The basic design and uniform of the Sailor Senshi is pretty much the same across the board.  Ami has a different head of course, but she also has different boots and an entirely different set of hands than Usagi.

She also includes her little hand held computer device, in both open and closed models.  While it would have been neat to have had one computer with a hinged lid, having the open and closed versions are probably better at this scale for the sake of not losing parts and because the hinge probably would have just ended up being a floppy mess anyway.  She also includes an alternative hair bit that includes the visor she sometimes uses.  It’s a nice way to help differentiate the design more when standing the Sailor Senshi all in a group.

Otherwise she’s definitely very similar to Sailor Moon.  I haven’t had the same problems with loose hands that I had with the Sailor Moon Figuarts however.  Also, while the boots are similar in design, I feel like there must have been some minor tweak on Mercury because she also seems like she is easier to stand up without the stand accessory.

Figuarts Sailor Mercury is the logical next step after Sailor Moon and seems to do a good job of improving the little flaws with the design of the first Sailor Senshi.

S.H. Figuarts – Sailor Moon

Someone at Bandai must have realized that there is a lot of easy reuse potential in a highly desired show like Sailor Moon or something, because there has been a slew of releases in the Figuarts line for this popular anime in recent years.  Sailor Moon is definitely one of the most well known classic anime properties.   It seems to have opened up the gates a bit for other older titles.  We’ve been getting figures from Ranma 1/2 as well.  It makes me wonder how long until they start doing Figuarts of Tenchi characters, another popular title from that era with a ton of characters.

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The Sailor Moon line up started of course, with Sailor Moon herself.  Which is of course the obvious choice, Usagi is the title character after all, if there was only one figure, she’d be the one to be made.  There have been a few rereleases of the original figure and a few variants such as Super Sailor Moon and Imposter Sailor Moon.

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The figure stands around 5.5″ tall and has all of the ball joints and double jointed articulation you’d expect from a Figuarts toy.  There are 6 faces included 5 pairs of hands.  One of the hands has a disk effect part attached to it to simulate when Usagi removes her crown to throw it for an attack.  She also includes 2 Moon wands, one lit up and one not, and a special Sailor Moon themed Figuarts stand.

Usagi also include a little figure of her cat Luna.  Luna has a bit of pose ability in her tail and neck, though getting her to stand up is trickier than it really should be.

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You’re going to need that stand too.  As nice as the figure looks, her long skinny legs and heels don’t give her any stability.  It’s possible to get Sailor Moon to stand up on her own, but it’s not always easy.

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A few other downsides I’ve come across.  First, her hands have a tendency to fall off sometimes.  It’s not a constant problem, but it happens.  Second, I seriously worry about breaking her hair off.  Usagi has her trademark Odango hair with long ponytails.  They are made from a very stiff slightly transparent plastic, a type of plastic that, in my experience, tends to easily snap off if pressure is applied in the wrong direction.

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Overall it’s a nice figure, but I worry a bit about it’s long term survivability.  There isn’t a lot that could be done about the balance issue, the design looks like the character on the show, giving her different shoes wouldn’t match what Sailor Moon is supposed to look like, and that’s about the only solution there is to that.  Mostly I kind of wish there was a bit of give to the hair pieces, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them breaking.  In the end, it’s just nice to finally have an option for a good figure of an iconic anime character.  Most of what has been put out for Sailor Moon in the past were Barbie style dolls with a pretty mediocre likeness, even in the Japanese market.