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S.H. Figuarts

Review – 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.

Review – S.H. Figuarts Luigi

Today’s review is on SH Figuarts Luigi.  I’ve previously done a review of SH Figuarts Mario as well that you may be interested in if you’re looking into Luigi.  A lot of what was said about Mario definitely applies here.  The build quality is solid, the paint apps are great, the sculpt is great, the articulation works for what he is, but it’s a little limited.

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Where Luigi differs the most is in his accessory count.  Luigi includes alternate open hands and a stand, both things that Mario lacked in his basic form.    Additionally Luigi includes a basic Block Brick and a Red Koopa shell.  It’s kind of a shame that he doesn’t have a coin, that feels like it would have been the cheapest accessory to throw in and coins are definitely something you can never have too many of when it comes to Mario.   Also included is a swappable back plate to allow the stand to peg into Luigi’s back and a small clear plastic bit that allows the Koopa shell to attach to either of the open palm hands to be held.

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Speaking of the hands, I touched a bit on the build style on Mario being different that your standard Figuarts release.  The hands are another place where this varies.  The pegs are nice and bulky and built into the forearms of both Luigi and Mario.  The hands stay on well but are easily swapped and it doesn’t feel like there is any chance of breaking the pegs.  This is definitely a change from many Figuarts where the removable hands often come off as pretty fragile.  It certainly helps that both Luigi and Mario are chunkier than most Figuarts, but it, once again, kind of feels like that Nintendo Quality push sneaking in a bit.  It’s also notable that it’s very subtle, but the hands are not identical to the ones that are available in the Playset Pack for Mario, they are slightly skinnier as well, to match Luigi’s slimmer build.

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Having the stand and hands definitely help flesh out Luigi’s pose options.  Every since Super Mario Brothers 2, Luigi has been known for his crazy high jumping, so having the stand for jumping poses is definitely a plus.  The hands are also great for both carrying and throwing the included Koopa shell.

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Luigi isn’t a straight recolor of Mario either, he stands a half inch or so taller than Mario and has an overall slimmer build.  I’m sure there is some parts reuse, I think the arms and shoes are the same, but the legs, center mass, and head are all slimmer and seem to be different sculpting than Mario.

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All in all Luigi is a nice package.  He’s definitely a nice addition to go with his brother Mario but the extra accessories make him a nice solid figure in his own right.

Review – 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.

Review – S.H. Figuarts Mario

Nintendo has long been weirdly stingy with the license for their properties.  Sure, there has always been merchandise for Super Mario Brothers, but only recently have they really opened it up, at least for more toy style merchandise.  They seemed to have opened the flood gates too, between the Amiibo figurines, and the World of Nintendo toy line.  There is also a line put out by Bandai under their S.H. Figuarts lineup.

World of Nintendo is alright, but if you want the “Cadillac level” of figure, you’re going to want to spring for the Figuarts Mario.

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Figuarts Mario is a bit of a departure from the standard Human figures put out in this line.  Sure Mario is human, but he’s considerably shorter and ore stocky than your average anime school girl.   The joint system all around also feels a lot more study than the other Figuarts I’ve handled.  I’m not saying the others are garbage, just that Mario here definitely seems to have a different mindset in mind on his design choices.  It kind of feels like that whole “Nintendo Quality” hand was probably involved in the design of this figure a bit to make sure he looks nice and solid in most poses.

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This also is almost a determent however.  He can make a lot of “classic Mario poses” but he’s also limited in a lot of ways due to his sculpt.  He can’t stick his arms out from his sides, for example, due to how his shoulders work.  He doesn’t have any alternate faces either.  In fact eh doesn’t have any alternate parts at all, though there are some alternate hands included in one of the accessory packs.

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What he does include is a Power Mushroom, one coin with stand, and a ? Block.  There isn’t even a stand (That is also in an accessory pack).  He’s plenty solid enough to stand without the stand though having one to do jumping poses would have been nice.

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There is an upside to the lack of extra parts however, and it kind of makes the whole argument moot.  Mario costs considerably less than your average Figuarts toy.  In fact Mario plus the two initial “Playset” packs, probably puts him about your average Figuarts price, with an above average number of accessories.

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Accessory woes aside, the figure is really nice.  It’s build solid, as mentioned and the sculpt and paint are all spot on perfect for a modern Mario.  Despite his limited articulation, he can pill off a lot of very Mario-like poses.  Mario isn’t exactly a Ninja after all, he’s a fat, squat plumber.  SH Figuarts Mario pulls this off nicely.