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S.H. Figuarts

Review – S.H. Figuarts Sailor Mars

Coming in as the third member of the team, Sailor Mars adds some fire power, literally, to the Sailor Senshi mix.  Rei and her fire attacks make her a pretty heavy hitter on the team, and as a Shrine Priestess when she’s not Sailor Mars, she is one of the more capable members of the group even without her powers.

Figuarts Sailor Mars is much more of a departure in design than Mercury was to the original Sailor Moon. The core Fuku outfit is still there but she wears slippers instead of long boots.  She also has longer hair, which includes some neat articulated bits that allow it to “flare out” for dramatic effect.

She does start to get into a bit of reuse on the hands from Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury, though there are also several new unique hands.  Aside from hands and faces, her only other accessory is a tiny Ofuda paper charm.  It’s not actually made from paper, it’s plastic, but it’s a depiction of her paper slip she uses for some of her attacks.  She also includes a special hand to allow her to hold the paper between two fingers as she does in the media.

While it’s not an included accessory, the Flame Effects parts set which is a separate item from Bandai, makers of S.H. Figuarts, works extremely well with Sailor Mars.   Considering how little accessories these figures have outside of Sailor Moon, and how much parts reuse there is between them, it’s a bit disappointing they don’t come with even a single attack effect or weapon of any kind.  I imagine they are saving that for the eventual “Super Sailor Senshi” releases.

If Moon and Mercury were tricky to stand on their tiny feet, Mars’s actual heels make her almost impossible without the stand.  It’s doable, but it’s tricky and the ankles have a tendency to splay outwards when doing so.

Of all of the five core Sailor Senshi Figuarts, Mars is definitely the lightest.  She has the least amount of accessories at least.  I guess the budget all went into her hair, though Venus does a similar trick.  That’s not to say she is a bad figure, it just would have been nice to see a bit more, some sort of fireball part maybe.  Or better yet, Sailor Moon has her cat Luna, Venus has Artemis, why couldn’t Sailor Mars have come with her two crows Phobos and Deimos?  Even in a static pose they would have helped make her feel a bit less bland.

Review – S.H. Figuarts Yoshi

While he wasn’t part of the original Super Mario Brothers, in fact, he didn’t come around until much later in the series during the 4th full game, Super Mario World, Yoshi is as iconic to the Mario series as any of the main cast.   The popular Dino has even gotten several of his own spin off games.  He certainly makes sense as an addition to the Mario Figuarts lineup.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

Yoshi is quite a different little figure than Mario and Luigi, for the obvious reasons that, he’s a Dinosaur and not a plumber.  He’s actually a quite a bit more dynamic in some ways as a result.  His skinnier arms give him a lot more flexibility for outward motion than the Mario Brothers.  While his hips can rotate outward as well, he doesn’t have any knees.  I’m not sure where they would put the knees considering how short his legs are, not to mention the addition of knees would probably hurt his major gimmick.

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That major gimmick?  Mario can ride Yoshi.

Included among Yoshi’s accessories are two alternate shell pieces each with a clear saddle attached to hold Figuarts Mario or Luigi.  It’s a bit tricky to get Mario’s weight to balance on Yoshi without the use of a stand however.  Mario is a pretty heavy figure and sticking all that weight on the back of poor little Yoshi really sets things off balance.  It’s still a really nice touch to have it as an option given 90% of Yoshi’s function is carrying Mario around on his back.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

Yoshi’s other accessories are all based on alternate configurations for Yoshi.  He doesn’t have any power ups or blocks, likely because Yoshi is a bit larger than either of the Mario Brothers and he has parts like the saddle shell pieces, all of which already drive the price up.  One of the driving forces of these Mario Figuarts seems to be keeping them fairly affordable ($20-$40 vs the $50-$100 price of some Figuarts).

SH Figuarts Yoshi

Yoshi includes an extra set of eyes so he can look off to the side, an alternate mouth insert with an extended tongue, and an alternate set of hands.  He also includes a stand.  He doesn’t need the stand at all to hold himself up under normal power, and the hole for the stand is directly on the bottom of Yoshi anyway, the stand is meant to allow Yoshi to jump or hover like he does in the games.

The hands are slightly disappointing.  Yoshi has two fists and two open hands, but one of the open hands has an egg permanently attached to it.  It doesn’t come off, you’ll only break it trying.  Considering the Mario Brothers already gave us a method to attach objects to open palm hands with the turtle shells, it’s kind of disappointing that the egg can’t be removed in this same manner.  The egg would have made a great accessory for use with the other figures and having two bare open hands for Yoshi would have been a great plus.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

The tongue is a bit disappointing as well, though it may just be a problem on mine.  Basically, it doesn’t stay attached very well at all.  It’s not even a problem due to weight or balance, the pegs on the underside of the mouth piece simply don’t properly peg into the pegs in his mouth.  The real benefit that the tongue piece provides is that it means the mouth can open and close, something that I imagine wouldn’t have been a feature if it hadn’t been a necessity to allow for the tongue piece to work.

SH Figuarts Yoshi

While it’s still probably the best Yoshi Figure available, and it’s a good figure to be sure, There are a few little issue that keep it from being completely amazing.  Specifically the egg hand and the finicky-ness of how some of the accessories attach.  The riding feature really helps push the figure up an extra notch if you have Mario or Luigi to go with him however.

Review – 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.

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.

SH Figuarts Sailor Moon

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.

SH Figuarts Mario

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.

SH Figuarts Mario

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.

SH Figuarts Mario

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.

SH Figuarts Mario

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.

SH Figuarts Mario

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.