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Sailor Moon

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 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 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.