Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: Ultra-Act Ultraman Zero -version 2-

Figure Information
Manufacturer: Bandai
Origin Series: Daikaiju Battle:
Ultra Ginga Densetsu
The Movie
Scale: Non-scale
Height: Approximately 16cm tall
Original Price: 4,725 Yen


Ultraman Zero version 2, or Ultraman Zero renewal version to a majority of collectors, comes in the standard ultra-act packaging for the "renewed" frame engineering which started with Glenfire iirc (correct me if I'm wrong though XD); covered in a bright blue with silver foils all over, Zero's box color schemes greatly represents the character's colors. The sides of the box are completely boring to look at with only one side to have a product shot (and it's not even posed or a full body shot at least) while the back is your standard "features" showcase which also shows the Zero Double Flasher effect, a supposedly 1st release bonus.


Being a renewed frame, Zero version 2 gives a more definitive head for Zero for starters and I feel the sluggers are just a bit bigger on this release as compared to the original. The forehead gem is also now dyed in a brighter green.

One of the key differences of the version 2 frame is that it features a more muscular body for Ultraman Zero; the colors are also somewhat a little more brighter than the original, the version 2 body also has a better proportioned pelvic piece as the original had a long piece that looks awkward at times. Some of the details have also been corrected to give Zero a better accurate feel. One gripe about this is that the "armor" details on Zero's body breaks up with a small gap between the shoulder and the body; something which the original emulated better. It's also funny how the knee joints are painted in red and blue but is non-existent with the elbows.

For a quick pic comparison with the old, check out the photo below!

As you can see, the new Zero is taller and is more correct in terms of proportions and correct in terms of details, though I have to admit, I like old Zero's head better as he looks more menacing there.


Accessories is where this set wins big time. Zero version 2 comes with a ton of handsets having a total of  6 pairs of hands (fists, open hands, chopping hands and 3 variants of gripping hands with 1 pair being absolutely useless for this set's weapons haha) and 2 more unique right hands. The set also retains the inclusion of the alternate head (without the sluggers), the Zero Sluggers, the Twin Sword, the red core and the slugger core piece. For the new accessories, you are provided with a folded armor option to give his arms more range and a bunch of effect parts such as the Zero Wide Shoot effect, Sluggers with slash effect and the first release bonus, the Zero Double Flasher. Lastly, there's a back piece that you can swap out so that you can attach a clampless Tamashii stand on Zero's back

Articulation Points:

Being a renewed frame and all, you would expect that it's a big improvement over the old especially since Ultra-Acts been like almost 4 years since the original Zero was released, but to my disappointment, it feels like only the torso downwards had a notable improvement when it comes to the articulation points as his head/neck and shoulders still feel as ever. I'll be skipping discussing the head and arm articulation since as I said, it feels the same really; I don't know if it's really with Zero's design that prevents such but hey if you want an improvement his elbow bend has greatly improved for one!

Now due to the remolding of his muscular build, Zero's got a more flexible torso joint now as you can really bend the torso inwards or stretch it outwards while also possessing the ability to swivel at two points and both move to a very satisfying range as well.

The legs receive the best parts of the renewed frame as he can now split sideways much better, retains the pull down gimmick of the SHF frame and kick to a decent degree and also bend his at his knees to a really delicious range. Overall, it feels a lot less stiff than when handling the old Zero but I do think Zero version 2 is easier to get loose in the hip joints. XD

The ankle now uses the recent SHF ankles and one of the biggest advantage of this is obviously the range of the feet; the old Zero uses a ball joint and would, at times, bump into the mold of the leg thus making it limited and unusable at certain poses.


Play wise, I loved the set as you are given more hands to recreate Ultraman Zero's iconic poses especially the pointing poses, a gesture he's been commonly doing.

The accessories included in the old version are still as useful as they can be but my piece somehow has a slugger chest piece that's absurdly loose (it doesn't even lock or even fit in place properly, wtf). Anyway, his renewed frame allows Zero to be poses in better looking dynamic action.

Definitely what makes this release more enjoyable is the inclusion of the effect parts especially the slugger effects which looks totally neat. The effect parts really made it an even more interesting subject during the shoot.

Additionally, the mother of effect parts included here was the Zero Double Flasher effect that he can use with his master, Ultraman Leo. The effect really look awesome and it absolutely doesn't cut short like the Beam effects included in most releases of the line. The flasher can also be used by any other Ultra (even SHFs I believe) that you want as you only need to peg the ball on the socket of the effect part.

Because I still don't have Belial (and I am praying for a renewed Belial), here's a little bonus of Zero fighting another big bad Ultra, Dark Zagi; additionally, at the last pic of the poseability section, Ultraman Zero renewal can be seen as a figure that's compatible with Leo version 2's kick effect.

Final Thoughts:

In the end, Zero version 2 doesn't really live up to the expectation of being a renewal release from Ultra-Act; it feels more like a release with better accessories as the body itself doesn't deliver a big difference with the old one when articulation is being discussed (as this has been a good factor in most renewal releases from bandai's figure lines), so, despite the vast inclusion of accessories and minor improvements, I am slightly disappointed with the release. Frankly speaking, if you just want a better scaling Zero or better handsets and effect parts, then get this but if you don't really mind about those and already have the old Zero, I'd suggest you just stick to that as the old Zero really isn't a bad figure to begin (even getting a 5 out of 5 from me when I reviewed him last year) but if you don't have any Ultraman Zero Ultra-act yet, then definitely, this piece is a better choice of the two. Oh and before I end, I got this earlier this year from CWToys!

I give the renewed warrior a 4 out of 5.

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