Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: S.H.Figuarts Dark Precure

Figure Information
Manufacturer: Bandai
Origin Series: Heartcatch Precure
Scale: Non-scale
Height: Approximately 15cm tall
Original Price: 3,990 Yen

Packaging:


And finally, after 2 years since I last I reviewed a Figuarts release from Heartcatch line, I'm taking another look back thanks to the final request review I got from my friend, Zykes. This time it's down to the last Cure tackled by the S.H.Figuarts line from the series which is Dark Precure! (the next ones are only upgrades of the main team) Following the same style as her seriesmates, Dark Precure's packaging takes on the broken 3/4 of Moonlight's Heart Seed instead of the usual flower representing the character, there's still the silhouette at the back of the character's name and a product shot on the right side of the box while also containing the tamashii web shouten as she is another exclusive release. Her color scheme is represented as red as it's the color of her attacks. The sides retain the silhouettes that based off the product shots previewed by Bandai.


The back of the box features a red moon, which looks stunning btw, and the product shots are all over the place with the central placement intended to project Dark Precure use her Dark Power Fortissimo.


Details:


Details of S.H.Figuarts Dark Precure would be her strongest point; her hair's pretty plain, painted in a quite accurate shade of dark green, as it should be and cuts were done on her bangs accompanied by a hair accessory that's painted in a somewhat metallic dark red which all blend well together to produce a really amazing look.


Her single wing is as big and black as it should be and I think they put in the "layers" nicely as they are clearly visible despite being on the same black paint and the wing generally projects the "torn" look perfectly.


Her dress emulates a good amount of folded texture and I really really like it; the entire dress is finished in a gorgeous glossy black while being painted with a rather vibrant red underneath and they certainly give that stunning visual overall.


While I like the series so much, there are just some details that you can only really notice once you have an steady artwork or like this, a figure of the character and I just noticed that, like her sister, her arm accessories are uneven as one has an arm sleeve while the other is just a wristband and it's a mirror of Moonlight's placement actually which is neat as it's something I only noticed years after the series has aired.


As a size comparison, here she is standing next to S.H.Figuarts Moonlight and she is a bit smaller than her sister.


Accessories:


Much like all the other cures from the same line, she comes with a Heart Shaped base but what makes it unique is that she comes with 2 sets of clamps. For her faces, she comes with a variant of her default face (right eye closed) with slightly opened mouth and comes with two versions where the right eye is opened with one having an opened mouth; I really feel disappointed that they didn't bother including a face where both of her eyes are yellow as seen in the final battle of the series. For her alternate hands, she comes with a pair of fists, a variant left open hand, a right gripping hand and another unique right hand to recreate the part where she opens her right eye in the opening sequence. Additionally, she comes with an alternate opened wing as well as her signature weapon, the Dark Tact.

Articulation Points:


Going to the head movement, Dark Precure can move as much as your usual cures with a neat range of looking up or down while having a fully rotatable head as well as some minor tilting.


A unique feature to her is that she has an additional point, which is for her wing and it's ball jointed so you can fully rotate the wings though it does come off easily so it's a bummer; really wish they just made the wing permanently attached and hinged so that you can just open them at will.


Though Dark Precure has ball jointed torso and waist, you can barely feel their existence as her movements are very minimal in both up and down as well as sideways.


Thankfully her arms remain fully rotatable on the shoulders while having a 90 degree raise sideways despite having puffy shoulder pads. She does retain the bicep swivels, the fully bendable elbow joints as well as the usual ball jointed wrist joints that you get from the Figuarts line.


As Dark Precure is from an older generation of female figuarts frame, her hips use the non-pull down ball joints, though the movement itself is very limited as Dark Precure suffers from the hard plastic skirt syndrome similar to Touhou figmas. She also doesn't have any thigh swivel which is a big blow to her already limited leg movement but at least has a very neat knee bend. Ankles are your usual Precure ankles that can only be hinged up or down or rotated sideways; you can tilt the ankles but this takes some fiddling of the joints so it takes a while to actually make it possible. 


Poseability:


While her articulation is very limited, Dark Precure certainly does keep a neat form and is pretty menacing even in some some standing poses. One problem I have during her shoot is that the light rarely hits her face thanks to the hair but still, she's pretty neat as she can do a flight pose though I really wish the body had more movement to be more expressive.


I definitely love her faceplates as they emulate a very stern look on her as it should be. And I feel the opened eye with a stern look gives the perfect representation for her while the open mouth variant is very weird no matter what pose you make her do as the problem itself is on how the face is made. A decent combination of faceplates and minor joint adjustments does give Dark Precure a very nice silhouette although this still doesn't give her any really decent action poses thanks to her limitations (though mostly because of the skirt).


Dark Precure is certainly one of the strongest generals in the entire franchise and thankfully the figure can emulate it even with just standing pose variants. Additionally, the only time that she can actually do "dynamic" poses is when she's posed in mid air since you can fully make use of whatever little leg movement she's got and they certainly work.



Here are some additional mid air action poses but the next three pictures feature her fighting Moonlight.



Final Thoughts:

While S.H.Figuarts Dark Precure is certainly gorgeous appearance-wise, she is actually the weakest release from the five cures in terms of articulation and it is quite disappointing since she's been featured to have very memorable fight scenes with Moonlight back in the show; being a Tamashii Web release, her accessory count also doesn't make up for the higher price point. Do I recommend her? Well, to be frank, it's a no BUT given that she is the only permanent villain to ever receive the Figuarts treatment from the Precure Franchise as of this writing, you might want to reconsider. But if you certainly don't care, get her only if you love her as a character since her scaled figure version is way more expensive nowadays.

Dark Precure was one of my orders years back from my one of my friends and suppliers, Omniclone (no links to his ebay account anymore since he doesn't use it anymore XD)

I give the shadow of the moon a 3 out of 5.

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