Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: S.H.Figuarts Kamen Rider Blade

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


Being the first in the Blade series run of S.H.Figuarts releases; Blade features a box design that's patterned after the Rouze Cards from the series which is easily identifiable once you check the sides of the box. The front window also has an imprinted Spade symbol which is Blade's set of rouze cards. I actually really like the font they chose for labeling his name and since the "Kamen Rider" label started with the Neo-Heisei riders, Blade retains the "Masked Rider" label on his box.

While the main features of the box is just patterned after Rouze Cards, the back is more direct as it really features the exact design of a Rouze Card while putting on Blade's product shots inside the border details; overall, it's really another neat looking packaging for me.


The details are Blade's strongest point but of course not completely perfect as I have a minor nitpick about him; I believe Blade's one detail flaw is that his horn in this S.H.Figuarts rendition is a bit too short but nonetheless, it's a minor detail to be bothered about anyway. 

Like a majority of riders, SHF Blade stays true to the real suit as he possesses ridiculously delicious compound eyes that looks really good and are very visible even without a very heavy light source.

Additionally, I like how the clear plastic is placed on top of the silver horn details as this does recreate the suit very nicely.

Going to another nitpicking session, Blade's suit has those studs on his biceps and thighs; though it is captured perfectly mold-wise, the paint is a bit off since the studs along with the bangles should've been in another shade of blue; I think the ones in the biceps emulates this at the very least (just not very noticeable) but the one on his thighs are clearly in the same blue paint as that of his suit.

Going to his belt, the Blay Buckle is molded spot on and is highly detailed.

The left side of Blade's belt does allow you to attach a storage for his Blay Rouzer (which is also very nicely detailed btw!) but from the looks of it, you can opt to attach the Rouzer storage to the right side of the belt since it also has an available port with it. The rest of the belt details are also well made as there aren't any visible flaws on mine.   

The rest of the detail talk goes to the armor which is the shining glory of the entire figure as the entire armor of Blade is finished in a shiny silver paint along with metallic red and gold to accompany it, achieving that very satisfying and eye-pleasing look on the entire figure.

Additionally, beneath his feet are spade symbols that are also finished in silver paint and hey, there aren't any serial numbers this time!


Blay Rouzer aside, Blade comes with three alternate pairs of hands (open hands and two variants of gripping hands), a card holding right hand, some Spade Suit Rouze Cards, a rock where you can insert the Blay Rouzer and a Kick effect that comes with 3 lightning tails which you can attach to the main kick effect via ball joint connectors. The Blay Rouzer also comes with an alternate part where the deck of cards is opened. 

Now the bummer part of the set comes in the form of the opened deck part for the rouzer, by default, it is just molded clear plastic and bandai provides you with a sticker sheet and do the job yourself; the sticker sheet has 1 set of the cards for the back part and 2 variants for the actual cards, one where the cards are still empty and one with the sealed undeads which allows you to mix and match the stickers to your own content. While the freedom to customize is nice and all, it's actually such an annoying task to sticker it up since I don't like it and if you're not used to it, you might completely mess it up. Seriously, this was something they should have done themselves since I don't really give a damn with customization on a part I won't be using for display anyway.

Once finished, it'll look better but mine's a bit messy and I actually used the blank cards for the Fusion Jack, Absorb Queen and Evolution King cards by mistake since I didn't look at the cards first before following the instruction manual.

Articulation Points:

S.H.Figuarts Blade is the first officially announced Rider last year to feature a big array of changes when it comes to the main body engineering, meaning that Blade is the first official Rider figuarts to posses a sort of "renewal" body. Well, renewal body or not, I know I'm not satisfied with his neck articulation, lol. While the tilting sideways and rotation are indeed decent, the upward and downward movements are ridiculously stiff; the downward movement doesn't even feel that it exists while the upwards movement is barely even there.

One of the nicest things about Blade's points of articulation is that the shoulder pads have their own unique joints instead of just being hinged on the armor or the shoulders, you can pull it out to a certain range which helps on the shoulder movement to give it a full use.

As mentioned above, the shoulder pads' joints give you a hassle free access of raising Blade's arms sideways to a full 90 degrees and since the joints are attached to the shoulders, the rotation is also fully doable. You can also flush the arms backwards or forwards by a little bit thanks to the ball joints but this still doesn't allow any cross arms capability. Biceps as well as the forearms are fully rotatable due thanks to some swivels on them while the elbows still bend as nicely as other rider figuarts. The wrist joints remain the usual hinge with a ball joint connector which gives a full swivel and slight bending capabilities.

Torso movement is where a major change on the rider frame is clearly visible, aside from decent sideways tilting, the body is fully rotatable on the waist and what's even neat is that the belt flexes/warps as you turn the body. Body bending also makes you feel that the joint actually exists as this has been one feature that riders prior to Blade's release have a hard time on emulating.

Blade's frame uses hip joints that his predecessors like Ryuki uses, such that the pull down gimmick isn't there anymore but still gives a nice range of movement in both forward and sideways; thanks to the hip joints, you also get a full swivel on the thighs. His knees provide an excellent bending ability while his ankles emulate a similar function to the original die cast ankles.


The new frame does allow blade to perform a variety of poses ranging from simple ones to dynamic ones. Accessory wise, I believe his accessory sets are satisfying for you to recreate just about almost everything Blade does and I really do wish his head can go lower on certain poses. As his namesake, slashing poses are pretty what you would have him posed and he can really do a variety of them.

Blade's kick effect parts are one of the best kick effects I've seen for the Figuarts line and the fact the his frame lets you emulate a non-awkward looking rider kick makes it even more satisfying of a figure.

Overall, Blade has a nice balance to it despite losing out on the die-cast parts that a majority of his predecessors had as his frame could support a running pose and also do widespread leg poses without any problems. (I'm looking at you OOO lol) Finally, while the rock stand for the Rouze isn't really needed, I'm actually glad they included it since it gives a cool effect when you have him stab the ground with his Blay Rouzer.

Final Thoughts:

Blade's S.H.Figuarts rendition provides an excellent representation of the title rider and while he does suffer from some minor nitpicks from me, he's really a decent figure overall. Bandai certainly made their new frame better but seriously though, such a hassle on the sticker part and believe me, this doesn't just end on Blade's Ace Form. Overall, Blade is a well proportioned, well accessorized and well articulated rider so if you like the series/character or you aim to complete the title riders someday, then definitely, SHF Blade's a good addition to your collection. 

And before I end the review, Blade has been one of my first few orders from the awesome guys at Onegai Onii-chan last year.

I give the Ace of Spades a slashing 4.5 out of 5.

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