Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: S.H.Figuarts Kamen Rider Zangetsu -Melon Arms-

Figure Information
Manufacturer: Bandai
Origin Series: Kamen Rider Gaim
Scale: Non-scale
Height: Approximately 14cm tall
Original Price: 4,104 Yen


Being the third release from the series, Zangetsu's packaging actually made me realize that the window designs are based on how the lockseeds look like when they are sliced by the driver, haha. As such S.H.Figuarts Zangetsu features a round window as well with some linings to represent his lockseed's design while having the box partly covered in green. Like the first two releases, one side of Zangetsu's box features his logo as well as the back, but additionally, there's a distinctive Moon design on the back of his box; probably because Zangetsu's name has the Moon character in it.


Going in to details, before I even got Zangetsu in hand, just by looking at other people's reviews, I already identified on which feature of his Figuarts rendition I'll be disappointed at. The one major turnoff and disappointment I have on Zangetsu Melon Arms is that his inner suit uses a somewhat dirty white color (similar to some Hasbro Transformers white) which is definitely not show accurate (and cheap-looking) and the fact that during the prototype stages, Zangetsu was clearly shown to have that wonderful clean white as the paint on his suit (which is also the screen accurate color).

Adding to the disappointment of the color is the fact that Zangetu's white paint on the helm proves to be much cleaner and closer to that of the prototype pics we've seen months ago.

Now to give a better comparison on the suit's white and the helm's white; using my ridiculously not amazing photoshop skills, I cropped parts from the two shots above and put them together in one image (sorry for the visible dust/grain/whatever those are) which you can see below and definitely identify which white is the better one.

While I've initially burst into disappointment with the paint of choice, the good thing is that the rest of Zangetsu's details are more than satisfying enough to compensate for his one major flaw. Starting with the belt, you get the usually excellent detailing on the belt much like his predecessors Gaim and Baron and hey the Zangetsu plate looks really nice in there. QC wise, I think mine got that bad QC as parts of the Melon Lockseed have that metallic green (which you can also see in one of the pictures above) which feels like the black paint was chipped or that the paint got slightly messed up and hit that spot.

As Zangetsu shares the Samurai motif as Gaim, his belt provides a holder for the Musou Saber as well although Zangetsu doesn't have a lockseed holder on his belt. The yellow paint on Zangetsu's belt looks similar to the yellow belt of Baron.

Speaking of the Musou Saber, I actually thought the Musou Sabers were generic but upon closer inspection, they aren't exactly just copies. One of the major details that I've learned via the SHF rendition is that the Musou Sabers themselves are also "plated" such that in Zangetsu's saber, you get to see his logo in there.

The huge bulk of the delicious details on Zangetsu is that the details are ridiculously, well sculpted on his Melon armor, the texture of the Melon is definitely there, pretty much perfect if you ask me and the paint, unlike his suit, is top notch as well with the rich and metallic light green along with the really decent gold paint.

His eyes are also detailed really well inside, though not clearly visible on my shot, you can see a really neat detailing which resembles a real sliced melon.

While the suit's white if off, the vine-y details are certainly well painted as I don't have any major visible flaws on mine and that the gold bands are really eye pleasing on the Melon Samurai.

Last eye catching detail is that the vine-like details even stretch to the actual knee joints, which is a very rare sight to behold on articulation figures, so kudos to bandai's tamashii division for making this detail exist.


Musou Saber aside, Zangetsu Melon Arms comes with his signature shield, the Melon Defender which comes with an alternate shield handle to allow him to grip it so that the shield lies resting on his arms. As for his handsets, first aside, you get a pair of shield gripping hands, a pair of saber gripping hands which also works for the trigger pulling poses, and two variants of open hands. It's pretty much like Gaim's but on a different color haha! Lastly, he also comes with a separate melon lockseed.

Like his predecessors, I think his accessory count is really satisfying and the inclusion of the alternate handle was a really neat and needed touch for the Melon Defender too.

Articulation Points:

Overall articulation, I'd say I think Zangetsu's in between of Gaim and Baron with Gaim being the better one. One of the things I noticed about Zangetsu is that he has a rather long neck so playing with his neck articulation by tilting his head to look up makes it a really awkward sight but having a long neck also allows him to look down to a good extend as well as give him a free sideways rotation without any problems.

Shoulder pads have been something that move only hinges for the line and Zangetu's melon shoulder pads can be raised only to a point where it looks like it's raised to a 90 (but really just nearly 45 degrees from it's default position) While this is a bummer, the movement is still better than Baron Banana Arms' gigantic shoulder pads.

And with such shoulder pad limitation, this, of course, puts on an effect on the arm movement as Zangetsu can only raise his arms to nearly just 135 degrees. The rest of the arm articulation do mirror that of Gaim's so you can just check it there.

Torso points, his sideways movement remain the same as the other armored riders but I think if there's one thing to note, it's that his armor isn't that thick/bulky so I think he has a better inward bending capability just by a bit.

As Zangetsu shares some design similarities with Gaim's suit, his leg points are also the same as Gaim's, full sideways split included!


Zangetsu Melon Arms' S.H.Figuarts rendition truly emulates Kureshima Takatora's cool and elegant style of fighting as he can easily capture his neat standing poses with ease and the way you choose on how he holds the Melon Defender takes unique effects on his poses.

While his shoulder pads are slightly limited, this doesn't deny him any extreme poses and since he shares a similar freedom with Gaim, posing Zangetsu was pretty easy especially with adjusting the legs.

Overall posing, I've definitely enjoyed posing Zangetsu way more than Baron, and his shield actually does neat feats from shield throws, simple shield bashing of evil henchmen or just beating Gaim and giving him that Urobutcher despair during the early parts of the series.

For some additional shots, here is Yggdrasil's overseer with the golden backdrop that came with the Knight of Spear.

And since it was just Episode 36 last week, here's a complimentary shot for that episode... T_T (Takatora is my favorite character mind you)

Final Thoughts:

Zangetsu's white on his suit is definitely his weakest link but the figure itself is in no way a bad release but this does make him the weakest release in terms of detail from the first three SHF releases for the series.  If you can bear with the color, then definitely pick up Zangetsu Melon Arms as this is the true representation of Kureshima Takatora as a Kamen Rider. Well, even if you find the white ugly, the figure is still a very good representation of the Rider, just not as perfect as how Gaim and Baron came out. That said, I hope bandai corrects this on the upcoming Zangetsu Shin release (but seriously, that's Micchy now and I hate it that it became his). Like his two predecessors, I still highly recommend this if you like the series especially if you like the character. (Like me! 8D)

And before I finish the review, I got this heroic Melon rider who's decreed by heaven from the very good people at Onegai Onii-chan!

I give Zangetsu a rightful 4 out of 5.

No comments:

Post a Comment