Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: S.H.Figuarts Cure Pine

Figure Information
Manufacturer: Bandai
Origin Series: Fresh Precure
Scale: Non-scale
Height: Approximately 14cm tall
Original Price: 3,675 Yen


Going for an extra stretch of last month's theme, I'm tackling the second of the rather "ancient" frames of Precure S.H.Figuarts which comes in the form of the Fresh Precure releases! Cure Pine is actually the third release from the line and since I'm already out of the month's theme, I'm directly going to her first instead of doing their leader first. Anyway, the line's box design (for the cures that is) mixes a nice amount of sparkles and hearts while having the 4 leaf clover on  pretty much every side of the box and like all the Cure releases so far, the general color is determined by the Figure's main color as a Precure. As the sides feature the 4 leaf clover, each side is accompanied by a semi-visible version of the product shots.

While the back is your typical Product shot-filled back with some special background for added blings, it's quite fun to note that prior to Heartcatch releases, they were actually advertising the other products from the line which is the 1st and 2nd release from the line in this case (Eas and Cure Peach respectively). Additionally, though it is later again seen on the Futari wa SHF release of Cure White, S.H.Figuarts Cure Pine's box does indeed highlight their special tamashii stand as the very first Precure team that received the S.H.Figuarts treatment didn't have the luxury of being packed with their own customized stands.


Generally speaking, I think Cure Pine is one of the better releases in series of Fresh Precure Figuarts releases such that while Bandai still needs a little more work on their faces when Pine was released, it is pretty notable that Pine is one of the releases that at least resembles her art in a way or another.

Going to the hair first, it is pretty much okay on details since her hair is supposed to be wavy and slightly messy while having a single tail on the right side which is separated by a ribbon that is also well captured in detail by Bandai. As for her hair color, I can't say much since I haven't watched the series yet, I believe it's supposed to be lighter if patterned after the anime itself but artwork-wise, I think they got it just right especially if you look at her newer official arts.

Fresh is pretty much known (among me and my friends at the very least) as the series where the Cures had boobs and lol, the figure also gives that notion pretty nicely. Additionally, one flaw I find on her upper torso is that her shoulder pads are pretty much slanted down which aren't supposed to. Lastly, probably the real bummer I find on the Fresh line (except Angel Peach) is that there's an awkward cut that's very visible on the bottom of the neck and it really ruins the visual aesthetic for me.  

With the complaints done above, the remains of Pine's suit is nicely done from the frilly skirt to the appetizing glossy finish on her overall suit. Additionally, if you would notice in one of the photos below, there's a "tab" at the back of her suit; while this doesn't feature any significance, I believe this was intended for the wings of the Angel forms that never saw the light in the Figuarts releases.


As for her accessory, Pine comes with her Cure Stick, the Pine Flute. For her handsets, she comes with a pair of open hands, fists, "half-heart" forming hands, gripping hands and a special pair that's for handling the Cure Stick as a flute; additionally, she's got a special right hand that's like one of those hands when holding talismans, I believe it's supposed to go with her Linkrun that's not even included in the set release. While it is actually pretty generous of Bandai to finally give the much needed stand for the cures, the base that the fresh Cures come with aren't exactly something you'll like as they function as single leg clamps only and believe me, they don't really get the job done that well, but you can indeed replace the stand with your regular tamashii stage clamp.

Pine comes with a total of three faceplates, a default gentle smiling face, a big smiling face and an angry face. Now, here's a point on how annoying and pointless Bandai made the face swap. First of all, instead of just the actual faces, you're actually really given 3 heads, meaning with each swap, you'll have to remove the head. Additionally, on my piece is that the neck joints on all heads doesn't really lock in the neck socket that securely so they do pop out upon moving the head sometimes.

For each head swap, you'll need to actually struggle and have the head pop out from the hair as they attached via a big rubbery plug that fits in very tightly (a style that Blossom and Marine adopted).

Articulation Points:

Generally, S.H.Figuarts Pine's overall articulation was a surprise to me and please take that in a good way. Starting off with her head, despite having weak locks, you can actually enjoy a great upward and downward bend and though the sideways rotation is possible, you'll encounter a bit of trouble since her hair mold is colliding with some other parts.

Probably the biggest downer of her articulation is that her arm articulation is stiff in general; by default her arms are slanted in around a 30 degree position and if you try to raise it sideways, you won't get far (just around 55-60 degrees I guess) since the shoulder pads are limiting it. Trying to rotate the arms is certainly one thing you can do fully but this still doesn't allow you to straighten her arm position even if you rotate them to a position where her arms are raised. What's neat is that despite having limited shoulder movement, you still get a full bicep rotation thanks a separate bicep swivel joint.

Being an old frame, her elbow joints, sadly just go to a mere 90 degree bend; the stiff shoulders are actually a minor thing for me but I really think the biggest blow on her poseability is concerned with the limited bending range of her elbows. Thankfully though, the wrist joints still function like your usual SHF Precure wrists.

A wonderful feat for such an old frame is that you can really get some neat bend out of it as well as a minor tilt abilities. Her torso joint also allows some minor swivel movement but surprisingly, her waist joint gives you a seamless full 360 rotation.

Frilly skirt as she has, she does have a really good range as they are even better than the likes of Dark Precure. Bandai has really put some well thought out engineering on this (and hopefully this carries to the Suite releases in the future) as SHF Pine really has that decent forward AND backward (yes, the rare backward) movement, a good splitting range while still having access to a thigh swivel. Ridiculously enough, her knees does actually function better than the elbows even though they're both limited. Ankle joints work normally as they do for all the SHF Cures which give slight upward/downward movement and sideways rotation.


While the elbows give a blow to her, posing S.H.Figuarts Pine around in several dancing poses which I based from H@ppy Together was certainly and enjoyable task as the frame basically is pretty much friendly for them dancing steps and it is indeed a plus factor.

Going to the less move-y poses, I believe that her big smiling face certainly does quite a heck of the job on giving life to most of those poses. As for her gentle smiling face, I find there's something wrong about it, maybe the lighting during the shoot affects it but there's really something off which that face and you might notice it on one of the photos below.

The flute hands are certainly a nice touch but if they just allowed the elbows to have some additional movement, it could've been a perfect pose.

Going to more serious poses, much as her big smile, her shouting also seals the deal for a lot of attacking poses as the mere expressiveness of her face will surely compliment any action pose that you can do with the frame.

Having an ability to pull of some punch and kick poses are pretty much a must for articulated Cures and thankfully, Pine is capable of those, so that really leaves a good impression on me.

Final Thoughts:

While certainly sharing her own flaws, S.H.Figuarts Cure Pine is still one of the earliest Precures to be released in the line and despite having limitations on her joints and whatnot, she does actually have tricks up her sleeve that surprised me as I wasn't really expecting anything that will give me "wow" before I reviewed her. Most definitely, Pine is one of the stronger pieces of the Fresh line and if you can actually care less on her flaws, then definitely, I'd recommend that you get her. One problem about her these days is that she's the second most expensive Figuarts from the Fresh Precure line (next to Eas) so if you actually see her priced near around 2500 yen - 3000 yen nowadays, I believe it's a good deal already. 

Cure Pine was one of my earliest acquisitions from the early days of Onegai Onii-chan! Also, this review was requested by a good friend and cure buddy of mine who happens to be mfc user, LaZy!

I give the freshly-harvested cure a freshly-scored 3 out of 5.

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