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Budget Review: Bandai S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Hibiki

The black sheep of the Heisei Era of Kamen Rider finally gets an entry in the SH Figuarts line as part of their Shinkocchou Seihou, or “True Bone”, sub-line.  As with Kamen Rider Kabuto, the opening entry of the sub-line, Hibiki doesn’t come in the usual cardboard packing that graces Figuarts but instead a swanky box split between a top tray featuring the Hibiki figure and a bottom tray of accessories.  I normally chuck packaging but there’s something really lovely about these boxes, they’re solid and they’re also fairly small.  But enough about the box!

Hibiki himself looks incredible at first glance.  The sculpt perfectly captures the suit and eclipses Bandai’s own SIC1 version especially when it comes to the stunning sheen of Hibki’s purple armour.   In fact all paint applications on Hibki are stunning: the way the red fades into the purple; the gold of his belt buckle; and especially the helmet’s combination of all 3.  Unfortunately since a lot of the figure isn’t just bare plastic it means there’s the potential for paint scraping and paint transfer, something that happened with mine and his loincloth rubbing on his purple armour (a problem few people would ever claim to have).  Oddly, despite the potential for a nightmare, this feels like a minor nitpick when the paint job on a toy looks this good.

In terms of articulation Hibiki takes it up a notch from Kabuto, correcting most of the problems I had with that Rider figure.  The shoulders are freed up by the repositioning of the joint for the pads and the hip-joints provide considerably more flexibility.  Ultimately it feels like Kabuto is based on the base figure used for Kamen Rider Blade, where Hibiki shares more in common with the renewal version of Kamen Rider Black.  He has 2.0 knees and elbows, his ankles rotate, pivot and tilt, he has a really nice ab-crunch and waist joint, swivels at the arm and integrated swivels on his thighs, his neck has joints both ends and though his helmet restricts movement at the top he still has really lovely rotation.  And then there’s the hand an wrist joints.  In my video review of Kabuto I had serious problems with these (watch it and see me labour on this point) but thankfully Bandai changed them… and yet still I’m worried.  As with the vast majority of modern Figuarts they’re a pin-disc joints mixed with a connector for the spare hands, not an entire wrist assembly as with Kabuto, but the connector isn’t the ball joint we often see and instead has been replaced with something tiny.  It looks ridiculously small, and has had me worried about fragility again, as I had with Kabuto’s connectors.  But then Figuarts writsts have never been the most secure-feeling considering the size of the joints and that they’re generally just made of plastic, so these aren’t all that different and the tiny size actually requires a bit less pressure to attach them.  I’d still recommend using a hair-dryer on the fists to ease swapping them.  Otherwise the wrists themselves are pretty good, and feel way more natural than Kabuto’s although the oversized cuffs that Hibiki sports can hinder the more outlandish poses.  You also get a decent amount of them with fists, open hands and various hands for holding accessories.

Speaking of accessories, Hibiki comes with a pretty decent amount compared to Kabuto.  His signature drumsticks are on show, in both a stowed away form that can be carefully (very carefully) attached to Hibiki, as well as those he can hold using his gripping hands, and the heads of them are even swappable with flaming effect versions.  His tuning fork (at least that’s what it looks like) is also present as are some of his disc animals in disc form, which can also be attached to his belt using a separate connector.  Tiny, tiny discs and a tiny, tiny connector.  It’s impressive how good these look considering how small they are but, dear me, they are ridiculously small – as in “oh god I dropped it now it’s gone forever” small.  Yet somehow it wouldn’t have been a good Hibiki figure if he hadn’t had these bits and pieces.

That the tininess of his accessories is one of the few problems I have with him is hopefully a good indicator of how I feel about this figure.  Hibiki has generally not felt much love because he really isn’t a Rider, yet Bandai’s Figuarts team have absolutely nailed the character.  The sculpt is amazing, the paint job is spot on, and even though they’re titchy as hell the accessories are fantastic.  I honestly don’t think you need to be a fan of the show to enjoy this toy, it’s just really fun, and looks really cool from all angles.  And his armour doesn’t constantly fall off of him like it did with the SIC versions, so there’s that too.

The tl;dr

The Pros:

  • Almost too perfect sculpt
  • Beautifully painted
  • Corrects every problem Kabuto had

The Cons:

  • That paint might rub
  • Questionable teeny hand connectors
  • Teensy accessories

The Result:

VIII

What does this score mean?

References
  1. Super Imaginative Chogokin – a line of larger scale action figures with a unique aesthetic that draws from Shotaro Ishinomori’s original more svelte designs rather than the suits that SH Figuarts are based on.

Published in Budget Reviews Reviews Toys

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