S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball Z Krillin – Earth’s Strongest Man

The Earth’s Strongest Man!

My Dragon Ball collecting was once simply focused on the original series, Dragon Ball, but has been expanding over the years. I’ve definitely leaned more towards Dragon Ball Super of late, but one of my Dragon Ball Z purchases last year was the event exclusive Nappa. I don’t know why I like Nappa so much. Maybe it’s because I, and many others, watched the Saiyan Saga of DBZ over and over because, for a long time, it was all we had. Well, we had the Namek Saga too, but that was far less interesting. When I got Nappa it became apparent right away that I had little to pair him with. I would add Piccolo, but presently I have him displayed with his arm missing as it was in the Raditz fight (I suppose I should get Raditz, but that’s not happening given his price on the secondary market). Then along came Krillin. Who better than Krillin to position facing off against Nappa? If I had liked the Kid Gohan that Bandai did I might have grabbed that, but Krillin seems appropriate and he’s a likable character too.

That whole “Earth’s Strongest Man” title would be more impressive if the Earth wasn’t full of Saiyans, Namekians, Androids, etc.

Now, when you get really into figure collecting, other, perhaps strange, things influence your purchases. I didn’t just want Krillin to pair with Nappa, I also found myself both curious and a little excited about some of the changes Bandai made with the figure. This is Krillin 2.0 essentially replacing an earlier figure released in the line. I never liked the aesthetic of that figure, but this one looked good based on the solicitation images. What also jumped out at me were the sleeves and abdomen. Yes, sleeves can influence my purchasing decision. Rather than have those little, blue, cuffs pegged into his shoulders, this figure appeared to have free-standing sleeves like an actual shirt. Is it dumb that I paid over 50 bucks for a toy based on how the sleeves looked? Maybe, but that’s toy collecting!

Things are a little strange looking under Krillin’s head, but this actually works pretty great.

Right now, someone is probably reading this and shouting to themselves, “This is the wrong Krillin!” And yes, I know, and I knew that when I bought it. This Krillin is based on his look during the Cell Saga where he has a blue undershirt and boots like Goku’s. The musculature is also more defined and less rounded, though I don’t know that Tamashii Nations would do that any different if this were a proper Saiyan Saga version of the character. I’m fine with the slight inaccuracy when it comes to my display and if a Saiyan Saga Krillin were to follow without the shirt and in the martial arts slippers I likely would not seek to “upgrade.” This is fine.

He’s small, but fierce!

Krillin, being one of the shortest characters from Dragon Ball Z, stands just a little over 4.5″ when you get him out of the standard window box. This figure comes out of the Vietnam factory which is still relatively new to action figure production for this line. Krillin certainly looks like a Figuarts release. There’s a lot of colored plastic and little that required painting. This edition of Krillin is also meant to be anime accurate so there’s no white on his eyes. There’s a lot of little, painted, details on his face that look nice. Aside from that, the paint is limited to his wrist bands, chest, belt and boots where a solid job of matching plastic to paint is on display. Where things look less great is on the legs. It looks like some shading was applied to the front of the pants, and that’s good, but it was only done on the lower pieces. The upper thigh is not shaded so it looks like mis-colored plastic and the shirt isn’t either. This has become a trend with the line and it’s a bit baffling. Why shade from the mid-thigh down, but no where else? It just makes it look like his gi is two different shades of orange and it’s unbecoming. Shade it all, please! The kneecap piece also appears to be shaded, but for some reason it came out glossier than the rest of the leg. It could be a different type of plastic was used there. It’s especially noticeable with the right knee on my figure.

What is going on here?!

Even with the iffy shading, the figure looks like Krillin and it’s shortcomings won’t be picked up by most when it’s on a shelf. And how good it looks on that shelf will depend on how well the figure is articulated and able to hold a pose. This is where the Vietnam factory has show its inexperience as sometimes the joints don’t feel quite up to par for this line. And with this figure, we have some new stuff to talk about. Krillin’s head is unique in that it basically sits on a drum, or barrel, instead of a ball-peg. There’s a double ball-peg within that, but it’s certainly odd to see. I can only assume this was done to close some of that emtpy space that would exist without it. Since Krillin is bald, Bandai doesn’t go with faceplates since those are usually hidden by a character’s hair. The drum approach looks a bit odd when the figure is head-less, but it works just fine. It’s just very squeeky when rotating the head, but the range of motion is there. The only thing Krillin can’t do well is look up unless you’re using the ab crunch too. It looks like the base of the neck should be able to move, but mine won’t budge so perhaps I’m mistaken.

He does make that face a lot.

In the abdomen, that new style of ab crunch works fine as he can bend back a little and forward a lot. There’s a ball joint in the waist that also adds to the range of motion and provides rotation and tilt and I like how it looks. These shoulders though, they’re pretty interesting. So what we have is a ball-hinge that pegs into a socket in the chest, which pegs into another below it. The orange and blue pieces you see are just floating bits and the actual joint is cast in blue. The upper shoulder is also just a piece that fits inside the blue shirt cuff and over the blue joint in there which the arm pegs into at the biceps. All of your up, down, and in and out movement at the shoulder comes from that ball and socket joint inside the figure. It works okay, but you have to fight with that orange piece at times which will pop off it’s peg and create some ugly gaps. The left shoulder on my figure is also especially stubborn and I had the whole thing come apart at one point. I should have stopped and taken a picture for this review, but I was afraid I would forget how the whole thing went together. The setup for this joint makes it surprisingly difficult to just raise and lower the arm on the shoulder hinge as it’s tough to get the needed leverage. My arm came apart because the biceps joint was taking on too much of that so the peg popped out. Bandai uses shallow pegs, likely to prevent snapping of the joint, so it doesn’t take much to cause it to pop out. The butterfly joint also doesn’t function too well. I found if I forced the orange cuff to rotate back I could get Krillin’s arm across his chest, but I don’t think it’s designed to do that and it created unsightly gaps. The butterfly joint is rarely a strong suit of these figures so I don’t consider it a great loss, but it’s something that has to be mentioned. At least the shirt cuff looks better though! The rest of the arm is a standard double-hinged elbow and ball-hinged wrists which work fine.

“Goku! Senzu bean!”

The shoulders are a bit sloppy, but below the waist things are just fine. Krillin can do full splits and he has his double-jointed knees. He does have sculpted buns so he can’t kick back all of the way, but can kick forward. There’s a thigh twist and the ankles are on ball-hinges. The way the boots are sculpted though limits the range, especially out on the ankle rocker. He also gets almost no range going up on the foot, but he can go back a decent amount. There’s also a toe hinge which works fine, but doesn’t really add anything of value. Lastly, the knot in his belt is articulated so if you want the ends to appear like they’re blowing in the wind you can do so.

Not the best Kamehameha pose, but it’s not like the Goku figures are that much better.

Krillin moves okay, I think the shoulders need some more work, but I like that they’re exploring other solutions for that joint that isn’t just pegging a chunk of blue plastic into the figure’s shoulder. And when it comes to accessories, Bandai took care of the little cue-ball. Krillin comes with four portraits: stoic, yelling, teeth-gritting (with a side-eye), and scared. I like getting four, but we are definitely missing a smiling portrait. Oddly, such a head isn’t being included in the Battle Armor Krillin that was recently up for order (not that I would have bought a second figure just to make this one smile). What’s here is done well though, and as I mentioned before, the subtle paint work on the expressions is all clean and applied well. In addition to the heads, we get six sets of hands: fists, open, martial arts pose, Kamehameha hands, two-finger pose hands, and open palms with peg holes. There’s also a bonus 13th hand that’s grasping a bag of senzu beans. The peg holes on the open hands are for Krillin’s blast effect: the Destructo Disc! It’s cast in translucent, frosted, yellow, plastic and has a buzzsaw design. The peg is pretty short, but it fits in the hand and looks okay. Because it pegs into Krillin’s hand, it can’t be used with the stands that peg into a blast effect so it can only be positioned above Krillin’s hand. There might be stands I’m not aware of that could work with this to depict the Destructo Disc in flight, but you won’t be able to do that out of the box.

I love all of the headsculpts, and the bean bag hand is fun, but who is really going to display him doing something other than this?!

The one additional drawback with this figure is becoming a common one out of the Vietnam factory and that’s in the joint tolerance. And it’s at those shoulders again. The right shoulder on my Krillin is pretty loose, so it’s easy to move and position, but the weight of the Destructo Disc makes it want to sag. The left shoulder has the opposite problem as it’s quite tight and getting his arm straight up for the proper pose was trickier than it should be. Plus, Krillin rarely uses his left arm for the Destructo Disc so I’d prefer to pose him with the left. Hopefully as the factory releases more figures these details get cleaned up, but for now, it feels like a roll of the dice when a figure shows up with the “Made in Vietnam” language on the front.

Nappa! Don’t touch it!

Krillin 2.0 is a solid entry in the S.H.Figuarts line of Dragon Ball Z action figures. Yes, I was a bit hard on some aspects of the figure, but that’s because this is a $55 release and we should have high standards for a figure at that price point. If this were a $30 Target release then some of these would be easier to overlook. Even with the warts, the figure displays well enough as long as you don’t get one with a shoulder so loose that it can’t use the energy effect. Mine is a touch finicky, but it’s holding up so far and at least I can swap the effect to the left arm if I absolutely have to. I like that they’re trying new things, and giving us updates to the older figures that are dated at this point. I just think maybe they over-engineered these shoulders and they could accomplished the same look, with something simpler. This figure is definitely worth getting if you like Krillin, want to upgrade from the old one, or are rounding out your DBZ display. And as a general release item, there should be plenty in stock at MSRP if you still need one.


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