Tag Archives: bandai

S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball Super – Ultimate Gohan Super Hero

As part of the promotion for the film Dragon Ball Super – Super Hero, Bandai released a wave of action figures from its S.H. Figuarts brand of characters from the film. The neat thing was, these releases were actually really cheap relative to other SHF releases with a MSRP of just $35. Of the four, the only one I grabbed initially was Goku as I was looking for a base version of Goku and that figure really stood out as better than the alternative to me. I was tempted by Piccolo as well because the headsculpts looked like an improvement over the figure I have, but ultimately I didn’t want to spend money for some new heads. Another temptation for me was the new Gohan. Depicted in his “Ultimate” form, the adult Gohan from the film looked really interesting because it would appear he’s on a newer body that could see some reuse down the road. At the end of the day though, I’m not a huge Gohan fan so I decided to pass. The question was rendered moot too when he sold out really quickly as there’s a legion of Dragon Ball collectors out there who have been waiting for a good interpretation of Ultimate Gohan.

Then Bandai put up for sale on its Premium Bandai webstore two characters from the film: Gamma 1 and Gamma 2. They’re the “sort of” villains from the film and I liked their look. I wasn’t sure if I liked it enough to pay the Premium Bandai upcharge to get them though, but once I finally saw the film, I ended up taking the plunge. The thing with those figures is they both come with optional parts for the Ultimate Gohan figure. I suppose I could have sold those parts to recoup some of the expense of those two figures, but instead I just went in for more and purchased the Gohan figure. Retailers opened up some additional preorders for him, at the slightly inflated price of $40 (he may have started off there too and I just forgot), and I grabbed one of them. I’ve had the figure for about a month now, and let me tell you something: I love it!

My Gohan, you’re looking unusually focused this morning.

Gohan comes in the usual window box and should look fairly routine from outside the box. Once removed, he stands just shy of 5.5″ to the top of his face, closer to 6.5″ if you want to go to the top of the hair. Gohan from the movie is depicted in his classic Piccolo training uniform. It’s a purple gi with red sash and he has the big, chunky, shoes he and Piccolo both feature in the movie. He basically only distinguishes himself from Piccolo via his black wriststraps. He’s in his “Ultimate” form which was his ascended form he learned from the Elder Kai during the Buu Saga. It’s basically Gohan’s ultimate form, hence the name, though it doesn’t come with a flashy transformation. If anything, he just has slightly bigger, spikier, hair. He’s also jacked and that comes through in the sculpt. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to Goku who keeps going through all of these different forms and hair colors to get more powerful, but his kid just bulks up a bit. I kind of like that about Gohan, though he has his own wild transformations too.

The new style for the shoulder joints can be a bit finicky to work with, but the reward is that they look so much better than the old style with the sleeve cuff pegged into the shoulder itself.

Like most figures in this line, Gohan is largely composed of molded, colored, plastic which minimizes the need for paint. I suppose “need” is a strong word and certainly a subjective one as many (myself included) would like to see more paint on these releases. It’s much harder to criticize them for that though at this lower price point. With Gohan, there appears to be a hint of shading on the legs, which they like to do for some reason. It’s not as visible with Gohan as it is with Goku and his orange gi, which almost works out better for Gohan. It adds just a touch of depth and comes across well. It’s also helped by the fact that the purple is quite matte on this figure giving him a nice finish. The chest is painted and it’s not a perfect match to the neck and arms. The chest has a matte appearance, while there is a touch of shine on the neck, but it’s not awful. The red sash is a separate, floating, piece though it is rather snug on the figure. It may cause some paint transfer if you’re not careful. Lastly though, the faces for this figure look terrific. I don’t know what Bandai did to improve their facial printing, but keep it up. The previous Goku figure looked nice, but Gohan is even better. These faces all look fantastic and it really brings the figure to life. The hair also looks nice and it’s even tricky to figure out where the seem is to remove the bangs because the fit is so good. The only blemish is a bit of mold release, roughness, on the side of the hair. It’s not very noticeable from a shelf, but it does kind of suck and I considered trying to exchange it, but opted not to. Aside from that though, I think this figure looks wonderful.

On one foot with not assistance, and on the flimsy plastic of the arena playset at that.

Adding to my enjoyment is the articulation. I’ve been a little critical of the various Goku figures as I acquire more of them because that figure has some limitations and some features that are a bit of an eyesore. This figure doesn’t solve every problem that Goku has, but it comes close. The head is on a double-ball peg with another ball joint at the base of the neck. He can move around nice and smooth and there’s great nuance posing afforded by this setup. It’s only weakness it he can’t look up very well so if you wanted to position him in a flying pose parallel with the ground it would look awkward. The shoulders have a newer style of joint similar to what Krillin has which means theres no pegged in shoulder piece to look stupid. The sleeve is just a floating piece the arms goes through and it pegs into a ball and hinge style of joint inside the torso. The end result is you get some up and down movement at just the shoulder before even engaging the hinge which allows the arms to be raised out. You do have to work with the sleeve to get them horizontal, but it’s do-able. There is still a butterfly joint and that may be the only limitation here as he doesn’t seem to reach across quite as far as Goku. A Kamehameha pose is still possible, but a little less natural looking. The rear of the joint is cleaner, though there will still be angles where it looks unsightly. The joint is all cast in purple though so at least it doesn’t look as ridiculous as Goku’s where the interior is flesh-toned. The rest of the arms are typical stuff with a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbow that goes well past 90 degrees, and ball-peg wrists.

This one needs a stand though.

In the torso, we get a ball-joint at the diaphragm. There is no hinge in there to lift the upper torso higher which seems cleaner, but the figure also doesn’t have much range forward and back. He can pivot a bit on the joint as well. Below that is a waist twist which feels like a ball-peg of some kind. It mostly lets him twist, but you do get some nuance posing out of it as well. At the hips, we have some kind of a ball-joint that works very well. Gohan can achieve full splits and kick forward plenty far, though can’t kick back because he does have sculpted cheeks. There’s a thigh twist below that which is very smooth and the double-jointed knees both look and function well. At the boot, there’s a swivel and the feet are ball pegs. They don’t have much range going forward and back due to the cuffs on the shoes, but the rocker works okay. There’s also a toe hinge if you like those.

The Masenko pose is a bit tricky. Anything that requires the figure to raise its arms above the shoulder is tough because of the shirt piece.

Most importantly, all of the articulation is really smooth. No stuck joints, no uncomfortable creeking or squeeking noises, and it’s all very visually appealing. That may not sit as well with some other folks as I can see some wishing Bandai sacrificed some of the form to get better range in places. The torso feels like the biggest issue as we could probably get a better ab crunch in there. The ankles also aren’t great, but I think that’s partly due to the character design and the shoes present. The shoulders still aren’t perfect, but I think they look much better this way and I’ll take the reduced range there for this visual. I would definitely be interested in seeing a new Goku on this body, though I don’t know what version (I did order the Super Saiyan 2 Goku, but it’s on the usual buck). Maybe a brand new Super Saiyan 3 or “Awakening Super Saiyan” Goku?

He can do a reasonable Kamehameha pose though.
Fire away, Gohan!

This is a bit of a budget release, but there are still some accessories to talk about. Unfortunately, they’re not particularly exciting. Gohan just comes with some extra hands and face plates. For faces, he has a stern expression, teeth-gritting, and a yelling one. For hands, we get fists out of the box plus Kamehameha hands, martial arts pose hands, and a set of open “Masenko” hands. That’s it. It’s expected given the price point, but still disappointing to only get a conventional spread of hands plus three facial expressions. An effect part would have been welcomed and, honestly, adds mere pennies to the cost. How about the Super Saiyan 4 Goku blast effect, but in yellow or blue? Just something to put in his hands for a Masenko effect, though his shoulders aren’t really made for the charging effect so maybe it’s better not to draw attention to that via an effect?

Bandai is really killing it lately with the faces.

If this is the new, standard, body going forward for Bandai then I think it’s pretty good. It could be better, but I think we’ll get a lot of nice looking figures out of this. And even though there are some short-comings, I still love this releasae. And I don’t even consider myself a fan of Gohan. Nothing against him, I don’t actively dislike the character, he’s just not my favorite. This figure though is one of my favorites in the line and I’ve been having a blast with him just posing and fiddling with him on my desk while he waits for me to write this review. And maybe that’s partly what took me so long as I drew out the process. He’s going to head for the shelf soon and join his buddies, but I am definitely looking forward to getting those extra parts with the Gamma brothers so I have an excuse to mess with this one again. If you thought you didn’t need it for one reason or another, I must encourage you to rethink that. And at 40 bucks, this feels like quite the steal. This figure is way better than the Apocalypse I reviewed recently, a figure I did ultimately like, and it costs the same. While lesser companies are getting more expensive, Bandai is actually getting cheaper and that’s awesome. Keep it up!

I wasn’t sold on him initially, but I’m pretty happy to have added Gohan to the shelf.

The Robot Spirits MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom (VER A.N.I.M.E.)

Norris is back and he has a new toy.

It’s time to take a look at one of my most anticipated releases in Bandai’s The Robot Spirits line based on the anime Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team. And that figure is the Gouf Custom which was piloted by Colonel Norris Packard during the climactic battle at the end of that series. The Gouf is basically a Zeon mobile suit that’s pretty similar to the Zaku which we already looked at. It’s just got a cooler design and a different weapons loadout. My expectation was this figure would be very similar and share some parts with that previous release, but to my surprise, it does not. Is that a good thing? Well, the Zaku is a terrific action figure so if another figure to follow was going to imitate it then that would be fine by me, but who also doesn’t love a figure that’s unique on their shelf?

The Gouf Custom comes in the standard window box this series is known for. The window is tiny and just gives a peek at the figure and it’s adorned with product shots that are probably renders as opposed to actual photography. It’s easily resealable and the tray that holds the figure in the box just slides out. There are no tie-downs, which feels like a god-send given the amount of those things that wind up in my carpet.

That is a lot of hardware for one arm.

Once removed from the packaging, the Gouf is quite familiar in size and build quality. It’s only around 5″ tall not including the fin on the helmet so it’s a quaint little guy. The Gouf follows a lot of the same design elements as the Zaku with the single-camera “eye” and various hoses along the body. The shoulder pauldrons are horned for added menace, but unlike the Zaku, both shoulders feature the same design. The legs are similar, but different, as far as the molds used go. There’s really not much reuse here, maybe the hands or the rear skirt piece, as the Gouf is just different enough to necessitate it’s own molds. The main difference between the two is the color palette. The Zaku goes for that traditional, military, olive drab while the Gouf opts for a rather pleasant sky blue. The torso is a darker blue-gray and there’s some black on the knees and feet, but the dominant color is clearly the blue. And I like blue, so I’m just naturally drawn to this one. And like most releases in the line, there’s very little paint. It’s mostly limited to the eye and some red on the chest. Otherwise, we’re mostly dealing with colored plastic and it looks okay, but a paint wash wouldn’t hurt.

Similar, but different.
He can handle that massive amount of plastic on his arm, but add an effect part…

Since this figure required extensive new tooling, it also differs when it comes to the articulation. The head still sits on a ball peg and the base of the neck can hinge back allowing the Gouf to look up. It’s limited in looking down, and the top of the head is removable to allow for the eye to be re-positioned. The shoulders are pegged in and the joint it pegs into moves a bit for mostly nuance posing. The pauldrons peg in as well and they’re going to get in the way. The Gouf can’t quite raise its arms out to the side, but can get reasonably far. The arm rotates just fine, and there’s a pseudo-butterfly joint in the torso that affords some minor movement there. There’s a biceps swivel, but surprisingly just a single hinge at the elbow. The Gouf can just about hit a 90 degree bend, but I’m surprised it can’t go farther. The hands are on ball pegs, per usual, and the tolerance is just okay. I wish they were tighter, but we’ll talk more about that later. The torso has a ball-joint and hinge in the diaphragm that lets it tilt side-to-side a little. He can bend back just a tiny amount, but not forward at all because of the design of the chest. Once you engage the hinge, however, you can make this thing bend back really far, but it exposes a giant gap. It does provide some clearance though for the front, diamond-like, piece on the chest to slip behind the lower torso to get some better ab crunch. There’s a waist twist below that, but the hoses that wrap around the figure restrict the movement there quite a bit. At the hips, we have some big old balls that peg into a really small piece of plastic which looks a bit scary. The Gouf can’t quite do full splits due to the skirt pieces, but it does kick forward very far and back a little. The knees are double-jointed and there are no issues there nor are there any issues with the thigh twist. The ankles are surrounded by a lot of plastic, but the feet hinge forward and back and you get a little rocker action. They also have that joint in the middle of the foot that allows for more bend in the same style as a toe hinge, only it mostly provides range down as opposed to up so I don’t know that it’s very useful for standing. Lastly, there’s two thrusters on the rear of the figure on ball hinges for some directional posing when using effect parts.

If I so much as breath on this guy right now that arm is falling down.
If I’m going to display this guy utilizing the blast effect, I think I’ll go with the smaller gun because the figure can handle that.

The Gouf moves just okay. Part of that is due to the hoses around the body of the figure which didn’t allow for much. Bandai could have tried adding some sliding pieces there to allow for more movement, but that would come at the cost of some of the aesthetic. I’m more disappointed in the elbows and wrists. I keep checking out the elbows thinking I’m missing something, but they really are single-hinged. The wrists feature fine range, but like some of the other figures I have from this line, they’re too weak. This guy has trouble holding heavier weapons which happens to matter quite a bit if you want to hand it a Zaku bazooka. As we’ll see shortly, at least the weaponry the figure comes packaged with matters more for the shoulder joint than the wrist, but that’s also a problem as the shoulder joint could stand to be tighter.

The heat wire is neat, but did it have to be this long?
Now he’s like Batman!

The Gouf comes with the standard assortment of hands and a tree to place them on when not in use. They are: gripping, trigger, slightly wider gripping, open, and style posed. His melee weapon of choice is the heat saber which is just a sword. The blade is done in gray, but with a nice, graphite, finish and the hilt is a blue-gray piece of unpainted plastic. He has a three-barrel gatling gun that clips onto the left wrist with an effects part that can be affixed to any barrel (a special three-barrel effect part is coming in a new options set next year). On top of that, a shield can be affixed which is on a hinge piece like the Gundam Ground Type so it can be raised off of the figure’s arm which is necessary to make use of the effect part. When stored flat, the heat saber can slide behind the shield and a massive gatling gun can fit over that. This gun can accept the effect part plus an added burst effect as well, but doing so creates a lot of weight on the figure’s left arm and it’s rather cumbersome to pose. The last weapon is the heat wire which clips into a peg hole on the right arm. There’s a tiny plug that has to be removed first which is a nice bit of accuracy, but also a touch impractical since it’s hard to get it out and easy to lose. The wire itself is bendy so you can do some fun stuff with it and topped with a grappling hook. It’s also around ten inches in length so you have a lot to play with, almost too much. If you want it to just be firing in a straight line it looks kind of ridiculous and can’t support its own weight. I much prefer a coiled look, but I don’t think that’s anime accurate. The last two accessories are thrust effects that can be used on the jetpack or the feet. Like all figures in this line, it can accept a flight stand so opting for a flying pose is possible if you so desire. The effect parts are the superior ball-hinged variety so positioning them is quite easy. Bandai also included an extra fin piece for the head in case one gets lost or breaks. It does pop out very easily.

Maybe I’ll display him flying with all of that stuff on his arm just for the sheer lunacy of the visual.

The Gouf Custom looks the part and comes with enough stuff to really outfit it for battle, but I do find myself a little disappointed with this one compared with the other releases in this line. It’s design makes posing it less fun than the others, and the cumbersome accessories add to that frustration. It basically looks cool in a vanilla pose, but struggles with the more dynamic stuff. It also has a more fragile feel to it which just adds a layer of anxiety to the experience that isn’t much fun. And given that most places price this figure at around $80, it makes it harder to recommend. On one hand, if you’re really into The 08th MS Team it’s hard not to include the Gouf Custom, but on the other hand if you’re more interested in just having a figure or two from the line then it might be easy to just skip this one. If I was only getting one enemy mobile suit, I think I’d go with the Zaku over this which is not what I expected going into this review, but it is what I got.


Gundam Robot Spirits The 08th MS Team Option Parts Sets 1 and 2 (Ver. A.N.I.M.E.)

Like weapons and things for your figures? Well have I got a recommend for you!

We’re back with another look at a Robot Spirits release in the Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team line of products. Only this time we’re not technically talking about a new action figure, but a pair of accessory sets. It would seem Bandai intends to supplement this line with additional accessories like weaponry and vehicles that it can’t pack into the general releases. What kind of value collectors derive from each will largely depend on how many figures they plan to purchase and what their preferred weaponry is for the Gundams and Zaku units. I was on the fence with these sets, but ultimately decided to take a look so I’ll tell you about them here.

Not quite like the anime.

It didn’t seem like each set needed its own entry, so I’m going to talk about the first two option parts sets that have been released thus far. A third one is planned for early 2023. And we might as well talk about set one first which is largely a set of additional weaponry for the Gundam Ground Type. The main Gundam of the 08th MS Team had a few different loadouts when it came to weapons, though mostly we would see either a beam rifle or machine gun. It was in the intro to the show that we saw the RX-79 wielding the much larger 180mm rifle with the Gundam on one knee and the massive rifle propped on a shield that had been jammed into the ground. This set seeks to allow collectors to replicate that look on their shelf by including a blast effect for the rifle that came with the figure and an insert for the shield. The blue portion of the shield pops off and the new insert is just shorter with a peg on the bottom so it can fit into an included base. It looks fine, and I like getting a blast effect for the weapon, but the figure can’t actually crouch low enough to have the gun rest on the top of the shield. The box art appears to suggest otherwise, but upon looking closer it appears to be a trick of the camera and the shield is in the foreground and Gundam in the background. It’s kind of a bummer, because it doesn’t work for a shelf, though the new base for the shield at least provides an alternative way to display the shield when not on the figure’s forearm. It also works fine with the Desert Spec release.

Looks cool, but the weight basically means the elbow on my figure has to be bent as far as it will go to support it as the wrist just can’t do it.

Our next weapon is the rocket launcher. It’s a large weapon meant to rest on the Gundam’s shoulder. There are some moving and sliding parts to make it a bit easier to position, though they can pose an annoyance as things slide around. The magazine is removable and the neat part of that is they actually sculpted the rocket inside. There’s basically no paint though, which makes it a lot like other weapons we’ve seen. It also comes with a blast effect that features a plume of smoke with a rocket emerging out of the front. It looks really cool, but it also adds a lot of weight to the weapon. It’s not the easiest thing to pose especially if any part of your figure is a on the loose side, such as the right wrist with mine. There’s also an included adapter for the rear of the figure. You have to remove the backpack frame to access it, but the adapter allows the Gundam to stow the bazooka if that’s your preference.

The left arm works a little better, as does the missile launcher in general since its stockier design and rear smoke trail helps distribute the weight better than the rocket launcher.
Frontal shot so you can see the plastic tabs that come off to accommodate the effect parts. This weapon is rather delicate, but if you get it positioned right, it does look pretty cool.

Our next weapon is the missile launcher. This is another weapon intended to be shoulder mounted and it includes some blast effects. The actual gun is in four pieces: a frame, and three chambers for the missiles. For some reason, the chambers are removable which might sound neat, but it’s a bit of a pain as the thing constantly comes apart in the hands when trying to position it. There is a panel on the front of each chamber that needs to be removed if you want to attach the blast effect. And that effect is pretty cool as it contains multiple missiles blasting forth. There’s another smoke effect intended for the rear of the gun to complete the effect, and this added weight on the rear of the weapon helps make this one far more stable than the rocket launcher. It looks pretty cool, but I don’t know if I like it enough to actually use in my display.

“The filthy Feddies blew off my arm!”

The last item in this first set is an accessory for the Zaku. In the first encounter between Shiro and Norris, the Zaku gets damaged and loses an arm. If you want to recreate that battle, Bandai included a little nub to be plugged into the Zaku in place of the figure’s left arm. It’s a simple thing and it looks cool, but is another one of those accessories that might make more sense for those who are buying multiple Zaku units, and at around 75 bucks a pop, I don’t know if I’m going to be one of those collectors.

Set #2 is more focused on a pair of vehicles to add a little life to the display. Here we have the Hover Truck and Dop ship.

The second set of option parts are a little different. This one is more focused on support vehicles for those wishing to create more of a diorama with their collection as well as a few pieces the figures can utilize. The main draw for me was the Hover Truck. In the show, the 08th team consists of three mobile suits and the Hover Truck helmed by Eledore and Michel. The included Hover Truck here is to scale with the mobile suits so it’s pretty small, kind of like a Hot Wheel, but all plastic. It has some paint where needed and mostly looks the part. It’s modular though in that it can be presented as if it’s moving or if it’s stationary. The ground sonar probe on the right of the vehicle can be popped off and replaced with a deployed unit and the antennae on the right side can be removed and replaced with a tall, deployed, version. The cover on the back is also removable and the ramps on the front and rear of the tank are also functional. The turret on the top also can move a bit. There’s also an awning that can attach to the side and there’s a little table and chairs set (all one piece) that can be placed underneath it. Lastly, we have three unpainted character figures of Shiro, Michel, and Kiki. I initially thought it was odd they didn’t include Eledore, the actual driver of the tank, but this release is clearly aiming to recreate the scene from the sixth episode which Eledore wasn’t a part of.

This is the Hover Truck in travel mode while on the Dop I have the broken right wing attachment. Note the peg holes for thruster effects and the slot on the top of the dome is intended for a blast effect to simulate the Dop being hit by enemy fire.
It’s neat that Dop comes with landing gear, but I suspect most will want to put it on a stand for a flying pose. Note that the front guns can also receive effects parts for simulated firing.

To balance things out, there’s also an included Dop ship for the Hover Truck to take aim at. This one has a little weight to it and looks rather good. The windshield is transparent and there’s clearly some sculpting inside the ship that can be seen through it. Like the Hover Truck, there is a modular element at play as the ship can be displayed with the landing gear deployed or without. It also has a few slots for blast effects, damage bursts, and can make use of a flight stand. Sadly, there are no blast effects included for it, be it the guns or the thrusters. The ends of the wings can also pop off and be replaced with damaged ones, but I feel like Bandai could have done a better job of making the damaged wings look damaged as it wouldn’t be clear to someone unfamiliar with the Dop’s design. It’s well done though and all of the parts are engineered so that it’s basically impossible to put a piece in the wrong spot. Again, I just wish we got some effects for it.

If you prefer gray to yellow/gold, Bandai has you covered.

The last parts we have to talk about are for the Rx-79. First, we have a new “crown” piece for the head. The standard one is yellow, but in the final episodes the pilot Sanders was depicted with a gray piece on his mobile suit rather than the yellow. I always assumed this was an animation error, but it is what it is and if you prefer that look now you have the option to switch it. It’s also helpful for those who get multiple versions of the RX-79 to add a bit of variety, especially because we also get another head! In the anime, Karen’s mobile suit got its head knocked off and replaced with a head from the GM mobile suit for the final episodes. To complete that look, there are also two blast shields that clip over the shield included with the figure release. These shields looked more reinforced and it’s kind of cool to have the option. There’s two of them too so you can have a Karen and a Sanders in your display from that last arc if you so wish.

Now you don’t have to cannibalize another 70 dollar figure to achieve this look for Karen. Also pictured is the assault shield attachment.

Both of these sets exist just to provide more options for any 08th MS Team display. Option Parts 1 is definitely more as described since it’s weighted towards weaponry. If you like the weapons, or want to display a damaged Zaku it makes sense to grab. I do wish the weapons were easier to work with, but they can be finagled to create what I consider to be a worthwhile display. The second set is all about the two vehicles: the Hover Truck and Dop. Both look the part, but also do feel a bit underwhelming since they don’t do much. The extra parts for the RX-79 are fine, though I don’t think I’ll ever choose to go with the GM head, but maybe I’ll change my mind once the Ez-8 gets released. Both sets cost 50 bucks a piece from US retailers so it’s not as cheap as I’d like. If both were 30 then I’d feel a lot better about it. Instead, I’m more lukewarm here, but again I only have two Gundam RX-79G figures. If I had three or more then I’d definitely be more interested in using these. As for the second set, I felt I needed a Hover Truck so I’m more content there and the Dop adds a little something too. At the end of the day, I don’t regret either purchase, but it’s also hard for me to give either a true, glowing, endorsement. This is one of those classic cases of “your milage may vary.”


S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball Super Son Goku Super Hero

Wait! Don’t go! I swear this is a Goku worth talking about!

Back in the early 2000s I was a collector of Irwin Toys’ Dragon Ball Z line of action figures. When I started collecting that line, I just focused on my favorite characters which were primarily Vegeta, Trunks, and Piccolo. Gradually, the collector impulse took over and I started buying entire waves as they came out even if I never would have imagined I’d buy a figure of Yakon or Yamcha in a yellow suit. Anyway, what happened is my collection was surprisingly light on DBZ’s main character: Goku. Irwin was also pretty bad at keeping popular figures in circulation, they basically made a wave of figures and then moved onto the next one so late adopters were pretty screwed (and maybe that’s partly why they went out of business during the line’s life). I would eventually get the Series 4 standard Goku, but only because I found it on clearance for 4 dollars at a KB Toys (it was a pretty bad likeness), but I never got a Super Saiyan Goku or others. I did get some of the later Goku figures that Irwin and Jakks Pacific (who bought the license from Irwin when it went bankrupt) released, but my collection was definitely light on the legendary Saiyan.

I lead-off with that nugget of info because I’m partly amused, and partly shocked, that Goku dominates my collection of S.H.Figuarts based on Dragon Ball. This latest release based on the new movie Dragon Ball Super – Super Hero brings my total of Goku figures to 5, which isn’t a ton, but it’s amusing to me because I have only 1 Vegeta, 1 Piccolo, and zero Trunks. I’m also not including in my total of Goku figures my Goku Black and the two Kid Goku figures. Perhaps more amusing to me, the only other characters I have multiples of are Krillin, Master Roshi (one as Jackie Chun), and Bulma(!). I’m pretty sure the me of the early 2000s would be quite surprised that I would have more Bulmas than Vegetas, but that’s where we are. This obviously wasn’t deliberate on my part to make up for my lack of Goku 20 years ago. It’s largely the result of me getting into this line very slowly. I initially only intended to collect the figures from Dragon Ball, but they’re so few and far between that I started branching out to Z and Super and event GT! There are figures of Vegeta and Trunks that I’d like to have, but they’re no longer in circulation and I’m just not willing to go secondhand on them. Maybe one day, but for now Goku gets to dominate.

I wouldn’t normally advocate for buying a figure just for a new face, but I might for this one.

So why am I adding another Goku to my collection? Well, I didn’t have a base Goku having passed on the Saiyan Raised on Earth release and when this particular figure went up for solicitation I just happened to like it. The color palette for the new movie is based on the manga and the promotional images just made this figure look nice. Rather than a red-orange gi, this Goku is sporting a much lighter shade of orange. The promo images did a good job of making the figure look like it had more of a matte finish, and the portraits looked really sharp. And since it was being solicited at the bargain price of $35 I figured “why not?” And I’m happy to say the figure is more or less as expected. This is a Goku after all and it’s on a body that we should all be plenty familiar with and those promotional images ended up being honest about some parts of the figure, and less so about others.

The yelling expression is also on point. Whatever Bandai did differently with this one, keep it up!

First of all, the portraits for this Goku look terrific. In comparing them with past releases, I’ve narrowed it down to a few things that seem to make them “pop” better than before. For one, Bandai painted all of the lines including the ones under the eyes. They also used black instead of that brown shade they often use on the faces which helps to better reflect the anime. The eyes also look to be larger and the eyebrows have a little more shape to them. That’s pretty much it, which isn’t much, but the end result looks so much better. These are the best portraits of any Goku I have and it’s also helped by the selection. There’s the usual smirky face, plus a side-eye smirk that’s a little redundant. Then we get a yelling face which looks great because they made sure to round off the eyes, as Goku is often depicted, and the paint is so sharp that it really feels like Goku is screaming at me when I look at the thing. The fourth portrait is more of a frightened or surprised look which we’ve seen out of Goku plenty of times, usually in more comedic moments. It’s my favorite of the bunch and since it’s so different from the other figures I have it’s likely I go with this look in my display.

I’ve expressed my displeasure with this butterfly joint in multiple reviews, but I don’t think I’ve ever photographed it.

Aside from the faces, this Goku is pretty much like all of the others. There are actually subtle differences among the Goku figures I had before this one. Super Saiyan God Goku has a slightly leaner mold in places while the absurdly long named Goku had a different torso due to some battle damage while Super Saiyan 4 Goku is very much its own thing. This figure though is exactly the same as the Super Saiyan Blue Goku I reviewed a while ago. That’s both a good and bad thing. On one hand, the figure is a solid representation of Goku from the anime. It looks pretty good, the proportions are okay, and it mostly moves well. It’s just getting long in the tooth. There are some things it doesn’t do well, like move at the hips out to the side or much at all in the torso. If you wanted this Goku to be positioned in a true flying pose where he’s parallel with the ground it wouldn’t work because he can’t bend his head back far enough. The butterfly joint also isn’t the greatest and this figure has the same problem as that prior Goku in that the inner portion of the butterfly joint was molded in a flesh color instead of orange so it looks like his shirt is ripping. He also has the old shoulders which seem to be getting phased out and they feature the sleeves pinned to them which I have never liked. The ankles are also still on ball-pegs and they’re not great either. That’s what it doesn’t do very well, but what it can do is allow for enough posing that someone with many Gokus on the shelf can still find variety here.

A sampling of Gokus. This figure and the one on the right (the figure’s left) are pretty much the same.

I don’t feel the need to dive into the articulation anymore than that given this is a reused figure covered before. The only other thing to talk about are the rest of the aesthetics and accessories. Given this is a $35 release, it’s probably no surprise that the accessories are limited to the face plates and hands. It’s always a bummer when we don’t get something extra, but thems the breaks. The hands are fairly standard: fists, open, martial arts pose, Kamehameha, and one right two-finger Instant Transmission posed hand. The gi is sculpted in that lighter orange and I like how it turned out. There’s still a bit of a glossiness to it, but it seems to be less severe than usual. The same can be said for the other parts of the figure like the flesh tones and blues. The painted bits are color-matched well and applied cleanly. The undershirt and sleeves are painted better than my other Goku figures and the boots are nicely done. There is some shading, but it’s limited to the lower parts of the legs. I’m not sure I quite understand what Bandai was going for here. Do they think it works best for an aura type effect? You basically have a darker orange at the shins that gradually blends into the light orange by the time it reaches the upper thigh with little shading anywhere else. There’s a hit of it on the orange part of the sleeves and maybe a tiny bit on the abdomen, but it’s so subtle that I’m not sure if my eyes are playing tricks on me or if it’s really there. Aside from that, the only other criticism I have for the paint is the opacity on the symbol on both the front and rear of the gi could have been increased. What looks very nice though is the hair which has a matte finish to it. I don’t know if they hit it with a clear finish or if the plastic is a little different as it feels softer than the black hair on Kid Goku. Whatever they did, keep it up because the hair turned out wonderful.

Goku is at least a character worthy of multiple releases. If you want a base Goku, this is the one to get.

The Super Hero version of Goku is likely a figure most fans will know if they want it or not the moment they see it. If you have a standard Goku already, it’s probably something that can be ignored. However, at $35 it’s quite cheap for a Figuarts release and that might get people to double-dip on base Gokus just for the new portraits. If you’re like me and don’t have a version of Goku like this, I think this is the superior release when compared with the Saiyan Raised on Earth version. That is largely a subjective opinion though as I prefer the more orange gi and I like the faces better. You may have the opposite opinion. At the end of the day, it’s certainly nice to have options.


The Robot Spirits MS-06JC Zaku II Type JC ver. A.N.I.M.E.

Now you face the Zaku!

After talking about two different versions of the Gundam Ground Type from Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team it’s about time we talk about the bad guys. That’s right, the Principality of Zeon has their own mobile suits, and in true bad guy fashion, they look pretty cool. Arguably cooler than the good guys and their Gundams. I say arguably because it’s definitely not as cut and dry as it was with say G.I. Joe in which Cobra always had the better looking vehicles and uniforms. The Gundams are mostly refined with a touch of elegance despite their rather beefy and cumbersome appearance. The Zeon and their Zaku are even bulkier with less flash, but they have a certain menace about them not present with the Gundam mobile suits. I think the distinction is captured rather well in the choice of melee weapon for each, the futuristic, Jedi-like beam sabers of the Gundam vs the violence of the axe-like Heathawk.

Weapon storage – the stuff that excites me.

Bandai has sunk its teeth into me with its Robot Spirits collection based on The 08th MS Team anime, so I basically had to get that show’s interpretation of the Zaku. The Zaku is, like the Gundam, featured in various series of Mobile Suit Gundam and it usually looks fairly recognizable to anyone familiar with the franchise. They’re usually green or olive drab and armed with that aforementioned axe, the Heathawk, and feature a single camera in the head that appears as a red, glowing, “eye” that makes the suit resemble a cyclops. They usually have some heavy artillery as well, maybe some spikes here and there, as well as tubes around the head or encircling the torso. They’re basically never not cool looking, and while I actually do prefer the look of the Gundam to it, that’s by no means a slight upon the Zaku.

This line runs small, but the scale from mobile suit to mobile suit is quite nice.

The Robot Spirits version of the Zaku from The 08th MS Team looks about as expected. It stands at approximately 5″ in height and is composed of mostly colored plastics of differing shades of green. There’s plenty of sculpted detailing on the body of the beast with a spiked shoulder pauldron on the left arm and a spiked shield on the right shoulder. This version of the Zaku appears to be based on the second episode of the series, and a spare part that comes in another set would only seem to confirm that since its a reference to a battle in that very episode. The main torso of the Zaku is a deep, forest, green while the limbs and head are a lighter shade of green. The hoses connecting the thigh and the lower leg as well as the head and torso are a gray, almost purple, color and in that head is the menacing red eye. Pop off the top part of the head and you can even spin that eye just like in the show to have the Zaku’s focus elsewhere.

Like the Ground Gundam, the Zaku is pretty beefy and tank-like, but it moves and poses well enough.

The Zaku, like the ground Gundam, is well-articulated for such a beefy design. The head is on a ball and hinge combo that lets it look way up as well as down a bit. It’s neat because as you force the head up the coil that is the neck becomes more exposed. There’s a butterfly-type joint in the sides of the torso that let the Zaku’s arms come forward a bit and an ab crunch that allows a generous amount of range forward, but little to none back. The shoulders are a bit limited, especially the left one, due to the presence of the pauldron and shield, respectively. The left arm can almost be raised to a horizontal position, while the right can achieve that and a touch more if you spin the shield around. There’s a biceps swivel and another swivel above the first elbow joint. You may want to make sure the upper elbow swivel is in the proper spot as mine was not out of the box and I thought it only had one elbow hinge. It does not, there are two, and the Zaku can bend its elbows well past 90 degrees. The wrists are the standard ball pegs and there is a waist twist, but it doesn’t seem to want to go very far to either direction so I’m not going to force the issue.

The last thing you see before you die.

At the hips we have the usual skirt armor and on the Zaku it blends really well when in a neutral pose. There’s something satisfying about kicking the legs forward and watching the skirt piece come apart. Anyway, the Zaku can kick out to the side at 45 degrees or better, and can kick forward a fair amount with almost nothing backwards. There is a thigh twist and the knee is double-jointed to bend past 90 degrees and it looks good. At the ankle, the feet can rock side to side a bit and the foot bends forward a surprisingly amount, but not back very far. There is a toe hinge that you have to pull out on first before it will bend back. It’s odd, but it works. All of the joints on this guy work very smooth and there’s a nice tolerance to them. He can wield his heavier weapons with little issue and overall I’m very happy with how the articulation turned out.

That’s a pretty big gun.

For the accessories, we have the usual load-out of hands plus a little “tree” to clip them onto. There’s gripping hands in the box, plus another set of tighter gripping hands, trigger hands, relaxed hands, and open hands. For weapons, this guy is pretty well stacked. There’s a collapsed Heathawk that can clip onto either hip plus a deployed Heathawk that’s longer and features a golden blade to simulate it heating up. He has his 120mm machine gun with circular magazine that can be held or stored on the rear of the figure with an adapter. He also has the Zaku bazooka which has an adapter for the rear of the figure and a second one for a shoulder mount meaning this guy can store all three of his main weapons without issue. The bazooka features a removable gravity-fed magazine that even has a little sculpted missile in it. Both weapons feature moving parts to help facilitate with posing, but feature little in the way of paint aside from the cameras on them. No effects parts are included for them either, but they can take them. The machine gun uses the same effect part as the ground Gundam’s machine gun while the bazooka uses a rocket effect that, as far as I know, has not been included in any 08th MS Team release. There’s also an interchangeable plate for the arm shield that replaces the spiked portion with a flat one as some Zaku in the show carried such a shield. Lastly, we have two effect parts for the Zaku’s rear thrusters, though these ones are not ball-jointed like the ground Gundam Desert type. The Zaku’s thrusters are on ball joints so you can at least adjust them there.

The figure holds this bazooka reasonably well, though the front handle is useless in a firing pose. Of course, with no included FX part it’s hard to say how well it truly works since those tend to add a lot of heft.

It’s a solid assortment of accessories, though as seems to always be the case with Tamashii Nations releases, I’m left wishing we got some more effect parts. This guy has spots on the figure where gunfire blasts can be affixed, like on the shield, to make it look like it’s under fire. And of course there’s both weapons that can use some. I really wish the bazooka came with a missile effect because the one included in the Options Set doesn’t fit. There is a part in that set though intended for the Zaku and it’s a battle damaged one. It’s basically a stump that can replace the figure’s left arm. It pops off and on pretty painlessly and it’s cool. It’s meant to allow for a recreation of the Shiro vs Norris fight in that second episode. The Zaku also has the usual peg hole for a Tamashii Nations stand, but does not come with one.

War. War never changes. Except when it does and includes light sabers and hot axes wielded by giant robots.

Overall, I’m really happy with this release from The Robot Spirits line. I might even like this Zaku more than the Gundam Ground Types I’ve reviewed as it’s real easy to work with. There’s plenty of options for a display right out of the box, and more if you have some additional accessory parts. It doesn’t feel as overwhelming as the two Gundams which almost have too many options that I can never settle on anything. And then when I do, I usually wind up feeling like my posing is way too vanilla for what they’re capable of. Nevertheless, that’s a “me” problem, and so is my desire to add another Zaku! If anything, I’m disappointed I only got one, but at around $70 via US retailers, it’s not really the type of release one should army build. Like the Gundam Ground Type, there is at least a variant of sorts on the way in the form of the Gouf Custom that I plan to get so I will have another Zeon unit to join this one. It’s just do I want to make it an even 3 on 3 some day? We’ll see.


The Robot Spirits Gundam The 08th MS Team RX-79(G) Gundam Ground Type (Desert Specification) Ver. A.N.I.M.E. P-Bandai Exclusive

It’s a good day to rock a tan suit.

It was close to two months ago that I posted a review for the Robot Spirits Gundam The 08th MS Team RX-79…you get it. These names are insanely long, but the short of it is, it’s the mobile suit from The 08th MS Team anime series, my favorite of the Gundam stories so far. And the figure was my introduction to Bandai’s Robot Spirits line, which I described as the S.H.Figuarts for mech-type characters. And I liked it, which is a good thing because in 2021 Bandai, through its Premium Bandai website, made a variant of that figure available for a limited time which required payment upfront. Had I disliked that previous figure it certainly would have killed my enthusiasm for the P-Bandai exclusive, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

Two guns are better than one.

In The 08th MS Team, the story follows a small battalion consisting of just three mobile suits and all happen to be the RX-79. Naturally, fans of the show would want two if collecting action figures from the show, but when the original figure went up for preorder some vendors were limiting them to one per customer. I considered putting in orders at multiple outlets, but my unfamiliarity with this line and the significant price tag it carries gave me pause. When P-Bandai later showed off the desert variant it seemed like a perfect opportunity to add another Gundam without buying the exact same thing multiple times. They’re basically the same figure, but the desert variant has a different coloration to the white portions and it also comes with different accessories. For some, it might drive them crazy to have one Gundam in its standard colors and the other in a desert camo, but for me it won’t cause issue. Especially once I add some foes for them to tangle with.

There’s not much separating these two outside of the obvious color difference, but there are some, subtle, changes.

Given all of that, this review should be one of my shorter ones because this figure is almost the exact same as the previous one I reviewed. This variation of the RX-79 is taken from the episode “Battle Line on the Burning Sand” which was basically the midpoint of the series. As far as the base figure, the major difference is this one has a slight tan color to what is normally white, or blueish-white. I have not re-watched the series in quite some time, so I don’t even remember if this coloration was a deliberate attempt to blend the mobile suits in with the desert backdrop or if it was just the light reflecting off of the sand that gave them this appearance. I suppose it doesn’t matter since this is how the mobile suits looked during that moment of the show. And I like how Bandai did it here as the tan is rather subtle. There’s also a change to the feet which have a gray top to them instead of white, as demonstrated in the show, the top of the foot was just covered with a tarp-like material when in the desert. The only other sculpted differences are in some of the joiner pieces which have some sculpted linework and a change to the chest. That’s the only one that really stands out as the yellow vent on the right side of the figure’s chest has been removed and replaced with what looks like a “No Smoking” emblem (it’s obviously not that). Otherwise, it’s very much the same and still rather terrific. The blocky nature of the figure works really well with the articulation to make this look like a tiny robot. It’s mostly colored plastic, but it doesn’t come across as glossy like some of the SHF releases I have. What little paint and decal work is present is applied consistently and cleanly leaving little for me to complain about.

He is the defender on the book shelf!

In terms of articulation, there’s a lot to unpack here so I don’t really want to do it again. Suffice to say, the tiny, minor, differences in the sculpt do not impact articulation in the slightest so everything that was good about the previous figure applies to this one, as well as anything that was not so good, which really wasn’t much. I will say that on the whole the joints of this figure feel a little tighter, and that’s a good thing. The wrists in particular on my previous figure are rather loose and some of the heavier accessories droop in the hands of the figure, but that doesn’t apply to this one. Everything is smooth and silky making this one a great deal of fun to mess around with.

Blast effects are always welcomed.

Probably to no one’s surprise, a lot of the accessories for this guy are the same as the past figure, but we also get some new stuff. In terms of returning accessories, we get the same allotment of hands and the little “tree” to store them on: gripping, tighter gripping, trigger hands, open hands, relaxed hands. The figure also returns the backpack frame as well as the 08th MS Team forearm shield, two beam saber hilts, two beam saber blades, one blade burst effect, one thick blade, and one slashing blade. The figure also comes with the same 100mm machine gun only with a clip that matches the color of this mobile suit and the shade of gray used for the gun matches the mobile suit. It also has the two spare clips that attach to the figure’s “skirt” pieces on either side. Bandai also included an extra crown piece in case the one on the figure’s head breaks or is lost.

The net gun, for those who prefer non-lethal combat.

That’s what is old, what is new are some additional weapons and accessories. This guy comes with the net gun which resembles a large rocket launcher and is meant to be supported by the figure’s shoulder. The net portion can pop out, though it’s plastic so it doesn’t actually open into a net, but you can kind of make it look like it’s firing (and maybe future effects parts will be added to that). The top and side handles on it rotate which really helps to make it easy to adjust in the figure’s hands to achieve an ideal pose. There’s also a beam rifle included which has a nice, gray, deco to it and honestly would probably look better in the hands of that standard release RX-79. There’s a yellow blast effect for the machine gun, which is something I really wanted to see come with the previous figure, and two, blue, blast effects intended for the thrusters on the backpack frame. Since the other gun is a beam rifle which fires red beams in the show, the red blade effects can be used as blast effects for the gun. There is no backpack included with this figure, but there is a new attachment for the frame that allows for the forearm shield to be switched to the back of the figure. It’s a neat feature and the shield still retains its articulating arm so you can adjust the angle of it if your figure is displayed with the thrusters activated. The only thing missing here is a stand to really take advantage of the posing possibilities with those thrusters. And I do wish it had the same weapon storage capabilities of the previous figure, but since it doesn’t have a backpack it’s understandable.

I like the included thruster effects, I just wish there was a stand as well to take better advantage of them.

Ultimately, this is an easy review because if you liked the standard release for this figure then you’ll like this one. Bandai did a good job of switching up the accessories and effects parts a bit to allow for more display options and it’s all stuff that’s usable with the other figure too. It’s still the same, excellent, base figure so for me this is an easy recommend. Or at least it would be if it were not a P-Bandai exclusive. This release was made-to-order so it’s sold out via P-Bandai. Other retailers were free to order it though so it’s available elsewhere, but at a pretty significant markup. Right now, it’s $125 on Big Bad Toy Store and I cannot recommend grabbing this figure at such an inflated price. The standard release is $70 and that’s a much better value so if you’re like me and you just want two RX-79s then just grab another one of those. If you absolutely must have this desert variant, then I would recommend trying to wait it out. BBTS might not drop the price anytime soon, but I would guess other sellers on the secondary market won’t be as patient. It may never drop to the retail price of $70, but I would like to think it will fall below $100 at some point.

Now we just need some foes…

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.


S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball Super Event Exclusive Color Edition Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku Kaio-Ken

He’s ready to rumble.

My isn’t that title a mouthful? This version of the classic character Goku comes to you from Bandai via New York Comic Con. If I were to simplify that title, I’d call it shiny Super Saiyan Blue Kaio-Ken Goku, which is still pretty wordy. I guess blame Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama for the obsession of stacking different power-ups in what I feel is an intentional bit of word play that he likely finds amusing. And I do too! At any rate, this is the last of the convention exclusives I ordered in 2021. All of the other ones, including other Dragon Ball related figures in Nappa, Goku, and Beerus, came from the world famous San Diego Comic Con. Well, that con didn’t actually happen in 2021 as it was virtual due to COVID once again. One of the few big cons to actually take place ended up being New York Comic Con, and while that one tends to be smaller than San Diego, some companies still like to issue event exclusives for it and that’s where this figure comes from. Bandai, in partnership with Bluefin Brands, made this version of Goku available at the event, but also made it available online for folks like me who weren’t going to journey to New York just to get a Goku. It meant a longer wait, but all things considered, this is one of the shorter waits I’ve have to endure in recent memory.

This box feels gigantic relative to other figures in the line, and with good reason.

This version of Goku hails from Dragon Ball Super and one of its first, major, arcs. The first two arcs of the show were adaptations of Dragon Ball Z movies, so this era is where Super really felt like its own thing to me. And it was just some tournament that was a bit of a friendly organized by two gods who happen to be brothers and share a rivalry. It introduced some new characters, most notably Hit, and it was during a fight with Hit that Goku dusted off his old Kaio-Ken technique. You remember that one, right? Kaio-Ken was all the rage for about five minutes when Goku took on Vegeta, but it was basically dropped after that. Yeah, technically, Goku used it against Frieza later on, but it was basically as a means to dismiss the technique which would essentially be replaced with the Super Saiyan transformation. It made Kaio-Ken one of those things fans had fun speculating on, “What would using Kaio-Ken as a Super Saiyan do for Goku?!” but the show was done with it.

Pissed off Goku.

If you need a primer on the form, it’s basically a technique that temporarily heightens Goku’s speed and power as a multiplier. He did it multiples of 2 and 3 against Vegeta, but would go up to 10 later. In Super, Goku turns to it after his Super Saiyan Blue transformation as the ultimate showing of his power at that moment in the series, though it’s not referenced much after. It does look cool though as Kaio-Ken by itself has a red aura, and combine that with the Blue transformation and you get a blue-purple look. It certainly made sense to explore the mode in figure form, and that’s what Bandai and Tamashii Nations did. And this being an event exclusive, they added some shine as well.

I love that shade of blue used for the eyebrows, so much so that I’d like to see other versions of Super Saiyan Blue Goku (and Vegeta) just go with that for all of the hair.

This version of Goku is obviously similar to other versions of Goku in the SHF line. He stands at about 5.5″ to the top of his forehead and roughly 6.75″ to the top of the hair when at his tallest. He’s basically in-line with my Super Saiyan Blue Goku, but this is actually mostly a differently sculpt. I don’t have it, but if I had to guess, this figure shares most of its parts with the Ultra Instinct Sign Goku which depicted Goku from his battle with Jiren. His gi is rather tattered so it needed its own sculpt to capture that. The only pieces this figure can share with the other blue Goku is the head, neck, and arms, though even some of that needed modification. I don’t have either version of Ultra Instinct Goku so this figure has more of a “new” feeling to me than it would others. It was honestly something I hadn’t thought much about until I had the figure in-hand.

The paint is rather lively on this guy and you can see the almost glitter quality in the shirt here.

What’s going to sell this guy beyond the sculpt is the paint job. The sculpt is fairly nice and I like the rips in the pants and shirt. The finish on the paint is of a pearl quality. The navy shirt takes on a metallic purple as a result and it’s pretty cool to handle and see how the light plays on it. The hair is a semi-translucent plastic with a touch of purple air-brushing, by the looks of it, which gives it a nice effect. The flesh is more saturated than we’re used to seeing due to trying to emulate the Kaio-Ken red effect. Bandai did have to do a lot more color-matching than usual though because of all of the rips in the clothing. The results are a tad mixed. The exposed portion of the chest could stand to be a touch more saturated as I feel like some of the navy color is showing through. The left knee is colored plastic, but the upper and lower portions of the leg surrounding it are painted and it’s not a perfect match. It probably won’t bother most on a shelf, but in-hand it’s pretty noticeable especially when the knee is bent all the way. This finish is also very glossy and gives the figure almost an enamel finish. It also has a different feel than most figures in the line. The plastic feels thicker and since almost everything has this finish applied it has a slippery feeling. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. Aside from the color-matching issues, my only real criticism for the paint is that I wish there was something applied to the torn parts such as a darkening to the interior parts of his pants. I just think it would help that part “pop” a bit more.

I can’t really complain because we get the aura effect with this figure, but we’ll never have enough Kamehameha effects.

The sculpt for this guy is overall pretty good. I already mentioned how the torn pieces of the gi look nice, and we get the usual musculature for Goku that other figures have. This one changes things up with some battle damage in the form of scuffs sculpted into portions of the arms, legs, and chest. I’m torn on if I think Bandai should have added some black linework to those scuffs to bring them out more as they’re not going to show from the shelf. This figure is going for a glowing aura look, so perhaps it would not have made as much sense, though I feel like in those moments Goku’s battle damage becomes even more noticeable in the anime. I could be wrong, I haven’t watched any of these episodes in years. One thing that did surprise me a little is there’s more evidence of mold release on this figure than usual. That’s those rough portions of the figure where it was removed from the actual tools used to create it. There’s basically a full tab on the underside of my figure’s right shoulder that makes it look like it was from a model kit no one bothered to snip. This figure also has those sleeves that peg into the shoulder which I really don’t like. Almost every Goku has that so it’s nothing new, but I’ll continue to complain until they find a better solution. Another common complaint is Goku also could be beefier. From the front, he looks okay. I’d probably widen the chest a little, but it’s mostly a nitpick. From the side though he looks thin. His chest doesn’t push out at all. It’s odd and almost comical. It’s also more pronounced because he doesn’t have the vest to add a little bulk, but this is something all of the figures in this line could stand to improve on. Goku, especially a powered-up Goku, should be thick and buff.

My lingering piece of criticism for this line is that nearly every character could stand to have some added girth. Goku should have a more pronounced chest when viewing him from the side.

There was a lot of new for me to take-in with the sculpt and paint of this figure, but articulation? That’s pretty much standard. His head is on a tiny, double-ball peg with another ball in the base of the neck. Despite that, he can’t really look up, but can look down. His head feels a little loose, but it seems to be holding a pose all right. The shoulders are on the peg and hinge system with a butterfly joint. The butterfly is really limited, but they at least colored it properly so it’s not ugly, just not particularly functional. There’s a biceps swivel and double-jointed elbow which bends past 90 degrees. The hands are on the usual ball pegs. In the diaphragm, we have the ball-hinge system so you can pull up on the figure if need be. It doesn’t really do a lot though as the figure can’t really crunch forward no matter what you do with the hinge, but he can bend back a little. Mostly, this joint just gives you some swivel and a little tilt, but you have to be mindful of paint rub. At the waist, you can swivel and the belt and rags is a floating piece. At the hips, Goku can almost do a split, kick forward, and kick backwards because he doesn’t have sculpted buns. There’s a little twist there too, and then your usual double-jointed knees below. The knee on the right has a bit more range backwards because it’s a standard, clothed, joint while the exposed left knee has reduced range, but still goes beyond 90 degrees. The ankles are on ball pegs and have the usual range for Goku’s boot design. It goes forward a little, back a fair amount, decent ankle rocker, and a lousy toe hinge. All of the joints are fairly smooth and required no break-in period, so that is always appreciated.

I can see people being against translucent plastic for Super Saiyan hair, but I do think this figure draws attention to how bland the approach to the hair was for the standard release. Granted, the figure on the left retails for only 30 bucks.

The other unique aspect to this release comes with the accessories and packaging. The optional hands and expressions are fairly standard. We get a stern look, scream, smirk, and a teeth-gritting expression. All of the faces are well painted and I love the shade of blue used for the eyebrows. I wish that was the standard shade of blue for this form of Goku. For hands, we get a set of fists, martial arts pose hands, Kamehameha hands, and wide open “Solar Flare” hands. For a box, he comes in this oversized standard box with the usual event exclusive coloring. It’s oversized because this Goku comes with an aura effect! That’s certainly unusual, and also why this guy cost $60 instead of $50, but it’s worth it. I love effect pieces and for this particular form it’s needed. It’s the standard aura piece, of which I have a yellow version already, and it comes in three pieces: a rear blast and two side pieces. It’s cast in translucent plastic with red at the edge and blue on the inside. The plastic is soft and and partially hollow. The only thing I don’t like is the translucent nature of the plastic means more of the seems are visible, especially towards the bottom of the center piece. It’ll get the job done though, and I hope it doesn’t get that sticky residue my other aura piece has acquired over the years.

If you like what you see then this figure is a worthy addition to the Super collection. If you’re someone who never cared about this version of Goku then you’ll probably be content to skip it.

This version of Goku is another good selection by Bandai when it comes to event exclusives. Not everyone needs a version of Goku so specific to one look from the show that doesn’t show up much, and the paint application is something that will appeal to some more than others. I thought this figure looked great in the promotional shots, so when Bandai made it available online I said “Why not?” The actual figure in hand pretty much lives up to my expectations. It’s eye-catching and fun and I love adding another aura, even if this one is really specific to this version of Goku. My guess is that most people who bought this are happy with it. I don’t think it’s good enough to win anybody over who didn’t see a spot for this in their collection, but those who want it should be content. Since it was an event exclusive, it’s currently sold out at MSRP so only secondary options are available. This strikes me as the type of release that might be high right now, but could come down in time as it is a bit niche. If you missed out and are having second thoughts, just keep an eye out. Who knows? Maybe a good deal will come around sooner or later.


The Robot Spirits RX-79 (G) Gundam Ground Type Ver. A.N.I.M.E.

We are entering the world of Robot Spirits!

When it comes to Mobile Suit Gundam I am a casual fan, at best. Like a lot of people my age, it wasn’t really something that was on my radar until Cartoon Network started airing Gundam Wing in the late 90s, and once it did, I would pretty much watch whatever Gundam series Cartoon Network chose to air. It was around the same time that Bandai started bringing some of its Gundam model kits state-side. I had my opinions on the shows, but I always loved the look of the mobile suits, and in particular, the ones featured in Wing. I would pick up a few 1/144 scale and 1/100 scale kits over the years, but mostly dropped off in the early 2000s. I only had so much room for toys, and money, and the kits were pushed aside in favor of other things.

A standard box with a teeny, tiny, window.

When it comes to the actual anime series, I am most definitely a fan of The 08th MS Team. It’s my favorite of the Gundam shows I’ve engaged with, so when I saw that the main Gundam from that series was slated for release this year, I decided to give The Robot Spirits a shot. The Robot Spirits strikes me as the mecha version of the Tamashii Nations S.H.Figuarts line of action figures that I am most definitely familiar with. Just like how Bandai has Dragon Stars and SHF for its Dragon Ball figures, there’s basically a Target version of Gundam and Robot Spirits with the Robot Spirits being more high end, and thus, more expensive. I had never seen nor held or even sought out information on the line and when I saw this version go up for pre-order I decided to keep myself in the dark and just react to it when it finally shipped.

Let’s rock!

And obviously it has for I now have my figure in-hand after 6 or 8 months since I placed the pre-order. My first reaction upon getting this thing is, “Wow, this thing is small!” The box is larger than a SHF release, though it’s still a resealable cardboard box with a window and a blister inside. Only the window here is tiny so you basically can just see the head and a portion of the torso of the figure inside. As for the figure, it is indeed small. This mobile suit, which is hundreds of feet tall in the show, is a mere five inches and actually a tick under that officially. That’s not necessarily a bad thing on its own, but it did surprise me. I know a lot of Transformers fans were a bit surprised at how small the RED subline turned out, but my RED Soundwave looks like a giant beside this thing. Again, not really a bad thing assuming the line scales well from figure to figure, but I emphasize it because some people might be surprised and not in a good way. Me personally, I’ve always found smallish figures to be kind of charming, which is at odds with my also loving big, chunky, figures. I just see it as a quirk of a line and it’s fun, but that’s just me.

None of these figures are made by the same company so no expectation of scale exists, but this Gundam is quite the little guy. Left to right: Banpresto Weltall, Gundam Ground Type, Hasbro RED Soundwave. and Super 7 Voltron (rear).

Size out of the way, the figure is largely as expected. It certainly feels similar to a SHF release. The plastic is fairly light and the figure is comprised of numerous small pieces. In that respect, it also reminds a lot of the old model kits that I used to assemble, only more durable and more refined. There’s lots of detail in the sculpt, especially on the head. I’ve always liked this unique shade of gray this suit is presented in and Bandai pretty much nailed that aspect. Also like SHF, there’s not a ton of paint to speak of, but there’s probably more here than on some of the Dragon Ball figures I have. There’s a metallic green applied to the eyes and a line of red beneath them that looks quite sharp. There’s some smaller details done in black and some red and yellow paint applied to certain areas. And what is there is remarkably clean. I don’t see one smudge or soft edge on any of the painted parts. It’s also possible some of the applications are decals, like the green at the top of the “crown,” which looks good too. I think the only criticism I could levy on the presentation of this figure is that it doesn’t look like something made of metal. And it’s not, but the suit in the anime is. That would take a more elaborate paint job to add cel-shading. They could have tried to give it a glossy finish, but I’m partial to matte when it comes to my figures so I won’t go that far. That’s a matter of taste though, what’s here is done quite well.

Does it make sense for a giant robot to sneak around like this? Probably not, but it looks cool!
Now that’s what I call a gun!

Aesthetics are one thing, but what a lot of people buy these high-end imports for is the articulation and a Gundam presents some challenges, and some opportunities, given it’s unique look. There’s definitely a lot here and I think Bandai did a pretty good job of balancing out the aesthetic and the articulation. The head sits on a ball peg and it has range up, down, tilt, and the usual swivel. There’s a fair amount of space carved out for the head too so while you always have to be mindful of parts rubbing, the head is fairly protected. The shoulders are on ball pegs and the shoulder pad, or pauldron, has some wiggle. There’s actually two butterfly joints, one in the shoulder and then another in the chest. Neither offers much range, but neither one also takes away from the sculpt so I suppose it’s fine. The shoulder can swivel on that ball peg, so it’s basically your biceps swivel, and the double-jointed elbow has terrific range. The hands are on ball joints and sit rather deep in the wrist and provide ample range in all directions.

When guns won’t do, you reach for the beam saber.
There’s an optional “flash” piece for the base of the blade that I think is supposed to represent the blade being first fired-up.

The torso is where Bandai can’t really do much. There is an ab crunch, but it just tilts forward a small amount. I was always terrible at geometry, but it looks like it’s maybe 30 degrees. There’s even less backwards. There is a swivel at the waist, but it’s more like a pivot as it doesn’t move much in either direction. That’s basically it for the bad articulation, as below the waist is fine. The hips are just ball joints, but the figure can kick as far forward as the “skirt” pieces will allow. Those are also on ball joints and can be manipulated or even popped off entirely, if you wish. The thigh twists, or pivots, at that ball joint and the knees are double-jointed and can be bent all the way back. The ankles are on more ball pegs and they’re a bit more limited than other spots, but you still get some forward and back as well as tilt. The piece going over the feet is attached to a ball peg on one side so it can be moved out of the way to a certain degree. The center piece of the foot is also articulated and can be bent forward, which just mostly gets it out of the way so that the toe hinge can be used. I say toe hinge, but the joint is basically in the middle of the foot. It’s a bit unusual, but it works to make the feet more dynamic and to get the figure into certain poses, like a kneel-down. And because the figure is pretty light and the feet large, it’s pretty easy to pose and position.

The “swoosh” blade is pretty damn fun.
If it’s your preference, the beam saber blades can be turned into thruster effects.

The articulation is rather good, bordering on great, which is nice because this figure also comes with a ton of stuff. For starters, there’s 5 sets of hands: Open, tight grip, looser grip, trigger, and a relaxed set. Bandai includes a plastic “tree” to store them on too, which is pretty cool. There’s also the classic 08 shield which pegs onto the left forearm. It’s on a double-hinged piece so it can sit flush to the arm or be raised out and in front. The figure comes with two beam sabers and there’s a compartment on each “calf” that can open for storage of the beam saber hilt. There’s also five, translucent, red, attachments for the beam sabers: a burst, two thin blades, one thicker blade, and a swoosh effect. The burst can be placed at the base of any of the blades to add to the illusion, or you can go without. They look great, though the swoosh and thick blade are a tad heavy and I find the hilt prone to spinning in the hand of the figure when trying to pose it. The figure basically needs to grip the upper portion of the hilt to keep it in place.

Check the shield, baby!
Even the Joker might find this gun excessive.

The rest of the accessories kind of work together. There’s a frame that attaches to the figure’s back via peg holes. Putting it on removes the rear ab crunch range entirely, but since there wasn’t much to begin with, it’s hardly a loss. There are prongs on the top and bottom that are on hinges and can be folded out or against the frame. There’s also two thrusters on ball joints, and if you wish, the skinny beam saber effects can be inserted into them to simulate the figure blasting off. The frame is mainly for the large, gray, backpack which exists to store the firearms. The figure comes with two guns, a small, 100mm, machinegun a really big, 180mm, one. The guns can be broken down and attached to additional frames that can then slide into the backpack for total weapon storage. The clips for the smaller gun are stored on the side of the figure’s hips while the banana clip of the larger weapon just goes into the backpack. I’ll likely refer to the instructions for awhile when trying to assemble and disassemble the guns, but the frame for the larger one does have different sized holes to make it somewhat idiot proof. The actual guns, when assembled, are just colored plastic and I do wish there was some paint. I also wish we didn’t have to buy the options accessory pack to get some muzzle flash effects. Just one would have been nice because that pack is 50 bucks and I’m not sure if I’ll bite on it. It’s possible to use a beam saber effect for the guns, but it looks kind of silly and adds more weight to the 180mm gun which is already a hefty weapon.

Packed everything except lunch.

The backpack itself just slides onto the frame when the prongs are open. It’s fairly light, but so is the figure so adding it to the figure will throw off the balance. It’s not impossible to work with though and I still found the figure easy enough to pose even with a full backpack. I do find the beam sabers to be a bit more fun to pose the figure with, but the guns are cool too. The larger one is cumbersome, but it’s supposed to be. Usually in the show, the suit would drop to one knee and aim off of the shield (something you can replicate with the accessory pack) while the smaller gun is more of a run and gun style of armament. The way the guns break down can also make them a bit of a chore to pose as they’ll come apart at times when you’re not trying to do that, but that can also help in posing, so it’s a good and bad feature. The 180mm gun also has multiple methods when it comes to holding it, so there’s a lot of variety available when it comes to posing. I love the overall concept of the weapon storage. My only nitpick is the compartment for the beam saber hilts is surprisingly tricky to open. Every time I do it I think I’m going to break something. Lastly, there is one other accessory and it’s a second yellow “crown” piece for the figure’s head. I’m pretty sure it’s only included because it’s a small, rigid, piece of thin plastic that could easily break so it’s a good piece of foresight for Bandai to just give everyone a replacement.

The large gun breaks down into several pieces, while the smaller one just has a removable clip (the grey piece) and the shoulder support articulates.
They then go onto two base pieces which I’m actually getting the hang of doing without referencing the instructions. It helps that each piece is a different shape so you basically can’t put something where it doesn’t belong.
It then all fits neatly into the backpack. It’s snug, but it works.

This figure is pretty damn impressive, but one thing we haven’t touched on is price. This guy did not come cheap. You will be hard pressed to find this priced below 60 bucks, and the places that have it that low probably have a fairly substantial shipping charge. Most places seem to price it at 70, which is what I paid at Big Bad Toy Store where it’s presently on backorder. That’s a lot of money for a figure that’s technically less than 5″ in height, and really it’s a lot of money for any figure. I was able to justify it because this is going to be the only Gundam line I collect and I presently have the desert variant ordered through Premium Bandai as well as the Zaku, Gouf custom Zaku, and the second option parts set which comes with the hover truck. I think once I have all of those together I’ll have myself a nice, tidy, display and I’ll be set on 08th MS Team figures. Basically, the only figure from the show I’m not interested in is the RGM mobile suit and I’m still on the fence when it comes to the option parts set (I wish they were like 30 bucks instead of 50). It’s great to see the 08th MS Team get some love from Bandai in this line and I’m certainly happy to dip my toe into it, even if I feel like I need to sell a kidney or something to get a full set.


S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball Super Event Exclusive Color Edition Super Saiyan God Son Goku

Goku has officially ascended to godhood.

The last of my San Diego Comic Con 2021 exclusives has finally arrived and it’s the event exclusive version of the Bandai/Tamashii Nations Super Saiyan God Goku. Now, Dragon Ball fans might quibble with my title for this article as I called it Dragon Ball Super when this form technically debuted in a Dragon Ball Z film, Battle of Gods, which would then be adapted into the anime series Dragon Ball Super. I’m just going with what’s on the packaging, folks, but if I had to place a label on this version of Goku I would say it does feel more like a Dragon Ball Super thing. At any rate, it’s the same film that featured the debut of Lord Beerus, who we looked at last week and it was my desire to add Beerus to my collection that prompted me to just get Goku too. The two clash in that film, and this figure felt like a good one to pair with Beerus. I’m not actually too keen on the Super Saiyan God transformation, but maybe this figure will change my mind.

Super Saiyan God is characterized by Goku getting reddish-pink hair and remaining rather lean. Not quite early DBZ lean, but certainly leaner than Buu Saga Goku.

Super Saiyan God was the latest power-up introduced in Battle of Gods and it would be quickly eclipsed by the Super Saiyan version of that, the mouthful Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan. Or, Super Saiyan Blue for short. I don’t really understand the specifics of the whole thing, but basically, in order for a Saiyan to attain this form, he needs to have five other Saiyans lend them their energy which somehow becomes divine and leads to this transformation. The actual transformation gives the Saiyan a firey red aura, turns their hair a red-pink, and actually causes them to slim down as opposed to bulk up. Since the shape of the hair remains the same, they don’t necessarily look like a Super Saiyan, which is this form can then go Super Saiyan and become the blue version. How Goku (and later Vegeta) learn how to use this form without the added step of having other Saiyans lend them energy is either not explained or not explained well. Either way, it wouldn’t be Dragon Ball if there wasn’t some element of things being made up as they go along, would it?

You do have to fiddly with angles and those damn sleeves to get the best look. Here I failed as you can see the flesh colored piece inside the joint, which should be orange.

This version of Goku should feel pretty familiar to anyone who has handled one of the many recent Goku figures that Bandai has released. It’s the same body as the Super Saiyan Blue Goku I’ve already reviewed and Bandai has been able to get a lot of use out of this buck. The only difference I can see with that figure is the arms are actually smaller and leaner, which is appropriate for this form. I’m not sure if they’re the same as the Saiyan Raised on Earth Son Goku figure, since I don’t have that one, but it is nice to see a subtle difference between the two godly Goku figures since it makes sense. Outside of the biceps and forearms, the other difference really is just in the paint job and belt. This figure has a lighter orange to the gi likely to account for the aura and because it’s the event exclusive color edition. The belt is the Cell Saga era belt too which doesn’t feature a knot and the boots are a much brighter shade of blue. The laces are also painted red like the piping as opposed to brown. The choice of colors, combined with the translucent, pink, hair, does really help to create the illusion that Goku is glowing. It’s neat, and I think it works well for this form.

The paint flaw on Goku’s left sleeve might seem like a minor thing to someone reading this, but for a figure with very little paint on it, it’s a bit ridiculous they can’t get it right. This is also the best pic for seeing how the vest and crotch are a different shade of orange.

Beyond those changes, a lot of the figure feels the same. There’s some shading on the front of the pants and abdomen, but that’s basically it. The other painted areas are the flesh color on the chest and the blue trim on the sleeves. Unfortunately, the left sleeve on mine was not painted particularly cleanly. The plastic on the face also doesn’t match the neck and chest as well as it could, otherwise, the painted details on the face look good. The plastic inside the butterfly joint is also cast in the proper color, orange, as opposed to flesh colored like my previous Goku figure so that’s a plus. There is no shading on the crotch area though, or on the upper torso, which will probably irritate some. I get their reluctance to shade the crotch because if it goes too heavy he might look like he pissed himself, but more shading would have been nice. It seems to be something the original release of this figure has over this one, as just looking up images of that reveals a more vibrant release.

He can assume the position, but the lack of energy parts is a bummer.

The figure also feels the same because the accessories are pretty much the same. You get four faces with this guy: stoic, smiling, teeth grit, and yelling. They all look fine, though I’m kind of partial to the stoic face for this form. As far as hands go, you get the fisted hands in the box plus flat palms, martial arts pose, Kamehameha, and wide open hands. Pretty much the only hand you don’t get is an instant transmission hand, but we have plenty of those in other sets so I don’t think it’s a loss. There’s no effects part though, which is always a bummer. Being an event exclusive, I wish Bandai had added an aura effect since this guy did retail for $50, but that’s how it goes.

Look! It’s the battle of the gods we were promised!

The articulation for Goku is, stop me if you heard me say it already, the same as past Goku releases. He has the floaty pieces in his hips to cover up the joint and the sleeves which peg into the shoulders that I’ve never really liked. He can look up and down no problem and the butterfly joints in the shoulders allow Goku to do his signature energy blast poses. His head is on the old ball-hinge the original release had, and not the updated ball peg which is much better. It works, but sometimes you have to fight it to get it to bend where you want it to. At least it works better on Goku than it did on Beerus since his entire head swaps and you can accidentally get that hinge facing in a direction you don’t want. The hips don’t go out very far to the side, but he can kick forward and back because has those floating pieces instead of a sculpted butt. The knees and elbows will get you better than 90 degrees while the ball-peg ankles are just okay. The toe hinge is bad. Most of the joints are nice and smooth, with the lone exception being the right thigh twist on my figure. This is a first for me, but that thing is stuck. I have never had this issue with a Figuarts release before, but one twist caused the leg to pop off. Thankfully, it’s just a ball and socket connection so no damage was done, but it is a bummer.

IS Beerus too tall or Goku too short? Considering one of these guys is the main character for the series from which all other figures should be compared to for scaling purposes, I’m going to say it’s the cat that is too tall.

Does this figure make me a fan of Super Saiyan God? Yes and no. I think the translucent effect with the hair and the brighter approach to the color palette work really well, and it’s essentially what you’re paying for if you get this exclusive. I think that approach to the hair is an improvement over the standard release from a few years back, but probably not enough of one to warrant an upgrade if you already have it. Otherwise, he’s a Figuarts Goku. It’s a good figure, I wish mine didn’t have that paint error on one sleeve, but aside from that it feels like a quality figure. I don’t regret my purchase, but I’m also not doing backflips. If you’re at all familiar with this line, then you should probably know if you want this figure or not. And if you do, and you have yet to purchase one, well you’re in trouble because the secondary market is essentially all that remains. The prices I’m seeing aren’t terrible, but they’re obviously more than the $50 it would have cost you last summer.

To close this out, will end with the gathering of the Gokus. You can see the different approach in color when comparing him to SSB Goku, and the leaner proportions. Goku Black is really an all-together different figure, but we’ll let him stand here anyway.

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