We’re back with another action figure review from everyone’s favorite version of Dragon Ball: Dragon Ball GT! And really, the only thing people remember from Dragon Ball GT is the Super Saiyan 4 transformation. Designed to bring the Saiyans back to their more primal roots, the Super Saiyan 4 transformation is pretty much on an island all its own when compared with other versions. It’s essentially been erased too with the creation of Dragon Ball Super and is but a footnote in the world of Dragon Ball at this point. Maybe it will come back at some point, certainly never say never, but for now it’s the black sheep of Super Saiyan transformations.
The Super Saiyan 4 power was achieved in Dragon Ball GT by Goku. Not wanting to feel left out, he was soon followed by Vegeta, as he often is. Vegeta took some shortcut to get there, pretty much a betrayal of his character and something to add to the long list of reasons why many fans don’t particularly care for GT, but once he did the look was pretty similar. It was a little different though which is actually yet another unique aspect to this transformation. It’s certainly terrific fodder for fan art as individuals try to imagine how Trunks or Gohan would have looked if they had done something similar, but as for the actual series only Goku, Vegeta, and their fusion Gogeta managed to pull this off. Bandai released the Super Saiyan 4 version of Goku last year and I think most expected that Vegeta would follow just as likely many expect a Gogeta next year. And at the time, I assumed it would be an easy way to make a quick buck off of some unique tooling that had to take place for Goku, but it looks like I was wrong with that assumption. Vegeta has a lot of new parts and is almost a completely different figure from Goku despite looking very similar. Maybe since both were manufactured at Bandai’s factory in Vietnam there was more room in the budget for new tooling? However it was accounted for, it’s nice to see that really no shortcuts were taken with this release.
Vegeta in his Super Saiyan 4 form stands at approximately 5″ to where the flesh of his head ends and a tick over 6″ to the tip of his hair. He looks good beside Goku as he’s noticeably shorter, but also not as bulky. And it’s really that slimmer profile that necessitated the need for new parts for Vegeta as he can’t really share anything with Goku as a result. In fact, I don’t think a single part is shared as I thought maybe the tails were, but Goku’s is a little more full than Vegeta’s. Even the little pieces for the butterfly joints appear to be different. Design wise, there’s a lot that’s different as even though both follow the same design principals with big hair and a furry torso, Vegeta’s ended up red compared with Goku’s more hot pink. Vegeta’s hair also became more of a chocolate brown. It retained it’s main Vegeta shape, except with hair going down his back as well and the same two parts coming over the shoulders. Because of that desire to keep Vegeta’s classic hair shape, he almost looks like he has a super mullet of some kind. It’s a bit of a goofy look, but that’s Super Saiyan 4 for ya.
With Goku, there was a sense that the figure was a bit rough around the edges coming out of the Vietnam factory and some of that seems true of Vegeta. This look required more paint than Bandai seem to like as we get the red fur on the torso which meets up with a bare chest and some of the abdomen. The paint is pretty crisp along the right side of the flesh-tone parts, but less so on the left for some reason. The painted belt looks nice though and most of the colors appear to match when it’s painted vs plastic. The neck, which is bare plastic, is just a touch off and glossy in comparison. The faces all look great when it comes to the eyes, mouth, and linework. The paint on Vegeta’s trademarked widow’s peak is not as well done though with the stoic expression looking downright terrible. The other portraits are at least acceptable. It looks like his gloves are all bare plastic and so are the arms. They appear to have cut off his forearms past the elbow so they could key the gloves on and avoid having to match paint here, which is fine. The pants are really nicely painted though and have a lot of shading applied. I have no idea if they’re supposed to be leather or some other material, but it looks nice. The boots are mostly bare plastic with the yellow portions painted on. They look all right, but juxtaposed with the shaded pants right there makes them take on a very plastic look. There’s also no shading on the rear of the pants so apparently that’s where they cut a few corners. Aside from the one portrait though, this figure does a good job of nailing this unique look for Vegeta so if you wanted a Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta for your collection I think you’ll be pleased with how he looks on your shelf.
Vegeta has a pretty similar loadout of accessories as Goku. It basically comes down to a bunch of hands, four faces, and an effect part. For hands, you get a set of fists, Big Bang Attack flat palms, open hands, clenching hands, clenching hands with a peg in the palm, and a set of stye-posed three finger gesture hands. The clenching hands with the peg in the palm works with the effect part, which is this little, translucent, green/blue ball of energy with some sculpted lightning cracking around it and a hit of blue air-brushing. It’s not as visually impressive as Goku’s charging Kamehameha effect, but it’s fine. Vegeta can either palm it like he’s getting ready to shoot an energy blast or it can be positioned in-between his clenching hands like he’s powering up a Final Flash technique. For portraits, we get four: stoic, smirk, clenching teeth, and yelling. All four have his eyes forward, so no side eye, and the actual face is painted very well on each. It’s just the previously mentioned widow’s peak that is an issue with the stoic head being so bad I consider it unworthy of display. The other three are fine, with the yelling head being the best under close scrutiny. If I felt confident I could match this shade of brown with a Gundam marker or something similar I’d probably attempt a touch-up. At least it’s the stoic head, which is a bit boring for Vegeta, and not an expression I was likely to use anyway. It should still be better though and it’s also missing some paint behind the ear. All in all though, a solid spread of accessories. I suppose I’m a little surprised at the lack of a crossed-arms piece, but those are always a paint to fiddle with anyway so I don’t miss it. One quality control issue I’ve had with this figure is the ball hinge on the right wrist keeps coming apart. It snaps together, but it’s pretty annoying.
Vegeta may be comprised of all new parts, but he’s still pretty familiar as far as articulation goes when compared with Goku. The head is on a double-ball peg, but since the head is basically all of the hair, he’s a bit limited. He can rotate, but he can’t look up, and he mostly looks down as a result of the joint at the base of the neck. The hair on the back of his head limits how far he can rotate as well and he basically has no room for any nuance type movement. Tamashii Nations tried to lessen the impact of the hair by making the tufts that come over the shoulders and hang off of his head separate pieces connected via ball pegs. They only do so much though. The shoulders are on ball pegs, but they’re quite tight and really don’t get much play in the joint. They are hinged though and Vegeta can lift his arms out to the side past a horizontal position and rotate all around. The butterfly joint in there lets the arms come forward a bit, but almost nothing back. It’s a little messy looking due to the nature of the design, but at least he can do his Final Flash pose so I guess it’s worth having. There is a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbows that bend past 90 degrees, and ball-hinged wrists that work fine. All of the joints so far are on the tighter side. Nothing scary or that required heat, but nothing is remotely loose so far.
In the torso, we have what I assume is a double-ball peg in the abdomen. I don’t feel a hinge, so this guy just can go forward, back, rotate, and tilt to the side. The range back isn’t very good, but he crunches forward a solid amount which is probably more important. The tilt going to the side is sufficient and he rotates plenty far, possibly all the way if you really wanted to push it. I’m also not seeing any paint rub or gapping issues which is probably more important. At the waist, it’s another ball joint so you get more rotation there and some pivot. The hips feel like ball joints, but it’s hard to see in there since there’s some pieces in the way. Vegeta can do splits just fine, but he can only kick forward to a horizontal pose and really can’t kick back much at all. There is a thigh swivel which works fine, but isn’t the prettiest thing. It’s so poorly implemented that it creates the illusion that these legs don’t belong on this figure. It’s easily the ugliest aspect of the figure and it’s something I’d like to see Bandai move away from. The double-jointed knees really don’t go much past 90 degrees. They also create some gaps at the base of the knee joint when pushed as far as they’ll go. At the ankles, it looks like we just get a hinged ball peg. The foot can go back a little, and basically doesn’t go forward at all. The ankle rocker is a touch restricted by the design of the boot. The ankle can rock in a fair amount though that I don’t think it’s going to be too problematic for posing. There’s a toe hinge, but it’s pretty damn ugly and implemented so poorly that I don’t think it’s usable. The tail is also connected via a ball-hinge, but it’s essentially pre-posed in an S shape and the articulation just serves as a way of making sure it doesn’t get in the way.
Vegeta was doing pretty well until we moved below the waist (hopefully, that’s not what she said). I think he absolutely should have more range kicking forward and back and the knees are pretty limited for a SHF release. Some aspects of this release though are definitely an improvement over Goku. The shoulders look more natural and the neck doesn’t sink in like it tends to with the Goku figure. Sometimes the joint at the base of the neck slides past the chest and leaves a gap, but it can be pushed back into place easy enough. It’s more finicky than anything. The thigh cut looks worse on Vegeta when compared with Goku since his baggy pants mitigated it some. Removing the subjective component of which Super Saiyan 4 looks better, I think Vegeta turned out better than Goku as a result and it just feels like he’s less rough around the edges. The joints being tight and smooth helps, and the only thing Goku has over Vegeta articulation wise is better range at the hips. And even there, Goku came up a bit short too so it’s marginal.
This whole review is honestly kind of pointless because what’s going to drive someone’s purchasing decision is how much they like the Super Saiyan 4 look. If you think it’s the coolest transformation of all, then this is a no-brainer. If you hate it and consider it an abomination then save your money. This isn’t going to convert you or anything. I feel like the rare person who occupies the middle on Super Saiyan 4. I think there’s an absurd component to the look, but that’s also what makes it charming and unique. I don’t have any love for Dragon Ball GT, but getting this goofy look into my display feels like the right choice. And as a figure release, Vegeta is solid. The sculpt is great and some of the paint is good, but it’s still not up to standard for the price point. The accessories make up for that a bit, but at an MSRP of around $65 this one is definitely pushing it. The fact that this one features all new tooling helps justify the price, but a bargain it is not. Still, if you like the look of Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta then I think you’ll be content with the purchase. And for me, this is probably all I need from GT so if that Gogeta does follow as expected don’t count on seeing a review for it here.
Missed our review of SS4 Goku? You can check it out below along with other S.H.Figuarts releases from the world of Dragon Ball:
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