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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 Kid Klilyn (Krillin)

When Dragon Ball became Dragon Ball Z, many of the old heroes and villains got left in the dust as Goku ascended to a level of power far beyond anything anyone would have comprehended. One of the last holdouts though was Krillin (Klilyn in Japan). Krillin was never on Goku’s level in DBZ, but he always managed to hang around nonetheless. It wasn’t really until the Majin Buu Saga that Krillin finally dropped off and gave up the whole fighting thing, which is more than I can say for the likes of Tien and Yamcha.

In Dragon Ball Z, Krillin basically was there to play the role of Goku’s best friend. In the original Dragon Ball, he had a different role at the start. Krillin was Goku’s rival, a cunning, dastardly, trickster willing to do whatever was necessary to gain an edge. Goku was good-natured and naive, and Krillin was always willing to exploit those qualities in Goku during their training with Master Roshi. The two would eventually become friends and Krillin would, for the first time, see his existence reduced to tragic catalyst for a Goku arc foreshadowing perhaps his most famous role as the motivating factor for Goku’s transformation into a Super Saiyan. What an existence – everyone just remembers you for dying!

No Dragon Ball action figure collection would be complete without Krillin. The bald, diminutive, monk, is a fan favorite from Dragon Ball as he’s almost a constant source of entertainment. He’s one of the many go-to characters for comedy on the show, but when the need arises he can also throw down and even masters the legendary Kamehameha wave just like his more famous rival. It’s no surprise then that Bandai and Tamashii Nations decided to do a figure for its S.H. Figuarts line based on the young version of Krillin from the early days of Dragon Ball.

With how muscular the characters become in DBZ, it’s easy to forget just how round they are as kids.

Krillin is depicted in his fighting, Turtle School, gi. And since the only distinguishing features between he and Goku in the anime when both wear this uniform is their head and Goku’s tail, it should be no surprise that the two share the same traits in figure form. Krillin is essentially the same figure as the Kid Goku from before, so he possesses all of the good qualities of that figure, plus all of the lesser qualities. For starters, Krillin is probably a tick taller than he should be when placed next to some of the other characters like Bulma. This is likely a result of the scale in place as going any smaller on this action figure would probably mess up Bandai’s pricing structure. When your figures retail for $55, you can only go so small. It’s not a big deal, though I do find a little fault in the proportions. In particular, both Goku and Krillin are a bit too lean and muscular. In the anime their bodies are more egg-shaped than they are in action figure form. These figures mostly look the part when in fighting poses as they’re more spread out, but if they’re just standing around then it becomes more noticeable. Krillin also has those same, spherical, elbow joints that look a bit funny when the arm is straight, but fine when bent. The knees also lack kneecaps and look a bit off from certain angles. This is the result of the character being so short and it’s a shortcoming that basically comes with the territory. Aside from the head, the only other difference between he and Goku is Krillin has no need for a peg hole on his bottom for a tail, so one isn’t present.

Aside from those gripes, the figure is actually rather nice to behold. The folds in Krillin’s gi are integrated well into the articulation and all of the little details one would expect are here. The Turtle School logo looks sharp and clean and where paint is required the lines are sharp and defined. There’s little in the way of paint embellishments, which is true of all of the figures I’ve reviewed in this line, but the figure also isn’t really crying out for much. The head sculpts are also a spot-on likeness for Krillin. He looks great and this figure presents a dilemma as it’s hard to settle on any one expression. Krillin has a basic smile expression that’s more than serviceable, but also this smug expression that really gets at the heart of this more juvenile Krillin. And then of course there’s the open-mouthed yelling face which is perfect for battle poses. The determining factor will likely be what accessory you choose to highlight in your display, which is also a tough call.

For a little figure, Krillin is packed to the gills with articulation. He has a ball joint at the head with good side-to-side motion, but very little up motion. Unlike the larger figures in this line, there’s no additional neck articulation, but it’s also not something really needed. There’s a ball-joint at the shoulders as well as a butterfly joint which is crucial for achieving a proper Kamehameha pose. There’s a swivel at the bicep just under the shoulder and those kind of wonky elbow joints. They’re not double-jointed so Krillin can only go to 90 degrees when bending his elbows. There’s full rotation at the wrists and hinge joints as well. At the torso, Krillin has articulation in his diaphragm plus a waist swivel. There’s an additional abdominal hinge in there as well, but Krillin can’t bend very far back without exposing the joint in the middle of his torso. The legs are on ball joints and can swivel below that ball joint. Knees are single-jointed and the ankles are on balls that provide for full rotation, a hinge, and side-to-side. His tiny, little, feet even have a toe hinge.

The figure is rather top heavy, since Krillin has such a massive melon, so standing and positioning the figure can be a bit tricky. With just a little patience though, several poses are achievable without a stand, which is a good thing since unlike Kid Goku, Krillin does not come with a stand for the sole purpose of positioning him. He does come with an action stand for his Kamehameha effect which is probably to make up for the fact that Goku came with his Flying Nimbus cloud. Bandai included optional parts to turn it into a posing stand for Krillin, but why would you want to use it for that when you have a Kamehameha wave? He also comes with 11 different hands which include the following: a pair of fists, a pair of Kamehameha hands, a pair of wide open hands, a pair of peace sign hands, a set of martial arts posing hands, and a special gripping right hand for grabbing Goku’s tail. Beyond that, he has a six-star dragon ball and a Kame rock from when Master Roshi gives he and Goku a task of finding a particular rock.

Probably my favorite expression for Krillin.

The dragon ball accessory is basically the same as what is included with the other figures, and the rock is a nice touch, but the real star is obviously that effects piece. The Kamehameha wave has some nice shading on it to achieve that desired look of a blue energy blast. I do wish the paint was a little less heavy though to expose what I assume is translucent plastic underneath. The stand allows you to position the blast out in front of Krillin to simulate him firing the Kamehameha. It’s a fun thing to play around with and the articulated stand means you can angle the blast any way you want. If you have a extra figure stand, you could even position Krillin in the air firing the blast towards the ground. With Krillin being such a small figure, it was imperative that Bandai include something fun like this with the figure, and they made the right choice by going in this direction. And as stated before, there is an optional “grabber” piece that can be installed on the stand should you wish to use it for the purpose of posing Krillin or another figure.

Krillin is an outstanding addition to the S.H. Figuarts line of Dragon Ball action figures. While it is an easier figure to nitpick when compared with some of the others, at the end of the day this is still a great representation of the character from Dragon Ball. He looks right at home on my shelf with the others and I think the likeness here is even better than it was with Goku. He’s an essential character from the show, and I’m definitely glad I’ve added him to my collection. Hopefully, I can add a few more characters before all is said and done.


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