I feel like I need a little break with all of the TMNT reviews I’ve been doing lately. I could use a break from action figure reviews all together, but I have quite the backlog and I buy tons of them so I only have myself to blame for that. Today, we’re looking at last year’s event exclusive Super Saiyan 2 Goku from Bandai’s S.H.Figuarts line. For the past couple of years, Bandai has been doing event exclusives like basically everyone because they sell well, but with Bandai they’re not exclusive to any one event. The same cast of characters tends to get sold at multiple conventions and when that’s all done they also put them up for order on their Premium Bandai website. The only downside to ordering online is the wait as it’s sort of a made-to-order situation. I wish they would just unload their stock first and then turn to that, but instead, other retailers seem to get the unsold merch which they sell on their storefronts at inflated prices. The waiting isn’t that big of an issue though, and most of these event exclusive figures have just been repaints of older figures which is great because it gets them back out there and often looking better than before. Last year’s round of exclusives included re-releases of Majin Buu, Android 16, and Shenron, but the only one I grabbed was Super Saiyan 2 Goku.
The Super Saiyan 2 transformation is perhaps the most boring of Goku’s transformations. I think it’s due in part to the original planned ending for Dragon Ball being the battle between Gohan and Perfect Cell. Gohan would ascend to a level beyond Super Saiyan, and for him, the transformation looked pretty different from his Super Saiyan look. His hair stood all the way up, looked to be longer and fuller, and then you got the aura and lightning effects. Series creator Akira Toriyama was convinced to keep going though so we got another arc and in that one it was decided that Goku needed to be the main hero once again. This meant he needed to achieve the same level of power as his offspring and then go beyond that. Super Saiyan 2 was the big transformation for the Cell arc, but for the Buu one it was Super Saiyan 3 allowing the Super Saiyan 2 look to essentially be an afterthought as it concerned Goku. As a result, it doesn’t look much different from the standard Super Saiyan look. Goku basically just loses most of his bangs and his hair is a bit spikier plus he gets the same aura with blue lightning effects. Simple, but still kind of cool. As sort of the forgotten and less celebrated transformation, I have a bit of a soft spot for it. Mostly, it was Bandai’s approach to the aura that got me to pounce on this one.
This Goku figure is more than familiar at this point. He is exactly the same as almost every Goku figure I’ve reviewed so I’m not going to go into too great of detail for this review. I mostly just want to talk about what’s new. For the sculpt, it’s very little. We get a brand new hair piece that has a nice shape to it and is evocative of the Super Saiyan 2 look. There’s a metallic gold paint in use, which is typical of these event exclusives, and it does give it a very nice shimmer. Considering this is a form that is known to basically always feature an aura, I think this paint job works better than usual. It helps distinguish it from a Super Saiyan look. Would I want all Super Saiyan hair pieces to feature this paint job? Ehh, probably not. I like the yellow in play on my Super Vegeta and the shading is done well on that figure. I’ll be talking about it eventually, but the recently released Super Saiyan Gohan head went in a different direction and I’m still sorting out my feelings on that one. I’d love to see Bandai try casting the hair in white and then hitting it with an airbrush of yellow. Absent that, this looks good. The only thing I don’t like are the pieces of hair off to the sides of Goku’s head. There is a sizable gap between his forehead and these pieces that just looks unnatural to me. It looks like they should either be right on his head, or further from it. They do at least hide the sideburns and the seem created by the hairpiece behind them. This Goku also has a halo since this is Goku from when he takes on Majin Vegeta, which also explains the more basic gi he’s wearing that lacks any markings on it. I’ve never really liked the halo effects when it comes to Dragon Ball toys because even if the post is transparent, you still see it. It just pegs into the hair, but it doesn’t seem to want to come out so it might be glued in. I’m tempted to just rip it out, but I’ll probably leave it.
As for the body, the only other new part is the chest. Since this is Goku from his brief return to Earth, his shirt is ripped which was something that occured during his fight with Yakon. He would go Super Saiyan 2 to battle Vegeta shortly after. There’s a sculpted rip in the orange part of his top and it looks okay, but it really could use more paint. Most companies would paint the inside of the rip darker than the outside. Just like most Goku figures, the only paint is really the blue and the flesh-tone of the upper torso, the blue on the sleeves, and the boots. The boots aren’t as clean as they are on some of the other Goku figures I have, even the budget-friendly Target offerings, so that’s a bummer. He does appear to have some light shading in parts. It appears to be yellow on the legs and a little on the torso to help sell his glow, but it’s very subtle. I wish there was more paint as the orange has a very plastic look to it, as do his arms and neck, but this isn’t a line known for using a lot of paint. He still has the floating crotch pieces which have a tendency to rattle around and feel cheap, but they work with the articulation so I don’t mind them as much as some folks do. I do hate the sleeves and how they pin into the shoulders and handling this figure just illustrates how Goku is in need of a redesign. They can do better than this and this mold is getting pretty long in the tooth.
For accessories, we get the standard assortment of hands: fists, splayed, martial arts posed, Kamehameha hands, and a set of hands in a two finger pose for his instant transmission technique. For faceplates, we have four varieties: stoic, cocky, yelling, and a teeth-gritting expression. The face printing on all four is terrific and very much in-line with the more recently released Super Hero Goku so at least that’s one advancement this figure possesses. The other accessory is the main one and it’s an aura effect. It’s a big, yellow, burst that can be positioned behind the figure. It’s a much sturdier part than the others I have and it’s cast in translucent plastic that alternates from being clear to yellow to clear and to yellow once again. It’s a new mold when compared with the stand-alone one Bandai sells and I’m guessing they did a new one because this has some extra bits. Four, blue, translucent, plastic, sparking effects are included. They attach to the yellow effect via a ball peg at the end. This allows them to be manipulated so when you place Goku in front of the backdrop effect the lightning can be positioned coming around him. It’s a terrific idea to try and sell the Super Saiyan 2 transformation, though the execution is lacking. The ball pegs are really hard to get into the yellow effect. I even snapped one trying to get it in and had to glue it back together. There’s no reason why it needed to be this challenging to pull off. Once they’re in they at least stay in and the effect works well enough. It’s very specialized so this isn’t an effect you’re likely to use with other figures, but if you wanted to I suppose you could use it with Majin Vegeta or the new Super Saiyan Gohan, but then your Goku doesn’t have an aura to stand in front of.
That’s essentially it though. I’m not going to run through the articulation since this is the same figure I’ve reviewed before and some of them are linked below. If you’ve been collecting DBZ Figuarts releases then you know this one pretty well. And if you have all of the Goku figures then Super Saiyan 2 is the missing link, so to speak, as they’ve never done it before. I’m guessing that made this one fairly popular. I’m curious if he’ll get a more standard release at some point without the metallic paint job and maybe without the torn shirt. It’s a bit odd to make the Super Saiyan 2 form an event exclusive, but it was also easy to get so I suppose it’s like any P-Bandai release. If you want it, you’ll have to venture out onto the aftermarket. Some retailers have this figure still in stock, but it’s pricey. I don’t think this release is worth paying over 100 bucks for, but if you really want a Super Saiyan 2 Goku and somehow missed out then I guess you have no choice. Just be prepared to keep your expectations in check. You’re paying for new hair and an effect part as the body has been done before. And if that’s fine with you then go ahead. I’m personally a little underwhelmed and certainly annoyed by the quality of the plastic as it relates to the sparking effects. I don’t resent having this in my collection, but I probably could have done without considering I don’t even have Super Saiyan Goku or Super Saiyan 3. I guess I like the Super Saiyan 2 form more than I realized.
Need to know more about how this Goku articulates or want to see how good he could be with a redesign? Look no further:
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