Saturday, August 24, 2013

Does X hate S.H.Figuarts?

A lot of people had asked me these questions before I started spazzing over the awesomeness of the new Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers sets. I think it's time I explained myself.

Do I hate S.H. Figuarts? No I don't. Are there parts of it I don't like? Yes there are.

ChinaRed and Sailormoon SH Figuarts

The thing with me is, I prefer the LOOK of the figure a lot of times over the articulation. This is precisely why I'm not a fan of the higher-articulated Justice League Unlimited figures even when I started actively collecting.

When I moved on to what I consider the second stage of my adult collection, the six-inch lines, I collected two brands, the Mattel six-inch line (now more collectively fan-recognized as DC Universe Classics) and X-men from the Marvel Legends line. Both lines have their pros and cons, but if I were to talk about look over articulation, DC Universe Classics figures take the win. Casually drop a figure from either line and you'll see an obvious difference. Most DC Universe figures retain the body's form, while Marvel Legends (many of them) tend to look like an awkward pile of parts. Several figures suffer from this awkward, lanky look, favoring articulation- the Jim Lee Cyclops, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, and to me, the worst of which is Iceman (in Ice form). This is not to say there aren't wins like most Wolverine figures and Astonishing Cyclops.

One of the least well-designed MLs was Jim Lee's Cyclops.

This formed my base opinion of what I thought about S.H. Figuarts. I became aware of the line when they started producing Super Sentai figures. The Gokaiger set is tempting sure, but they suffer from the same problem Iceman and co. do, they tend to be lanky because of articulation engineering. The details and paint are all there but because S.H. Figuarts Sentai use the basest of bodies (to depict spandex), there's nothing to hide the joints or pad the look. However, check out the Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts. As Riders are typically lightly-armored, the looks are spot-on!

Kamen Rider OOO Figuarts are on the top of my list of awesome Rider figures.

Another SH line, Sentai Heroes, has barely-articulated vinyl figures but retain the look of spandex-wearing heroes better.
S.H. Figuarts, actual Gokai Green suit guy and Sentai Hero vinyl

But why am I spazzing over Sailor Moon and Power Rangers then? I spazz for two very different reasons. Remember when I said S.H. Figuarts are lanky? Well so are Sailor Moon characters. The slim design favoring articulation (even slimmer than Sentai bodies) works fantastic for the Sailor Scouts. It translates the long-legged fanciful "magical girl" art as seen on-screen really well.

Just like the cartoon!

As for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, it's less of an appreciation of how the figures are as they are (like the Sailor Moon and Rider figures) and more of the fact that given the choices we've had over the years,  these are the best looking full set of figures so far. When the 90's toys first came about I had four choices- the collectible figures, the die-cast uniform figures (too thin), the flip-head auto-morphin figures (too wide), and the 8" figures (too blocky). I ended up with a full set of completely unarticulated collectible figures cuz they all looked more like the characters from the show. Slightly muscular, sure, but again the best of the choices. Years later, the Super Legends figures became the best of the bunch with a more moderately-muscled body type. However, only two Mighty Morphin figures were released- the Green and White Rangers. Thus the new Ranger figures courtesy of S.H. Figuarts blow all the other figures out of the water with accurate detailing and a complete set of accessories. As an added bonus, they are releasing a female-bodied Yellow Ranger for the series.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Figuarts

Now given all this, while I'm certain I'll be getting the Sailor Scouts as they come, I'm still iffy about actively collecting the Power Rangers series. I do think that S.H. Figuarts being released is a great thing for collectors, especially for those looking to build full teams. Happy collecting!

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