Kamen Rider Black
Review by Showapop
I believe Bandai was heading in the right direction with their 1/12 scale SF Spiral Zone line when they began to manufacture some of their other Bandai licenses as SZ figures. As far as I know only three figures would be made: Kamen Rider Black, Saint Seiya Sagittarius and Saint Seiya Gemini.
I bought my example of Kamen Rider Black in the 1980’s at Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo hobbies and animation shop Pony Toy Go-Round for $23.00. Few Spiral Zone / Chogokin collectors know that SZ Kamen Rider Black even exists and if I did not see it in 1987 I would have not known either. Over the years, because of its uniqueness and rarity, it has become one of my most cherished figures in my collection.
Kamen Rider Black was the 11th incarnation of our favorite sentai bug eyed rider. Played by Tetsuo Kurata and stunts by Jiro Okamoto, KRB ran for 51 episodes from October 4th 1987 to October 9th1988 and also spawned three motion pictures.
Just like the Spiral Zone proper, Bandai spared no cost with Kamen Rider Black’s packaging. The full color box features windows displaying the unbuilt figure of lead character Minami Kotaro, cloth under suit and Rider Mask. By this time Bandai started to refer to SZ style figures as 36 Action System injection and is prominently printed on the box. But the back of the box is a sight to behold. A beautiful, full color oil painting reproduction of Kamen Rider Black in classic sentai pose with some of his beaten down monster foes at his feet. Right on Bandai! We haven’t even opened the package yet!
Kamen Rider Black package includes: 1x Minami Kotaro (10x parts to be assembled), 1x rider mask (4x parts), 1x cloth suit, 3x sprue of various armor (2x Black, 1x gunmetal), 2x sticker sheets (1x vinyl 1x cloth), 3x screws, 1x full color instruction sheet.
Unlike the SF Spiral Zone figures, which are packaged pre assembled, Kamen Rider Black’s figure needs to be assembled. This is easily done with the screws provided but you must supply your own small Philips screwdriver. KRB only comes with black detachable “gloved” hands unlike SF Spiral Zone figures that are packaged with both flesh colored hands and “gloved” colored hands. KRB’s head sculpt is well executed with a superbly rendered anime version likeness of actor Tetsuo Kurata looking extremely tough.
The complete Kamen Rider black armor is actually a quick assembly. Just put the Kotaro’s suit on, assemble his Kamen Rider Black armor around it and your just about finished. His armor might look a bit chunky for some, but I think it speaks volumes of where Japanese toy design was at in 1987. It’s not perfect like many currently available highly detailed Japanese and American action figures but it still holds up very well for being a 20 year old figure design.
Kamen Rider Black’s helmet is just another sight to behold on this figure. The two colored stencils are sharp and the sculpt is top notch and captures all the wonderful oddness we love about Japanese toys. But unlike Yutaka’s SZ Chiro Cuvie figure where one has to pull the head off the figure and replace it with a “helmeted” head, the Rider Helmet snaps in two parts around the figures head. I suggest clear portions of the plastic stickers provided for the helmet be trimmed so the stickers can fit comfortably around the high angled contours of the helmet.
Bandai executed a great design feature when they made KRB’s antennas detachable from his helmet. I wish they could of made it with softer rubber like SF Spiral Zone’s Hyperboxers helmet. But in the 20 years I have owned this figure I never had a problem with his antennas breaking. That’s saying something because I did play with it as a kid in the 1980’s.
Another unique feature is the cloth stickers that are provided which are not seen in any other Spiral Zone releases. These stickers are provided for the color stripes on his cuffs, pants and kneepads and neck. As the cloth suit doesn’t go up to his neck Bandai provided a black cloth sticker for the figures neck. Bandai could had easily asked the customer to paint the neck black but instead provided a cloth sticker. Nice.
Super Sentai type characters and poses are perfect for the high pose ability of Spiral Zone figures and definitely Kamen Rider Black is no exception.
What is the drawback of this figure? That Bandai did not make more of these! What I’ll give for a Spiral Zone JAK-Q, Kamen Rider X or Dynapink. Or a 1/12 scale Battle Hopper or Road Sector motorcycles to go with their SZ Kamen Rider Black.
But that’s the essence of the entire Spiral Zone line for you. It just feels unfinished. The possibilities were endless but at least they made hero Kamen Rider Black.
Additional information of Kamen Rider Black can be found at the following websites: