Space Sheriff Sharivan
Review by Prometheum5
Taken from Wikipedia: "Uchuu Keiji Sharivan (宇宙刑事シャリバン ,Uchu Keiji Shariban), translated in English as Space Sheriff Sharivan, is the second installment in Toei's Metal Heroes franchise which aired on the TV Asahi network from 4 March 1983 through 24 February 1984."
The Metal Heroes have always held a special place in my heart, as someone who grew up in the age of live-action Japanese shows first being imported to the US. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was awesome, with their fantastic giant robots, but when Big Bad Beetleborgs and Virtual Reality Troopers introduced much more armored heroes, I was hooked. Since finally remembering how awesome VR Troopers was, I’ve been on an information bender learning about all the Metal Heroes. Space Sheriff Sharivan never made it to the States like his brother in-arms Shaider did in VR Troopers (along with Metal Heroes Spielban and Metalder), and it’s a shame because Sharivan clearly has some of the best toys.
GC-06 Chogokin Sharivan comes in a gorgeous box measuring 5 1/4" by 3” by 11/4". The box is adorned with some stylish 80’s graphics, and what I assume to be a photo of the actor in-costume of Sharivan, with a lovely soft-focus effect that makes all the chrome on the costume POP! My sample also has a Toei licensing sticker on the front, in shiny silver with orange text. The back graphic looks painted to me, and on the back we also see an early COMPUTER NUMBER, very neat, along with the most important words "Made in Japan".
Opening the box we are greeted with a wondrous Styrofoam coffin for our hero, and a paper instruction (more like features) sheet showing off the amazing articulation of the figure (more to come on this later). Sharivan comes out of the foam easy enough, and there is a push hole on the back if for some reason you cannot get him out. The accessories sit to the left of the figure and basically just sit in grooves in the foam. The total contents of the box are the foam, figure, instruction sheet, pistol, and sword. Sharivan himself is just about 5” tall on the nose.
When we remove Sharivan from his foam packaging, it is immediately noticeable how heavy he is. By my eye, the entire body is metal, along with the armor segments of the arms and legs. The actual joints are all tough black plastic, and the head, hands, weapons, and holster are shiny chromed plastic. What makes Sharivan really unique is that in order to replicate the pleated material joint covers of the Solar Armor suit, Bandai used wound metal springs to cover the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, and ankle joints. This admittedly does block a little articulation in the elbows and knees, but it looks fantastic doing it.
Along with the die-cast goodness, the other thing that really sticks out for me with this toy is the amazing articulation. In the early 80s, most toys were still lucky to have any more than shoulder joints… most robot toys like Transformers had just that, barring any joints needed for transformation. In America, kids were stuck with Masters of the Universe and G.I. Joe figures. G.I. Joe 3 3/4" figures are still vaunted for their great poseability for the time, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Sharivan's is better. Sharivan features a neck swivel and good head elevation, shoulder swivels and lateral motion, elbow swivels and rotation, wrist swivels, hip swivels and lateral motion, knee swivels and rotation, and ankle swivels and rotation. That’s right, ankle joints! I know many collectors really like the addition of a waist joint to spice up their figures, but I have always felt that ankle joints are far more important, and help figures to stand up and pose well. Sharivan also features a hip-holster for his Crimebuster Handgun, which is also made of chrome plastic and features a bit of motion to prevent it from blocking the side-to-side hip motion.
Sharivan's only accessories are his standard-issue Crimebuster Handgun, and his standard-issue Laser Blade. Both fit nicely into the hands; the sword slips in and fits well without being too tight or loose, and the pistol can actually be pushed in so the trigger finger sits in the grip properly. Sharivan looks great using either or both accessories, and can even be posed with a two-handed sword grip (for, you know, keeping the peace). I know that Sharivan is a Space Sheriff, and spends most of his time fighting monsters, but I still think it's awesome that a Sheriff comes with a laser sword; Solar Armored police-brutality at its finest.
Sharivan is amazingly dynamic and incredibly fun because of his very well executed articulation. Most figures at the time were lucky to stand up straight, but Sharivan is ready for action, able to take most poses one could think of. Getting Sharivan to stand while doing these great poses is surprisingly manageable: my specimen is nice and tight after all these years, and holds up great. I have handled my figure a lot since I got it, and all the joints feel solid and rugged, and I don’t have any qualms about handling this figure. The ankles do not have any side to side motion to plant Sharivan's feet flat on the ground in any pose, but it’s fairly easy to come up with something good looking with one foot flat on the ground and the other angled for balance. Sharivan lives on my lofted bunk-bed/desk at college, and even with my climbing up the side to get into bed every night he hasn’t fallen over once.
From my observations, GC-06 Sharivan can be had for pretty cheap, especially when buying direct from Japan. I’m sure most fans of the show have or want this piece, and I’d highly recommend it to those that don’t. Sharivan's also a great piece to pick up as a wonderful late-run Chogokin piece, as well as an engineering marvel way better than most of its action-figure contemporaries. Pick one up to reenact Sharivan's finest moments of Metal Hero galactic police brutality (and heroism)!
|Posted 6 April, 2009 - 09:52 by Prometheum5|