Garo and Zaruba
Review by Ghost_XIII
In this review I will be referencing some stuff from the Makai Kado version of Garo (which you can read the review here by SentaiSeiya) but do note, I do not owned the MK version but I do have the MK Jaaku(which you can read the review here by yours truly) which is a repaint of that version, so all of the referencing comes from there.
Greetings my fellow brothers and sisters of toys collecting or to whoever it is that is reading this. Ghost_XIII here, reporting in to bring you another review. I always want to do a review of this line as not much coverage is been given to them. I present you, Garo Equip & Prop Volume 1: Garo and Zaruba.
You could say this is one of the earliest Garo action figure ever produced by Bandai. Equip & Prop(just EP onwards) is a spinoff of the SIC line and as of writing have been discontinued and been replaced by the Makai Kado(just MK onwards) line. The concept of this line, you will be getting a prop from the show and you will be getting a human figure that you can equip with the Makai armor just like how the show depicts.
The packaging is quite unique as it used hard plastic rather than the cardboard box Bandai used for their SIC line.
Inside the box, all the goodies are laid on two level of plastic tray. You will be getting:
The first tray:
- Saejima Kouga in his leather clothing
-Garoken in its normal state
-Garoken in its transformed state
-pieces of Garo armors(2xlegs, 2xarms, head, chest, crotch piece)
The second tray:
-Garoken’s scabbard in normal mode
-Garoken’s scabbard in transformed mode
-3 back attachments for Garo(the triangular one is diecast)
-2 Garo’s hand in fist
-right holding things hand for Garo
-right holding things hand for Kouga
and of course, instruction manual.
Kicking things off, let’s start with the man who inherits the title Ougon Kishi, Saejima Kouga.
This version of Kouga represents him in his leather clothing which he always wears under his white coat. The sculpt is not entirely accurate but its not bad really.
Some of you might disagree with this statement but realistic human face sculpt is not Bandai strong point. In fact, I don’t think Bandai ever made any realistic human figure on their own. I’m not really sure how to rate this face. Close enough, maybe?
That hole on his back is quite a sore to look.
Moving on to articulation.
This guy articulation is a total joke. All of his joints are on a ball joint except the knee and elbow. Bandai is not even trying here. Sure the leg can split really far but with practically no ankle tilt, what’s the point? And yes, that’s really is how far you can spread his arms. You can rotate them 360 though. The head has a ball joint at the base of the neck but there is no articulation whatsoever there. You can get it to turn sideways if you force it. Even by that, it will move to a slight degree. The waist rotations do afford some decent range. Push more and it will pop off.
The elbow and knee are on a hinge joint with a decent range. But why didn’t you use double jointing Bandai? Yes, most people might not display their Kouga in this state but that doesn’t mean you can do a figure half assed-ly.
What would Kouga be without his sword? The Garoken in its normal mode is nicely rendered along with its iconic red scabbard. Here is another of my complaint. Garoken’s scabbard in this mode is practically useless. There is no hand included to make use of the scabbard.
I do wish the triangle emblem is a little bigger.
I don’t really have any idea how to work with this kind of articulation so lets just skip any action pose with the human form. He can do the summoning armor pose quite well I guess ^^;.
To start transforming the human figure, you need to start dismantling his limbs and only use his chest, torso and hip. I have transformed and untransformed this figure a few times before this review and the whole process can be summed up in two words: F*@KING SCARY. The equipping part is OK I guess but when transforming Garo to Kouga is where I really curse those people at Bandai while praying in hoping the joint won’t break. The hip is where the real pain is. I’m not sure why but removing Garo’s leg from it is super hard but I’m amaze that the hip joint didn’t break…..yet.
After all that, the golden knight is here.
Is it just me or this representation of Garo is a little beefy? But I really don’t mind. What I really do mind is his gold. It’s more of a bronzy gold rather than you know, ‘gold’ gold. Overlooking the colour, I’m not sure how many times I’ve said this for all Garo’s stuff but the details are out of control. IT’S INSANE. I’ll let the picture do the talking. Prepare yourself for a barrage of close-up detail shots :p.
The paint apps is not really perfect with some splotches and inconsistency(if you are used to Garo’s stuff or SIC, you know what I mean) but it’s acceptable.
Moving on to articulation. Some part of this figure can be a little disappointing but it is an old figure so I can forgive that. But there are some parts which surprise me a little. The arm is the same 3 parts arm(shoulder, bicep, forearm) like the MK version. Even their articulation and limitation is the same. I do wish the arm can be raised to the same level as his shoulder. The leg split is not that far but that will do it for me. Garo is not known for doing splits anyway :p. Missing is the pull-down hip joint like the SHF but what surprised me is, something the MK version do not have, an ankle tilt. I think that point of articulation is essential in giving this guy much stability given the distance he can split his leg and it’s a shame that the MK version do not have it.
One big damning point of the figure is, as you can see, that really is how far he can bend his knee. It’s not even 90 degrees. It’s on a hybrid of a ball joint and a hinge joint deal. I can somehow close one eye to this as this toy is going for form rather than function so I’m guessing the limited articulation is preserving the integrity(is that the word?) of the whole look of the figure. The thigh can swivel nicely.
The waist rotation exists thanks to the base body of Kouga but armor pieces will start colliding and grinding each other in a very unpleasant way. That really is how far you can twist his waist before the ball joint pop off.
Another point of articulation that surprises me is the head articulation. Unlike the MK version, the head can really be what it should be. It can look up and down effectively.
It even can look sideway.
On this version of Garo, the chest armor is made entirely out of rubber and it’s a plus as although you kinda need to force it a little, you can raise Garo’s arm quite high without the armor design limiting the arm raise too much.
And of course the mouth can open up to show him roaring.
As for accessories, Garo, just like Kouga , comes with his own Garoken and scabbard.
Just like the MK version, Garoken is 100% diecast.
The sword is just a little bit too heavy for the arm at some angle and doesn’t stay in Garo’s hand that snugly but it will stay in there. The default splayed open hand on Garo is able to hold the scabbard quite well.
There’s not much pose you can put this guy in with very limited lower body articulation. But he still looks really badass.
I’m running out of ideas here. Lets bring in some guest :p.
“Your shadow can never tarnish my gold brilliance.”
“But you’re bronz….”
“Nobody insult my bling! NOBODY!”
The final piece of accessory for Garo is of course his cape. It’s pretty much the same like the MK version but a lot softer and more pliable. To attach it to Garo is also the same deal like the MK version.
The cape will make him back heavy and honestly, I don’t really like the whole look of Garo with cape. He looks weird, I don’t know why.
Just like my review of Jaaku, Im not gonna bother with any fancy pose for caped Garo but you can put him in some nice pose.
“Submit yourself to the light.”
As the prop aspect of this volume, lets start with Zaruba’s pedestal.
I’m not sure how accurate it is compare to the on screen representation but I think it’s the same just like the one in the show. The details, like Garo, is freakin awesome. Too bad its not made out of diecast eh?
And finally, lets look at Zaruba himself.
He looks dead on like the one in the show except his eyes supposed to be red if I’m not mistaken. He is made entirely out of diecast.
He is wearable if you haven’t noticed but he is way too big for my fingers. For people who know me, I’m quite a big guy myself(177cm,80+ kg if you wanna know :p) but look at that hole. I’m wearing this on my middle finger. If you can fit him on your finger then you must be one very, very big dude.
His mouth is not movable but you can separate him like the picture above in case in the almost impossible event that your finger gets stuck inside.
“Screw the pedestal!”
Should you buy this?
This is tough to answer. Lets start with some talk about the good and bad of the whole package.
Saejima Kouga and his accessories – This is the biggest negative point for the whole package. I can forgive the face and his clothing sculpts because it is quite tricky to do. Even Hot Toys can’t really capture an actor likeness 100% of the time and we are talking about a smaller figure at much lower price point from a company not really known for doing realistic face sculpt so I can let it slide.
What I can’t accept is his articulation. Bandai is just damn lazy. Not sure why but I felt insulted when handling the figure. Probably because I know what the company is capable of and I get this kind of end product. Sure it’s old, but at that time point Bandai did produce some nicely articulated SIC release, so what’s the problem? Saying that people not gonna display Kouga anyway is not excuse in my opinion.
Garoken and its scabbard are logical accessories for Kouga but the lack of hand to properly use the scabbard is very disappointing.
Garo and his accessories –Generally, I don’t have any qualm about this figure. The details, the looks, and how he feels in my hand is just nice. If there is one thing I want to complain, it’s probably his knee articulation. Again, I don’t really mind about it sometimes but I’m quite sure some people want a decent articulation out of those even at the price of the whole figure looks and I’m quite glad to see Bandai improve the knee bend on the MK version.
Just a little more minor complain, I would also love a frame or some sort to display the Garo armor in a way like how in one episode(Season 1 Episode 22 to be exact) Kouga just summon the armor and did not wear it. Something like the frame used in the HCM Pro Virtue/Nadleeh(which you can read the review here by our own VF5SS) would be very nice.
So is it the EP or MK the way to go?
Honestly, if the figure from the different line is similarly priced, I would buy the EP version. Why? First off is I felt I’m getting a more bang out of buck with the EP set. You get two figure(maybe one and a half), and the most important thing is, you get Zaruba and his pedestal which was released as a limited prop set by Bandai along with Silva and Kiba’s necklace for the MK line.
Second, there is a lot more play value with the EP. Although the flaming Garoken and the Madoubi lighter included in the MK version is not here, but with the EP you can armorize your Kouga the way you want. You can totally do a Ranger-style helmet holding with this version of Garo.
Not having a frame of some sort to display both Kouga and Garo is a little disappointing but you can still do it through some modding like this gentleman from Singapore here where he create a second body to house the armor but some DIY is required.
But the MK version has its own upside. Most noticeably is the knee bend. The knee bend is a much needed upgrade for Garo but the MK version lost its head articulation and the essential ankle tilt. What’s up with that? Also, MK is like an upgraded EP, so you can expect a higher durability out of it given it doesn’t have the stigma of needing to strip the base body down to its core.
“Can you take your helmet off?”
“Can you bend your knee?”
“……………..You win this time.”
So in conclusion for everything, you really need to decide it on your own. I’ve laid out what I hope suffice for people to know the limitations and advantages from both the MK and EP version. Each version has its own pros and cons that might be view differently by people like someone wants more durability, MK is the way to go, or someone wants Zaruba with their Garo, then EP it is.
A lot longer than I expected but this is the end of the review for this time around. Hope this review can be of some help for people thinking about which version to buy(sorry that I can’t decide on anything) and hope you enjoy it. Special thanks to bro Henry Wong for allowing me linking his blog here. As usual, comments and critics(good or bad) are always welcomed to improve my review the next time around. This is Ghost_XIII, reporting out :).
|Posted 6 April, 2014 - 13:51 by Ghost_XIII|