Review by VF5SS
The 1987 Tokusatsu show, Kamen Rider Black, was a landmark entry in the long running franchise. It rekindled Japan's love of grasshopper themed cyborg superheroes after almost six years of no new Rider shows. One of the greatest success stories to come out of the show was kicking off the acting career of Tetsuo Kurata, who was chosen from thousands of applicants to play the role of the protagonist, Kotaro Minami. At the tender age of 19, Kurata's youthful determination, handsome features, and high powered 80's fashion sense revitalized the image of the series during the closing years of the Showa era.
From the opening episode of Kamen Rider Black, the audience is thrown right into the action as Kotaro attempts to escape the telekinetic clutches of three mysterious cloaked figures. They are the high priests of an ancient organization known as Golgom, who seek to conquer the world with their powerful army of mutants.
Kotaro would soon learn of his gruesome fate at the hands of Golgom. The high priests explain that Kotaro's stepfather offered his stepson's body to the Golgom cause in exchange for money. As both Kotaro and his stepbrother Nobuhiko were born under a lunar eclipse, they were sought out by Golgom to be converted into cyborgs in order to do battle for the reign of Century King. In an homage to the original Kamen Rider, Kotaro was saved by his stepfather before the high priests could erase his memories as the final step in transforming him into the cyborg, Black Sun. Nobuhiko was left to suffer his fate at the hands of Golgom.
Kotaro used his augmented body to challenge the evils of Golgom. He rejected the name of Black Sun to become the hero of justice, Kamen Rider Black.
Nobuhiko could not be saved and suffered the horrors of being fully transformed into a servant of Golgom. Through over thirty episodes, the show dropped hints as to the appearance of the terrifying Shadow Moon. Nobuhiko's actor, Takahito Horiuchi, appeared on and off in the show during all this time. He was usually covered in plastic wrap and seen intermittently wearing a grasshopper costume to show his slow metamorphosis into Shadow Moon. Incidentally, Horiuchi was their second pick to play the role of Kotaro.
Shadow Moon was such a memorable villain that he even came back in one episode of the sequel series, Kamen Rider Black RX.
Shadow Moon's appearance in Kamen Rider Black was truly a groundbreaking moment for the franchise. While there had been evil Riders in past series, these were mostly just slight variations on the hero's costume. Shadow Moon was the first truly unique and truly evil Kamen Rider. His technologically based appearance borrowed heavily from the Metal Hero shows of the time and served as a contrast to Kamen Rider Black's more organic detailing. The SH Figuarts Shadow Moon captures practically every important detail from the original costume. While he lacks the characteristic diecast metal feet of other Riders, Shadow Moon makes for it in all other areas.
The paint work and detailing around the face is impeccable. Shadow Moon's bright green compound eyes complement the shiny silver plastic of his face. Little molded details are picked out with sharp little dots of paint.
Much like Kamen Rider Black, Shadow Moon possesses his own King Stone belt from which he draws immense power. The belt is very similar Kamen Rider Black's save for the fact it is cast in black plastic with little details picked out with paint apps.
Like most SH Figuarts, Shadow Moon attempts to blend the articulation of a high quality action figure with a stunning sculpt. The joints on the figure all possess a wide range of motion while staying unobtrusive. Shadow Moon has the full package in terms of articulation with numerous double joints in his chest, elbows, knees, and neck. His elbows can be a little stiff as they do pull out slightly to allow a deeper bend. His hips a constructed with a ball-joint that pulls downward to allow for more flexibility. I've found Shadow Moon's ankles to be incredibly well engineered as he can stand with his legs in an extreme A-stance with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Shadow Moon's number of optional hands is just right with a pair of fists, splayed hands, and holding things hands.
Shadow Moon's most memorable weapon is one he stole from an eye shadow wearing jerk. The aptly named Satan Saber gives Shadow Moon all the might of a Slovakian hockey player. The SH Figuarts version is sharply molded with a vibrant clear red blade.
I feel like the best way to demonstrate the appeal of this figure is to do my own take on Shadow Moon's numerous battles with Kamen Rider Black. I got a good tip from fellow reviewer Dkun to pick up a few Di:Stages from Max Factory.
"Black Sun! Your transgressions against Golgom end today!"
"Don't fight me, Nobuhiko!"
"Black Sun... I will take your King Stone and claim my destiny as Century King!"
"Stop this, Nobuhiko!"
The rightful Century King will not be defeated...
...By a weakling traitor like you!
Don't you understand, Black Sun?
"IS AT ITS END!"
"And your King Stone..."
Die... BLACK SUN!
Give it to me...
"Wha-what is this light!?"
"Who are you?"
I am the Son of the Sun! KAMEN RIDER BLACK! R! X!
"Even if you are reborn, Black Sun..."
"YOU WILL DIE AGAIN!"
"Impossible! Nothing can stop the Satan Saber!"
"No matter! The Shadow Sabers will defeat your pitiful blade!"
"Can you feel your life slipping away, Black Sun!?"
"As long as the sun shines above Earth, I cannot lose! TOH!"
"It's over, Nobuhiko!"
"I...I don't believe it!
"I... I'm glad to have been defeated by you... My brother... Kotaro!"
Kamen Rider Black RX has once again fought against the evils of the world. Nobuhiko can finally lay to rest.
SH Figuarts Shadow Moon is one of the most well executed action figures I've had the pleasure of owning. Everything that was so striking and memorable about the character is captured by the solid engineering and design of the SH Figuarts line. It's an amazing toy with a great design and execution that will easily please both fans and general collectors alike. It truly is the Century King of action figures.
|Posted 10 April, 2012 - 13:53 by VF5SS|