Kamen Rider Blade
Review by Dkun
Kamen Rider Blade is one of my favorite Kamen Rider shows, telling the epic story of the fight for humanity's survival against an onslaught of 52 monsters known as the Undead. The main character, Kenzaki Kazuma remains perhaps one of the bravest and heroic Kamen Riders ever, and truly deserved the SH Figuarts treatment. As one of the few Heisei Kamen Riders left to receive the SH Figuarts treatment, a lot of fans were worried about whether these last few Riders would ever even get made. Thankfully Bandai listened and heard our cries of concern and finally gave us the main Rider from the show.
And holy crap is he amazing.
One of Kamen Rider Blade's major themes is card suits. Blade is based on the Spade suit and that's pretty evident all over his body, which stamps the logo just about everywhere that has room. As far as Kamen Rider designs go, Blade is well armored and incredibly bulky, and the figure does an excellent job of conveying that. His legs and arms look like they are covered in leather with buckles and straps covering bits and pieces, and the armor parts pop with glorious metallic silver paint and a well buffered finish.
Blade's head is actually covered with a piece of clear plastic to more accurately mimic the real design and it looks pretty cool. It essentially pulls of the same trick that most Kamen Rider's compound eyes do, by having sculpted detail underneath a layer of clear plastic and it really helps make the edges and grooves of his design more accented and pop more.
Even the Kamen Rider Blade's belt, the Blaybuckle is incredibly well detailed and painted. Usually my camera has trouble focusing on smaller objects like a Kamen Rider's belt, but not in this case.
There's even paint on the bottom of his boots, plus a super smart cut for the toe joint.
Speaking of joints, Kamen Rider Blade's articulation is pretty freaking fantastic even by SH Figuarts standards. Using the newer Renewal style body, Kamen Rider Blade has a new set of hips and ankles that really go a long way to make this figure articulated in a more natural and effective way. The hips are similar to the hips used on the older figures such as Kamen Rider Kuuga, Agito, and Black. However the range of motion is much larger and the thigh swivel is much more effective.
The real groundbreaking development though are the downright ingenious ankles on this figure. It's kind of a mixture of the previous ankles used on various Figuarts. The top is a universal joint that is cleverly hidden by the armor piece. Then underneath that is my personal favorite SH Figuarts joint, the ankle hinge. Although the feet are not die-cast, the feet still feel incredibly robust and hold any pose with great ease.
That's not to say the rest of Blade's articulation isn't excellent. He has an amazingly deep ab crunch and brilliant shoulder pads that contour to any position the shoulders are in. The end result is a beautifully poseable figure that does not compromise sculpt for the sake of articulation.
As if the figure by itself wasn't good enough, Kamen Rider Blade comes with a downright ludicrous accessory count that puts most Kamen Rider Figuarts to shame. He comes with three pairs of hands along with one extra hand for holding things, holding things at an angle, and your standard splayed open hands.
With a name like Kamen Rider Blade, you would expect him to come with sort of bladed weapon, and he does! He comes with his signature weapon the Blay Rouzer. This may easily be one of the most beautiful SH Figuarts accessories I've ever seen. The sculpted detail along the side of the blade shimmers in a fine gold paint and just really dazzles despite its incredibly tiny size. There's even a small tampo detail of the Blay Rouzer's score counter for when you swipe cards!
Although Kamen Rider Blade is often the type to rush into battle with his Blay Rouzer in hand, a holster is also included. The Blay Rouzer just slips right in without any trouble at all. I love how well this holster works. It pegs right into the belt using a simple mushroom peg. The band is a softer plastic that lets the sword sway and flow with posing the figure. Plus the flexibility means you can easily make Kenzaki reach for his sword and pull it up triumphantly.
Yeah, sorta like that.
One of the major gimmicks of the Riders from Blade is that they all use various cards to do special attacks and Kamen Rider Blade comes with several features to mimic that. To start off, he comes with a small chunk of rock that you can use to hold the weapon in place, or simulate how he jammed his sword into the ground before doing a special attack. There's not much to say aside from the fact that it's a rock and that the sword just pegs right into it. It actually seems like a good idea for a way to just display the Blay Rouzer by itself as well.
The cards that Kenzaki uses are actually stored inside of the Blay Rouzer. Since having a card storing gimmick in such a tiny accessory would be ridiculous, this does the next best thing by swapping out a few parts. All you have to do is pull out the clear piece in the middle and swap it out with an optional piece that has all of the cards pulled out.
Now it's worth noting that this piece comes out of the box completely clear. You need to sticker each card individually. Originally I thought this would be a painful and frustrating process, but it was actually pretty straight forward. It took some time, but was easy enough to figure out. Plus the end result looks damn good from both sides.
With all of the cards splayed out, you can make a pretty dynamic pose of Kenzaki choosing his Rouse cards.
Now since cards are involved, Bandai went above and beyond and included a selection of the cards that Blade uses to perform his attacks. It is mind blowing how tiny these are and it's downright ludicrous. The last time Bandai did this was with their Kamen Rider Decade figure. Back then, the cards were printed out on a sheet of cardstock and you had to cut them out yourself. Not this time. These are all plastic and come to you in a tiny little baggy, ready for you to lose them.
Using the one special hand that Blade comes with, you can have him hold a card to several cards in a dramatic pose.
The print work on these cards is insane as each one is distinctly different down to the point where the card's bar codes are even all different!
As if all of this weren't enough, this figure also adds the cherry on top by including a Rider Kick effect part, and it's a very nice one. It's actually a multi-pieced assembly that uses ball joints to allow the parts to flow and move differently. It's the first time I've seen an articulated effect part and man does it work.
It just slips right onto Blade's foot and fits perfectly in place. And man does it look good.
Lately I've been less into SH Figuarts. I've become pickier between their increase in price and loss of die-cast. Despite that though, I can't deny just how freaking amazing Kamen Rider Blade is as a new release in the line. The new Renewal body used on these figures is incredibly articulated and effective, and hopefully a good indicator of what the line is going to continue doing from here on. If this is the level of quality that SH Figuarts is going to continue to push forward with, I'm more than likely going to get more. At the very least, they have me ready to get three more Riders from Kamen Rider Blade in order to finish my set.
|Posted 11 November, 2013 - 00:06 by Dkun|