Virgo Shaka EX
Review by SentaiSeiya
Virgo Shaka, the man closest to God, is one of the 12 Gold Saints of Sanctuary. As the reincarnation of Buddha, he grew up detached from humanity and their insignificant strife. He is a Saint whose power is on another level, yet he fights in a minimalistic fashion. Shaka’s power knows few rivals.
During the Hades Chapter, Shaka was able hold his own against Aquarius Camus, Capricorn Shura and the super-powerful Gemini Saga. There is much to be said about how badass Virgo Shaka is, but you did not come here to hear me gloat about the character, so let's check out the toy.
The box for this figure comes covered in a nice glossy sleeve.
One of the sides has waht is quite possibly the photoshopped action shot in the line so far: Virgo Shaka performing the Tenma Kofuku.
Who would not want to pick this guy up after checking out this sweet shot?!
The actual box for this figure is designed to look like the Pandora Box of Virgo Shaka. I have become quite tired of shooting many of the same shots for all of the Gold Saints’ boxes, as three of the sides and the top for all of the Gold Saints’ boxes have the same design. The only side that is different is the one with the Saint’s symbol.
So I present to you the only the only side the changes from Gold Saint to Gold Saint.
The Object Mode for Virgo is a praying virgin, which resembles an angel with the shoulder pads spread back like wings.
The Object Mode for this release looks pretty spot on. The only thing I noticed was a little different is the head. In the anime, the head is tilted back further as if to look at the heavens, and has a face with is a light color that matches the wings and side pieces of the helmet.
The one thing I loved about the Virgo Cloth’s object mode is that it is super easy to put together. Many of the other characters in the series have constellations that are based of animals, mythological creatures and even inanimate objects. That means that for those Cloths, the pieces of armor end up in all sorts of weird places: chest plate on the back of figure, helmet as on the butt, etc. For the Virgo Cloth, however, this is not the case. Every piece of armor fits on the plastic female figure in the exact spot that it would fit on the body of the Saint. This makes the instruction almost unnecessary for putting together the Object Mode in this case.
The Virgo Cloth looks pretty darn good when worn by Shaka.
And it feels even better in the hand! This thing is chock full of diecast goodness. The pieces of the armor that are made of plastic are:
- The waist armor
- The covers for the back of the hand
- The helmet
That is it! The plastic content is so minute, that it almost doesn’t deserve a list. The fact that Bandai went crazy with the metal content on this figure made me quite happy, as the last release in the EX line, the Sagittarius Aiolos, had more plastic that I would have liked and made me think that Bandai was going to start cutting some corners in the future.
Making all of this metal content even more amazing is the fact that Bandai included two different sets shoulder armor for Virgo. One set of shoulder pads is composed of two solid pieces (used in the previous picutres); the other shoulder pads have three moveable segments.
This frees up Shaka’s arms to move up and also forward.
This allows Shaka to be posed holding his rosary forward; although it does look a little weird. It looks like he is sticking his arm out of a trap door.
But nonetheless, it is great that Shaka can show of his rosary. You know in case any of Hades’ specters decide to infiltrate your toy collection. Cuz they know better than to mess with Shaka.
Since we are on the subject of the rosary and Bandai including multiples of things, Bandai has also included two rosaries. The one with some of the beads darkened, flowing to the side, and one with all of the beads in regular color, in neutral position.
Each bead on Shaka’s rosary represents one of Hades’ 108 specters. If anybody is curious, yes there are exactly 108 beads on the toy’s rosaries (100 in the main body and three connecting the rosary to the three tassels.) In the series, the rosary symbolized the Saint's progress in defeating the 108 specters; as one of Hades’ underlings was sent back to the dark abyss of the underworld, so too would a bead turn dark. Since the rosary played was an important story element, it was nice to see that Bandai included it with this figure.
The face and hand count for this figure is also outstanding: nine sets of hands for all of Shaka's hindu-inspired posing and five faceplates, three of which have his eyes closed because Shaka rarely opens his eyes ( trust me, you do not want to be around when that happens).
Howver, I was a little bummed that Bandai did not include an extra hair sculpt for this character, as is hair usually flows outwards whenever he is performing an attack. Aries Mu, one of the other long-haired Saint that has been released in the EX line, had four different hair sculpts. Virgo only has two sets of hair, both flow downward; one is to be used with the helmet, the other without. One thing I would like to mention about the hair piece that is used when Shaka is wearing his helmet, is that it plugs into the peg on the base of the head. This causes the peg to not go in as much as it would without the hair piece. With the other figures, this is no big deal. However, with Shaka, the hair piece does not let the peg connect securely into the hole and can sometimes make the head fall off. This is just one more reason for not having Shaka wear his helmet, besides the fact that the side pieces of the helmet fall fairly easily and the fact that Shaka just looks cooler without the helmet anyways.
I was also a bit disappointed that Virgo Shaka's hair not as nicely detailed as some of the other Gold Saints' hair. For example, Aries Mu's hair looked a lot nicer thanks to more individuals strands of hair showing up in the sculpt.
So it is obvious that Aries Mu wins in the hair department.
As with the other EX Gold Saint releases, the EX Virgo comes with a nice three-piece, two-color cape.
Unlike with the other EX Gold Saints, the process of attaching the cape is not very straightforward. In Virgo’s case, the cape plugs into the same hole as the retainer piece for the solid shoulder pads. However, the cape connection piece does not have the same build as the retainer piece. So the cape cannot be used with the solid shoulder pads. The cape is to be used with the moveable shoulder pads. It also requires removing the clip on the back of this set of shoulder armor and attaching another clip in to this piece. After attaching the cape, the rear piece of shoulder armor goes over the connection point for the cape.
Besides being a bit more elaborate to set up than the other EX Gold Saints’ cape, having the shoulder pads over the cape restricts the movement of the cape.
It cannot flow as freely and majestically as it does on the other figures.
As for articulation, Virgo has the same great articulation as the other EX releases. This can be showcased when Virgo is in lotus position.
For posing Virgo Shaka in this form, Bandai has included a lotus-shaped stand, which uses the spare shoulder pads as adornment.
It is fairly easy to put Shaka into this pose, except for having to deal with the front skirt. It is actually much easier to get him into position and then attach the skirt, rather than trying to pose him with the skirt on and praying to Buddha that it does not fall off.
The EX Virgo Shaka is taller than the original release. The design and fit of the armor is much better than that of the original. It is also more accurate, as it lacks the gold trim and panel lines that Bandai added to the armor of the original. The gold used for the EX release is also a much more pleasing color to look at than the orange shade of gold used for the original. The head for the EX figure is a pretty much on par with the Appendix release. However, the EX Virgo gets bonus points for NOT having a giraffe neck, which the Appendix suffers from.
All in all this is superior to the original release with the Appendix head and is a TON better looking than original release, with its bright orange/yellow hair that left much to be desired.
The finish of this figure is really beautiful. The golden Cloth of the man who is closest to God is represented quite well. The fit on the other hand left me frustrated. The first couple of EX releases had a super-tight fit between the pieces of armor and the body of the figure. So much that it was a rarity to have to chase after a fallen or flung piece of armor. Virgo on the other hand suffers from hands that pop of rather easily, which allows the pieces of armor on the arm to free themselves from the figure. Also, more annoyingly, the front piece of the skirt armor falls off on its own…A LOT! Which make this worse is that the skirts on the side are rather finicky, and when those are being fixed… Guess what?! The front piece gets knocked in the process! Bandai used two longer clips for Virgo’s front skirt piece, which was a horrible decision. While some of the skirts on the other Gold Saints have their quirks, Virgo takes first place for most annoying.
Due to finicky nature of this figure, it is a piece that I will probably not handle too often. I will just find a good pose for Shaka and leave him be, because he does look great so long as everything is in its place.
|Posted 12 December, 2012 - 17:14 by SentaiSeiya