Astro Toy SH Figuarts Kazuma
by David Cabrera, Apr 17th 2011
SH Figuarts Kazuma
Any of you guys remember s-CRY-ed? The 2001 shonen action anime was reasonably popular and made it as far as TV broadcast via Adult Swim. Wanna hear something weird? A few weeks ago Sunrise announced a tiny revival of this mostly-forgotten title, with a compilation called Scryed Alteration. In keeping with this tiny revival, Bandai has made a tiny release: an SH Figuarts toy of the series’ hero, Kazuma. Unfortunately, it's not worth the money.
Right out of the box, I'm not impressed. While the figure isn't off-model at all, production values don't look too hot. The paint job is completely flat. Detail in any place that calls for it (like Kazuma's face, or the metal bits on his jacket) is weak. It's not like the anime design was an intricate one in the first place: it's the handiwork of Gundam Seed’s famous Hisashi “Sameface” Hirai, after all! We are quite a way from the much more impressive Goku figure from a month or two ago.
Kazuma's a skinny guy and the body has great articulation. You won't have any kind of problem putting this toy in action poses, or mild stretching and heavy grimacing, as I've done here. Keeping it standing, on the other hand... we'll get to that. (The figure collapsed almost immediately after I took this picture.) The jacket, as expected, bends to accommodate him. I have very little good to say about this figure, if I'm using industry standard “bendy clothes” as a major pro. Pegs fit into holes, unlike last time, I guess! God, I'm reaching, aren't I?
Obviously the part that grabs the most attention is Kazuma's Shell Bullet armored arm, his “Alter” (a summoned weapon, sorta-ripped from the “Stands” of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) from the series. This part of the figure actually looks alright compared to the rest: the metallic paint shines in contrast to the dull tones of the character. This figure also makes me think of Jojo in that Medicos’ figures of those characters are so, so much better. Sigh. Have you guys seen the Dio figure that comes with a papercraft steamroller? Sigh.
I would be able to forgive a low-detail figure if the accessory loadout was strong (I find myself doing so regularly with the Figma line), but that's not the case here either. I admit that I barely remember s-CRY-ed, but even my vague memory tells me a couple of things. Kazuma didn't always go around with his Shell Bullet arm, and it is strange that he doesn't have a replacement “normal” arm.
Likewise, Shell Bullet had an upgraded form, and I was suprised that wasn't present either. It would only take an extra hair piece and spare arm, right? Guess what, guys! Kazuma's second form is not only a completely separate figure, it's an online exclusive variant that will cost you even more to import! That's right, a hundred bucks for a different front hair piece and arm. For a toy of this quality in this price range (the same as a Revoltech or a Figma will cost you, no small sum these days), I expect a lot more in this box than what we get.
Kazuma comes with closed and open hands, two increasingly angry faces (which, unfortunately, don't look so hot either) and another version of Shell Bullet with the parts opened up, which is perfect for “this hand of mine” kind of poses.. You can make Kazuma look angry, or angrier, or angrier than that. Not a lot of range here, though given the character, that's entirely fair!
Finally, there's the expected effect part: this goes into the back for a rocket propulsion effect, perfect for your favorite “AAAAAAAAH” scenes.
Still no stand (not the capitalized kind, ohoho), which is ridiculous. I know I complain about stands a lot on this column, but dammit, it's that important. It doesn't really matter how nicely the toy can pose if you can't keep it that way. I should note here that for figures like this, a lot of the poses I put the figure in for photos wouldn't last two seconds on your shelf before collapsing.
I don't know whether it's supposed to be a mercy or an insult that the figure comes with two decals intended to be placed on one of Bandai's stands (sold separately for about $15) to create a “Kazuma custom” base. Lines, written in Japanese, are from the show. Between this stand thing and the online variant, Bandai's just nickel-and-diming the fan here in more shameless fashion than usual.
I've reviewed two SH Figuarts toys for this column and liked them both a lot: Luffy had generous and clever accessories, and Goku had a superb sculpt. Kazuma has... neither of these. It's by no means a terrible figure, it's just frustrating.
The sculpt is not impressive (even compared to other figures in the same line!), the accessories are deficient, and the cost is as high or higher than other figure lines that give you more. I'd be much more forgiving at twenty dollars less, (so perhaps at a con, or order with wait-a-month shipping?) but this figure doesn't come close to justifying its cost. Unless you absolutely must own a figure of this character-- and it's unlikely you'll ever see another one-- pass, pass, pass.
Want the figure despite that advice? I don't hate you for disregarding me. Kazuma cost us about $50 after express shipping from Amiami.
When you're up against a good punch, try a good kick. Take this! SHOCKING CAT BULLET!
When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.
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