Astro Toy SH Figuarts Cure White and Cure Black
by David Cabrera, Aug 7th 2011
SH Figuarts Cure Black and Cure White
Series: Pretty Cure
Cost: $30 each
Hey guys, I've got something to say: Whooo! Whoooo! Things have been busy lately. I'm just back from Otakon, which was one of the best I've had in years. It was great seeing everybody, including quite a number of my fellow ANN staff, and I was occupied and having an awesome time all weekend. Not much better than being tired out by fun. Also, the boys and I have put out the fanzine that will save anime, putting the number of times we've saved anime at about 30. And then I found there were, ah, toys on the shelf when I got home?
Once again, I invoke one of the column's guiding principles: extreme tonal shifts. Last week it was Kenshiro, and this week it's a pair of martial arts masters who are nearly as brutal in their murderous acts. Of course I'm talking about Pretty Cure!
Seriously, did you ever watch that show? Daisuke Nishio also directed Dragon Ball Z and the underrated Air Master: he's amazing at fight animation. And so it is that the Pretty Cure team are hands-on kinda girls, as likely to double drop-kick a monster in the face as they are to shoot a love-powered laser beam at him. Current seasons appear to crush about as many bones as the original Nishio-directed ones.
Anyway, figures! Because they didn't cost a lot of money, I'm bringing you the inseparable team of Cure Black (Nagisa) and Cure White (Honoka).
As a reviewer, it's kind of exciting to review SH Figuarts stuff because I never know exactly what I'm going to get, and can't really tell until I sit down with the toy. Revoltech is basically consistent, Figma a little less so. Figuarts, on the other hand, who knows? Bandai is capable of amazing work, especially on masked and armored heroes-- check out Garo!-- but they can put out total crap just as easily in the same line. The last time Figuarts was on Astro Toy, we did Kazuma from s-CRY-ed and found an underwhelming and overpriced toy. So this time, I bought some Figuarts on sale. Will Figuarts be worth it on discount? We'll know soon!
Sculpts are good: of course, a magical girl's dress is her trademark and essential. On both characters every frill and ruffle is nicely sculpted. All we have to complain about with the paint are some tiny errant spots around the ribbons. Cure White's hair and both characters' skirts are bendy plastic rather than solid, to more easily accommodate poses.
You'll notice the usual issue with action figures of small girls like these right away: the joints on the elbows and knees are very visible. It's one thing for big dudes like Kenshiro: his sheer muscle mass hides the joints. And of course, robot toys are usually supposed to have the joints where they are! Obviously, it's not so for these characters: the joints even look a little too big for the elbows. There's not a lot to do about this, especially on Cure Black, whose elbows and knees are bare. Of course, articulation is superb, and I'd accept no less for a figure of these tiny ass-kickers.
Accessories are standard: we have additional facial expressions, open, pointing, and closed hands. They wouldn't be real heroes if they couldn't point while scolding evil.
Cure Black comes with something cool that is also clearly a ploy to sell both figures as a set: the joined hands of Black and White for the Marble Screw special attack. I don't think anybody tested this feature. The hands and faces are already smaller than usual: my big nerd hands have a tough time getting these toys apart, even with the help of Revoltech pliers.
This hand, though, is the worst of them: good luck getting it onto both figures at the same time without it popping off one of the two. Plus, again, it's tiny, plus, again my hands are big. Without exaggeration, I believe I spent an hour setting up this picture. Cure Black's detachable plastic sleeves (you'll note I just pulled One Off for this shot) make this even more aggravating. Absolutely rage-inducing. A pair of joined arms would have done the same job with a lot less swearing from me.
By the way, massive, spiraling cookies-and-cream energy blasts are also not included. Oh well, what are you gonna do?
Hey, did you notice? We finally got Figuarts toys that come with stands! They're just like Tamashii Stands, except tiny and heart-shaped. I have never gotten to play with a Tamashii Stand, but this appears comparable. Maybe it's even a better deal than than paying $30-40 for a Tamashii Stand? That is, if you don't mind the heart. I'll probably keep these for future Figuarts releases: I'm sure Kamen Rider will look great Rider Kicking from atop a giant heart.
These figures are definitely better than Kazuma, but they're not still not on the level of the Goku figure from a while back either. I'm not nearly as hard on them as with Kazuma because of the heavy discount. For $50 these are still severely priced toys, but we paid $60 for the pair. At $30 apiece these characters start to look a lot more sane. The exchange rate has really changed everything. Hey, guys, remember when Figmas and Revoltechs cost $25-35? 'Twas a different time. Sigh.
The Cures are on deep discount at HLJ right now: for $59 shipped the pair is very reasonable. Individually, well... about $40 shipped, a little closer to the standard Japanese action figure price.
When I started on this article, “Neco-Arc gets Tony Jaa kneed in the face” was really the only sentence on my mind.
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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