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Astro Toy
SH Figuarts Wild Tiger

by David Cabrera,

SH Figuarts Wild Tiger
Tiger & Bunny
Maker: Bandai
Cost: $75-$200

Last time I was asked if my review of the Madoka Nendoroid was coincidentally timed for the announcements about the show's US release at New York Comic Con. Nope! I know as much about major announcements like that as you do. At Astro Toy not only do I buy the figures myself (on ANN's dime, of course), but I do so months in advance. What's on the shelf that week is what goes up. And I'm bringing all that up because as you read this, it's nearly Halloween, and no, this will not be a themed Astro Toy. Unless we count “wearing a costume” as Halloween-worthy, in which case just about every Astro Toy is totally spooky.

(Tomorrow is my birthday, though. I'm probably partying hard as you read this.)

Festivities aside, here's a figure that I mentioned last week as being more elusive than the usual Japanese toy. When preorders opened for Madoka stuff (especially for an upcoming figure of another character), I had about three hours to put in preorders before all the importers took as many orders as they could possibly fill. When preorders opened for the Tiger and Bunny figures, the importers' sites all just crashed, and the figures were sold out in moments. Wild Tiger (Kotetsu T. Kaburagi) was the most sold-out of the sold-out.

How did I get ours? It wasn't exactly a hookup. I just went hunting in the first hour of New York Comic Con and snapped the figure up at $75: high, but with this figure fetching $200 at the time of purchase (it's back down to $100 now) I didn't hesitate to throw ANN's toy budget at that little toy booth in the artist's alley. I do this for you, Internet.

SH Figuarts has been a line of varying quality, especially the ones we've seen in this column: Goku was fantastic, Kazuma was awful, and the Pretty Cures were on sale. From what I've seen of the line, Bandai does a lot better with guys in suits and armor-- I really, really want the Kamen Rider Fourze figure-- so I was excited about this release. How's it look, then?

It looks gorgeous, actually. There's nothing I don't like here. Look at that gleaming pearl white paint! Look at those transparent green bits! This suit should be nice and glossy-- it's corporate-sponsored, after all-- and that it is. When I watched the show I wasn't crazy about the suit designs: this probably had a lot to do with the lackluster CG. Having the figure in front of me, though, really makes me appreciate how slick the design is. Now if only they'd had better CG...

The sponsorship is so important, by the way, that it's listed on the back of the box as a feature. I know logos for SoftBank-- and, in an ultimate-meta turn, the Figuarts line itself-- are vitally important to you serious TnB fans, and here they are. The decals they used here are really crisp: if it was Figma I'd expect splotches of paint or half-drawn letters. This figure retails at 4500 yen, which is about 1000y up from the usual Figuarts price, but it's got the production values to back that up: the figure itself is tall and, surprisingly, a little heavy.

Posability and range of movement are the same as the suit would actually have: because this is an armored power suit there isn't any issue with the presence of joints. They're supposed to be there, after all.

The trump card accessory here is a giant arm part for Tiger's “Good Luck Mode”. This replaces the right arm at the elbow and is, uh, pretty gigantic. Fortunately, this piece is actually very light. It doesn't offset the balance of the figure, unlike the super-heavy accessory on the Luffy figure from a while back. It's still a big piece of plastic, though: it's kind of a pain to get attached to the arm and it doesn't stick too well, either.

Though he stands well enough on his own, the figure comes with a very nice personalized stand for the character. Usually Bandai sells these stands for extra because they're cruel people, but given the high cost of the figure, everything is in the box this time. For once. The stand is a claw-type as is normal for Bandai stuff: no peg in the back here.

Rounding out the package are the usual replacement hands and the slick “Wild Shot” guns. These bits are really cool. Since they're supposed to “pop out” of the gauntlet (I assume), you remove that bit, attach the gun, and reattach.

I don't really know the show, I don't know the character (some of you will notice that I filled in that blank space with appropriate Street Fighter moves), but I really like this figure. $75 is crazy, of course, but Japanese toy prices are all crazy. I don't even know how to make value judgments on these things anymore when the prices are so high! On that note, Wild Tiger is really, really hard to get, as the figure is selling out as fast as Bandai produces it. Give it a couple of months, and I expect Bandai's North American distributor Bluefin will make it readily available... but right now it's on Amazon for a hundred dollars and you'd be mad to pay that. Wait a little while.

In conclusion, my name is Gentarou Kisaragi, and I'm gonna make friends with all the superheroes.

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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