Astro Toy
SH Figuarts Akiba Red and Deka Red

by David Cabrera,

SH Figuarts Akiba Red and Deka Red
Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger and Special Police Dekaranger
Maker: Bandai
Cost: ~$40 each

So, as promised last time, this week tokusatsu returns to Astro Toy. And I want to get this right, you know, in a nice traditional sense. So what's the most essential, traditional thing about Japanese superhero shows? It's got to be a red ranger. So I went ahead and bought two of them. I have a good reason, I promise.

And would you look at this rainbow box, by the way? It's so 70s. I love it!

This is Akiba Red from Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger, a recent parody series by Toei themselves which used much of the staff that's worked on official Super Sentai shows. Every team has to have a kid-appealing gimmick-- animals, cars, pirates-- and of course Akibaranger's gimmick is that they're all hopeless otaku from the mean streets of Akihabara.

They transform using a moe PVC figure that turns into a gun (I wanted this transforming PVC moe-chan to be the Akibaranger column, but it's been sold out since it was first announced.), they ride in a garish itasha that turns into a robot... and the source of their powers is their own deeply held self-delusion. Great show, recommended viewing for any otaku.

Even Akiba Red's pointy helmet is molded after his disorderly otaku hair: those spikes are sharp enough to be used as a weapon!

Big Bro's my favorite Hurricaneger! Akiba Red!

If you're used to the Figuarts line by now there aren't really any surprises here: quality construction, good detail, high posability that enables us to re-enact any ritualized sentai pose, no matter how silly.

Pain is power!

Double joints in the shoulders, chest and abs move independently of each other, it's got all that. Aside from the Medicos Jojo stuff, I think this is presently the best line of Japanese posable figures in this price range. Go ahead, quote me.

Because we couldn't afford the $150 version here's the Akibaranger gun, the transforming Moe Moe Z-Cune. You can't really tell there's a girl in there: see the little ponytail? Behold the final attack, “Moe Magnum!” Aside from extra hands, a scarf, and the gun, this is a pretty bare-bones release as is often the case with Figuarts.

The scarf clips on at the back, and you have your choice between regular and “fluttering magnificently on the wind of justice”.  Please imagine an explosion behind Akiba Red.

I bought a release of Akiba Red that came with a separate box containing two additional stands: what this really is, of course, is a reminder in plastic to buy the other two members of the team, Akiba Blue (the tsundere) and Akiba Yellow (the fujoshi). Note the “A” “Ki” “Ba” katakana on the corners of the stands. These are just regular Tamashii Stands with Akibaranger logos printed on them. If you're lucky you'll still be able to find these stands: I was still able to find them at Otakon.

Like a lot of the other poses in this column, I went back and looked at the shows and tried to get the sentai poses right. This one can't quite crouch down the same way as on the show...

This is Deka Red from Special Police Dekaranger. Dekaranger's gimmick is that they're space cops.  I didn't just buy this because I felt greedy for rangers or anything, it's actually directly related to the other figure. Because the shows are (sort of) under the same banner, a few of the official sentai heroes make some very meta guest appearances in the show. And we can't just buy all three Akibarangers, so...

In Deka Red's case, he drop kicks sentai supergeek Akiba Red to snap him out of a depression, just like in that Dekaranger episode.

There are a couple more accessories here: the badge, the character's two guns (he is a self-described practicioner of Gun Kune Do)...

and, by Totally Sweet Kid Logic, the two guns combined into one gun. Which makes a better gun. Obviously. The badge and the guns can all be holstered, as well. I didn't take pictures of that because, well... I think I went a little over the top on pictures this week, huh?

The gimmick with these Figuarts releases of old red rangers is that each one comes with a weapon which they granted Akiba Red in the TV show. In Deka Red's case that's a set of giant handcuffs... which Akiba Red just kind of awkwardly hoists and bludgeons monsters with. The handcuffs open, close, separate, even clip onto the back. They're really quite nice.

The Deka Red toy isn't too far off from the Akiba Red toy, really. The bodies are similar, the quality is close. You'd be perfectly fine buying either one of these, or, likely, any of the zillion Figuarts that exist for the various Super Sentai teams. Of course,

Shipped by EMS from Amiami, we paid $86 for both figures. The other Akibarangers are available, as are the other red rangers who appeared in Akiba (Jetman's Red Hawk and the upcoming Bouken Red from Boukenger).  Each comes with additional weapons for the Akibarangers.

For the biggest, baddest Akibaranger fan around, there will be a giant, transforming Figuarts of Itasshar Robo in scale with the existing Akibaranger figures in November. It'll probably run you $400 shipped. Lord have mercy. Whether you make sentai for kids or sentai for grown-ups, it's all about selling toys in the end. The only difference is how much money you can make that fan spend at once...

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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