A fine blend of all things Nuts: Multimedia Collections, Toys, Foods, Concerts, Occasional Petting Zoo Visits, etc.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Shogun Mode Red Samurai Ranger (2011)

My dog actually got ahold of this one. No, not because I intentionally gave it to him 😑  If you've read enough of my stuff, you'll know I tend to really like BoA figures. And, this one in particular is great for fans of both Samurai and Shinkenger. If you like the former, and the aesthetics of this form, get it. The shoulder pads can swivel out of the way to a very nice degree, but if you're fine with the plastic of those and the fixed hip-skirts warping to the shape of a desired pose, you can do most anything you'd like with it. For those of us who devote ourselves to the latter, the accessories are where everyone's interests come together. The Mougyuu/Bullzooka is not painted like the Figuarts version that comes with Super Shinken Red, but this is the only way you're going to get one at this size. It combines with the included Mega Blade to make a decent Shogun Spear and if you've got one of the regular Super figures, you can slap a Super Spin Sword in there for Super times~

I did it for the dual-wielding:

4 Destruction Strewn Heretic Paths out of 5

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Souchaku Henshin Kamen Rider Den-O Liner Form:
Nogami Ryoutarou (2007)

One could argue that any version of Den-O that they possess is good enough to encompass and represent Ryoutarou himself. However, for me, to be 100% respectful to the character and his growth, there are only two options: Liner OR Super Climax. While Blade’s King Form is undeniably the most gorgeous Souchaku Henshin I know of, I’d have to argue that this one is the most functional and solidly made that I’ve experienced. The Figuart wasn’t around when I had this and frankly, yes, you should go that route now that you can. Still, this looks much less bulky than earlier SH figures and if you have the taste for these predecessors, it remains a very nice option. There are even molded holding-hands included, since I know the thought of SH hands holding the DenKamen Sword will concern those in the know.

If I were to nitpick, I’d argue it should have come with a DenGasher in sword mode. Not only did he use it before the death of Plat Form, but he also used it in Saraba, where he was intentionally made to drop the DenKamen Sword, symbolizing his independence. I really can’t complain with a straight face that the blade of the latter doesn’t come off to emulate the Ryuutaros encouraged finisher from the combined finale. I’m sure most can settle for throwing it with the help of a Tamashii stage, which was also done.

Ore-tachi, sanjou!!

4 Heavy Burdens to Bear out of 5

S.H. Figuarts Shinken Blue and Shinken Green (2011)

I have no idea why, but they went absolutely apeshit with hands for all of the exclusive Shinkengers. I’m not even going to attempt to tell you what they’re all for. All I know is that, just like the regular releases, they have everything necessary to hold the stuff they come with. As for the rest...Ryuunosuke is apparently the posing-est motherfucker on the planet. But, hey, that doesn’t really qualify as a complaint. If you can afford these and you want them, the rank-and-file boys are great. Let’s see, we’ve got:
  • Shinkenmarus
  • Shodophones in Brush mode
  • Their Origami in Emblem and Live modes
  • Their signature weapons:
    • Water Arrow
    • Wood Spear
I wish there had been a way to work the spear into the tray. Actually, it’s an exclusive, why couldn’t they give it its own tray like Takeru’s Rekka Daizantou? I was always leery about it, but it never warped, so it was ultimately fine.

A lot of people hate the shoulders and while they are weird to work with and can create gaps if you aren’t conscientious about the near-floating cover pieces, I was never overly annoyed by them. 
Given the overall quality of the figures, they’re FINE.

4½ Awkwardly Sticky Situations out of 5

Friday, February 24, 2017

Figuarts Zero Kuroko (2011)

These kurokos came with the initial releases of Shinken Red and Gold. That’s actually quite convenient as having them bookending your line-up makes for a very clean display. There are Shiba clan banners on the back of their boxes that you can cut out, if you’re so inclined. Honestly, the only real drawback is related to that: the packaging isn’t collector friendly. You can re-encase them in the bubble-wrap, sure, but those bags aren’t going to un-tear themselves until the universe re-contracts upon itself. In less ridiculous news, the sculpting is basic, but being mostly comprised of cloth undulations, it’s still decently impressive.

It’s hard to complain about free things. Unless we’re talking about Unkh -_-

4½ Under-appreciated Helpers in the Shadows out of 5

S.H. Figuarts Sieg Imagin (2009)

While Ryuuta and Kin’s exclusivity was a surprise, Sieg’s decidedly was not. Look at the picture, right now, and realize that you aren’t getting much for your money, here. Splayed hands, fists, and one to hold his coffee. The cup doesn’t quite match the one he’s using in the finale, but it’s nothing more than a slight embellishment of it, so that’s a-ok. Especially considering he actually got one! They definitely should have picked a different picture for the box, or given him a pointing hand, though. One or the other, Bandai!

The rub, for YOU, not me, is that Sieg is in fact a show Imagin. There is no getting around this. He is not a movie exclusive. This is based on undeniable realities, not my usual fan-theorizing. If you’re getting Ryoutarou’s Imagin, the imperative is in place to get Sieg. I could apologize, but I’m not going to, because I adore him. As brief as his time is, he has an arc and a role to play in theories about the nature/symbolism of Kai. He is Den-O’s Sixth and he executes that part to perfection.

Be mindful of every Imagin’s kneepads. If you’re willing to risk potential future sales, carefully gluing them in is an option.

4 Names Shamefully Not Called out of 5

Thursday, February 23, 2017

S.H. Figuarts Shinken Pink and Shinken Yellow (2011)

The score below will be for Mako and Kotoha, as I never ended up opening Kaoru before selling her. However, there’s still some things I can mention that warrant bringing her up as a talking point. There’s a glaring problem with the Shinkenger ladies, given that they were the first female Sentai Figuarts produced. I’m usually fine with skirts to the point that I tolerate them hindering articulation. I can normally forgo dynamic poses as long as Bandai is actually producing the female figures.

However, these are Figuarts and so I cannot judge them the same as I would BoA figures or vinyl figures. I have to hold them accountable for their articulation, because that’s part of their M.O. If you want to have these utilize their full range of motion, you have to rip them in half and install broken-up skirt pieces to allow that. I find it excessive and a little unsettling, to be completely honest. The final result is really ugly, to boot. Later Figuarts ladies made a much better compromise. In line with this, know that Shinken Pinks are known for having insanely tight hips that can break if you force them too quickly.

If you’re going in on the entire team and you can live with the women standing mostly upright, these at least do look absolutely stellar with their intact skirts. I’ll list Mako and Kotoha’s accessories below the cut, but Kaoru’s merit mention now: she includes everything Takeru does, except for Shishi Origami. That’s a bit baffling, along with the fact that her Rekka Daizantou is exactly the same instead of being in Oozutsu Mode, given that Takeru’s doesn’t transform.

2 is the Norm, but Having Three Every Time Would Be A-OK With Me out of 5

S.H. Figuarts Kintaros and Ryuutaros Imagin (2009)

Seemingly because of Urataros’s shabby sales, Kin and Ryuuta were relegated to being exclusive releases. While this is disappointing, the one positive spin that can be executed is that the two most detailed and utterly beautiful designs were the ones shoved behind the additional-pay wall. Kin is staggeringly gorgeous rendered in plastic and was tight across the board. His fur is hard plastic and Ryuuta’s coat and trappings are made of a rubbery sort that still veers closer to being hard than soft. They are hinged. I acknowledge that this is a problem for many folks, but for me personally, it is something that I ultimately prefer. Ryuutaros is more than capable of laying on the floor next to Momo’s dining-car table, with his legs bent up. I’d rather he be able to color there than be seated. I know that’s not the case for everyone, though.

While both come with their weapons and tons of hands, and Ryuuta has his ponytail and headphones, there is one great crime: they don’t have their coffees! I’d honestly be pretty close to begrudgingly okay with them being exclusives if they had both had that crucial accessory. How did they give it to the regular releases, but not these? It boggles the mind.

I personally believe that figure collectors need to invest in dollhouse miniatures and while I doubt you could find appropriately decorated coffee cups, you can at least track down some 1:12 scale crayons and a coloring book, like I did. Shit, use a scrap of paper for the latter. Ryuutaros deserves it.

Be mindful of every Imagin’s kneepads. If you’re willing to risk potential future sales, carefully gluing them in is an option.

4½ Acts of Violence Perpetrated on Child Characters Capable of Defending Themselves out of 5

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

S.H. Figuarts Shinken Red, Shiba Takeru (2011)

Outside of having the Rekka Daizantou, Takeru is pretty basic as a Figuart. Regardless, the Shinken Red suit is iconically Sentai, in my eyes. Plus, he’s the only other Shinkenger who got a regular release. Consequently, there’s not much to complain about here, in terms of what comes in the box, at any rate. There are hands specifically for everything included: a Shinkenmaru, a Shodophone in brush mode, the Rekka Daizantou, and Shishi Origami both in emblem and live mode (Hi, W <3). The Rekka Daizantou (yes, I will say it as much as possible) is hollow and consequently works just fine in his hands. The Figuarts Blade Blade, however, stretches them out and is generally an ultimate pain. It’s a shame, but it shouldn’t be enough to dissuade someone from picking up this figure. In terms of getting the sword itself, sure, it may be a deal breaker.

If you’re the kind of person who only buys Reds (please don’t be), you should be very happy with this one. Though, be aware that his Super and Hyper versions were made and released, as well. They LOOK really good, but I’m not qualified to make any statements beyond that. Also know that Kaoru was produced, but was an exclusive.

A lot of people hate the shoulders and while they are weird to work with and can create gaps if you aren’t conscientious about the near-floating cover pieces, I was never overly annoyed by them. 
Given the overall quality of the figures, they’re FINE.

4½ Properly Existing Paper Airplanes out of 5

S.H. Figuarts Shinken Gold (2011)

I know I’ve said that I try to avoid talking about Shinkenger Figuarts, but really there’s no reason not to when I can boilerplate the one talking point I have to bring up each time. Here it is:

A lot of people hate the shoulders and while they are weird to work with and can create gaps if you aren’t conscientious about the near-floating cover pieces, I was never overly annoyed by them. Given the overall quality of the figures, they’re FINE.

Genta is very much like the other male figures, except that he’s one of the two that got a regular release. The excess stock even made it to American Toys R Us shelves during Samurai’s run. His accessory count is INSANE given that: fists, relaxed hands, hands for holding the Sakanamaru, a hand for DaiGoyou’s jiite, DaiGoyou himself (covered here), the Sushi Disk, and both Ika and Ebi Origami!!! Things get really nutty when it comes to the Sakanamaru. You get the minimized form for the back of his belt, the weapon itself, the sheath, AND a fused version with the blade halfway out of the sheath. This is only fitting given his iaido style of swordsmanship, but it REALLY wasn’t necessary when they could have just hollowed out the regular sheath. There isn’t an open Sushi Changer, but you’d be crazy to complain about that with this much stuff already present at a regular retail price.

Without question, worth every cent. Almost for his accessories alone!

5 Almost Overshadowing Offshoots out of 5

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

S.H. Figuarts Urataros Imagin (2009)

If you’re going to buy Figuarts Imagin, you have to be okay with a lot them being exclusives. Though, that was the fate of virtually all non-Red Sentai Figuarts, so while irksome, it is pleasing in a proof-of-concept sort of way~ Why was this the case, though, given how popular Den-O is in Japan? Well, it’s ostensibly Urataros’s fault. Both iterations of Momo seemingly sold perfectly well, but this perverted turtle only set fire to the shelves in as much as he warmed them to a large degree. I will always believe that a Figma (or a Chibi-Arts) of Ura-Ryoutarou would have sold like gangbusters, but that is not the reality we have come to inhabit.

In terms of flaws, the only real one is, very unfortunately, the head-sculpt. It’s a bit mushy around the mouth. Otherwise, this is a very sound release that includes everything you really need: signature posing hands, holding-hands for his included rod, and his coffee. I suppose giving him his dining-car fishing rod would have been a nice touch, but the version he himself turns into in the Chou Den-O Trilogy comes with one of the iterations of New Den-O, so there’s that, I guess?

Even if there is a lot of blame surrounding this figure, that’s really on consumers’ heads, not Ura’s or his figure in and of itself. As much as one should go all in, if they’re going at all, there is a kind of logic to having Momo and Ura wrestling as part of a display.

Be mindful of every Imagin’s kneepads. 
If you’re willing to risk potential future sales, carefully gluing them in is an option.

3½ Tool-Assisted Rider Kicks out of 5

S.H. Figuarts Momotaros Imagin DX Set (2009)

Yes, every henshined form of Den-O has a Figuart, at this point. Though, if pressed, I’d have to admit that outside of Super Climax, which is one of the most glorious suits I’ve ever seen, the individual Den-O suits are probably, aesthetically, my least favorite in Rider. The Imagin themselves, however? Wonders of paradoxical beauty. Show them to a Westerner with no context and I guarantee you they’ll say they’re creepy. How can you be creeped out by these lovable goofballs if you’ve seen them in action, though?

Their figuarts are almost universally fantastic. Momo here can be bought individually or in this DX set, which contains a DenLiner booth! If you’re going all in (which, you probably should), this is the way to get him. INSTANT DISPLAY. Ryuuta on the floor coloring, everyone else seated. Or, choking each other~ You get posing, holding, and rage hands, his sword and his coffee. He looks a little overly cheerful, but unlike Ura’s facial aberration, I’m glad to see Momo happy.

It’s been a while since I had this set, but looking at this picture of mine it seems like he came with cardboard versions of his sunglasses from Climax Deka, and the NO FIGHTING and Ore Sanjou! signs from the show. Good luck getting the former to stay on his head, but hey, the thought is very nice.

Absolutely wonderful in either iteration. Just be mindful of every Imagin’s kneepads. If you’re willing to risk potential future sales, carefully gluing them in is an option.

4½ Stars Fine With Sharing the Spotlight No Matter What They Say out of 5

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ultra Pro One-Touch Magnetic Card Protector ()

The biggest rub with this is that it's less """air-tight""" than screw-down frames. This is a natural consequence of its defining feature: a magnetic closure. If this were a display case for anything else, I'd rage. It's a card holder, though, and intensely easy to crack open every once in a while to clean away the minuscule amount of detritus that'll get in, or simply switch the contents out. The card I put in it was about 20¢. I wanted it to feel special much moreso than to be completely impervious to dust. If you want to put in two cards back to back, you can, but it'll only increase the seam between the halves.

It supposedly helps with UV damage, if you're the kind of person to have windows that aren't completely covered in light-blocking curtains. And, to put your things next to them.


3 Good Enough Solutions out of 5