Monday, September 14, 2015

Review 14: S.H. Figuarts MetalGarurumon (Original Designer's Edition) Review

S.H. Figuarts MetalGarurumon (Original Designer's Edition)

(*I don't own these drawings*)
   Ok, so I’ve been trying to get my hands on this guy for quite some time. It always seemed to evade me, so when I saw a reissue on Bandai Japan’s site, I hopped on that preorder bad boy as soon as I could! Now, let me just get this out the way: “Childhood”. M to the F’n childhood, folks! Digimon was something my bro and friends would all rush home from school to watch. I was never one of the Pokemon fanboys, so Digimon was my thing as far as the Japanese monster “wars” was concerned, and no Digimon did I love more than Matt(Yamato) Ishida’s Gabumon. Dude turned into a series of badass tiger-wolves, man. At the end, you get a robot wolf pumped with hidden compartments all clad with more ice missiles to freeze a city block. How couldn’t you be in love?

   Unfortunately, there isn’t much personality and history to know about MetalGarurumon. If anything, you’d want to know about his first form, Gabumon, and his relationship with his partner, Matt. To make a long story short, they’re an awesome team. Plain and simple. The guys have tackled a bunch of foes together, and have been responsible for saving the digital world several times. Matt was the second-in-command of the DigiDestined team, being the calm, and collected guy. He was also the team lone wolf. *I know, I see the irony too*. He even split from the group once, even when Gabumon begged him to come to his senses. All in all, he helps everyone save the day, and his partnership with his Digimon earns him the Crest of Friendship, despite getting into a fight with his best friend. In the Digimon games, it’s a different deal. Wanna know it all about the monster? Be my guest:

Let’s get on with the Review!!

   I’ll admit it. I’m a big fan of this box art. It’s nothing really special…and I like it. Just a wolf in robot’s clothing with some ice shards. Straight to the point. I fell that even if you never knew him before, you can get the gist of what he’s about from a single picture. It gives you just enough photos with the effect pieces and accessories to convey the lowdown of what he can do. With the ongoing formula of the “Fire Hero” of the 90’s, it was nice to see an ice guy that wasn’t either just a temporary villain for the fire guy to overcome, of the main villain of the story.

Paint: Honestly, they get everything right with what colors should be. There is really one shade of blue on the “wolf” parts, with layered textures of purple to fill in stripes, spray in edges, etc. Even the metallic blue is more dark violet than actually blue with metallic gunmetal thrown in at joints and foot turbines, but they all conspire together to give the icy theme to the friendship wolf. Super dark maroon for the claws, metallic crimson for the thigh lights, and magenta for the tongue, snout and part of the eyes. Whites for teeth, and gleam in the pupils. As for the metallic gold about the neck, tail and torso…well, you need a hero’s look right? Blue and gold are natural hero colors, and a personal nod to Gabumon’s original color design. Lastly would be that…what I can only call and Easter Egg on his chest. The shade of blue and pink used for it stand out kind of sore thumb-like. They scream “look at me!” almost like there is something…hidden…in there…hmmmm. All things considered, I do have a personal issue: I am an advocate of black panel lines. I believe in them. I believe they bring out the color they cut across, and add dimension and dynamic to whatever it’s on. There is a serious lack in the color black at all here, with only catching it in the eyes, and the shoulder missile pods. No, it’s not the biggest gripe, and may not mean that much to others, but I think it would clean up some of the paint runoff…especially with the teeth and snout.

Articulation: Sssssssss, well…ok. Let’s start with what it has. The leg shoulder and hips work on double ball joint rod, allowing the legs a great range of motion almost good enough to crossover on each other. The waist and torso are also connected by a double ball joint rod, but with it being a closed space and all, don’t expect any extreme angles. All four leg joints are barreled, since they have to be. It was part of the original design. The front legs are hollowed out in the top and bottom sections enough to allow the connecting cord passage from articulation. Another double ball joint rod for the feet, with barreled joint for the toes. The missile pods are articulated to arc front to back about 90 degrees, and another joint to arc in and out about 10. The tail starts with a ball joint from the butt, and a rod intersecting a hole in the blade part of the tail. Wings are on these interesting raising/lowering platforms that allow them to peg in. the peg gives it free range to spin, with another intersecting rod to give them “flapability”. That leaves the head. Alright, let’s talk about that. The neck gets about maximum 10 degrees north and south, with about 1 degree east and west. Not a fan of that. The bottom jaw is on a hinge joint, with another double ball joint deal for the rest of the head, meaning the main part of the head is the bottom jaw, with the top being the secondary. It’s usually the other way around. What irks me is the range of motion from side to side…or lack thereof. That means I can’t get any poses of the figure looking at the camera, while the whole body is captured as well. I believe a good dynamic poses come from a good turning of the head, hips and torso. It makes the figure more alive.

Together at last.

Special Parts/Accessories: You get about 3. We’ll begin with the wings. Unpeg the outward half, and replace with halves with waves on them, and *BOOM* you get flying mode. A rectangular peg fits a rectangular hole in the roof of his mouth for the “Metal Wolf Claw” or “Cocytus Breath” attack. This is my personal favorite piece. Remember that Easter Egg? Well, plop it off, and replace with the opening Easter Egg that reveals the GaruruTomahhawk: a mean-looking missile straight from the heart. Last, you get a support piece, designed to fit under the belly of the beast for air posing. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an ample stand to take from another figure to do flying poses. Secondly, I didn’t really car for them.
We're gonna pretend that fire is real, real cold.

And what could be better than them together?

How about them...



Overall Score: 6/10. I had to knock him down some. There just isn’t enough when it comes to poseability. Call a spade a spade. The lack of options with his head are also a killer for me. Oh, it looks good alright, but it doesn’t move well. The fact that a dog can’t scratch behind its ear is kind of a letdown, especially for the reputation of Figuarts. Also, I think I would’ve forked over a few extra dollars for it to come with its own stand. Without it, you would need extra pieces around to add any kind of flair.

The "ALL DELETE" blade.

Such courageous friendship...

   So, how does this guy stack up to the rest of his Figuarts brethren? Not so well, admittedly. I mean, don’t get me wrong…this thing is awesome, but only in as awesome as a Figuarts figure in general. They’re all awesome. I got this thing for nostalgia’s sake, and to complete a section of my collection. Now, while technically, this isn’t the first quadruped figure I owned(the first being Rev Blade Liger), it certainly is the first, and possibly only dog figure I will own. As such, the poses require simultaneously more and less dynamics in balancing than a normal biped. But the question harkens still, “Should I buy this guy?” to which the answer is: only if you have WarGreymon. I’d love to say this thing is awesome all on its own. It isn’t, sadly. He shines the most next to his other half, WarGreymon. It’s the sad truth of being the 2nd favorite…to be in the limelight of the leader. However, if you’ve got the $50 to spend, and want a slice of 90’s anime gold on your shelves…then have at it. It’s not a bad figure by any means.

My current Digimon lineup. One more, and I'm finished with them.
   This was a win for me. With WarGreymon, and the next stage of Omnimon/Omegamon, this guy is all I needed to fill a void on the shelf. Now, my dynamic duo is complete, and when the new Imperialdramon is out, I can put an end to the wallet dents of Digimon. Time for me to put it back with its kin, and pick a new figure to review. I think I have a few good ones to choose from.

Happy Hobbying, everyone!!!