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Toybox Review: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki - Mexinter.net

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Title : Toybox Review: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki - Mexinter.net
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Toybox Review: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki - Mexinter.net

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki 01

Release Date: March 2021
RRP: 5500 yen

The titular hero of a new Kamen Rider series being released at a cheaper price point is standard practice for the S.H. Figuarts line now, and for big multi-Rider shows like Kamen Rider Saber a good tactic to get collectors interested in completing the whole set. Phase two of the plan is to immediately follow it up with another retail release Rider at the more usual cost, in this case S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki. The second Rider to appear in the series, Rintaro Shindo was born into the Sword of Logos – fighting to uphold the organisation's values as the Water Swordsman. When the manipulations of the current Master Logos were finally revealed, Rintaro regained his resolve to fight and joined Touma against the real enemy.

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki Box 01

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S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki comes packaged in a nice blue and gunmetal grey box styled the same way as Saber's, albeit swapping out the fiery red for the watery blue of Blades' own elemental power. As well as getting a good look at the figure itself through the window, the front of the box is also covered with the cleverly designed Kamen Rider Saber font, reading out both the name of the character and the usual S.H. Figuarts tagline. On the back you’ll find some more images of the figure against a blue backdrop, showing just what the figure is capable of in terms of poseability and what accessories are included with the release. Open it up, and you’ll find the figure and accessories neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray.

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Although Kamen Rider Saber would soon expand into a variety of different Riders with their own unique transformation items, Kamen Rider Blades was one of the first additional Rider to be introduced into the series and thus shares a lot of traits with Saber himself. The Driver and undersuit are largely the same design (albeit very different colours), but the armour placed on top has been laid out quite differently. whereinas Saber sports a dragon head on his right shoulder, Blades instead wears a full lion head on his torso. Though the helmet shares the same sword blade "horn" design the visor gives it an incredibly different look – a crescent shape that protrudes further out on one side with two compound eyes peering out in the centre. It's a really interesting design that the figure allows you to study much more closely than the show did, however I have mixed feelings about the overall finish of the toy. Though it's pretty accurate to how the suit looks on the show, the swathes of unpainted blue plastic on the figure give it a rather flat, almost model kit-like finish – it's particularly noticeable on the lion head. Like Saber, Blades also has a number of soft plastic pieces attached to the body – namely the two loincloth pieces and the two draped cape pieces hanging from the shoulders. As the plastic is soft it is able to bend, but not so much in a way that it can hold a different shape without something pushing up against it. Complaints about the plastic's unfinished look aside the actual paint apps on the figure are very good, with the white sections on both the black upper body and silver legs crisply applied without any obvious blemishes.

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The Lion Senki Wonder Ride Book is removable from the Seikan Sword Driver, and can be inserted into one of two slots on the Driver. As was the case with Saber's Brave Dragon Wonder Ride Book, it has no stickers/tampographs on either side and has simply been done in blue and black plastic. A pity, but after what happened with Saber it was to be expected. It's just annoying that subsequent Saber releases seem to be getting much better at adding the Wonder Ride Book detailing to the figures, which is going to leave certain figures looking a lot barer unless you turn to a third party (such as SHF Upgrade) to fill in the details Bandai left out.

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As expected Blades has exactly the same base body as Saber, so the body structure and overall articulation are exactly the same. However thanks to the difference in suit design Blades actually comes out with far better articulation overall, even if the number of joints isn't any difference. Altogether Blades features; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso, waist and wrists
- Swivel hinge shoulders and ankles
- Drop down ball joint hips
- Double hinged elbows and knees
- Bicep and thigh swivels
- Single hinge toe sections
Additionally, both shoulder pads are connected via levered ball joints, allowing them to (minimally) raise up from the arm and twist around it. whereinas Saber had both a soft plastic coat tail and cumbersome dragon head over the right shoulder to deal with, Blades similar parts are kept to both the front and back of the torso – freeing both shoulders up for plenty of sword-swinging action poses as well as leaving the hips unrestricted. The stiffness that was present on my Saber figure was completely absent here too, with all the joints providing nice smooth movement straight out of the box. Sure there are soft plastic sections between the legs at both the front and the back, but they don't get in the way of anything when trying to pose the figure. At a push you could argue that the collar does get in the way of the head a bit when trying to pose Blades looking sideways, but overall it's a really nicely articulated figure that shows just how much suit design can change up how a figure moves even when the base body is the same.

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Blades is pretty much identical to Saber when it comes to accessories as well. Among what's included here are three additional pairs of hands (open, posed and weapon holding) to go with his closed fists as well as Blades' Suiseiken Nagare ("Water Current Sword Flowing Water") sword. The hands are similar to the ones included with Saber, but one of the open hands has been switched out for a more character-specific pair with pointing index and middle fingers. Of course, like Saber you also have to go through the fiddly practice of removing the hand guards and reattaching them to the hands each time you switch them. It's not a new practice from Bandai (it was common on the older Iron Man figures) but prior to the Kamen Rider Saber range it was something we hadn't seen for some time and so presumably phased out. The Suiseiken Nagare is another nicely moulded/detailed sword to add to the Saber collection, especially with its gorgeous blue translucent sections on both the blade and hilt. It's a shame that there's so much unpainted grey on the blade, but Saber's Kaenken Rekka was exactly the same.

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However much like the way Kamen Rider Vulcan included Zero One's Attache Calibur as an extra incentive, Blades also includes a pair of additional accessories that are of benefit to Saber as well. Said accessories are two miniature versions of the Kaenken Rekka and Suiseiken Nagare, designed to fit direct into each figure's Seiken Swordriver and replicate their respective transformation sequences. Naturally the smaller copies aren't anywherein near as detailed as the full-sized versions, but still have those really nice translucent plastic sections on the hilt with silver logo detailing. Arguably the Kaenken Rekka could have just been included with Saber in the first place, but that's just the way Tamashii Nations roll these days when it comes the primary/secondary Rider release dynamic. It could have been worse – at least the parts aren't coming with the bikes any more.

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Given that Saber himself perhaps only felt as good he is because of the lower price, I was curious to see how S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki would be given it's largely the same figure at a higher cost. And while a lot of the flaws (such as the unpainted parts and fiddly parts-swapping) are still present, the design of the suit alone allows Blades to come out as a far more enjoyable figure to mess around with and pose. I don't necessarily prefer Blades' design to Saber's, but as far as the figure alone goes I definitely had a lot more fun with this one. Whether it's enough to convince you to buy the whole lineup of swordsmen is another matter entirely (and ultimately depends on how much you enjoyed Kamen Rider Saber as a series), but even those unsure about the series might find themselves pleasantly surprised.



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