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Toybox Review: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva - Mexinter.net

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Title : Toybox Review: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva - Mexinter.net
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Toybox Review: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva - Mexinter.net

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: 8800 yen

Given that the same can be said of the original release all the way back in 2010, it shouldn't be all that surprising that S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva is a retail release. But then again, when far more prominent characters like Kamen Rider Ixa are web exclusive releases, you tend to expect the obligatory "Dark Rider" character with less screen time to get similar treatment. But as far as dark Riders go Dark Kiva is one of the most important ones of all, and Bandai Tamashii Nations have recognised this with another retail release from Kamen Rider Kiva. A powerful armour worn by the lord of all Fangires, much like IXA Dark Kiva had numerous users over the course of the series - first the Fangire lord King, followed by Otoya Kurenai and then later Taiga Noburi.



Continuing to stick to the same box design the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou range has been using since it started, Kamen Rider Dark Kiva comes packaging in a rather premium-looking two piece box, the top half of which features a nice big image of the figure against a white backdrop. Even from this (edited) picture alone you can see just how much detail there is in the Dark Kiva suit, suggesting that this is going to be a rather special release. The sides of the lid feature the words "Masked Rider Dark Kiva" in silver lettering. On the bottom half of the box you'll find a selection of images showing off the figure in various poses, and then inside the figure is neatly stored on a moulded plastic tray. Underneath that is also a much smaller tray housing all of the accessories.

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Is Kamen Rider Dark Kiva the most beautiful Kamen Rider costume ever made? Naturally the answer to that question is going to entirely depend on the person you're asking and their personal tastes, but in terms of colouring, detail and quality this suit would make a general top five (at the very least) easily. Kamen Rider Dark Kiva shares the same body armour as Kamen Rider Kiva Emperor Form, albeit with a different head and far more villainous colour scheme. Dark Kiva fully embraces the character's vampire motif, with blood red/black armour, black/silver wing-like cape pieces and a helmet which sees full bat wings spread from those piercing green compound eyes. The suit itself is absolutely covered in ornate sculpting and detailing, all of which has been shrunken down into this Shinkocchou Seihou release. Bandai Tamashii Nations have REALLY outdone themselves on this one. From the glossy sheen of the metallic red paint to the matte finish of the black plastic, every element of Dark Kiva is a feast for the eyes. The compound eyes are possibly the best Bandai have ever done on a Kamen Rider release -  they genuinely look like they're lit up most of the time. Of course the Shinkocchou Seihou range also brings with it luxuries like soft goods capes, with Dark Kiva's made from a thick black fabric with a plasticky silver in-line. The edges of the cape are wired so that it can be posed accordingly, and if you've ever messed around with one of these figures before you'd know that it's not always the easiest thing to get it looking natural though. Dark Kiva's cape being broken down into two smaller areas makes them a lot easier to handle though, so they're actually quite a good way to get used to this kind of wired cape.

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As was the case with Kiva's Kivat III, Dark Kiva includes an articulated Kivat II which can be detached from his Dark Kivat Belt. Unfortunately the Tamashii Stage adaptor piece Kiva also came with hasn't been thrown in here, so if you want to pose Kivat II flying freely then you're either going to have to borrow the adaptor that came with Kiva or find alternative means. As if Kivat III wasn't already impressive enough Bandai have somehow managed to make his predecessor even more eye catching - that black and metallic red paint job matching up with the Dark Kiva suit whilst those bright yellow eyes complimenting the gold highlights on the helmet (as well as the stored Fuestles on either side of the belt) perfectly.

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Given just how ornate the Dark Kiva suit is it would be fair to assume that the articulation on this figure might suffer. Those shoulder pads especially look like they could cause some issues. But it's worth remembering that on the show itself they started using Kiva's Emperor Form far more regularly than his standard Kiva form because it was easier to move about in. Since it's predominantly the same suit, the same could be applied to Dark Kiva - and when translating that to the figure itself this was just a roundabout way of saying its actually not as restricted as you might think. Altogether Dark Kiva features;
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso, waist, wrists and hips
- Swivel hinge shoulders and ankles
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinged elbows and knees
- Single hinge toe sections
- Bicep and thigh swivels
Then on top of that, the shoulder pads are attached via ball joints on raised, clip-on pieces in the usual S.H. Figuarts style and the bat wing breast plates also have a small degree of movement. Given how lavish the paint job is on this figure it would be remiss not to suggest erring on the side of caution when moving parts around too much just in case it rubs/chips the paint, but at the same time I moved the parts around plenty whilst shooting the gallery and never ran into any issues. The standard Kiva figure really exemplified everything that was great about the Shinkocchou Seihou range so it's not really that surprising that it's carried through to Dark Kiva, but continues to be just as satisfying nonetheless. The bicep and thigh swivels aren't sticky at all, the elbows and knees provide fantastic bends and there's even excellent ankle tilts despite the thick silver piece just above the foot.

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Although Dark Kiva is a pretty major player in Kamen Rider Kiva's storyline he isn't quite as gimmicky as the rest of the Riders from the series, so as such his accessory count is relatively small. Altogether he comes with four additional pairs of hands and six Fuestle accessories, each of which can be safely stored in the holsters on either side of the Dark Kivat Belt. The alternate hands are a selection of various posed hands, giving you the ability to pose Dark Kiva in most of his signature poses even in the absence of any proper accessories. The Fuestles are the same types included with Kiva (Wake Up, Doran, Buroon, Garulu, Basshaa and Dogga), however whereinas Kiva's were moulded in clear plastic Dark Kiva's have been painted a very fetching metallic gold. Although it isn't advertised in the instructions Kivat II still retains the Fuestle storage functionality, though the additional paint on both Kivat and the Fuestles themselves makes the intended slot a very tight fit. On top of that he doesn't technically have hands included specifically designed for the Fuestles, so getting them to fit in the most suitable ones can be a little fiddly.

Accessories is the one area wherein the original Dark Kiva release still outshines the Shinkocchou Seihou version, which to be honest is something that can be said for a lot of the older Figuarts in general really. The first release takes the prize because that did in fact come with both the Zanvat Sword and Jacorder - both weapons the various versions of Dark Kiva used in the series. At the very least it would have been nice to see the Zanvat Sword included as a Shinkocchou Seihou version of that exists (and will be coming with the forthcoming Emperor Kiva release), the Jacorder I personally wouldn't have expected to see unless Bandai FINALLY decide they want to release a Figuarts Kamen Rider Saga. Of course the trade off for the weapons is that you get a significantly better looking figure with various other gimmicks, but you could also argue that that's reflected in the price difference too.

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After a couple of spotty releases this year, it's great to see S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva returning the range to its usual high standard. It came to be expected really given that Kiva himself was a particularly good release, but in terms of aesthetics alone Shinkocchou Seihou Dark Kiva might just be the best S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider figure Bandai have ever made. At any other time the lack of accessories would be worthy of marking it down, but Dark Kiva really is a work of art. Between the ornate sculpting, the gorgeous colours, the soft goods cape and the fun little gimmickry of the Kivat II accessory it's hard to see how anyone would be disappointed with this release. Kamen Rider Kiva as a series was flawed in a lot of ways, but it's suits were always on point. And Dark Kiva is the best of them all.



That's the article Toybox Review: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva - Mexinter.net

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