Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: S.H. Figuarts Sky High by Justin

By Justin

Introduction: Keith Goodman is a simple man. Mild mannered and polite, he loves jogging in the park with his Golden Retriever, John. Oh yeah... and he's also Sternbild City's wildly popular superhero, Sky High! Now, I have to admit: I've always had a soft spot for rocket men. From the Rocketeer to Boba Fett, there's something fascinating about armored warriors soaring on jet-powered backpacks. Therefore, Sky High was a natural choice for my favorite hero on the anime series Tiger and Bunny. He is a "Next" (or person with special powers) with the ability to conjure up powerful gusts of wind at will. He is also (at the start of the series) the "King of Heroes" several years running. You see, he's part of a reality show called Hero TV. On this show, several heroes compete to rescue citizens, thwart bank robberies, etc. Each successful heroic act awards the hero points. The hero with the most points by the end of the season are given the title "King of Heroes". So basically our friend Mr. Goodman is the best there is at what he does. Or, is he?
Packaging (5/5): The packaging for S.H. Figuarts Sky High is very attractive. It's bright and very crisp, with the pictures and lettering being somewhat reminiscent of a comic book. Sky High's name and picture are on the front (of both his hero and secret identity), and there are promo shots on the back. The promotional shots are particularly useful in that they show you the poses that are possible for the figure.

Sculpt (5/5): Perfect. Every armor groove, every sharp detail, every fold on his oversized skirt- Sky High's incredible sculpt is faithful and incredibly detailed. The figure actually surprised me with its intricacy. His helmet, jetpack, and shoulder pads in particular. Parts that are normally hidden by he hinged skirt (the pants and the tops of the boots) are nicely done as well, with grooves and thin seams all over. He is excellently proportioned, and looks very majestic when striking some of his more dramatic poses. All in all, a perfect traslation from the anime.

Paint (4/5): Sky High has a lot of different colors on him, including purple, aquamarine, copper, black, and a metallic blue/grey. For the most part they are expertly applied, with many small details accented excellently. However, there are instances of slop here and there which keep the figure from recieving a perfect score. The names of Sky High's two sponsors (USTREAM and Tamashii Nations) are crisply applied and look very nice.

Articulation (4/5): Sky High has all the articulation we've come to expect from S.H. Figuarts with a few surprises. He has a ball jointed neck, quadruple shoulders (consisting of a ball joint inside the torso section as well, a swivel/hinge in the shoulder, a separate hinged piece connecting the shoulder pad, and a ball joint for the pad itself!!!), upper arm swivels, double hinged elbows, double ball jointed wrists, a mid torso ball joint, a ball jointed waist, a hinged jetpack, Tamashii's trademark shifting ball joints in the hips, hinges for each side of the skirt, double hinged knees, triple jointed ankles (consisting of a swivel at the lower calf/ankle and two swivel joints allowing side to side and front to back movements), and one incredibly useless toe joint. For the most part the articulation works perfectly However, there are some minor issues that detract from the score. The separate collar piece hinders the neck movement somewhat. Also, some parts are prone to falling off for no apparent reason. The hinged shoulder pad holders and the kneecap are particularly problematic. Also, the hinged skirt pieces look unnatural at times in certain splay-legged poses. All in all, a tad disappointing. Definitely not a deal breaker, though.

Accessories (5/5): Sky High comes with decent amount of accessories including: separate thruster sections with flames shooting out to simulate flying poses, several sets of hands (including chop/salute hands, dramatically splay-fingered hands for the wind ball attack, normal splay-fingered hands, and, of course, default fist hands), an alternate face plate with a broken fin to simulate when a certain villainous character broke the tip off, and a nice Tamashii stand to simulate flying poses. And of course I have to mention the last accessory.... A nearly microscopic fin tip for the broken head fin. This is by far the most useless accessory I've ever seen. I'm not even going to bother removing it from the little plastic square it came attached-to. However, since this is an extra it does not effect the score in the slightest.
Watch Out! The shoulder pads and kneecaps have tendency to fall off. This could lead to them getting lost. Also, the fintip accessory will likely vanish if removed from its little plastic holder.
Overall (4.5/5): Though there are some minor problems (the aforementioned loose parts, the paint slop etc.), they amount to nothing more than nitpicks in regards to such a nice figure. S.H. Figuarts Sky High is, overall, an impressively detailed and articulated figure with a nice amount of accessories that add quite a bit of variety. I highly recommend it to fans of the character and the anime, Tiger and Bunny! Between this and the excellent Wild Tiger, I'm starting to love this subline. I'm looking forward to Lunatic in August!

In the words of our favorite Sternbild rocketman:  "Thank you, and again, thank you!" 


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