Souchaku Henshin Hibiki Kurenai

From Bandai’s Souchaku Henshin series (also known as Trans Armour/Armor), this is Kamen Rider Hibiki, Kurenai Form. From the Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Hibiki. Yeah, I’m (un)intentionally doing the long Mojo Jojo naming thing. Because Japanese imports are fun like that, with their multiple versions and stuff.

Anyway, in Kamen Rider Hibiki, our main guys are Oni (Japanese “Ogres” or “Demons”), who battle various monsters such as Kappa (the Imp from Final Fantasy 6 (3 in US)) and giant crabs. I caught a few random eps, but not enough to really give an opinion. It’s not the most well received series however, for its nigh TOTAL departure from the Kamen Rider aesthetic and a slower type of story (not that Kamen Rider ain’t given to slow stories…).

So, onto the figure itself, this is the series’ main guy when he powers up. His regular form is a blue/purple affair, but he’s able to engulf himself in flames and take on this red form. While I’m indifferent to the series, I got it ’cause A) It was on the cheap, as the store selling it is under the main distributor, so it’s even cheaper than in retail. B) I liked the oni concept, and thought it’d have good cross-play value with my Souchaku version of Momotaros (from the Kamen Rider Den-O series).

If I liked it, I figured I’d get Kamen Rider Zanki or Todoroki as well, who are based on the green one horned oni, and have dual Guitar-Spears.

So do I like it? Yup, but I ain’t getting Zanki or Todoroki. Here’s why. While Hibiki Kurenai is in no way a bad figure, I just don’t feel like I’ve got the right bang for my buck as it pertains to the Souchaku Henshin series. See, in Souchaku Henshin, normally you get these figures that you can put armor on, but Hibiki’s armor options are quite minimalist. I knew that about this figure going in, and thought I’d be fine with it due to reasons A) and B), but once I actually had it, it felt like I just bought a Power Ranger rather than a Kamen Rider. It doesn’t help that Hibiki in either powered-up form DOES look like the Red Ranger.

Nothing against Power Rangers, and in fact, this guy’s better than most Rangers you’ll see on the shelves. It’s got nice detailing, and the usual good Souchaku articulation. It’s also got a decent if somewhat lacking set of accesories (compared to other Souchaku). Actually, one thing I do like about Hibiki that you can’t see from pics is that he’s made from transluscent red plastic, it isn’t super transluscent, so you get more of an impression of transluscense rather than a wannabe invisibilitator, so that’s actually pretty awesome.

In the end, this is a good figure, but hardly the definitive Kamen Rider figure, and certainly not the definitive Souchaku Henshin figure. Recommended for fans of Hibiki, but if you’re just a casual buyer, you may want to get some other Souchaku figure. Souchaku Henshin Kamen Rider Hibiki: Armed Form is more conventional to the Souchaku style and gives you a big bang for your buck with plenty of die cast and armor pieces and accesories (all at the same price too), so you might want that if you’re looking for a Hibiki figure. If you must have a “regular” Hibiki series fig, I’d recommend Zanki or Todoroki, since they come with cool Guitar-Spears, or even this guy (but not the regular version of Hibiki). Just get one or the either though, no point completing the cast unless you’re a completist or really into Souchaku Henshin.

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