I’ve got 5 Aces.
I’ve got 4 Kings.
CHEATER! I have a King in my hand!
First off, thanks to Fanmode for linking here. They’re a great resource for finding pics and reviews of various toys.
Today I want to talk about one of my favorite toys of all time. This is the guy who got me into Souchaku Henshin/Trans Armor figures and probably into the whole Japanese thing as a whole. And as such, isn’t exactly the newest figure around. That’s Bandai’s GD-65 Souchaku Henshin Kamen Rider Blade.
Okay, I haven’t actually watched Kamen Rider Blade ‘cause I heard it was quite slow. So this part won’t talk about the story too much but will tell of how I came about this fig. Which is no big deal really. I’ve heard about the Souchaku Henshin figures for a while, but was never interested. Then I saw this guy on sale at retail, so I decided to try ‘em out. Once I got him home and out of his box, I was immediately hooked. Souchaku Henshin Blade was and still is, in a word, awesome.
As for the story of the series itself, it’s really very interesting. Years ago, there was a tournament amongst the various species/Undead for dominance of the planet. The Human won, thus our dominance. But now the tourney is starting up again, and the 52 Undead are at it again. Blade himself is a guy named Kenzaki, who is an out and out goodie goodie.
So despite being an old series, I’ll refrain from spoilers and end this part here. Though I must say, some of the events ARE rather neat.
I’m going to go with a more conventional review format here, because my style lately is way too all over the place anyway. As usual, I’m using “Looks” in place of “Sculpt”. Like with the Motion Revive Series, this is appropriate, as these aren’t McFarlane style toys with loads and loads of intricate detailing. With the Souchaku style, there’s also some liberties taken in terms of the sculpt, but in exchange we get a pretty good representation of the character as seen on TV.
That said, Blade is pretty well detailed. With an almost fantastical wild west feel to to him with the rivet details on his limbs. Sure, he’s a tad plain without his armor on, and without the armor, you can see a protruding piece of plastic on either shoulder where you’re meant to attach his shoulderpads to. He also has a shrunken head that doesn’t much look like his actor, but that’s par for the course for Souchaku figs.
Of course, you’re supposed to display them WITH their armor, or at least their helmets. Even with just his helmet on, Blade looks awesome. Plain, but awesome. And once you’ve got the main armor on, the result is nothing short of elegant. I’ve always liked the design for Blade, especially after the wildly un-Kamen Rider-esque of series Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Hibiki. Blade himself is my favorite as I feel he’s the most balanced of the bunch. His design is both simple yet superhero-y. He returns to the bugged eyed insect thing, and the Spade Suit card theme is well integrated without being overt. And GD65 manages to capture all this extremely well.
He might not be flashy, he might not have lots of wrinkles or deformed muscles and eroded edges for that gritty feel, but he’s a well balance, visually appealing figure. Less is more in this case. Less also means there’s less room for nitpicking. As I can’t fault Blade for missing some small obscure detail that should be included. I’d give him a perfect score for looks, but since he’s an ACTION figure, he’s not gonna have a super smooth seamless body, coupled with his general minimalist look, he scores high, but not perfect.
**** out of ****.
The pics in this post speak for themselves. This is one articulated son of a gun! And believe you me, I’ve put him in some extremely dance off-ish poses during play. He isn’t as poseable as the newer Souchaku Henshin bodies like Platform or Momotaros, but he’s no slouch even in this day and age. What else is there to say really? The little guy even has articulated fingers!
Okay, I admit it. At this point, it’s getting late where I am, so I wanna wrap this up soonish. So here’s his score.
**** out of *****.
It occurs to me that I should have described what Souchaku figures are. This really should have been done up top, but I only just thought of it and it’s somewhat related to this section.
The Souchaku Henshin, aka Trans Armor figures are MANLY, MACHO, and all around MASCULINE… barbie for boys.
It’s a basic figure that comes with lots of DIE CAST metal armor and some plastic parts and accessories. The figure is usually pretty simple, though with some detailing on the limbs and maybe some paint detailing here and there. Even with the Kamen Rider’s signature helmet on, they can be a little plain as noted in the Looks segment, but once you put on their armor, they do a pretty darn good job of representing their TV counterparts.
In Blade’s case, he comes with his helmet, shoulder pads, his main armor which he actually WEARS, fore arm and shin guards and even cowboy heel spurs. He also comes with a holster (not sheath) for his sword, a roll of cards, a Rider Buckle for his belt and if memory serves me correctly, a buncha cards with stickers you can paste on ‘em to represent the card thingies the characters use in the show.
Not counting the armor and associated pieces, his accessories are still respectable and pretty much all he really needs.
***** out of *****.
Die cast armor, a poseable base body, nice accessories and insectoid good looks. What else do you need? Well, he’s kinda small compared to Marvel Legends, it’ll be hard to pass him off as even a puny Japanese guy. But that’s what imagination is for. He plays quite well with Transformers, who make pretty good Kaijin.
****1/2 out of *****
The best thing about Blade, the thing that makes him a really good toy… it’s not about having die cast wearable armor, which is uber. It’s not about being overdetailed as to end up looking like a Shirpei (it’s a wrinkly dog).
The key to Blade’s success is his simplicity. That’s not to say he’s a featureless statue, far from it. Blade is as noted, well articulated. In terms of detail, he has enough to look like his TV counterpart and to be interesting, without going overboard and becoming a S.I.C.
He has the perfect balance of both form and function.
This might be a relatively old figure, but as of this review, it should still be reasonable to find. Either online or in some specialty shops. And if you can find it for a reasonable price, which you should be able to, it’s definately not a bad pick-up. I totally recommend him.
**** out of *****.