There's a new Marvel movie on the horizon, and with that will come a wealth of new action figures based on the successful cinematic universe. Tamashii Nations' SH Figuarts line has been home to a number of the Avengers over the years, but the new Captain America: Civil War line will mark the first time we'll be seeing any of the female heroes join the cast. We've gotten a few Captain Americas and Iron Mans, and a Thor, Hulk and Hulkbuster to boot, but so far Tamashii has been a little light on the ladies. Black Widow was actually teased and shown off in prototype form for the Age of Ultron set (as was Hawkeye), but here we are with no Black Widow (or Hawkeye) to show for it.
Hopefully that changes with the upcoming Civil War line, which Tamashii is already hyping to include not just Black Widow, but also Agent 13 (Sharon Carter), as well as Black Panther, Hawkeye, Falcon, Vision, War Machine and Winter Soldier. Yeah, Iron Man and Captain America will be part of the new series, too, but haven't we seen enough of them? Let's celebrate all the these new guys and girls finally joining the fight.
Aside from BB-8, the most-wanted action figure/collectible for Star Wars fans this season has to be anything Captain Phasma. A bit of that desirability comes from how rare the figure has been at retail, as both the Disney Elite, Hasbro Black Series and the Hasbro 3.75" versions have all be very hard to get your hands on. That of course springs from the character's mysterious nature and kick-ass costume. Also, she's played by Gwendoline Christie, making Phasma immediately one of the most bad-ass characters in Star Wars canon. And she hasn't uttered a single word yet. Phasma is basically the Boba Fett of The Force Awakens from a collector's standpoint.
As difficult as it's been to track down the current crop of collectibles, you can believe that the upcoming SH Figuarts Captain Phasma will be equally as hot when it hits the market. It's a bit of a challenge to get Figuarts figures here in the States already, but when you add in the fervor around this character, it starts to shape up into a perfect storm of impossible odds. That is, if you hope to pay normal, human prices, and not the "time to sell a kidney" prices the second-hand market often deems as "fair" and "reasonable."
Right now, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a little bit like Shrodinger's Star Wars. Longtime fans of the franchise have been burned by incredible trailers and hype before, and aren't so eager to let their guard down just in case Episode VII disappoints them yet again. But there's also reason to believe that the new trilogy (and the numerous other films in development) won't fall prey to the same pitfalls that ended up being the prequel trilogy's downfall. As such, The Force Awakens exists as both an incredible triumph and a spectacular failure all at once. It's interesting then that Tamashii Nations next three figures happen to tie the prequels and the new sequels together.
The next wave of SH Figuarts Star Wars figures will hit this winter, and includes Obi-Wan "The Only Good Part of the Prequels" Kenobi, Kylo Ren and the First Order Stormtrooper. Tamashii's gone with the padowan incarnation of Obi-Wan, which is an interesting choice given that rat tails never took off as a viable haircut, but it does allow pit the soon-to-be Jedi Master against the previously released Figuarts Darth Maul. The figure looks sharp, even in the sculpted and articulated robes, and includes two different facial expressions. Kenobi's bemused confusion was certainly an expression used often in the early film, but I'm a little surprised Tamashii didn't go with something a bit more aggressive to match up with Maul.
You can never have too many Avengers figures. This is a lesson I'm now learning some months after the Marvel Cinematic Universe finalized its third phase. The merchandise just keeps on coming, whether you're ready for more of it or not. Honestly, the only thing I have to truly complain about when it comes to this kind of news is that I'm running out of money to afford all the things. That there are too many Marvel collectibles on the market to collect is a good problem to have. Sort of.
While the rest of the core Avengers cast had already been announced as getting their own SH Figuarts incarnations earlier this year, the big bad of Avengers: Age of Ultron had been missing for some time. Tamashii Nations formally unveiled the SH Figuarts Ultron this week, bringing the number of Ultrons announced or released in 2015 to 1,345,875, which is an 1,345,875% increase year over year. Built to scale with the rest of the line, which is still minus Black Widow, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (I guess we can give up on that dream now), Ultron looks as formidable here as he did in the film.
We've already seen the rest of Bandai's planned offerings from Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the Hulkbuster was teased not that long ago. Now we've got our first official look at the magnificent beast, and it is glorious. And expensive.
There are currently very few ways to get a standalone Hulkbuster action figure, and there are even fewer ways to get one at a reasonable price. While the price point on the upcoming SH Figuarts Hulkbuster is likely to turn many of you away, it is still quite a bit cheaper than the Hot Toys version. It'll also be just a tad bit more expensive than trying to hunt down all the figures in Hasbro's Hulkbuster BAF wave coming this summer.
Comic-Con International in San Diego is nothing if not a great excuse to buy things that you can't get anywhere else, and folks, I am no more immune to the siren song of consumerism than anyone else. For me, my particular vice comes in the form of action figures -- specifically the Tamashii Nations S.H. Figuarts line of high-end Japanese action figures. At their booth last weekend, they had not only all five of the Inner Senshi from Sailor Moon, but they also had that giant Hello Kitty that Hello Kitty herself pilots so that she can fly around and battle against giant monsters, aka the single greatest thing that has ever been produced by the hands of man.
Obviously, I had to buy it all. So to justify my expense (and for tax purposes), join us on a journey to the floor of San Diego and find out just how much money I spent on toys. The answer will not shock you, but it may give you the impression that I should never have been trusted with a debit card.
Mega Man has been getting steady love from Bandai over the past few years with the release of several D-Arts action figures, but now that the line has been folded directly into the wider S.H. Figuarts brand there's been some question as to which character form Capcom's longtime video game franchise would arrive from the year 20XX. Having played in the original series and the Mega Man X universe, the next figure will focus on Mega Man Zero.
Toei's current fruit-based Kamen Rider series has been represented on toy shelves in its native Japan with a feature-focused "Arms Change" action figure series for several months, but in May Bandai will officially roll out hyper-articulated S.H. Figuarts versions of the titular hero of Kamen Rider Gaim and his rival Kamen Rider Baron.
When it comes to the holiday gift-giving season, comic book readers are notoriously difficult to shop for. I mean, most of us are down at the shop buying our favorite stuff every single week, so when the time comes for people who like us to get us something we want, well, a lot of times we already have it. That’s why we’re stepping in with a public service, bringing you comics-related items sure to make the season brighter, whether you’re browsing for a gift or just looking for something to drop hints about so that you don’t get stuck with a random assortment of back issues again.
So why not celebrate your inner magical girl with one of the best action figures of the year: The S.H. Figuarts Sailor Moon figure!
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