Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ultra-Act Ultraman Nexus Junis review

This figure represents the eponymous character of the 2004 series, Ultraman Nexus. Nexus was a... different Ultra show, so to speak, and it's pretty awesome. Junis mode is the first Ultra-Act released for this Ultra hero, but it's actually not his "default" form. Junis mode is actually his first "power-up" form, but he had a tendency to power up straight away, so the default mode, Anphans isn't used as much as other default forms. Also, Nexus was actually just called "Ultraman" for most, if not the entire show, but I'm using "Nexus" here, to distinguish him from any other Ultraman. But anyway, on to the figure.

First off, no denying this thing looks good. Details are pretty much spot-on, as far as I can tell, so nothing really surprising for current Ultra-Act standards, except that the Nexus Junis design is noticeably more intricate than your regular Ultraman. Most of the figure is colored red, silver and black, but the arm braces (which I think are called "Armed Nexus") has gold, orange and blue detail as well. Of course, there's also the yellowish eyes, and the color timer made of translucent blue plastic. Speaking of which, there's a big piece of translucent red plastic underneath he color timer, called the energy core, which is a distinguishing feature of Nexus. There are also two tiny spots on the figure's back painted metallic red, which look nice too.

Much of the details are sculpted in. Areas of different colors are outlined by little sculpted lines, and most of the black stripes are slightly raised. Nexus is about 17 centimeters (over 6-and-a-half inches) tall from the feet to the tip of his head fin,

Articulation is... acceptable, for an Ultra-Act. By more general standards, it's great. The head can look left, right, up, and down, the shoulders have a mechanism similar to the "inner balljoint" thing S.H. Figuarts uses, attached to another balljoint on a hinged stem, while the arms have upper arm swivels, double-hinged elbows, and a balljoint + universal joint combination at the wrists, basically like any other Ultra-Act. The torso's balljoint has rather limited range, but that's not really an issue, since Nexus isn't known for hunched poses like the original Ultraman. And the waist has two balljoints connected on a stem, so it's still comes out good. The hips have balljoints attached to hinged stems, which work pretty well, and are standard for Ultramen in this line. There's also double-hinged knees, and the ankles have similar articulation as the wrists. Lastly, hinged toe sections are present at the tip of each foot/shoe.

Promo images also included a picture showing the figure in a pose similar to the "Iron Man floor punch" pose, and the figure is capable of posing like that. I think it's an attempt to approximate a few poses seen in the series' opening sequence.

Articulation still isn't quite as good as I'd like, though. The shoulderpads prevent the arms from being raised very high, and that sucks since you need them to do so to enact the arm motions Nexus performs when summoning his "meta field". Those shoulderpads really should have either been designed to move with the shoulders themselves, or just made out of softer, more flexible plastic.

As for accessories, Nexus Junis comes with all the things picture here. Two pairs of hands are included aside from the default fists, specifically "chopping" hands, and splayed open hands. I don't mind the somewhat small number of hands here, since Nexus doesn't need anything like say, a thumbs up hand. The figure also comes with a red color timer, a Tamashii stage adaptor piece, an effect part representing the Over Ray Strom attack (although I've seen that spelled with "Schtrom" instead*), and these two thin pieces, which are really a single effect part you need to put together.

The color timer should have been a brighter, more pinkish red to not blend in too much with the energy core, but it's still acceptable. The Over Ray Strom effect is nice, especially with the areas of white breaking up the blue, although it's not completely show accurate. It attaches to one of Nexus' arm blades, and it stays on well enough.

The other two effect parts are supposed to combine into one, and the promo pictures suggest they're meant to represent the visual effect of Nexus charging up before unleashing the Over Ray Strom. Problem is, they are not even remotely show-accurate, aside from being blue. They're also, not comfortable to work with, being thin pieces of hard plastic (and thus, at risk of breakage), and kind of sharp. Plus they don't really hold together very well. Really, if the sculptors, designers or whoever couldn't make them even vaguely look right, they could have just included something else instead. Perhaps Nexus' small, wedge-shaped energy projectiles, his Cross Ray Strom, or even an energy shield. The selection of effect parts is the area where this figure could have very, very easily been improved. Seriously, there is no reason Bandai couldn't have just included something else. You could try and repurpose the "charge-up" effect as some generic energy blast or something, if you don't want it to go to waste.

seriously, it just looks wrong way

If you have Ultra-Act Ultraman Mebius, it might be possible to somewhat compensate for the effect parts by borrowing the Mebium Shoot effect, since that attack looks quite a bit like the Cross Ray Strom. I say "might" since I don't have Mebius, and I'm not quite sure if the hands are compatible with Nexus.

There are also have a few quality control issues that I'm guessing are somewhat specific to my figure. The right arm has some red paint sticking on the areas of silver, but that's not too noticeable. More importantly, the Tamashii Stage adaptor piece doesn't stay on as well as it needs to, rendering it pretty much useless.

All in all, Ultra-Act Ultrman Nexus Junis is an alright figure, for an Ultra-Act. A few aspects are unsatisfying, especially the effect parts, but I don't regret buying this. Also, an Ultra-Act of Junis Blue is scheduled for a July release this year, (hurray!) so it looks like Nexus won't be as neglected for alternate forms like Dyna was.

Ultraman Nexus © Tsuburaya Productions and CBC

* specifically, on the packaging of the Ultra Chogokin Nexus Junis figure. Or rather, scans/pictures of it.

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