2012 is a year of huge announcements from as well as, a lot of firsts, the most expensive exclusives and a significant amount of Red Rangers released in the S.H. Figuarts line. Most of the time, humble collectors even admit it is hard to keep up with the releases. There are some memorable output and a few bad apples.
Let’s pick out the best S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider and Super Sentai figures for 2012. Note that I’ll only be numerating the heroes in this line-up and will not include villains, vehicles and add-ons. The first 9 that will be named is in no particular order because the only thing that matters is number 1. Before all that, honorable mentions that didn’t made the cut are Kamen Rider Zeronos, Den-O, Hyper Shinken Red and Kamen Rider Stronger.
First is Kamen Rider Tiger. With a good metallic color combination, this figure is another must have by Firestarter's recommendation. It’s claws and articulation is one of the best Kamen Rider releases for 2012. If I have one complaint is the neck joint that follows too much with Tiger's head. To bring it back to default, you always have to reach the neck area to correct it, but that is all.
RedBuster from Tokumei Sentai Gobusters. It is worth noting that the Red Buster has an awesome sculpt and the leather suits transcend very well since Go-busters' costume design is slightly different from the spandex types we've seen in the past. But if there is one evident feature of all Super Sentai SHF toys is that they all maintain the big head coupled with small frame. Most of all I’m somewhat dismayed with the number of accessories he is inclusive with.
The only showa rider that made the list, S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Super –1. I really like how the black and silver paint blends well together making this an elegant look for a figure. In my experience, the silver paint used on most of the S.H. Figuarts toys are susceptible to visible scratches and finger prints. So if you are that a difficult collector, these are the things you should be aware of. For me, I could easily let this go.
It's a promise that made into fruition, Akiba Red from Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger. Right off the bat, the mold and articulation are to die for, it’s far out from the current costume designs of Super Sentais. His translucent red chest and an ab piece certainly is a skew from your usual ranger costume design. Actually, looking at it thoroughly, AkibaRed is a mix of anime, Kamen Rider, Super Sentai suit design and most likely better that other SHFs to date. What tops for me is the high-cut boot design with matching buckles making this more masculine that other SHF figures I've seen so far. Cons would be the lack of extra hands.
S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Zolda, as the fourth SHF Ryuki-based figure, Kamen Rider Zolda continues to employ the same joints seen on previous Ryuki riders which I mentioned many times that I love. Even without the complete armaments to form Magugiga, the details and the playability of SHF Zolda compensates well and is a good buy nonetheless.
Two Kamen Rider Fourze figures are tied on our list - the S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Fourze Magnet States and his final form Cosmic states. Magnet States technically doesn't have a head and neck articulation but despite that, Bandai did a splendid representation of Magnet States in S.H Figuarts form So far, this is my favorite SHF Fourze related figure to date. The final form has everything you need. Cosmic states is unpretentious and the Barizun Sword was executed with the utmost detail. It is like Bandai has splendidly shrunk the DX version without leaving anything behind, except for the sounds and lights of course.
Another set of figures tied on the list is the S.H. Figuarts Red Hawk and Black Condor, both from Chojin Sentai Jetman. Red Hawk has all the accessories needed to fully represent the character such as the Bird Blaster, Jet Hand Cannon, Bringer Sword and Wing Gauntlet. Also inclusive are two holsters, 8 interchangable hands, a wing replacement part and lastly the reason why he is released - Akibaranger's the Jet Winger. Red Hawk is considered a classic figure to have, bearing a great nostalgic sculpt, almost perfect and flexible articulation and fully detailed from weapons to the figure. Black Condor is another Tamashii exclusive that is somewhat worth it because there are other worse exclusives out there that has a steep price with lesser offerings. If you have fond memories watching the show back when dubbing was king, then please get one. The issue for both figures is the useless ab articulation.
A figure that shares a similar issue is DekaRed. There are few changes on how DekaRed was created, it also may have pros and cons having new molds and features for the upcoming super sentai SHF toys. For example the shoulder joints have the tendency to follow with the arm, which is good as you don't need to worry about folding them back manually. Second are the shoulder joints that have a bigger screw allowing more flexibility with the figure. Lastly, it might be weird at first but the ankle joints are slightly different as well.
The most under appreciated figure of 2012 is SHF GoseiKnight. It is rare that I would say that an exclusive figure is worth buying and GoseiKnight is included in this roster. I don't mind that GoseiKnight is less articulative (not a word) than other super sentai SHF figures. What sells is most of its parts are spot on, clean and amazing with the right amount of accessories you can choose from. There is hope that the rest of the team will look as great as this golden headder.
The Number 1 S.H. Figuarts figure for 2012 is belongs again to Ryuki riders with the S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Knight Survive. Articulation remains the best ones out there in S.H. Figuarts since it hides the joints better especially on the ankles. All I can say is that he looks awesome. Last 2011, Kamen Rider Knight was one of the best and he still remains breathtaking a year after in Survive mode.
That is my top 10 list of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider and Super Sentai Heroes for 2012. I’ll try to expand the list by 2013.