SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Black review

By Loran

While the SH Figuarts line has primarily focused on the Heisei era of Kamen Riders, every now and then we get to see a Showa Rider or two. Naturally, the first one Bandai picked was the ever-popular Kamen Rider Black, the only full TV series from the 80’s. Black is one of the darkest Kamen Rider shows (In tone, not just the suit design…) and is beloved by fans on both sides of the Pacific. And who can blame them? Everything about the show is stylish, and it reeks of 80’s in that good way you just don’t see often enough. I remember first seeing one of Black’s movies at Otakon in 2007. It was in a block with two Rider 1 and 2 movies and a V3 movie. Everyone got a good chuckle out of the two 70’s movies, but when the Black one came on, everyone managed to take it a bit more seriously.

Like Kuuga, Black is one of those “elegance in simplicity” designs. Black has no gimmick whatsoever—just a throwback to the old bug aesthetic. I wonder if the design team planned on having Black launch a whole new era of Kamen Riders, one cut short by its sequel show’s lack of popularity.

Unsurprisingly, Black’s predominant color is… black! Thankfully, there is enough color on this design to keep things broken up. I especially like the yellow/red trim along the neck. It’s not something you expect and looks very striking. Most of the joints are made out of a brownish plastic with a gradient, giving it a fantastic organic look.

Black’s biggest strength is his articulation. Once again, the simple designs reign supreme. Not one single part of his design hinders any articulation. While most Riders need to have the slide-down hip joint to allow for proper kicking, he doesn’t need any of that. His hips are plain, simple, ball-hinges, and they work perfectly.

Most amazingly is his ab crunch. Hoo boy, I did not expect this! He could easily win a limbo contest against any other Rider, maybe even Kuuga.

Make sure to be careful with the symbol on his chest. I’ve heard reports of some rubbing off extremely quickly, so watch out!

As an older Figuart, Black still has diecast feet. The same old-style feet most Riders pre-2011 have. Nothing wrong with them, but you’ll see a reason why I’m not as impressed by these anymore in my next review.

Unfortunately, Black’s only accessories are his hands, because in the series, Black has no weapons. If you want any for him, you’ll have to buy his bike, Battlehopper, and those aren’t exactly easy to come by. His included hands are great, however, allowing for the recreation of several poses, including, of course, his henshin pose. My favorites are probably the open palms.

He may lack accessories, but Black is one solid figure, and one of the best Rider Figuarts out there. His most recent reissue was back in June, so finding him should not be an issue. Keep in mind, however, that he only has two reissues left, so if you want one for yourself, you’d better do it quick. And if you want to get yours, check FPNYC for all your Tamashii Nation needs!

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