EMIA MSN-00100 Hyaku ShikiHeight: 11.5 cm to top of head; 13.5 cm to top of binders.
Articulation: 42 points total: Double jointed neck; Mid-torso joint; Ball joint waist; 3 points each Binder - double jointed connector arm, mid-binder hinge; 8 points each arm - triple jointed shoulder, pre-elbow swivel, double hinge elbow, mid-forearm ball joint, ball jointed wrist; 8 points each leg - ball joint hip, mid-thigh swivel, triple jointed knee, double jointed ankle, ball jointed foot.
Colors: Painted high-gloss gold, black, red, dark grey, green; Molded grey, clear yellow, clear pink.
Accessories: Option head, "Battle Scarred" right upper arm, "Battle Scarred" right thigh, Beam Rifle with removable e-pack, Clay Bazooka with removable ammo clip, beam sabre with removable yellow blade, beam sabre with removable pink blade, UC Arms Gallery 03 Clay Bazooka adapter, extra hands x6.
Release Data: Released in Japan on September 23rd, 2006 at a price of ¥2000.
Gallery: 52 images.
The Zeta movie trilogy is really a very wonderful thing when you stop to think about it. Without these movies, it's very likely we'd never ever have gotten such a wide assortment of high quality, excellently crafted Zeta MSiAs, and the Marasai! However, for the past year and a half or so, one thing had been decidedly absent from our quickly growing shelves of Zeta merchandise. That wonderfully gaudy monstrosity the Hyaku Shiki was still being represented by a figure that was obsolete even back in 2000 when it was first released! It made no sense to anyone why Bandai would continue to pass up such an obvious and desired figure for its Extended MSiA series, over and over again. When it finally was announced that EMIA Shiki would be released (a few months after it took first place in a Hobby Japan poll), the cries of joy echoed throughout the fandom. For a minute, anyway. Then some of us got to worrying, after the way the newly merged Bandai-Namco messed up the EMIA Gundam, and the Freedom a little while later. It is my genuine pleasure to deliver the happy news: The Extended MSiA Hyaku Shiki is just about the best thing we could ever have hoped to get as a Hyaku Shiki update.
As one may expect, this doesn't exactly bring anything new to the party, except better proportions. One thing that is newly present is a fearfully rigid antenna. I'm talking almost snap in half, sure to damage someone's eye in some improbable series of circumstances, unyieldingly hard plastic. It seems very out of place on an MSiA, but makes me wonder if we're likely to start seeing more rigid antennae and V-fins and the like on MSiA in the future. The real treat up here is the neck jointing. It's made just so that it can reasonably replicate the normal range of movement in a human. It's probably the best neck articulation job on something this humanoid. Remember, it's easy to make monsters like the Baund Doc have well articulated necks. It's quite a something else to get it while constrained by the limits of the human style body.
This features something in the same family of shoulder jointing as was applied to the EMIA Freedom, and then more successfully to the EMIA Justice, but I can't closely check it for new changes since most of the jointing is obscured under the design features of the upper torso. This does also limit the range of those hinges in the triple joint, but you can still get a bit out of them before hitting an obstruction. The rest of the shoulder jointing works just as well as it did on Justice. Everything from there through the elbows is all standard stuff, but there's some new to be had in the forearms. In the middle of the forearm is a ball joint, connecting the wriast structure to the rest of the forearm. The intent here appears to be that it would allow a greater range of wrist bend for mroe dynamic posing. The actual result, however, is that the Shiki's red wrist cables are so stiff and have such nowhere to go, that it's not possible to rock the wrists backward as it seems they should. Instead, the new joint here becomes a simple mid-forearm swivel that ends up just popping those cables out of their little slots. My thought here is that either this was something that turned out unworkable after the toolings were finished and it was too late to go and rework or remove it, or the plastic actually used for those red cables ended up being a harder plastic than originally intended, preventing them from bending to allow the ball joint more function. In any case, it's pretty much a useless joint now. But not to worry, you'll never really know it's there unless you intentionally try to move it.
The Shiki's binders have been well reworked. Now featuring connection to the backpack via a pair of balljoints, as well as being made of rigid plastic, and having the proper hinging in the middle, they're a far better representation of the binders as senn in the TV series and movies. Of course, this doesn't prevent them from getting in the way of posing the arms at some points, or accessories being carried around, but such is the consequence in the real world when one has large things hanging just behind one's shoulders.
The best thing on the torso is that Bandai, after almost two years of failure, has finally gotten a reasonably working mid-torso joint again. The last time the joint worked at all well was with the first EMIA, the Gouf. Every attempt since then has been met with less than successful results, often due to the complicated torso shapes interfering. While the range of movement on the Shiki's torso joint isn't groundbreaking, it is clear that it's going as far as it was meant to, and not that it's being stopped by a failure of design, and I'm okay with that. Of course, I don't expect it to work this well ever again. The Shiki has a relatively plain torso shape, so anything else will probably fall into the same issues. The real thing to watch here is that when trying to use the waist joint, the upper torso is more likely to turn first, so just watch out or you could end up with a badly misaligned torso.
The Legs and Feet
A compromise seems to have been reached between the appearance of the legs and the articulation. Previously figures with mid-thigh swivels had to give up the visual details at the top of the thighs to allow for the joint. Figures with the thighs accurate the whole way up couldn't have the jointing. But this is not so here, no! The detailing extends all the way up, and wraps around the hip joint and swivel. This allows for as much range of swivel as you'd need, while giving the leg its proper appearance. The only bad part is that because the skirt armor is of course not articulated, you really can't see it very easily. It's a shame to have such an advance of engineering go unseen. The knees are pretty much normal, but the bajj joint end feels a little looser than I'm used to. It hasn't made a problem for the figure to be able to stand so far, but it still seems like it should be tighter.
The lower legs are where it's really interesting. As we are all aware, the Shiki's lower legs are essentially just the frame with the barest minimum of armor. This gives the Shiki's legs a distinct appearance, are are a fairly unique feature among MSiAs. In this execution, the small armor pieces on the back are fixed in place, and significantly smaller in fact than the same pieces on the original Shiki figure. The front pieces however are hinged. This makes a little space for the protruding bits around the ankles to move freely. This is just the start, though. Where basically all MSiAs, even the recent ones with double joints in the ankles, utilize effectively the same basic prinicple for articulation, the Hyaku Shiki employs a new design. The ankle is composed of two joints: First is a hinge connecting the base of the leg frame to the ankle structure. This hinge has a range a bit greater than 90 degrees, and probably would have even more than that if the front leg armor was removed. The hinge piece has a ball joint at the opposite end which connects to the foot. The ball joint provides the tilt motion for the ankle joint, and this setup allows for virtually unlimited range of tilt. Past this remarkable ankle joint, the ankle structure connects to the foot via another, more restricted ball joint, which provides yet an extra few degrees of tilt, just in case you somehow run into a limit in the ankle itself.
Paint and Deco
Well, "deco" may be stretching things a bit. In fact, a first for an EMIA, the Shiki doesn't feature any panel lining. But in a way I'm kind of okay with that. I'm of two minds on the Shiki - either it should have extensive, and very thin panel inking, or none at all. What I have here is the latter. But even so, it's turned out looking good. A Japanese speaking friend translated a portion from a magazine article about the Shiki for me some time ago, and among this information it was revealed that the Shiki would feature a new paint coating process to make it extra shiny. While I don't have the details about how this is done, I can confirm that the Shiki is very very shiny. While certainly not to be mistaken for chrome, thankfully, it catches the light very well and has a strong reflective value for being just paint. And though the Shiki has always been light on body detailing, what little there is has been painted extremely well. The applications are very even and clean-edged, up there with the very best of the Extendeds. And most important, the gold paint is totally even and smooth with no obvious globs or thin spots. it's amazing!
Sculpt and Engineering get 9/10
Paint and Deco get 9/10
I'm gonna do a catch-all thing here for the extra parts. First there's a second head, with red eyes. This is based on an appearance from Zeta I during the Shiki's second fight with Buran's Asshimar, and is one of the only instances where the Shiki is demonstrated to have Gundam-type "eyes" behind its black visor. The sculpt on the second head seems a bit better than on the default head, or maybe it's just an assembly thing. The standard head looks slightly lop-sided somehow.
Next we have the pseudo-"Battle Scarred" limbs. One for the right arm, and one for the right leg. The damaged arm has no jointing by itself. It plugs into the shoulder as normal, but the upper arm swivel is not present. There's some internal mechanism detailing on the "cut" end of the stump, as well as some appearance of the gold edges being melted. It's done fairly well, but the paint on top of it seems to eat up a bit of the finer levels of the detailing. I'm sure it was sharper and cleaner looking before it got painted. The leg comes off a bit better. It even retains the thigh swivel the normal leg has. The scarred armor edges here are done better, and the frame details look sharper than on the arm. My only real complaint is that the red cable doesn't look like it's been melted or sliced off. The end looks too smooth as if it were simply unplugged. The only overall issue I have with this is that you can't switch sides. The arm basically can, but the design of the leg forces it to be on the right. Alternately, I'd have liked an extra set of damaged limbs to recreate the final scene of Zeta Gundam. I just want the option to set it up a way other than what someone else decided.
I was surprised to find that this piece was not just a recycled Rick Dias accessory, but was in fact a wholly new mold. It's very nice, too. Rigid plastic body so waroping is no longer possible. The mounting connector is jointed for more elegant storage against the backpack, and the possibility to fold it out of the way when held. The butt end of the bazooka is a separate piece, held in place with a combination of a ball joint and a tongue-in-groove connection. This also features a removable ammo clip. It's very simple looking, but it's a nice effect overall, one shared with the counterpart from UC Arms Gallery Vol. 3. The only problem is that it's basically impossible to unhook the bazooka from its storage position without taking the whole binder off first. While I don't think the connection will weaken given how it's made, I sort of wish for a slightly looser fit so that I *could* get it off of there with less struggle. The bazooka has a large grip, so it fits snugly in the hand, but it may also bend the hand slightly out of shape where the slightly smaller beam rifle grip won't fit exactly right. On the upside, the bazooka can tuck neatly under the arm and just clear the binder, which I find to be a very positive bit of space management.
Much like before, but bigger and beefier, as MSiA guns often are. The body of the gun is soft plastic, so you may get one that's slightly bent. Following along on the Clay Bazooka, the beam rifle has a removable e-pack. of course, with no spares or storage, it's more of a briefly amusing novelty than any sort of meaningful feature. What I find to be missing from this that has appeared in both the Master Grade and UC Arms depictions is a storage hook similar to what the Clay bazooka has. Considering other attentions to detail paid to this figure, it seems a bit disappointing that this minor feature was overlooked. On the other side of that coin, one really obscure feature has been engineered into this accessory: In a single, late episode of Double Zeta Gundam, the Hyaku Shiki briefly borrows the Zeta Gundam's trick and emits a beam sabre blade from the barrel of its rifle. This is no coincidence, the fit of blade to barrel is perfect. Whichever designer worked on this at least added one fun feature, and one I'd hoped would be present. I just wish there was storage for the rifle too.
Okay, so originally the Hyaku Shiki had yellow beam sabres, consistantly. Through Zeta and Double Zeta, that was the constant color. The first release of the original MSiA came with blue beam sabres, inexplicably. Then, the second release with the Mega Bazooka Launcher came with the correct yellow blades. Now, for the EMIA, there is one yellow blade, and one pink. The reasoning for this is that in Zeta III the Shiki is shown at least once with a dark pink or red beam sabre, as are a couple of other units that previously had yellow sabres. Anyway, this figure can thus depict either case depending on your preference. However, you only get one of each color blade, unless you happen into a factory error and get two the same color. Now while the Shiki wasn't to my memory ever shown using two sabres at once, I'd really have appreciated having the option to display it that way and have matching blade colors. Would it have been so bad to include an extra pair of blades?
The blades fit snugly in the grips, and the grips themselves slide smoothly into the hand, but the fit isn't so tight that you feel like you'll rub the shiny, shiny paint off. The grips have also been redesigned somewhat, and no longer look nearly so much like flashlights. The grips can finally be stored, too. Instead of the rear skirt plate having permanently fixed grips to represent the storage, there's now a proper storage rack that the grips slide into from either side. They fit in there very well, and I haven't yet had any concern of them popping out. Of course, if they were to fall out I'd have no trouble finding them as shiny as they are.
-UC Arms adapter
See, now this is cool and frustrating at the same time. All this is is a single piece of plastic, with a clip on one end and a slot on the other. The clip attaches to the binder connectors just like the Clay Bazooka, and the slot is sized to hold onto the UC Arms Clay Bazooka. The fit is great on both ends, and it balances really nicely with the heavy Clay Bazooka - it amazingly doesn't try to sag and pretty well remains upright all the time. Unfortunately, it's not compatible with the UC Arms Hyaku Shiki rifle, whose storage hook is just a little too narrow to fit securely. Alternately, this would have been a good way to make the rifle the figure comes with storable, since one small properly sized tab on the rifle and this piece could have done double duty really easily. Regardless, it's a nice touch, and it's good that the designers are acknowledging UC Arms when possible as they engineer the MSiAs.
Besides the usual trigger finger hands and sabre holding hands, the figure comes with an open hand mainly intended for posing with the bazooka, though I'm sure one could find other creative uses for it. The other special hand is a detail that's been missing from Zeta MSiAs for too long. With the Shiki, we finally have MSiA depiction of the multi-tool aspect of Zeta-era suits' hands. Among the various things shot out from behind fingers in Zeta Gundam have been dummy ballons, signal flares, fire extinguishing products, and the most well known, Bird Lime. A fancy name for a multi-purpose adhesive compound, used for tasks from gluing Normal Suited workers to a colony wall where they'll die a slow, agonizing death from suffocation or the icy cold of space, to more constructive things like patching holes in colony habitation shells before everything gets blown out to a horrible death in the icy cold of space. The hands all change really easily, and stay attached well. And as always, it's good to have yet another unique hand type introduced - let's hope any future Zeta figures will have one of their own, too.
Accessories get 8/10
This is a figure that's been anticipated for the longest time. As one of the most demanded for a Second Version, or now an Extension, expectations were riding really high for this figure. The amazing thing is that it essentially lives up to all of them. Rarely have I not been let down by a figure I've been so anxious to get, but the Shiki is just designed and executed so well that there's almost nothing to be disappointed by. I do have some little issues with the accessories, but they're not the real show here anyway, and even so they offer a bit of cleverness too that helps offset my gripes. No, I can say without hesitation that this is just about the very best thing we could have asked for in a Hyaku Shiki remake, and we actually got it. Unless you absolutely loathe the design, this is a figure you need to have, if only from the perspective of its technical achievments. The EMIA Hyaku Shiki qualifies for no rating less than State of The Art. It will be a terrible loss if some of the new things developed for the Shiki don't reappear down the road.
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