SH Figuarts Kamen Rider New Den-O Strike Form Trilogy Version
New Den-O, originally of the post-series movie Farewell Kamen Rider Den-O - Final Countdown was in fact they very first SH Figuarts exclusive figure in early 2009. Pre-dating the Tamashii Web Store's role in offering online-exclusive figures, New Den-O Strike Form was offered via Yahoo Japan much like Souchaku Henshin's Kamen Rider Den-O Wing Form and Kamen Rider Den-O Climax Form had been. Following a string of three Den-O movies in the late Spring of 2010, the New Den-O design got another pass in Figuarts, as a completely new-build figure for regular retail release in the following April. Figuarts Kamen Rider New Den-O Strike Form Trilogy Version (the bloody name is as long as most whole sentences!) improved the accuracy to the suit design, while adding new accessories relevant to New Den-O's appearance in the movie trilogy. It also had the distinct benefit above its predecessor of not bearing a price in the triple digits. The original New Den-O Figuart had been regarded as one of the most expensive at resale, perhaps only surpassed by the odd event exclusive requiring in-person purchase. And even more beneficially, not only is this figure still widely available from retailers within Japan, but it is also currently distributed to North America by Bluefin for around $40. While it may not seem like an Argh, Bandai moment on the surface, I imagine the early-adopters who dropped a couple hundred on the first New Den-O might disagree...
Despite the costume originally being built around elements of Climax Form added over an otherwise more normal Den-O body suit, New Den-O manages a pretty unique appearance. I'm sure in part that's thanks to the underlying armor of Climax Form being rarely seen without the mask attachments. The other help is the little winglets projected back from the shoulders. This is actually an element of inaccuracy to the costume, where the outer pair of wings are attached to the shoulder covers, but are connected to the chest in this version of the figure. The previous Figuarts iteration and most other representations of the design tend to place those wing bits on the shoulders at the cost of a split in the rails running up them from the chest, so keeping the tracks solid may have been a motivator for the change here. The outer rail-wings are ball jointed in to the chest, so they can move a fair bit to accommodate where the arm gets positioned. These may also be an effective safe failure point, so they'll let go of the figure instead of breaking if they get pushed too far. At the same time, it makes it difficult to keep them arranged where they're "supposed" to be normally. Much of the time without even trying they seems to just end up pushed against the inner pair. Not the worst place to have them end up, but it can be irritating if you definitely want them more fanned out like the costume.
The body mobility is restricted around the armor. Being that this was several months before SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Den-O Climax Form, the design doesn't allow for any real clearance between lower torso and chest armor the way Climax Form did. The figure really doesn't even have much room to rotate around that point, which is disappointing. The waist likewise has a limited range of bend, though it swivels very freely. On the whole it's the least poseable of the Figuarts I have so far, kind of reminding me of old Marvel Legends. At least for the ones I ever had, the torso joint always seemed more like a theoretical representation of what a torso joint might look like, rather than any practical, functioning element of articulation. It's certainly a step down here compared to the other really limber figures of late.
While I'll try to draw as few comparisons to the later-designed Climax Form as possible, I just want to add that New Den-O's neck articulation is much, much more useful, on par with the sentai body in freedom of movement, especially at the upper neck joint. Sadly this comes at the cost of a hugely long neck. It's two lines of thought between this and Climax Form. New Den-O favors the mobility of the neck at the cost of it being absurdly long, while Climax Form goes for a closer proportioned visible neck length by considering how much would be lost in the helmet and collar, while sacrificing range of motion. Even so, New Den-O's neck could probably have been a little shorter without a significant loss of poseability, and it'd look less weird.
New Den-O's mask is worth a mention, too. Instead of the textured compound eye effect so many Rider Figuarts enjoy, this New Den-O has a hologram layer under the clear plastic, giving it a prismatic effect that's very striking and definitely stands out from the average bug eye. Of course just like Climax Form, this mask is rigid, clear plastic, and ends in thin projections which will snap right off given a fall or other application of force against them. Plus they have really sharp points. I hate those sharp points on hard plastic pieces.
The rest of the articulation is the usual high marks for Figuarts. The shoulders move freely and are not restricted by either the form-fit armor pieces nor the rail-wings, and the slim line of the chest armor plus the high range of movement at the clavicle joint leaves the arm a lot of room to reach across the torso. On my example the upper joint of the right elbow is a little stiff, but it's not a major impact on how much the arm can bend. The legs are the drop-hip type with the articulated ball joints. Though I didn't even realize it until a while after I first had the figure, because the hinges were very hesitant to move at first. The leg articulation is all the normal values, including the complex ankle joint that I so love now that I have figures which use it. I also discovered the hard way that New Den-O's knee covers are removable, and in fact are just looking for a chance to jump to freedom. This will probably call for a dab of glue at some point in the near future. New Den-O really has no trouble assuming most any pose you might like. ...as long as it doesn't require bending at the torso, I guess.
New Den-O's gimmick is getting new weapons when aided by an Imagin, rather than a new transformation form, though one notable exception applies. By default, this is realized through the Macheteddy, the weaponized state of the Imagin Teddy. It's actually not entirely unlike the giant swords Sword Impulse had, now that I think of it.
Macheteddy is like New Den-O an entirely remade piece for this version of the figure, better proportioned, and detailed up a bit. Of note is that it has an opening mouth that the original lacked. All the better for Teddy to be able to speak while being used to hack and bludgeon monsters! The whole weapon is hard plastic, but aside from Teddy's horns lacks any real sharp points. The thin grip is not an idea fit in the grasping hand, but it will stay so long as you keep the long-side aligned with the hand properly. Just for extra fun, Macheteddy has a gun barrel tucked behind the tip of the blade, but lacks any kind of pistol or even rifle grip. With a little work, the figure can be worked in to a convincing pose to allow it to hold Teddy as a rifle. Convincing, but still goofy looking.
The second of New Den-O's weaponized Imagin. Borrowing Kintaros from Den-O's Axe Form, Kintaxe is a big, heavy, furry axe. Well, simulated fur texture, anyway. The axe has an awkward curve and tapering form to the handle. Also it's thicker around than New Den-O's forearm. Did I mention it was (in relative terms) heavy? The center of balance for the piece is hard to figure out, and it can only work with a special purpose hand that doesn't always hold on to it well. In its one media appearance, the Kintaxe was played as being too cumbersome to really use, so I guess this has been made true to that model. It seems to me that the difficulty in the figure handling this axe could have been helped by adding a peg hole on the handle and give the special purpose hand a peg in the palm to stabilize everything.
In contrast, the weaponized form of Urataros is light and easy to handle. It's actually a little too light, though. I just mean that as a fishing rod it necessarily has a long, thin pole end, which is made of a distressingly unbending plastic. Though it's nice that it's unlikely to ever warp, it concerns me that such a narrow piece is cast of such a snappable material. Anyway, a small hook dangles from a metal ring at the end of the rod, but thankfully the hook itself is not metal. Though I doubt I'd have been much surprised at this point if they had stuck a metal hook on here. Two more rings hang from the handle, but serve no purpose I can figure.
This is ...probably... the first instance of this sword mold. The first New Den-O didn't come with the sword at all, so this is probably new to this figure. The same piece was also used by Climax Form, so, uh. Go read that one. All that I can say about this one is that it has fewer paint applications, missing the light blue on the grip, some silver detailing, and ...well, anything that isn't part of the blade.
This clips on the back in place of the zipper rail. The actual clip piece that holds Macheteddy is on a ball joint, so it can easily move to keep out of the way of any posing. What you might find difficulty with is getting the original rail piece off to start with where it likes to hang at the collar, and then positioning Macheteddy in the clip to work around the rail wings. It's also not the greatest secure fit on the figure, the the sword can leverage it out without much effort. The sword sits snug in the clip, but if you're adusting the angle, try to hold it by the clip because the sword will slip out before the clip will rotate in most cases.
Just as with Climax Form, the DenGasher parts are not removable, and so you get an extra set of empty holsters. These are painted in the same pale gold like the rest of the belt. The DenGasher pieces are unpainted, also.
The mold from which Climax Form obtained its normal Rider Pass, and similarly it has no interior detailing.
Besides the normal fists attached by default, New Den-O has regular grasping hands and open hands, plus two special right hands: One is the Kintaxe holding hand I mentioned before. Sometimes it can hold the axe, sometimes it won't. In my experience if you find just the right spot it'll be totally solid, but it's a big game of trial and error getting there. The other special hand is a snapping pose hand. Because it's an aspect of one of New Den-O's signature poses. There's been weaker justifications, I'm sure! The same molds are used on Climax Form, and odds are some of these appeared on previous Den-O exclusives as well.
It's understandable that the months-older New Den-O feels like a step backward from Climax Form since it was surely developed and refined from this figure. The problem only comes if you handle Climax Form first. But even that only covers it to a limited degree. The torso is uncharacteristically stiff for any figure of this type that I've run in to so far, making it seem more like a mild design flaw rather than just lacking reference points to make sure it would be able to work well.
Despite that, and one overly large accessory it might not be able to hold very well, it's still a pretty nice figure. The mask has a really pretty alternative to the typical compound eyes, there's a good range of extra parts, and importantly when recalling Climax Form, I don't have to disassemble and replace large parts of this figure to use a gimmick that has been drastically overcomplicated. New Den-O is Very Good, and certainly is a fine buy at the Bluefin pricing like I got it. But if for whatever reason they should ever make a third edition of New Den-O, I'm sure they could take the build cues from Climax Form and make a truly Excellent figure.
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