Kamen Rider Den-O Climax Form
Souchaku Henshin Series GE-40
Last time on Climax Week, I led you through an examination of Figuarts Den-O Climax Form, and the result was not a positive one. But all hope is not lost! As the final part of the Den-O Souchaku Henshin series, Climax Form was already visited upon, by way of a Yahoo Japan web shop exclusive about six months after the actual product line had wrapped up. It's a little odd to me that this had to wait for a web store exclusive several months after Den-O's TV series had ended before it was finally produced, being that it was the super form for the series. But I guess that's not important right now. What matters is how this might stack up as an alternative to the Figuarts version!
This is largely a simple rerun of the standard Den-O body type. Certainly in terms of articulation there's nothing new or different to be had. But it does sport a good deal of remolded parts, to add in all those train track zipper deals running along the limbs, and a little up the lower torso. Maybe that's why it didn't happen during the main run of the series. The tracks aren't quite as completely applied as the Figuarts does, notably being missing on the hips, leaving wide gaps between the pelvis and the thigh. On most of the train tracks, the detailing is acceptably sharp and stands out. But the forearms show the clear sign of detail being softened by piling up layers of paint. The forearms, surely molded of the same black plastic as everything else, have to be painted white. White over black calls for a thick coat as well, plus then the silver for the tracks has to be laid over top of that. In the end, much of the definition is lost, and it comes out very soft and unappealing. The body also has several extra square slots added in, but functionally there's no difference to this body from any of the other Souchaku figures I've talked about through this long, long week.
The armor is a two piece plus shoulders arrangement, so it's very quick to assemble on. And just like Liner Form before, technically this armor is part of the basic appearance of Climax Form, with no associated Plat Form. So there's no need to remove the armor from the figure once you build it up. The mask of course is not as pretty as the Figuarts version, but still uses metallic paint colors to emulate translucency. And at least the antennae here are soft plastic so you never have to worry about them snapping off. The armor has a problem kind of like the forearms, where multiple paint layers have dulled the train track details that fill in the front half of the armor, but it's only severe on the curved surfaces of the armor where the sculpt may have been softer to begin with.
The armor is no significant detriment to the articulation, and the range in the torso is very similar to that of the Figuarts. The shoulders are naturally not nearly as elegant in function, and while they don't become a problem for outward movement of the arm, they get troublesome fast when moving the arm any substantial degree forward or back. Ultimately there's no way for that to not happen without a complete redesign of how the shoulder armor is engineered on these figures from the start, but it is among the worst looking results of this design shortcoming.
But what seriously matters is the gimmick function. This Climax Form only comes with the three mask pieces, which each participate in every attack mode by tabbing in to all of those slots added around the body. And by and large it's simple and very effective at getting the job done. The pieces simply plug straight in, and you're all set. No specific parts for different placements, no radical body modification. Just a simple, play-friendly gimmick. But there are drawbacks. Since it is all the same set of three masks doing everything, some losses had to be taken. In order for highest compatibility, you don't have any way of setting up the Boisterous Shout attack, since there is no mouth to open on the Gun mask. Just like on the Figuarts Climax Form, it's really the one place I'd tolerate and even expect a solution through parts replacement, and I'm disappointed to not have it possible with this figure. The only other thing is that the direction of the blade on the Axe mask has to be reversed for Boisterous Punch mode, so it's a removable piece - the peg slides through the mask and in to the relevant slot on the body. But this makes it hard to firmly attach the Axe mask in some situations, as well as being difficult at first to even split and reassemble the two pieces at all. Thankfully, the soft plastic and rounded corners mean that you're not going to be impaling your fingertips while you get it worked out as you might with the Figuarts. The only other thing that might bother someone about how this figure works is the holes down one arm, one leg, and in the middle of the chest. But I'm completely fine with it.
A rerun from Sword Form. No notable differences to be found.
A rerun from damn near everything.
Mostly a rerun! The left fist has had a slot cut in to it for the Punch attack mode, but otherwise they're just the same as all the others. ...and interchangeable with the Five Form Change set's weapon hands, should you have those available!
What this does not come with, for no apparent reason, is more Rider Passes. Maybe this late in the process they figured anybody who'd buy this would already have stacks of those sitting around.
While I definitely appreciate the quality of sculpt and detailing that goes to the Figuarts equivalent, Souchaku Henshin Climax Form is easier and more fun to play with. The gimmick is made so that you don't have to fear breaking anything, or undertake major reconstruction of the figure to get where you want to go. It can all be done in a matter of seconds. Ultimately, this is much more a toy to play with, where Figuarts is a display piece. You'll have to decide which figure is right for you, based on what you expect to get out of it. This Climax Form is a little on the rare side, but if you're patient, it's easily possible to get one for only a bit over half the cost of the Figuarts version, and they're around 90% identical in terms of articulation and nearly identical in how well they can use what they have.
For me, Souchaku Henshin Den-O Climax Form is Good and would be Very Good if it could reproduce all three attack modes. That is really its only true failing in how it recreates the gimmick of this form, and the only negative I can hold against it. It's my preference between the two figures based on overall execution, and the only one I can honestly recommend for anyone to purchase.
The week may be over, but everyone knows the climax never really ends. But where is there left to go from here? Maybe I should just go for something... New.
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