While Amiibo releases have been steady, World of Nintendo releases have been hard to find for me lately, and so I’ve been looking for other figures that I might want to collect. About a year ago, I started collecting S.H. Figuarts Star Wars line and I bought a letdown of a figure (the red Battle Droid) and lost my enthusiasm and momentum with the figures. While Nintendo is one of the things I love most, Star Wars is right up there too and I really enjoy writing reviews for Star Wars figures so I’m not only collecting them again but will be periodically reviewing them on the site just like before. Nintendo coverage will always come first so if you’re not a fan of Star Wars, you can always skip articles like this and check back regularly for more Nintendo content. With that said, let’s take a closer look at this new figure!
What is the Movie Realization line? – The name doesn’t exactly give a great hint, does it? Bandai, who makes a wide variety of figures, started a line that is basically a combination of samurai and Star Wars. Since then, they have expanded to include Marvel characters in the line as well. As you can imagine, this is the kind of idea that is either going to hook you right away or you may find unappealing. I absolutely love the look and design of samurai armor and I love Star Wars so it is a no-brainer for me! Also, I think it is a great idea to mash-up these two iconic styles because George Lucas and the Star Wars movies have always borrowed heavily from Asian designs to good effect so this feels like a celebration of that influence.
With that said, I would call this a premium figure line because they retail from $70-$90 depending on where you buy them. Movie Realization figures are available at a lot of retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bigbadtoystore as well as all of your favorite Japanese sellers like amiami.com. The figures starting coming out in late-2015 or early 2016 and even with that, the releases aren’t too frequent. So I’m jumping into the line right now and was able to get the first release relatively easily which is uncommon with other figure lines. There also aren’t tons of figures in the line to collect so it won’t clutter your house and completely ruin your bank account either!
Box – I really love the design of this box in a couple of respects. First, the image of Darth Vader in black is just awesome. Simple but imposing! The side of the box has a nice image of Vader in case you want to display it on a shelf which is nice as well. Finally, the box is done like a shoebox or a board game so it is easy to pull the lid off and get the figure out. I wish S.H. Figuarts, Nendoroids, and Figma did it this way!
Size – While I knew before buying Samurai Taisho Vader that it was a seven inch figure, I didn’t expect there to be such a size difference between it and the more standard 6″ Inch figures in the S.H. Figuarts line. It really makes this version of Vader seem like a “premium” figure too which I’ll talk about more next. If you’re thinking about dipping into this line, just know that it probably won’t scale well with any 6″ figures you might have.
Paint Details – Now it is time to talk about one of the real strengths of this figure. The design and paint application is top-notch! One thing that might throw off some Star Wars fans is that this figure is more of a Samurai who looks like Darth Vader and not Darth Vader with a few samurai accents like you might expect. A great example of this is Darth Vader’s helmet. Instead of the mask or grille, that we’re used to seeing in front, the Samurai Taisho version has the “teeth” that many Samurai helmets had. There are also color accents on the armor which is obviously a major departure from the character’s original design. Of course, the chest piece for the armor looks awesome too and while it is quite a bit different than Vader’s regular armor, I like how it makes Darth Vader look like a Japanese warlord.
When I opened Darth Vader I was really blown away by the level of detail and just how cool he looks in-person. There are so many parts I could praise and when you combine that with excellent paint application, you have a really well done figure.
Accessories – For the price, you would expect fairly good accessories and fortunately, just about everything you could want is here. Darth Vader’s lightsaber looks really nice and retains both the design from Star Wars but is curved like a katana to make it appropriate for a samurai. My only concern is that it looks like there might already be some paint rub/transfer happening with the hilt of the lightsaber as I put it in Vader’s hand. This is a shame but I don’t see much of a way around it considering how tightly he grips the lightsaber. Vader also comes with a full compliment of hands including two that are great for indicating that he is using the force. The only thing that is not included that I might like to see is a pointing hand where it looks like Vader is commanding his troops to do something. In this line, Darth Vader ends up looking like a general and a simple pointing pose would look great in a display. With that exception, these accessories are all well-done and fit the price point.
Articulation – On the whole, this figure is very flexible and can be posed in many different ways. If you’ve ever purchased a high-quality figure then you have a good idea of what to expect. The only areas where this figure could be better is the lack of “ankle rockers” which let you move the feet side-to-side in addition to up and down. I also found it a little challenging to get Vader to hold the lightsaber with two hands which is a bummer since that is the preferred style for samurai. Other than that though, this figure has excellent posing ability and what you see in this article just gives you a few ideas of what it can do. I am also impressed by how tight all of the limbs are on Darth Vader. It makes a sound whenever you move them around and this is what collectors want, straight out of the box.
Two Vaders? – The Movie Realization figure line does have two different Darth Vaders and from what I’ve seen, you tend to like one or the other. I’ve always loved this first version because it is true to the samurai-style and imperial emblem looks much better than the Death Star one which is just too big for my liking. If you prefer Vader to be more of a pure black, then I would go with the Death Star one because it is closer to Vader’s Star Wars design. I’m very happy with my Darth Vader figure and do not plan on “double-dipping” to get both figures.
Closing Thoughts – I was always scared of collecting this line because the figures are relatively expensive. $70-90 is nothing to sneeze at but after finally preparing my bank account and getting over my money concerns, I can safely say the quality matches the price. This is the nicest figure I’ve purchased thus far as a figure collector and I’ve been doing this for a few years now. There are a few little suggestions I have for making this figure even better but don’t be fooled, I’m completely satisfied with it. I’m really excited to collect more of this line because it seems like the more you have, the cooler they look together. If you like the Japanese style of art or war, then you may really dig the Movie Realization figures. The figure line is highly collectible if you like imperials, but there is also nothing wrong with picking up just one of these figures as a cool and unique display piece on your shelf or figure case.