SHF: Kamen Rider Skull

Released back to back with Rising Ixa as May exclusives, is Sokichi Narumi, a.k.a Kamen Rider Skull. As Shotaro’s master, he is a mysterious character we frequently hear about during the course of Kamen Rider W, but do not actually see much of until the theatrical release of “Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Double & Decade: Movie War 2010”.

Although the character design is rather simple, and modelled closely on the suit of Kamen Rider W (allowing for recycled parts to use for more toys duh!), Skull is eerily charismatic. I go as far to say that Skull has been injected with some of Ishimori Sensei’s aesthetics, and is possibly inspired by the 70s character, Skull Man. The black and silver combo with the addition of a scarf and fedora works to great wonder, adding a sense of mysterious and solemn appeal to the character.

Accessories-wise, Bandai has been quite generous with the number of hands included. It comes with all the gestures you’ll need to strike your suave gentleman-ly poses, or exude any of his hat holding charisma, which in my opinion, are the best poses for Skull.

The fedora however, does not stay firmly on its head, and would fall straight off if you attempt to pose the figure with its hat attached. It’s definitely irritating to put up with, so it’s best to decide on a pose, and attach the hat as a finishing touch.

Two sets of scarfs are included, with a gradient shading effect to add a little realism to the piece. The fedoras could have benefitted from this treatment also, as its thickness not only causes it to have difficulties staying in place, but also makes it more toy-like.

The eyes are reproduced in clear parts, which was something I did not notice until the pre-ordering period was almost over. That said, the transparency is fairly low, and the effect is only visible from certain angles and lighting conditions.

The figure is predominantly a black piece of plastic in its original mould colour, with some silver splashed on where necessary, so very little paint has been used to produce it. Bandai was stingy as hell to not even bother giving the chest and shoulder piece a matte coating as indicated in the official shots. Little efforts as such would have made the figure so much more to look at, especially since production costs have already been reduced from re-using W’s mould and the lack of need for paint.

Despite the minimum efforts required for the paint job, the figure still comes with plenty of blemishes in the QC department. Odd, especially since silver is an easy colour to adhere onto plastic. A fair share of nicks and scratches, along with dirt marks on the silver parts on the figure are visible, including an outrageous glue mark above the left eye on mine. (Thankfully it comes with a hat to hide his baldness.)

Tilting the fedora at an angle somehow makes everything a lot cooler.

Otherwise you end up with a Narutaki look.

It is also very reminiscence of MJ. R.I.P.

So, let’s count up your sins.

The hands included come with all the subtlety you’ll need to strike the best hat touching poses.

Did I mention the figure comes with a damaged fedora to represent Skull after ‘the event’?

The plus point of there being no paint on the main body is that you can be more daring in creating dynamic poses, without having to worry about the metallic coating scratching off.

Master??

I know I’ve cited many criticisms in regards to the QC and the lack of effort Bandai has put into the release of Skull, but it is still a fantastic figure to play with once you get a hold of it in your hands. The fedora and hand gestures really allows for some exceptional possibilities in posing, which is a breath of fresh air from the usual action-oriented Kamen Rider poses. And best of all, the character of Skull really does manage to give off a Kamen Rider vibe with a link to the TV plot, which really adds to its appeal.

At the end of the day, this is a figure I managed to love despite its technical flaws. If you’ve been struck with a case of exclusive fever recently, Kamen Rider Skull and Rising Ixa are both good choices to take home.

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