Tomopop Review: Figuarts Zero Shishio Makoto

4:00 PM on 10.10.2012 // Brian Szabelski
  @brianszabelski

Review sponsored by HobbyLink Japan

As you might remember from earlier this summer, Bandai released its Figuarts Zero Himura Kenshin figure. Needless to say, I was quite pleased with it. It was shortly after reviewing Kenshin that I remembered Bandai was also rolling out a companion figure, Figuarts Zero Shishio Makoto. The burnt and bandaged Shishio is an imposing figure and one bad apple, who like most of the other Rurouni Kenshin figures, suffered from being in a series that came out 10 years before the Internet changed collecting. That left folks wanting Shishio a choice between a previous, expensive MegaHouse figure and this new, less expensive and smaller Figuarts Zero selection.

So does Shishio live up to the expectations set by Kenshin, or is he bad in more than just his deeds? Come along after the jump and we'll set the record straight.

Figure Name: Figuarts Zero Shishio Makoto
Figure Maker: Bandai
Retail Price: ¥3,500
Available at: HobbyLink Japan

As always, we go to the box to start things off. Not surprisingly, it's got a heavy flame motif to it, along with a manga-styled panel on the left side of the box. The window's fairly decent, giving you a peek at the figure inside, but the box itself is similar in design to the one Kenshin was in.

Out of the box, we get a glimpse of what's to come with Shishio. He's the same scale as Kenshin, standing about 16.5 cm tall from top to bottom. There are seams along the side of the yukata (though Bandai tried to hide them), the outside of the arms and the top of the boots, which you can see close-up. Unfortunately, Shishio's design doesn't allow them to be hid like they were on Kenshin. It's no dealbreaker, but know this going into a purchase.

On the plus side, there's a lot of detail here for such a "small" figure, which we'll highlight by beginning at the bottom:

Like Kenshin, Shishio comes with a black hexagonal base, though we have a blood-red color scheme here instead of white. It's also decorated with the kanji for Shishio's most powerful attack — the Tsui no Hiken: Kaguzuchi. The fire cyclone the attack produced is the image you see above the kanji, and the whole thing looks very ornate.

One of the bits I like about Shishio is the level of detail sculpted into his bandages. They really do feel like they're wrapping around his burnt flesh, both visually and texturally. The color is an off-white tone, giving them a worn and weathered feel. The purple yukata draped over his shoulder looks particularly nice, with a flowing look and folds sculpted like you might see on a more expensive figure.

Ah, the Mugenjin, Shishio's trademark sword with the serrated blade. It's Shishio's only "accessory" in that it comes loose, but is pretty much required for displaying him ... or he's got a right hand holding an invisible sword. The serrating sculpt on the blade is pretty nice, there aren't really any paint issues to discuss and it rests nicely on Shishio's shoulder without the need for a notched groove. Well done with that design element, Bandai.

Bandai's done a great job on his face, as well. Not just with the bandaging or making sure those tufts of hair sticking out are the right shape, but with the expression on Shishio's face. It's those piercing red eyes with a slight, sadistic smile that add a little something to the piece. A little bit of flash is on some of the hair pieces, which is a minor annoyance to an otherwise pretty solid sculpt.

Shishio's gloved left hand looks very nice, with some great sculpting on the fingers curling back in a sinister pose of sorts. But you can also see something else, can't you? Yes, there's some flash left over on the fingers. Only tiny bits, but enough that it is noticeable. 

The Mugenjin rests in Shishio's right hand ... rather loosely. Yes, my biggest complaint with Figuarts Zero Shishio is that his sword is super, super loose. I'm literally reaching over right now as I write this (and as you read this) and tapping the Mugenjin's hilt, watching the blade go right up off Shishio's shoulder. Not really too happy about that, but at least the hand's sculpting looks good. 

But what good is a villain without one to oppose him? As you can see here, I tried to recreate the photo on the back of the box. As far as getting them both together side-by-side, Kenshin's face turned out to be a bit too reflective or somehow Shishio ended up being in a bit of darkness, so you can blame my lighting set-up for that. But then again, this is a review of Shishio, right? Just know that the two go perfect together!

Unlike Kenshin, I'm not sure I prefer Figuarts Zero Shishio over the Megahouse one. As a stand-alone figure, there are a few things to complain about and they mostly consist of the issues with his right hand and the seams on the sides of the sculpt ... but he's alright. As a companion figure to Figuarts Zero Kenshin, though, Shishio is pretty close to a "must-have". It's clear Bandai intended for the two of them to look good together, and that they do. If you happen to already own Kenshin or are a Rurouni Kenshin fan, do yourself a favor and add Shishio to your collection. As far as making that call goes ... it's no sweat.

[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing Shishio for review!]

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Brian Szabelski, Editor-in-Chief
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Brian Szabelski is Tomopop's Editor-in-Chief, stuck with an ever-growing collection of figures and toys. When he's not posting on Tomopop, he can usually be found working on any number of project... more   |   staff directory

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