As a Rurouni Kenshin fan, I didn't really like Megahouse's GEM Kenshin figure, especially once I got the Figuarts Zero Kenshin in hand. That led me to wonder if there would be a similar story concerning the GEM Shishio Makoto, whose Figuarts Zero counterpart I'd also reviewed.
Is GEM Shishio another case where the smaller figure is better, or should you try and hunt down this version? Hop after the jump to find out!
Figure Name: GEM Shishio Makoto
Shishio's box is a mostly black affair, with some interesting design choices on the windows. The ones on the sides are slits instead of one larger window, with the bottom of the box using a flame pattern. Given Shishio's background of being set on fire and his love for all things pyromaniacal ... seems appropriate enough that there'd be some flames on here.
Retrieving him from inside the box, our first glance at Shishio gives us a chance to admire some of the work that Megahouse has done with this piece. He's supposed to be an imposing figure, even as bandaged and skinny as he looks, and I feel as though Megahouse did a pretty good job of capturing that essence here. At 1/8-scale, he's about 8.5 inches of fire-wielding evil that you wouldn't want to come across.
The base is by and large a nice square piece, with a flame motif on it and Shishio's name on the base. The flames are actually raised from the base, too. The end effect is pretty nice, making the flames pop out visually.
The serrated sword Mugenjin lies in Shishio's hand, drawn but not in a position to strike. It has a nicely detailed and painted hilt, and while the blade doesn't have an actual serrated edge or a ton of detail the sword gives a good appearance overall.
No, you cannot use fire techniques on it because it's PVC, silly.
One of the things I love about Shishio's design and Megahouse's sculpt is how much it flows. That's not just the case of the yukata, as seen above, draped over his left shoulder with the right sleeve fluttering in the virtual breeze on the battlefield; or how it folds and wrinkles in around the arm and waist. The sculpt doesn't really have any sharp angles to it, be it how Shishio's arms are posed or how the yukata is designed. It's got a sense of feeling natural, like this is how someone who believes he is the most powerful swordsman to ever walk the Earth would look.
Face sculpts can make or break a figure, and in this case, it absolutely makes it. While lacking the sinister grin of the Figuarts Zero version, Megahouse's GEM figure has this intense, expressionless look about him. The blood-red pupils of Shishio's off-to-the-side gaze are also a bit smaller here than on the Figuarts Zero, and they almost make him seem that much scarier-looking. It's a proper fit for the psychopath that lies underneath all the bandaging.
Speaking of that, there's a lot of wonderful detail in how the bandages wrap around his body, and they have that just-off-white color to them with makes them seem a little more real, like he's had them on for some time. The tufts of black hair poking out from underneath the bandaging have enough definition to them to be faithful to the character's original look.
In Shishio's left hand is something that ought to be familiar to Kenshin fans: a flame. Shishio loves his fire attacks, and Megahouse has incorporated that with a little translucent orange flame, rising from his bandaged hand. Of course, being the only orange part on the figure makes it stand out quite a bit, drawing your attention to it at first glance.
The lone optional part with Shishio is a left arm that doesn't have the flame effect on it. The hand is posed in a different manner and gloved, with the fingers bent a little more inward. Either way, the end result looks excellent; it's just a matter of how you want your Shishio to look. I do like the alternate hand, though: something about how it's posed, especially with his sword drawn, makes me think of Darth Vader reaching out to Luke. It's as if Shishio is beckoning you ... perhaps to die.
It's also worth noting that swapping out the arms is a relatively simple process that takes up little time, and that even the parts of the arm that aren't visible have details on the bandaging. Interesting that Megahouse really didn't leave anything untouched here.
So how's Megahouse's Shishio stack up? Simply put ... it's pretty awesome. The sculpt is top notch, the paint clean, and while there's really not much to talk about with accessories or optional parts, the ones that do come with Shishio are just as good as the default parts. It definitely is a step-up over the Figuarts Zero Shishio, which is still a criminally underrated and under-appreciated figure.
Do you like Rurouni Kenshin? Then yes, you'll want to pick this one up. You might also want to consider adding Shishio to your shelves if you're looking for a sadistic swordsman. I do prefer him over the Figuarts Shishio, in part because of the larger scale and added detailing that the GEM line affords. Just be sure to take him out of the box and let him breathe; he doesn't have sweat pores and you don't want him to combust, do you?
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for sending Shishio for this review!]
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