Better late than never, but here is a review of the ultimate Ultra figures, as promised. Bandai's line called ULTRA ACT has been out for a couple of years now, and they have been slowly making every Ultra and are even moving on to Ultra foes now, but I was after the Two Big Guys. I should point out now that in both cases, these figures are the "version 2" that Bandai has made, and also in both cases, improvements have been made. The accessories differ a little bit, so be doubly sure if you are trying to purchase these figures, because it doesn't say this on the box anywhere. The best way to know if they are Version 2 is by the window boxes, which are completely different between versions 1 and 2.
Look closely at the backs of the knees and elbows, and you can see the double-hinges I mentioned. And I didn't even say anything about toe articulation! I would have included a number of "points of articulation," but I don't think I can count that high.
And of course the real bonus here are the accessories, something that American toy companies are TRYING to catch on to, but I don't think they will ever get as good at. Look at all the extra hands! And yes, that is actually a RED COLOR TIMER in the lower right, you can switch it out. The two "explosion" thingies fit into Ultraman's feet (you can see this on the back of the box, it's really a clever stand to support him in certain positions), and the red triangle in the upper left corner is actually a plug. Why, you ask? Because Bandai also makes incredible, articulated stands so that you can recreate any pose or fighting position. If you look closely at the figure's back, you will see removable areas that are made for these stands...you see what I mean about American toy companies having a lot to learn!
|This should explain the rest...and if you can read Japanese, you will get even more out of it!|
And if there is anything cooler than Ultraman, it's Ultraseven. If there is anything cooler than Ultraseven, I don't know what it is.
|"Squeal!" Hey wait, Bandai, see what you did there, you made it look like the figure's eyes light up...you already have a superior product, so let's not deceive anybody.|
Wow. Just, wow. You can see from the top photo that he's slightly taller than Ultraman, and this wasn't a case of just re-using body sculpts, so points for Bandai on that one.
And this figure has even MORE hands than Ultraman! Also, the extra "Eye Slugger" fits into the blue beam, for the Ultra-Slashing move. And, realizing that certain poses would require that Seven's chest armor bend, Bandai has supplied a SECOND set of the armor that is pre-bent. These guys think of everything! (Note: those three empty-looking sections are clips where the plastic snaps together. Nothing is missing!)
And finally, Ultraseven's instructions--hours of fun!
These figures really are amazing, but I should admit a couple of things here at the end--one, you really need those fancy stands if you want to display the figures doing some of these moves, because the beams make them top-heavy. Not a big deal, but tracking down the stands means spending even more money (a set of 3 is around $40 and usually doesn't include shipping from Japan, not to mention the wait). [EDIT:These are now available locally at Barnes and Noble stores, for around $17. Amazing!]
|This is how they come--in sets of 3! Very cool.|
Secondly, I have been a complete coward when it comes to switching out the hands--the plastic pegs are jointed, which is great in one sense, because it allows for posing--but on the other hand (groan), it makes me really, REALLY squeamish to think that I will break the peg on a $100 action figure that I can't easily replace, so I've been holding back. If you have had different experiences, please chime in. Otherwise, I will still consider my long quest for the ultimate Ultraman & Seven figures at an end!