|12-09-2016, 11:07 AM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Lexington, Ky
"Let our Janklers roar, we are Akumaizer 3!"
The classic 1975 Shotaro Ishinomori series Akumaizer 3 may not be something you're familiar with, but today that changes! The series stars Zabitan, a rogue member of the Demon Clan who has come from the Downworld to the human one, in order to become a hero. However he's initially pursued by 2 members of his clan's Internal Affairs, Ibiru & Gabura. While these 2 do initially hunt Zabitan, rather quickly (by episode 1's end) his code of honor and mercy win the duo over to his cause. Thus the Akumaizer 3 are formed! Rather oddly, although these characters are definitely demons, Zabitan himself is in fact half human as he has a human father.
Akumaizer 3 was a brief footnote in Toei Tokusatsu history, running 38 episodes from 1975-76. But a very good one. So good in fact that it spawned a direct sequel in the form of Choujin Bibyun! A series which featured the Akumaizer 3 as new heroes, rewarded with human bodies in honor of their good deeds in their past life. While these 2 series don't receive much love these days, the Akumaizer 3 were dug up to be used as villains in Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze Movie Wars Ultimatum. Their designs in that film were reminiscent of the S.I.C.S. but still very much their own thing.
Now as with most all S.I.C. releases you'll see that the figures reviewed below are VERY different compared to their original show designs. The majority of S.I.C. designs are actually the brain child of the incredibly talented Takeyuki Takeya, whom you may recall designed all of the Roidmude for Kamen Rider Drive. His particular style has always been interesting and seeing it put to use redesigning these 70's Showa heroes is just incredible. The S.I.C. Akumaizer 3 figures are in fact the only high end poseable figures that have ever been made of the team as well. While these figures may not fit what you're looking for in terms of their classic appearances, you should read the review below to find out why they're so great.
** Post #1 is all Zabitan, #2 is Ibiru, & #3 is Gabura plus group shots
As with most S.I.C.'s the box here is pretty huge. Granted this is also a pretty extensive 3-pack. But the box is just massive. The 3 figures are twist tied into the packaging with a separate parts tray for accessories. Be careful when removing older releases like this from box though as older S.I.C.s can be very fragile.
Zabitan- What you first need to know about these figures is that they're big. Like nearly 8" tall. S.I.C. prides itself on intricate detail and design flourishes so this 8" scale really helps set it apart even further from Bandai's other collector lines. The Chogokin implied by the "C" in S.I.C. obviously means there are diecast parts involved as well. On Zabitan those parts consist of the bronze colored shin guards, belt buckle, hip guards, shoulder pads, and forearm guards. Now they don't add much weight to this figure, but they do add, I don't know how to word it, a tiny bit of class perhaps? Regardless they don't improve or hinder the figure.
With a S.I.C. of this age your expectations should be tempered in the first place. Older S.I.C.s tend to be fragile and easily broken. Tight joint tolerances/part fits and sometimes inconsistent quality can be a bad combination. And like many older S.I.C.'s articulation can be limited. Zabitan has some standard articulation himself, but it's hindered by his design. While he does have ball hips knees and ankles, his ankles are very loose, his knees are on a double joint that pulls out easily, and his hips don't have much back or outward range. It can be very difficult to get him into a dynamic stance with these issues. The upper body features a pretty nice waist and ab joint, but the shoulders pose more problems, the arms can only get up to about 45 degrees. The elbows pose a similar problem. So you get a pretty mixed bag articulation-wise out of Zabitan. The potential is there, the execution is not.
But thankfully the head is on a peg to make exchanging it with the alternate ones easier, so it's mostly free of obstruction. Sidenote, the head originally attached tot he figure is actually one that represents an alternate state for Zabitan. This "standard" head is specifically a call back to episode 1 of the series when Master Mezalord used the Demon Crest to attempt to regain control of Zabitan. His skull began to crack and ripple from the strain so this head features that damage. The visor is also a bit larger and differently shaped on this head, a nod to how Zabitan's visor would change often from when he's not in combat to when he fights other members of the Demon Clan. An alternate and more towards show accurate head is included. As for the rest of the figure, a nice light blue paint wash is applied to black parts to draw out details, and a black wash is applied to the white parts. So it's a gorgeous looking figure, but one that ultimately doesn't function extraordinarily well.
Ibiru shares many basic design similarities with Zabitan actually. His body is simply a bit more lean & slender. But ultimately the two are very very similar. Ibiru has all the same basic articulation and issues that come with it as Zabitan. Though I do feel he is more limited in the elbow area, and has weaker elbow joints, his shoulders seem much more free to rotate. His legs also feel a bit less restricted, though his ankles are just as weak. Ibiru also features diecast like Zabitan, though not in exactly the same spots (shins, forearms). But basically everything else about the two is the same from a design & execution standpoint. Ibiru even has a dark paint wash meant to bring out more details on the intricate suit.
Speaking of the suit, just like Zabitan, Ibiru is a pretty interesting departure from the original costume. Though much like Zabitan it feels like a natural progression of the demon theme. The standard head attached to the body out of box is much like Zabitans in that it's more menacing than normal, but not full on demon. The other 2 alternate heads included follow the same example as Zabitan as well. Of the two though I'd still say that Zabitan exectues everything much more solidly than Ibiru.
Surprisingly, despite his massive bulk, Gabura might be the nicest figure of this trio. He's a hulking monster but if you've seen any of the series at all, you'll know him as quite the gentle and lovable hero at heart. His S.I.C. figure, while not perfect, is a serviceable display piece. In terms of his lower body, Gabura has much more limited knees & hips, but more solid joints as well. The hips sadly have almost no outward side to side or back motion to them. They can move forward, but pointed protrusions on the sides & back impact the waste and neuter any other meaningful movement. Likewise his ankles provide ample strength to hold up his massive body, and they're wide enough to keep him balanced, but they don't have much range.
His upper body is just as surprising actually. The ab section rotates quite freely side to side though the upper torso doesn't have much wiggle room on top. Unfortunately Gabura doesn't feature any real elbow but frankly the joints in them if they had existed wouldn't be able to hold up his massive forearms, which can rotate at the elbow. Gabura was known for movable springs on his arms that he would sometimes undo as though he were getting serious in a fight, and he was. In show these springs were actually limiters on his power. And while the sculpted details of the springs are present, they aren't functional on this figure. but that's to be expected. The upper arms as well as the head are all cast in a really cool translucent maroon plastic too, so when light hits him he really pops. I should mention that unlike most Bandai figures at the S.I.C. or SHF scale, Gabura has poseable fingers! The thumb & index finger can move independently while the other 3 fingers move as one, but I can't tell you how welcome that little surprise was.
Finally Gabura features the most expressive head on the team. Strangely given a more humanoid face than his teammates, Gabura even features a working jaw, and you can see his tongue in his mouth too. The headsculpt really just brings this figure to life in an unexpected way. The head can also rotate a bit side to side but don't expect anything too crazy out of him. Also like Zabitan & Ibiru, Gabura features some diecast. And although he weighs nearly twice as much as either of the others, the only diecast is in face on his shin guards. That's it.
3 - Sabres. The same style of sabre is used by each member of the team. Each does have a unique name however; Zarad, Irad, & Garad. Though Zabitan is most well know for his while Ibiru & Gabura rely on their signature weapons most often. Ibiru & Gabura both get slightly different Sabres from Zabitan, his actually looks the most standard. It's nice to be able to display the entire team with them, sort of like a demonic (in a good way!) 3 musketeers.
1 - alternate Zabitan head. This head actually skews much much closer to the costume used in the series than anything else about this figure. The cracked head is set as the default out of the box but this head is much more heroic than either of the others. It's my preferred one for display.
1 - alternate Zabitan Demon head. An even more sinister looking head that's included & reveals Zabitan's full demonic nature. This is probably the most wicked accessory a S.I.C. has ever managed to come with. It's incredibly well detailed and actually pretty terrifying.
3 - additional Zabitan Hands. Two open palm hands and one weapon holding (right) hand that can accommodate the Zarad Sabre.
1 - alternate Ibiru head. This head actually skews much much closer to the costume used in the series than anything else about this figure. The initial head set as the default out of the box is only slightlyt more menacing with a different facial structure, but this more "normal" head works better if you're aiming for closer to the show. It's my preferred one for display.
1 - alternate Ibiru Demon head. Like Zabitan's 3rd head this one puts his full demon nature on display.
1 -Jo Gun Unlike the the individual Sabres below, Ibiru's weapon of choice features no diecast at all, and has no features or gimmicks. And since Ibiru only comes with one hand capable of holding a weapon (right) you have to seriously work to get this thing in his grip. It looks pretty cool, and very much like what a 2-barreled demon cannon would look like right? However because of the limited nature of the figures' elbows you can't get many poses with this thing.
3 - additional Ibiru Hands. Two open palm hands and one weapon holding (right) hand that can accommodate either the Irad Sabre or Jo gun.
1 - Denburu Mace. Technically this is actually a chain & flail but that's really semantics. The weapon of choice for Gabura, the largest of the Akumaizer 3. This hefty weapon features a nice metal chain & upper handle that gives it some more value & weight. Inside the ball on the end of the mace there's actually a tiny rattle rolling around. I'm not entirely sure of the purpose but it's interesting. The mace is my preferred weapon to display Gabura with as well. A Sabre or even an Ax just seem like weapons that are far too much to the point for this big lovable oaf.
1 - Ax. This ax actually isn't actually something that I Gabura using in show. It's entirely unique to this release as far as I can recall. It was probably added to the design by Takeyuki Takeya simply as an alternate weapon for Gabura. It looks cool, it has no diecast, but it's still pretty nice. But my preferred weapon for him is still the Mace.
While this set obviously comes with a ridiculous number of accessories there's one decently well known thing it doesn't include. And that's the Zabitan Nova launchers. Zabitan could summon these mini-missile launchers and mount them to his shoulders to attack enemies from mid-range. But they aren't included separately or even sculpted in as details on the S.I.C. figure. But that's really the only glaring omission I can come up with.
This was a long one wasn't it? Well I have to say I'm impressed. For a set released over 11 years ago, the S.I.C. Akumaizer 3 actually hold up really really well. Gabura is easily my favorite figure in the set, but Zabitan & Ibiru are charming in their own ways as well. Considering this set can be had for 1500-2000 yen before shipping I would highly recommend it to any fans of toku obscurities or this series in general. I would love to see more Showa non-rider heroes get this kind of treatment but sadly the only one that has at this point is Henshin Ninja Arashi with his S.I.C. 2-pack. Maybe it is time to track that one down after all..... I hope you enjoyed this wicked & wacky trip into the tokusatsu history books!
Last edited by Den-O; 01-04-2017 at 12:57 PM..
|12-09-2016, 11:08 AM||#2|
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Lexington, Ky
Part 2 - Ibiru
- Alternate Heads
- Irad Sabre
- Jo Gun
Last edited by Den-O; 12-09-2016 at 11:24 AM..
|12-09-2016, 11:08 AM||#3|
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Lexington, Ky
Part 3 - Gabura
Last edited by Den-O; 12-09-2016 at 11:41 AM..
|12-09-2016, 11:45 AM||#4|
Join Date: Aug 2015
Huh, I didn't know this was even a thing that existed, but man do I need it now that I do, because those look fantastic.
|12-09-2016, 11:48 AM||#5|
Funky-Fresh Henshin Beat!
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Faith, nc
I definitely see some interesting design elements in this set.
|12-09-2016, 11:50 AM||#6|
Join Date: Jul 2016
Wow these guys look great!
|12-09-2016, 12:08 PM||#7|
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Cardiff, United Kingdom
Aha! So this is what you needed those episodes for
Very nice! I've never seen these guys in SIC form before. At that price I might grab them for myself.
|12-09-2016, 12:14 PM||#8|
Join Date: Dec 2016
You are so right in saying that some of us might not be familiar with them, but boy these look sick!
They are impressive, beautifully designed and the accesories look amazing! I'd love to own this set! This is what toy design should be all about! I actually find it hard to believe this set was released eleven years ago!
|12-09-2016, 12:26 PM||#9|
Stronger Than You
Join Date: Jan 2012
I've always wanted to watch Akumaizer 3. But I only ever found one episode subbed (Episode 1), so I just figured it was one of the many toku series picked up and then unceremoniously dropped. The premise is so creative (Well, not really. I think what makes it work is that their obvious monster designs makes it clear to the audience, be it episode 1 or episode 21, that these were originally bad guys).
As for the figures, they're pretty nice. I was never a big fan of SICs, especially the larger 8'' scale. After my Kuuga kind of self destructed, I've always been super weary
Zabitan definitely looks the coolest in my book, but then again, apparently I'm a massive edgelord
His overall look is just awesome. While he doesn't pop as much as his companions, I think I just like him on style points alone.
Iburu effing pops, though. Bright yellow and red is certainly hard to miss
While he certainly has the most interest head design in my opinion, and his Jo gun is pretty baller, I just don't find the rest of his design to be on par with the other two.
I do like the look of Gabura. He definitely screams out "Monster." It's just...I dunno. I don't think I'm too big a fan of his, still. Including the axe and mace is pretty cool, though~
The SICs are pretty nice figures, and definitely give these designs a lot of cool style to them that the original designs were lacking.
Why pretend we're all the same, when some of us shine brighter~?
|12-09-2016, 12:27 PM||#10|
Join Date: Dec 2015
I'm generally not a fan of S.I.C. designs (especially for Kamen Rider), but these ones seem all right for some reason. It seems like the busyness of the S.I.C. style suit (ha!) these characters better.
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