S.H. Figuarts: Sailor Mars by Bandai Tamashii Nations

[I know, it’s Thursday… where the hell are the Transformers at? Fear not fans of change-a-bots, I’m only bumping this week’s TFT back a day and for reasons that will be made clear tomorrow. In the meantime, the feature I had planned for Friday will get bumped up to fill today’s slot. Enjoy!]

It’s been over a month since I last looked at one of Figuarts’ Sailor Scouts so today I’m checking out the third release in the line, Sailor Mars. Yeah, I’m way behind on these releases and I really need to work on getting caught up! When I looked at Mercury, I commented on how the anime really picked up for me with the addition of a second Sailor Scout for Usagi to play off of. Well, that sentiment is tripled after episode 10 when Sailor Mars joins the team. Ami may have made Usagi look bad on a regular basis because of how seriously she took her new found responsibilities, but the two still got along pretty well. Feisty Rei, on the other hand, was more like a rival and that lead to some great fun. As much as I dig Ami, she tends to be a pretty stereotypical character, whereas Rei comes across as a bit more complex. Needless to say I was super excited to get Mars into my collection.

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I love the packaging on these ladies! Mars comes in the same style of compact window box as the previous two Scouts. The deco is personalized to fit Mars with yellow, orange, and red and there’s a picture of the figure on the front beside the window. Surprisingly, there’s no artwork from the anime or manga, instead you just get lots of photos of the toy inside. As expected, the majority of the copy on the box is in Japanese with just enough english to tell you what you’re getting. Inside the box the figure comes on a clear plastic tray with all her bits spread out to the side and the entire package is, of course, collector friendly. The hands and faces even come in their own covered tray to keep them from flying all over the place when you open it. There is, however, still one loose hand and a scroll in the main tray so a modicum of caution should still be applied.

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Obviously, much of Mars’ outfit is similar to that of Sailor Moon and Mercury’s. You get the same sculpted pleated skirt as well as the large bows on her chest and back. Aside from the coloring, the only obvious difference in Mars’ costume is that she’s wearing high heels instead of boots. The heels look good, but they provide quite a challenge when getting the figure to stand on her own. I didn’t have nearly as much trouble with Sailor Moon or Mercury.

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Mars features four swappable faces. You get the stock, smiley face, the serious face, the eyes closed in concentration face, and the shouty face. The switch is made simply by removing the front of the hair piece, pulling off the old face and pegging on the new one. They’re all pretty good portraits, but I will likely stick with the serious face for Rei as I think it reflects her personality the best. The head sculpt also features Mars’ two tiny star earrings and a copious mane of black hair. The hair has hinged pieces on the sides so you can fan it out more to convey movement in action poses, or collapse it so it falls flat behind her.

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The paintwork has been solid on my Sailor Scout figures so far, with just a few very minor spots of uneven application or visible brush strokes. Mars’ paint, however, is pretty much perfect. I can’t find anything to nit pick at all. The red used for her skirt, collar, rear bow, and shoes is nice and bright and I dig the metallic purple and red used for the bow on her front. The pearlescent white on her top and gloves looks great as ever and the skin tones are all clean and even.

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Hands! Hands! HANDS!!! As expected, Mars comes with a lot of hands… five pairs and an extra, depending on how you count. She comes with her relaxed hands attached. She also has a pair of fists, a pair of slightly less balled up fists, a pair with fingers splayed out, a right hand with index finger pointed, and a single piece with both hands attached to recreate her FIIIIIRE SOUL! attack. You also get a single right hand designed to hold her Ofuda scroll.

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The included stand is the same as we’ve seen with the last two Sailor Scouts only with personalized paint on the base. It’s clear plastic with a heart shape base and a hinged arm that can delicately support the figure around the waist or under the arms. While I do love these stands, it’s worth noting that Mars’ long hair tends to interfere with the placement of the gripping arm. The previously mentioned hinges in her hair do help to create a gap and accommodate it, but to make it work you need to turn Mars’ head a bit.

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Apart from her extra portraits and gaggle of hands, Mars is a bit light on the accessories. In fact all she comes with is a single Ofuda scroll and man is it tiny. It’s designed to fit between the fingers of one specific hand and it does work well for that, but I can’t help but think it would have been better if they had sculpted it as part of the hand. They did that with Sailor Moon’s “Moon Tiara Action” effect and that was a much bigger piece than this little scrap of plastic.

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I picked up Sailor Mars for a little under forty bucks and I think that’s a great deal for what you get. Sure, Mars feels wanting in accessories when compared to Sailor Moon and Mercury. Tossing in a fire effect part would have gone a long way to help alleviate that, but it’s not something that dampens my love of the figure. The articulation makes for a figure that’s hard to put down and I could literally spend hours just swapping out hands and coming up with different poses for her. As my first real experience with Figuarts, these figures have been impressing the hell out of me and I’m having a blast building the team and fiddling about with them as I revisit some of my favorite episodes of the classic anime as well. Yeah, there’s also Crystal too, but I haven’t completely made up my mind about that one yet. I’ll try not to let so much time pass before revisiting this line, because Sailor Jupiter is next on my shelf waiting to be featured!

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