Schwat!! After SHFiguarts and D-Arts for two previous reviews, today I present you another action figure line from Tamashii Nation division of Bandai, a line that focusing on Ultraman and other giant hero tokusatsu genre, Ultra-Act! And the one to get the honor to be the first Ultra-Act I review on this new blog of mine is....... MAX MAX MAX! MAX MAX MAX! ULTRAMAN MAX~!!!
|Ultra-Act Ultraman Max|
Aug 31st 2012 release | 3360 yen | Bandai
Just like most of his predecessors, Ultraman Max is an Ultra warrior from planet Nebula M78. He's coming to Earth to restore balance on the universe. When he observed Earth, he found a suitable human host named Kaito Touma. After he saved Kaito from certain death, Max gave Kaito a Max Spark, device that enable Kaito to transform into Max to save Earth when the needs arose. Just like his predecessors too, Max is supported by Earth's defense force group called DASH. Midway the series, Max's superior, Ultraman Xenon, gave him new weapon in form of bracelet called Max Galaxy that can be used to summon an energy sword, shoot more powerful beam than Max normally has, and on top of that to deliver solar energy to Max.
Max's Ultra-Act is the second generation of the line, thus his box is designed like most second generation of Ultra-Act. Packaging uses the usual windowed blister box format like most Tamashii Nation action figure lines, but what makes the difference from the first generation is the front side uses red color and the same design art. On the rear side there's 3 promo pictures showing most of gimmicks the figure has and a description of what Ultra-Act is and who Ultraman Max is, of course in Japanese.
The box is little bit taller than SHFiguarts since Ultra-Act figures are taller, but it's not as thick as some SHFs. To contain the figure and all accessories it has, the content is stored on double-layered blister.
Since the first time it introduced, Ultra-Act line constantly gives more effect parts than SHFiguarts, which is for me a great thing, even though I'm not that into Ultraman. Listing all accessories Max gets, then. Here's the list:
- Ultraman Max figure
- Max Sword
- 2 pairs of interchangeable hand parts + 1 right hand parts to hold Max Sword
- Interchangeable red-colored color timer
- Interchangeable back slot to connect to Tamashii Stage stand
- Max Galaxy that serves as interchangeable right hand
- Energy sword effect part for Max Galaxy
- Max Cannon effect part
Most Ultramen never had many details unlike most recent Kamen Rider, but Max has a gauntlet along with body and shoulder armor that on this figure are sculpted quite well. The body proportion is quite mass and feels more solid unlike first generation Ultra-Act I have (Tiga and Zero). But the simplicity of Ultramen suit becomes the downside on the figure since the joints can be seen very obviously and only few of them are well-hidden. The other let down I feel is how the head sculpt are feels very wrong visually, mostly his jaw that for me is not really accurate. And thanks to how back joint works, Max looks very weird from the side and rear view.
The paint is mostly well-applied and looks great. I like the gold-ish color for his body and shoulder armor as well as the red suit, but above all I love the clear blue on Max's color timer, it looks stunning. The detail I never noticed when I watched some of Max episodes is the red dots on his eyes serving as his eyeball.
But they have one flaw on the paint, which is the back side of Max neck. Instead of red, they paint it silver like the rest of his head. The promo pictures have it right, but the actual product get it wrong. Bandai should do better next time.
An improvement from the first generation, Max is packed with good range of articulations and easy to move. It almost as good as SHFiguarts, with the exception of the neck and head joint. You know that Ultramen almost always look upward and flies away every time they defeat their enemy? Ultra-Act have special joint so the characters can look upward better than other lines, but the joint make them look weird from the side and rear view, as well as hard for them to look down. The neck is little bit hard to move on the first time and the upper arm joint really easy to move it feels loose. The abs and waist also have swivel movement for greater movement and more dynamic pose.
But the best improvement for me, even compared to previously released second generation like Gaia, Agul, and Dyna is Max now has swivel joint on his bicep, making it easier for us to spin the arm as well as give wider range, since before this Ultra-Act doesn't have swivel bicep and it's very hard to pose them for doing their signature "L style" beam.
Now like most of Ultra-Act, Max comes with lot of gimmicks increasing its value. The first one is you can switch small slot on his back to the one with hole included on the box, it's for to be connected directly to Tamashii Stage stand so without its grip you can make Max doing more dynamic poses like flying or more battle scene you usually can't. The next one is one of Ultraman's trademark where the timer on their chest went red marking their time and energy on Earth almost up, Ultra-Act includes this interchangeable red-colored color timer too, and Max of course has it. It's quite easy to change it as long as you know which part to be removed. Simply remove the default color timer part and replace it with the red-colored one and voila, you can pose Max on the dire condition.
The next gimmicks are the effect part. Max has two effect parts, one for Max Cannon attack which you can use by changing the gauntlet on its left arm. It's also pretty easy to be removed but my Max Cannon part falls off pretty easy even though I already put it the right way. The other effect are for energy sword on Max Galaxy. Max Galaxy is to be wore like an interchangeable hand, so remove the right hand and replace it with Max Galaxy. After that put the energy sword on it and you're all set for more action pose!
Lastly, here's more pictures of Max for you to be enjoyed, even though my photos quality aren't that good >.>
Using Max Sword, a boomerang-like crest that can slice many materials and can be used as short sword or to be controlled telekinetically!
The mid-series upgrade weapon, Max Galaxy!
Ultramen's infamous L-style beam. On Max's case, the name is Max Cannon!
And all the poses from the famous amnesiac episode where all the living being forgets, even Max forgets how to fight and do his finishing moves!
I think I watch too much Dragon Ball :v
And a parody of local Indonesian snack brand, Beng-beng, which just released new variant, Beng-beng Max =3='
Being the second generation, Max is better overall than most previously released Ultra-Act, even though it also has its weakness. The head part is for me the most weak part of him, sculpt-wise and paint-wise. But the articulations are great and it also packed with effect parts and other accessories to increase its play value. I think it's worth grabbed, and also Ultra-Act is never as popular as SHFiguarts so it tends to be on sale later. In fact I only got it on mint condition for about $20! Though if you really want it, better find it now since being unpopular also makes it quite hard to find later since the chance to be reissued is little to nothing.