If you’ve been following my work on The Mega Man Network recently, then you’ve hopefully seen my review of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts figure of Zero from the Mega Man Zero series. There, I explained that the reason behind the lateness of these reviews I now find myself in the middle of doing is because I had hoped to start something of a video series featuring figure reviews, but piece by piece, those plans fell apart.
Fortunately, I at least upheld my obligation for reviewing Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts figures of Mario and Luigi within the pages of Nintendo Force magazine. I had hoped to do more justice to the figures than the limitations of the printed page would allow, re: the videos, but again — and much to my dismay — those plans fell apart. As such, I’m returning to them here on PoisonMushroom.Org in order to set my mind at ease as we close out the year.
First up, we have the boxes. It’s common for S.H. Figuarts packaging to feature the figure contained within emulating familiar poses from stock art representing the brand they’re a part of, and these are no different, featuring Mario and Luigi running, jumping, and hauling Koopa shells to throw at something or someone. The front is a nice window box which gives you a good look at the figure and accessories included inside. Unlike others, particularly the bulk of the Mega Man figures from the line that I’ve reviewed, these boxes do depict other accessories and figures not included in their respective packaging, so make sure you pay attention to what you can see!
In an interesting touch which follows the games somewhat, Mario’s box is yellow while Luigi’s is a lime green. If nothing else, this mimics the colors of their respective Cat suit transformations from Super Mario 3D World, which remains slightly odd in its disparity.
Also, I should note that if you look to the background, you can see that Cammy has decided to make herself a part of the photographing process. More of her will be seen throughout.
The Mario and Luigi figures are very similar, hence the decision to review them together. That said, there are some differences, including the obvious: Luigi wears green instead of red, an features a darker blue on his overalls than Mario. He’s also a little bit taller, and due to the different shape of his head, he has a greater range of motion than his older brother, allowing him to look further to either side (as seen at right) or even tilt his head up and down a bit. Mario’s head can move a bit, but you risk loosening it if you move it too far, which is unfortunate.
From the neck down, the two are pretty much twins as far as articulation goes. Shoulders move back and forth, and in the last pic of the slides above, you can see how far each is able to spread theirs outwards. Elbow joints move up and down, and there are swivels at the wrist where the removable gloves are connected. There is no waist articulation, but the upper part of the legs can swing forwards and backwards (though not enough to go straight out, or to emulate Mario’s downhill sliding pose) and is connected to the thigh by a ball joint which enables further movement in and out, as well as rotation. The knees (which are placed a bit lower on Mario) swing in and out, and the feet are connected by a pair of ball joints which allow for them to swing up or down, as well as swivel and rock for steady posing.
All in all, the articulation doesn’t quite compare to others in the S.H. Figuarts line, but at the same time, this is probably the most articulated a Mario (or Luigi) figure has ever been for the 30+ years they’ve been around. That unquestionably has much to do with the characters’ designs, and is the sacrifice that one should probably expect in trying to create fully-articulated figures. Nonetheless, maybe Bandai will take another stab at it someday, and we’ll see some refinements to the designs.
Incidentally, some have taken issue with the visible joints across the Bros.’ bodies. Granted, it’s not true to the character models you see in material from Nintendo, but at the same time, their placement makes me think more in terms of seams and wrinkles in clothing, so personally speaking, this doesn’t bother me so much (though your mileage may vary).
Where the Mario and Luigi figures really differ is in their accessories. Sadly, they buck the Figuarts trend by not coming with replaceable heads or faces (I’d like a more “normal” face for Mario like Luigi has, and hatless versions would be nice), but what they do come with is pretty cool.
Mario doesn’t have as much going on, as he includes a shiny chromed gold coin (with stand), a Super Mushroom, and an item block. Luigi, on the other hand, features an extra set of open hands, a brick block, a red Koopa Troopa shell, a green base, a display arm with four points of articulation, a swappable panel for his back, and two sets of pegs for the open hands to allow him to hold the shell in different ways.
For Mario’s lot, there isn’t a whole lot to say. By attaching the coin to the stand as shown, it can sit as you would expect to see it in the games, whether atop a block or elsewhere. Similarly, you can move the Super Mushroom around as you wish. They’re cool accessories, but for the stock Mario package, there’s little more to do than just have them sit there.
Of course, when you get more accessories going on through the accessory packs, that changes, but that’s also getting ahead of ourselves.
One suspects there may have been some criticisms there that Bandai took to heart when putting Luigi’s pack-ins together. As seen above, he features an extra set of hands which are normally pack-ins with most Figuarts figures, and by using either pair of the included pegs, he can hold the red Koopa Troopa shell in one of two ways, be it sideways or forward-facing. Just plug the pegs into the hands and then the shell (or vice-versa may work better for you), and you’re all set!
Finally, we have the display solution which allows you to show Luigi utilizing his most prominent ability: his famous high jump!
To start with, you’ll need to remove the panel from his back (your thumb or fingernail should be sufficient), then place the included panel with the peghole in its place as shown above.
Next, you’re going to need to poke the plug out of the hole in the display stand. The peg from the articulated arm should do the trick if you’re having trouble.
From there, plug one end of the arm into the stand, and the other into Luigi’s back (ideally after you’ve posed him how you want him to appear), and you’re all set!
That’s pretty much the long and the short of what these figures bring to the table. Other than the lack of interchangeable heads/faces that have been so iconic to the Figuarts line, I’ve really got little complaints. The sculpts (articulation joints aside) are dead-on, the paint jobs are perfect, and as a bit of a trade-off to the accessories, they’re actually a lot hardier than pretty much every Figuarts toy I’ve handled to date, so they even have a bit of possible playability to them!
Ever since I was a kid, I wanted poseable figures of Mario and the whole gang to have my own adventures with; sadly, I never really got them when I was at the age they were most desirable (the first Mario action figures I can recall were from the Super Mario Bros. movie, but those were a little too late — and not quite the same). Today, fans are practically spoiled for choice when it comes to Nintendo figures of all brands, but as Mario goes, these are top of the line.
Keep an eye on this space, as I’ll be opening possibilities up further with the first two accessory packs from the S.H. Figuarts line (some of which are seen in the picture above)! And also keep eyes on The Mega Man Network, as I’ll soon be covering the TruForce Mega Man X figure (seen above).
Lastly, my sincerest and utmost apologies to the folks at Bandai and Bluefin Tamashii Nations (should they ever read this) for any inconvenience, as this was never meant to take so long to get done.
The S.H. Figuarts Mario and Luigi figures are available now at a suggested retail price of $24.99/$26.39, and sometimes less at Amazon (with free shipping). A sample for this review was provided to me by Bluefin.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.