Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Bandai S.H. Figuarts for the Discerning Toy Collector

Keeping the holiday gift guide train a-rolling, I’ve decided to set my sights on…action figures! Because what kind of holiday season would it be without getting some cool toys? I still remember the Christmas it was decided that I had “aged out” of getting toys. Dark times…lots of socks and underwear that year. To this day, I’m still a bit letdown that I don’t get new action figures on December 25th.

Since I’m at that stage in my life where I consider myself a distinguished man of leisure, my tastes in toys have trended towards the higher end of things. I haven’t quite evolved into the kind of madman that is forking over $300 to $500 for the latest Hot Toys 1/12th scale doll…sorry, deluxe figure. That’s a little ridiculous.

For me the new gold standard of action figures is Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line which encompasses damn near everything you could ever want from a toyline. Figures from the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Check! Star Wars? Check! A whole bunch of anime stuff I’ve never heard of and even a Freddie Mercury figure? Check and CHECK!

A few years back I began to see photos of the figures circulating on various toy websites and scoffed at both the price and how good they looked. I think every toy collector has been lead astray by glossy photos of production samples that were hand painted by one of Hasbro’s in-house artisans. I was understandably skeptical when it came to these allegedly superior figures.

But then, in my travels, I happened into an anime collectible store (as one does) and saw two Star Wars S. H. Figuarts on the shelf (a Kylo Ren and Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker). They were things of beauty. Perfection cast in plastic. I promptly paid for them and gleefully left the store.

I soon added some Marvel figures to my collection and then something odd happened. The easily available Marvel Legends and Star Wars Black Series figures weren’t doing it for me anymore. I’d had a taste of the good stuff and had been reborn as one of the golden chosen…a toy collector who laughs derisively at other collectors and says, “I’m sorry, I only buy import toys now.”

If I haven’t already oversold it, these figures are amazing. The likenesses are dead-on, you won’t be getting a figure that looks like Robert Downey Jr.’s cousin with these. They come with several sets of interchangeable hands, heads, accessories, DIORAMAS. They’re also have an insane amount of articulation. You know, so they look good on your shelf when you’re totally not playing with them and making the associated sound effects.

Like I alluded to above, you’re going to pay a bit more for these but you’re paying for quality. I haven’t been disappointed with a single one of these that I’ve added to my collection. I’m also going to sound like a broken record here, but you can probably find these at a local comic shop or anime emporium. If you’re going to buy off Amazon…well, don’t. Or at the very least proceed with caution. There are bootlegs out there. If you have to buy online go with a reputable retailer like Entertainment Earth or Big Bad Toy Store.

Definitely check these out…the adult child in your life with thank you.

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