ANDROID NO. 17
I must admit, I never got super into Dragon Ball Z. That being said, as a child of the 90s, there’s some things you just have a familiarity with without even trying. Everyone I knew watched the show, and I watched it when I caught it, so I had at least a basic idea of it. I enjoyed what I saw, though. One of the few eras of the show that I actually caught most of what the Cell Saga, which prominently features Androids 16, 17, and 18, who would go on to become some of my favorite characters. When Bandai’s SH Figuarts line first began doing DBZ characters, I passed; the higher price was a bit much for something of which I was only a moderate fan. However, the announcement of the Androids, coupled with my getting into this style of line with SH’s Power Rangers and Bandai’s Ultra-Act line, I finally gave in and picked up my first DBZ figure, Android Number 17.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Android 17 was released as part of the Dragon Ball Z subset of the SH Figuarts line. He was a late 2014 release. The figure is roughly 5 ½ inches tall and he features 36 points of articulation. 17’s look in the show was mostly consistent, but there were a few minor changes here and there. The figure is definitely based on his appearance in his earliest episodes on the show, before any of the minor changes set in. 17 features a brand-new sculpt, specific to the character. It’s a very nice translation of the animated design and it even adds some fine detail work that isn’t present in the show. The default face is mostly devoid of expression, which is perfect for the character. The clothing features some great work on the folds and wrinkles, which give the figure some great dimension. In general, all of the sculpting is very cleanly done. In my review of the SH Power Rangers, I noted that the articulation impeded the sculpt in a few areas. 17’s sculpt and articulation are very carefully handled, so as to maximize movement without ruining the aesthetics of the sculpt. Perhaps the best example of this is the figure’s feet, which feature shoelaces that could have rendered the ankle articulation useless. However, the laces are done as a separate piece from the foot and ankle, allowing for full movement. 17 features some pretty good paintwork. All of the colors are nice and bold and very accurate to the show’s colors. The basic paintwork stays within the lines, with no bleed over or slop. There is also some very nice accent work, most noticeable on the handkerchief, which makes use of some lighter and darker oranges for some great depth. SH figures are generally well accessorized, but 17 goes beyond the average release. He has two extra faces, a spare belt, an empty holster, a handgun, an extra hairpiece, an extra handkerchief, a pair of crossed arms, and 11 different hands (in addition to the fists he comes wearing.)* The faces are a grinning face and a teeth baring face, respectively. The grinning face isn’t much different from the regular face, but the subtle difference is true to the character. The teeth baring face is quite different, and makes for some great action poses. The spare belt allows for a look without the “utility belt.” The handgun and empty holster can be swapped out for the holstered gun that the figure comes wearing, which isn’t how such things are usually handled, but it’s the same end result. The extra hair and handkerchief are both sculpted to be windblown or in movement, allowing for more action poses. The crossed arms (which are my favorite accessory) allow the figure to replicate one of 17’s signature poses, which he can’t do with the regular arms. The hands include: a trigger finger (R), claw grip (R and L), flat handed (R and L), relaxed (R and L), wide spread (R and L), and loose grip (R and L). They can be a bit difficult to swap, but they offer a nice variety of poses.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I really didn’t intend to get into this line. Even when I saw the Androids announced, I decided not to get into the line. But then, I was at MAGfest with my brother, and one of the dealers had several SH Figuarts figures, 17 among them. A quick check online revealed that 17 was actually a pretty good price, so I caved and bought him. 17 was definitely worth the purchase. He’s very well done, he comes with lots of cool extra pieces, and he’s just a lot of fun. Of course, now I have to get the other two Androids…
*The stand in the running pose picture is not included with the figure; it’s actually from the NECA Dog Alien.