You know what I’m a sucker for? Cheap discount toys. Earlier this week I nearly purchased my first Glyos system figures, but ultimately I decided the price was too much for me. Still, I liked the idea of some cool little figures that are almost blank slates to do with as I pleased. Just a day later I stumbled into a clearance section at the local store and found these Kamen Rider toys.

I’m well aware of what Kamen Rider is, although I don’t know a ton of it’s backstory. I do know that Kamen Rider is a Japanese phenom in the same vein as Ultraman and Power Rangers where there’s a deep history and constantly changing shows. I even had a few of Bandai’s Masked Rider figures during the first attempt to import this show to the US, and I must say those figures were pretty cool. Fast forward a decade and here’s these new toys from a new show. I was able to pick up almost every figure in the series for about $15, so if you’re even remotely interested in these guys come with me the next few days as we explore this world together for the first time.

When these figures first came out I must say that I did check them out at a Toys R Us. I wasn’t impressed. The packages are those typical Bandai style toy packages, where they’re just intriguing enough to look at but not enough to really draw you in. It’s also one of those multi-language cards that I must confess, I generally hate.

The front has the name of the show displayed but it’s a bit hard to see it all because of the way the bubble overlaps the letters. Below they have the character’s name, but no specific card art. Interestingly on the inner paper it does have a character specific sign (think Power Rangers Morpher) but that’s it. Because this is a multilingual card, it features the characters name three times in each language… That’s fine for the Blank Knight as his name apparently translates, but Kamen Rider Camo? His name apparently can’t be translated so it just says, Kamen Rider Camo, Camo Kamen Rider and Camo Kamen Rider. This is all very confusing to me even now, I can’t imagine what the hell I would think is going on if I was a kid. Can you imagine if a GI Joe figure would have had his name on the package three different ways?

Remember, I know next to NOTHING about this show. Although I did watch about 15 seconds of it one Saturday morning. I quickly changed the channel because the characters kept shoving playing cards into their belts in order to do “moves”… It was like Sentai Magic The Gathering or something. Anyway, here’s the “plot” of the show from the back of the package:

On the other side of every mirror on Earth lies the parallel dimension of Ventara – a world destroyed by the evil General Xaviax. The Kamen Riders are warriors from Ventara who were all but wiped out when Xaviax stole their Advent Decks, which power their abilities.

They had me right up until the part it became about stealing playing cards. Why must everything be some kind of trading card battle game? Do kids even play trading card battle games anymore? Bring back Pogs!

As for their bios, Camo apparently is some guy named Grant who is offered a chance by General Xaviax an opportunity to be the “toughest man in two worlds”. I guess that means he’s a bad guy. The “Blank Knight” is a temporary, generic form that Kit takes on before he contacts the dragon. I guess this is like his regular powered up form, before he gets REALLY powered up. Generic forms? What a crazy concept.

Both figures have similar sculpts but they do have some pretty key differences. I remember when I first saw these at TRU, I assumed they would be rather cheap once I got them out of the package. I was surprised that there was a bit more detail than I thought.

The Blank Knight has little grooves on his mask, that’s not just paint it’s actually sculpted detail. Right off I also noticed that these figures have hexagon holes all over them, similar to Batman: Brave & The Bold. That was a little bit of a disappointment, I must say, although there aren’t near as many holes as the Mattel figures and these fit in a little better with the “robot super suit” design than say Aquaman with a hole in his arm does.

That’s not to say they get a total pass for the holes in their arms. I still generally think it’s stupid. Best I can tell, some of the deluxe sets come with stuff that connects to those holes, but there are only three deluxe sets and only two include stuff to pop in those holes so it’s a cop out at best. Stop putting holes all over toys, it’s not cool.

The CAMO figure is definitely much cooler. He’s a bright almost neon green, but you can tell right away that he’s a lizard based figure. I assume he’s supposed to be like a chameleon, although it doesn’t express that he has any special chameleon powers. He has similar legs to the Blank Knight, but one leg has some extra sculpting on it, while his shoulder pads and head are massively different.

One of his hands are sculpted open and at first I thought that was strange, but as it turns out that’s for his weapon. He’s a pretty neat looking figure, although with both of these figures the paint and detail work is pretty average mass market stuff. Don’t confuse this for better products out there, but it’s not terrible either.

When I first saw these guys, I assumed they only had simple cuts at the arms and legs. I immediately dismissed them. The larger figures, which I believe are about 6 inches, don’t even appear to have ANY articulation in the legs. They looked like crap. These smaller ones upon closer examination have a surprising amount of articulation, though still not enough to write home about.

For starters the neck is cut, although it very well may be a ball joint. There seems to be some extra motion in there, so I think it may be a tiny ball joint of sorts. Basically you get about as much movement as you do out of a Mattel ball joint neck, which is a tad more than a cut, but not much.

The rest of the articulation breaks down as cut shoulders, true swivel hinge legs, knee hinges and swivel wrist. It’s certainly not a ton of articulation, but it’s a lot more than I expected it to have. The swivel hinge legs add a lot of pose ability. A cut waist and some hinged elbows and this guy would be worth bragging about. As is, he’s not terrible, but not perfect either.

Both figures come with one weapon and a playing card. I really hate that playing cards are considered accessories these days, but it is what it is. I guess it makes more sense here since that’s how these guys get their powers, but I still think it’s lame.

Camo has a pretty cool accessory, it’s a Mortal Kombat Scorpion inspired throwing spear, except it’s not a spear at all. Instead it’s a little round ball thing that looks like a chameleon’s tail coiled up. It’s a pretty neat accessory and the way it plugs onto his open hand makes it look like he’s throwing it a bit like a yo-yo!

The Blank Knight gets a sword, which is definitely more generic but hey that’s what this guy is all about: Being generic.

Both the throwing coil and the sword feature some sculpting on them, which is nice, but neither have any paint to speak of. It’s a shame there wasn’t a little more effort here or at least a couple more weapons, but whatever.

The cards do look pretty neat, but I still have no clue what the hell I would do with them. Anyone want to play some Kamen Rider battle cards?

Additional Notes:
I love that I find neat stuff when buying clearance toys. It’s one of my big vices. I never would have picked these up if they hadn’t been on clearance. I don’t know if they’re cooler than Glyos or not, but they’ll tide me over for now.

This is where these guys take a HUGE hit. These originally retailed for $7.99! These figures are only 3 inches tall! That puts these guys in direct competition with GI Joe. Sorry, but GI Joe rapes these figures. I guess they’re more comparable to DCIH, but even so it’s just not a good value. I can’t recommend them at that price. I picked them up at $1.99 a piece, which I’m content with. Still not the greatest value in the world, mind you.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 5
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Sword, Throwing Coil, Lame Ass Cards
Value – 3
Overall – 5 out of 10

These guys get a pretty low rating based on their price. Given that I got them on clearance, my official score would be closer to a 6 out of 10. They’re average little guys and if you’re looking for some crap to mess around with on your desk and can get them for about $2 you could probably do a lot worse, but Bandai should be ashamed for charging $8 a pop for these. That’s a big chunk of a kid’s allowance for not a lot of play value.

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