#2 Ultra Seven
5.5 Inch Scale
One of the things I picked up at this year’s G-Fest was a few of the new Bandai Ultraman Spark Dolls. This is the newest series of Ultraman figures, based on the Ultraman Ginga TV series. What’s interesting about Ultraman Ginga, is that he’s able to transform into previous Ultraman characters (both hero and monsters) using these “spark dolls”. Yes, in the actual show they use these action figures. The whole thing is pretty surreal, but since these are the newest Ultraman figures on the market, I thought I’d take a look at a few.
Ultra Seven is one of the most popular Ultra characters and was the second Ultraman to appear in a television series. Ultra Seven (also referred to as Ultraseven) remains a fan favorite decades after his first appearance. He’ll be appearing in the Ultraman Ginga show along with many other Ultraman characters. This small vinyl figure could be a great way to get into the world of Ultraman vinyl toys, if you’re on a budget. Let’s take a closer look at Seven, SEVEN, SEVEN!
While most vinyl figures don’t come in packages, many of the Ultra series did in fact come in blister cards. This new series of figures bucks the trend by not coming on any card and instead going for the standard tag method. It’s pretty much par for the course in this genre of figures.
The tag has some neat info including height and vintages photos of the character, as well as a ton of Japanese verbiage. I assume it’s explaining about the show and the character along with safety warnings and such. It also has instructions on how to use the “Live Sign” on the bottom of the figure’s foot with the Ginga Spark toy.
What sets this figure apart from most of the other Bandai Ultraman offerings is the size.
Immediately these figures catch your eye because at 5.5 inches, they’re considerably smaller than any of the other Ultraman figures that Bandai has been making for the past few years. Not only is Ultra Seven smaller, he’s thin and clearly in a different scale than Bandai’s previous figure series.
Thankfully I don’t have hundreds of Ultraman vinyls, so it’s not too much of a big deal to me. The sculpt appears to just be a smaller version of the regular Ultra Seven that appeared in the basic Hero Series from Bandai. The sculpt may not be the exact same (I don’t have an Ultra Seven handy to compare) but it’s very close if not the same.
I particularly like his head beam paint, because it’s bright and almost looks like it’s translucent or something. It’s not, but the paint’s shine seems to give an impression of something more. For a cheap vinyl like this, it’s not bad.
At the bottom of his foot is a special “Live Sign” barcode thingy. This can be used with the Ginga Spark toy and when you strike the toy on his foot you’ll hear a “henshin” sound. It seems very gimmicky to me, but I guess since the whole show revolves around it, there must be something there. I doubt I’ll ever get a Ginga Spark toy, but thankfully the live sign doesn’t intrude on the sculpt of the figure in any way.
Ultraman vinyls tend to suck in the articulation department. This new series isn’t changing that. Ultra Seven only has three points of articulation. He has a cut at both shoulders/arms and a cut at the waist.
The 500 Series is designed to cost around $5 in Japan. For folks in the US, they are going to run a few dollars more unless you’re importing them directly. I’ve seen them sell for upwards of $20. I paid $10 at G-Fest for Ultra Seven. It wasn’t the best deal around, but it was the cheapest I saw there. The going rate at that event was about $12. If I buy anymore of these guys, I’ll probably import them directly and save a few bucks. For $5, they’re not bad, for $10 they’re just okay and for anything above that they’re not a great value. Unless of course you’re just desperate for some small scale Ultraman for your shelves.
Packaging – N/A
Sculpt/Paint – 7
Articulation – 4
Accessories – N/A
Value – 6
I’m bumping this guy up to a 7 out of 10, because I do quite like the sculpt. When you compare this to other vinyls, he’s not significantly worse and the smaller scale allows him to be more affordable. Ultra Seven is a longtime favorite of mine, so I can’t help but give this guy a little extra love.
When I was a kid, there was an old lady who lived on my street with a ton of Ultraman vinyls in her window. I don’t know if the vinyl figures belonged to her or a son that I never saw or what, but I used to pass by that house and wonder about the figures. Since this was before the internet and I only knew of a few Ultraman characters, I always wondered who all those guys were. I knew they were Ultraman, but who were they? Where did they come from and how did she get them?
She must have had a half dozen or more. I could never get too close to get a real good look at them, but I always wondered why this woman had them. Then one day they were gone. I can’t recall if she moved away or if the figures just disappeared. Either way it’s always been a mystery to me. This figure reminds me of those days.