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Bandai Japan: S.H. Figuarts Justice League Batman

The Figuarts Justice League Batman is a movie Batman, but it straddles enough of a line so that it almost feels like a comic Batman as well. And I’m about to remind myself that I’d love to have a Figuarts Tick figure when I say “Does this Batman do Batman well?” If that made no sense, then ask a friend.

The answer is a lot of yes with a little no. I’ll get to what it doesn’t do after I take care of all the things it does well. First off, I’ve read complaints that it looks “stumpy,” but I’m not sure I would have noticed it if I hadn’t read the complaints. This is based on Affleck’s Batman, and Affleck’s Batman is a kind of a gray chunk, so in that respect it looks right, but I’ve seen pictures with a tweaked abdominal section using a different ball joint, and it does lengthen his torso a bit. I do think his upper section could stand to be higher, but how much you’re bothered by it will be up to you. I have some extra double-ball joints but none with the right sizing, so I need to track something down.

The Justice League Batman costume is similar to the Batmen v Superman costume in terms of overall coloration and design, but it does have a few minor tweaks, and some slight “armorizing,” and that shows up here. There’s a nice texture to the costume that doesn’t look overplayed at this scale. The gray and black are muted, and there are a few metal touches on his belts and batspikes.

The head sculpt evokes Affleck’s Batman well enough, but not nauseatingly so for those of us who kind of hate his face. And I do. I really do. I just can’t help it. The paint-printing technique is well done, in the eyes and stubble area. I’ll get to the head articulation later in my quibbles.

I have high expectations for Figuarts figures, and for the most part this figure lives up to them. You get the ball-jointed shoulders, the drop-down hips, and the smooth joints that get a very nice range. Everything works very well except for when you get to an area that doesn’t.

You’ll notice in the pictures that he’s not able to really crunch forward that much. He moves forward a little bit, but the bulk of his torso articulation only allows him to lean backward. That, combined with the inability of his neck to look down, really puts a kibosh on certain poses you can get him into, most of all that “crouching gargoyle” look. Batman toys in general seem to have a problem articulating him in certain ways that he needs to be articulated in order to Batdance, and unfortunately this figure is very weak in that area, which is kind of surprising given that I have plenty of Figuarts figures that can practically touch their toes by bending over.

So the forward motion on the torso and neck are major dings on an otherwise very well-articulated figure. I wonder if the MAFEX Batman is similarly obstructed, and I’m also wondering if the addition of a better/longer joint in the torso would alleviate the posing issues regarding his ability to crouch forward.

He comes with four sets of hands: fists, open hands, trigger-hands, and Batarang hands. The Batarang hand allows him to hold the included Batarang nice and tight. I accidentally dropped him on the floor while adjusting a pose and the Batarang didn’t fly off into the shadows, so that’s a bonus.

He comes with a grappling gun that fits snugly into the trigger-hands. Once I put a weapon into a weapon-hand, I usually just leave it there and swap out hand and weapon all at once.

The cape is fabric, which will no doubt arouse the ire of anti-cloth people, but it’s a very well-done cape with stitch-in folds and a nice material, so those of us who would have passed on a Batman with a plastic cape should be happy. The cape is wired, so you can pose it a little bit. It’s not an exceptionally sturdy wire, so it won’t be supporting the weight of the cape in overly dramatic ways, but for some minor shifts it should be fine. I do wish the cape could be posed jutting out in windswept poses easier, but there is some life to it.

The Figuarts JL Batman is not a perfect figure due to a few issues, but it looks great and is a lot of fun to move around. It will fit in well enough for cross-company Marvel vs. DC battles. I doubt I’ll be picking up any other Figuarts figures from this movie, but I had to give Batman a shot. I’m overall not disappointed.