Kamen Rider is no stranger to early season form spamming. It’s why a lot of comments nowadays are “I’ll come back past the first quarter when they’ve sold all their toys.” Unfortunately for those people, BUILD 2 is still firmly stuck in the ‘To Sell Toys’ phase, as we move as far ahead as episode 7 - that’s almost a new form every week! Are they any good? Or, more specifically, are the toys good? Keep reading to find out!
|Can't believe they did my boy Taro Sato dirty like this|
Also, sorry in advance for the awful yellow balance on some of these! I blame the bulb, and my inability to find a replacement in time.
Like I said, this wave moves us into the second month of Build, and the mystery from last time keeps on thickening. They find Nabeshima, the man who helped arrange frame Banjou for Katsuragi’s murder… only for him to get his memory wiped after being turned into a Smash twice, so that’s a dead end. Souichi comes under suspicion for having a panel from Pandora’s box as a wall decoration, but it turns out he too is on the run from Faust, having stolen the panel, Misora, and a bunch of Fullbottles on his way out. How convenient.
|"Tenkuu no Abarenboh! HawkGattling!"|
In the process, Build gets both the Taka and Gattling fullbottles, letting him transform into HawkGatting! Build’s 3rd Best Match so far, this has a few benefits that make it stand out just a little more than the previous ones. Firstly, it can fly, which means it gets used a lot, by both Build and Spoiler Build. Secondly, it has its own weapon, so they make sure to shove it right in your face. As a result, this guy is easily one of the more well-known forms from this run of the show, and I think it deserves it.
|Although the gattiling shoulder pad does like to fall off.|
|It may be almost pure black, but it's not exactly innacurate|
|Flight is hard without a proper stand, okay?|
|Try coming up with an explanation for this that doesn't involve "flying rabbits".|
The orange and gunmetal grey colour scheme really work together, providing a nice contrast that highlights the split design of the form. The eyepieces are also pretty stylish – while we’ve seen hawk designs before (HellOOO), the head of a gattling gun is certainly something new. Everything else is fairly standard, apart from the wings on the back. They can be moved around for posing, and while they’re not the biggest, they do give him a unique silhouette that sets him apart. Because of the universal system, they just peg into the usual set of holes, so you can remove them and give them to any figure you want.
|You can tell I don't own a macro lens|
|The warm lighting almost works really well, here.|
|"This is the Build police! You're under arrest for lewding Misora!"|
Obviously, he comes with a stand, but he also comes with his personal weapon – the Hawk Gattlinger, which I’m probably misspelling. It’s a cool little handheld gattling pistol, but the stickers can slide around a little. If you can paint, this is something you’d want to do. It gives him a lot more posing options, especially as you can use the stand to give him pretend he can fly. A Tamashii Stand would probably work better, but I still don’t have one at uni. You could also replicate his “Full Bullet” finisher if you had a globe of some kind, which would be pretty neat.
Meanwhile, in the plot, Sento still has no clue to his past, only for Sawa to pull out someone who recognises him! It turns out Sento used to be known as Taro Sato, a member of the band Lynks, last seen asking for Yakiniku before walking right into Katsuragi’s house, about five minutes before Banjou found his corpse. Because Banjou is an idiot, he accuses Sento of framing him for murder, which he almost considers, but he still finds it all a little odd. After all, he’s nothing like Taro Sato, so where would all his physics knowledge have come from? Then his bandmate gets turned into a Smash, so he fixes that with his new form – NinninComic!
|"Shinobi no Entertainer! NinninComic!"|
Ninjas are a popular theme for Kamen Rider in recent years, being seen in Kamen Rider Fuuma, Kamen Rider Drive’s Midnight Shadow tyre, and Kamen Rider Gaim Strawberry Arms, so it’s unsurprising that we’d see a half body based on that so soon. Comics, on the other hand, are a little more esoteric, but Ex-Aid has the Mighty Novel X form, so it’s got some precedent? Not that it matters. NinninComic is a design I didn’t like so much on screen, but as a toy, I’ve noticed a lot more details that actually make me quite a fan.
|For a start, his chest almost has loss.jpg|
|He can write entire essays with a single punch. It's how Katsuragi passed college.|
|*Distant WBX plays*|
For a start, the Ninja side has a fair few differences to the usual half body design, and that’s always refreshing. The leg is designed to look much more like traditional armour, and the chest has a sticker to replicate chainmail, as well as detailing on the arm. Plus, I’m a fan of purple, so it didn’t take much to win me over. That’s not to say Comic is a slouch in the surprisingly good design department – the arm has a wrap-around sticker, with the wrist designed to look like quill nib, which I imagine might hurt a lot if it punched someone. The foot is too, so Build could easily disembowel someone by kicking them. Finally, he comes with his scarf. It’s obviously, at this price scale, a solid piece of plastic, but it mostly stays out of the way while posing, and just pops out if it does. Scarves aren’t seen much nowadays, and if you get the angle right, it looks pretty good. Even if the angle's wrong, it still looks nice.
|This comic has no plot, no colour, and yet it's still not the worst I've ever seen.|
|I just realised, this guy is basically Ninja!Linkara|
|Daleks may be powerful, but even they aren't fast enough to catch a ninja.|
NinninComic also comes with its personal weapon, the 4-Panel Ninja Sword (4-koma Ninpoutou, if you’re a big weeb). The stickers capture a lot of the detail, and I like the design. Sure, it’s cartoony, but it fits Sento’s character to design something so doofy, and it still manages to look like a sword overall, as opposed to some other weapons in Rider history.
In plot-land, Sento’s bandmate is now freed from his existence as a Smash, and Sento congratulates himself on a good job… only for Banjou to engage in maximum dumbass and turn him back into a Smash, in the hopes of following it back to Faust’s base. He doesn’t have any plan for when he gets there, but forward thinking isn’t his forte. Neither is backwards thinking. Or any thinking.
Somehow, this works, but because Banjou isn’t a Kamen Rider yet, he almost gets himself killed, and has to be bailed out by Sentou, who roasts him for it. Banjou roasts back, and the two spend all episode angry at each other before making up. It’s rather sweet. Sento also reveals that he’s working on another Build Driver for Banjou, but it’s not ready yet. Or, to put it better, Banjou isn’t ready yet. He doesn’t trust the current impulsive, revenge-driven Banjou enough to fight with him (understandable, really), so he’s tuned it to only work if Banjou’s fighting for the ‘right reasons’ - aka, to save people. Which means that form isn’t yet my problem!
With everything seeming to be at a dead end, Souchi drops his suggestion – the pair of them have no leads, but what about the man linking them both; Takumi Katsuragi himself? It turns out his mother is still alive, his dad having died at some point off-screen, so they go to find her. And, of course, Faust follows – specifically, Blood Stalk (aka Brad Stark), the most colossal dick. He’s the one who wiped Nabeshima’s memory, and takes nothing seriously. Also, his identity is a secret, but it’s not exactly hard to guess. Anyway, Blood Stalk attacks, but Sento fights him off with his newest form – Rocket
Build has a surprising amount of plot in 5 episodes, huh?
|Remember that Sneezing Baby Panda video? This is what Toei watched before creating this form.|
RocketPanda is easily the least remembered of the Best Matches from this wave, and it's purely because it was used the least, imo. It’s easy to see why this happened: HawkGattling can fly and has a gun, while this one can fly but doesn’t have a gun, and NinninComic would later be used a lot by Kamen Rider Daddy Build because he has a cool sword. RocketPanda gets left behind because balancing so many forms in so little screentime is hard, and some are going to be left by the wayside. It’s a shame, then, that they barely ever used a design that’s quite nice.
|Useful for scooping mayo right outta the jar|
|He's gonna go befriend the moon.|
The Rocket half is obviously taking some inspiration from Kamen Rider Fourze, specifically in how one arm is taken up by a rocket. It works quite well, with the armour being bulky, but not interfering with the motion in general. The colour is nice, too – a pleasant shade of sky blue. Panda is our second plain white halfbody, but does have some details to distinguish it from Harinezumi. Obviously, the shoulder pad is different, with a lot more black detailing, as befitting a panda, but the main difference is the giant hand-claw thing. It’s got more poseability than you think, as the hand can swivel, which means you can get plenty of swatting options. The eye piece also deserves a mention – it’s a literal panda. Adorable.
|Me, when presented with someone's affection|
He also comes with an accessory that’s not really meant for him, in the form of the Steam Blade. It’s nicely detailed, but only comes with a sticker for the big red gear on the size, so it’s primarily black. Not that it matters, because it’s a nice little dagger that RocketPanda can use, if you’re really inclined. It’s really here so you can equip the next guy.
Yes, in the final bit of plot for this time, we find the identity of the mysterious Bat-Man, none other than Gentoku Himuro, aide to the Prime Minster... that everyone had already guessed at. Oops. Still, Rider-like villains have been around for a long time, originating properly with Shadow Moon in Kamen Rider Black. They’ve recently had another boost of popularity, with Mashin Chaser showing how much audiences still love the evil not-quite-Rider aesthetic. Ghost and Ex-Aid didn’t have much in the way of those, unless you count the RidePlayers, but Build brought them back in full force, the first one being Night Rogue.
|"BAT. B-B-BAT-B-BAT! FIRE!"|
(I'm not the biggest fan of the jingle this time.)
Night Rogue is obviously based on a bat, and is set up as the primary villain of the first part. While he would be overtaken fairly quickly, his design still oozes cool menace. Speaking of Mashin Chaser, he seems to draw some design cues from him, such as the use of exhaust pipes as Hakaider-esque shoulder armour, but he’s still grounded in Build’s own aesthetic enough to set himself apart. I’m a little confused by the horn on his head, - since both him and Blood Stalk have it, I’m guessing it’s based on something, I’m just not sure what. I’m certain Toei’s website has given it a name and purpose, though.
|Batman doesn't use a gun, but he does have a big ass knife. And a gun. He lied about the gun.|
|This photo is Utsumi. None of the others, just this one.|
|Considering Night Rogue's chair, we shouldn't have been surprised by Gentoku's fashion sense.|
There’s a few differences between him and the usual best match releases, though. For a start, he comes in only one box, which means he’s a little slimmer than the usual release. It also means his armour is a little simplified, with the shoulder panels being on pegs, rather than hinges. In practise, this does limit his arm movement a little, but he can still just about hit 90 degrees. It also means he doesn’t come with a stand.
|Little known fact - NRA stands for Night Rogue Association.|
|"Don't you remember who you are?"|
"Of course I do! Kikaider, right?"
"... No. Not Kikaider."
What he does come with is a Transteam Gun, the morpher for both him and Blood Stalk. It’s molded in black, with a little sticker for the yellow stripe on the side, and while it’s not as nice as the HawkGattlinger, it’s still a perfectly fine little gun. He’s obviously meant to use the Steam Blade included with RocketPanda, so I’ve included some pictures with that. What nothing comes with yet is a Transteam Rifle, the combination of the pair. The steam blade isn’t designed to split up, so you’ve just got to be satisfied with the two alone for now, no combination yet. Night Rogue didn’t use this weapon all that much anyway, so it’s no big deal in my mind.
|A TankNinja sounds like an anime plot. A Gattling Gun Panda, maybe not.|
Once again, you can mix and match, but this time I'm only gonna show off stuff from the show, because even with the 12 halfbodies available, you can still make 36 different forms. Instead, have the two new ones we saw - NinninTank, and PandaGattling, both of which look surprisingly nice.
So, overall, how do I feel about this set? Honestly, I think I like it more than the 1st. The Best Matches are given more room to stand out for themselves, with all three having a nice, unique character (HawkGattling is obviously a lone wildman, NinninComic is the edgy ninja of the bunch, and RocketPanda is the far to naive newcomes), and Night Rogue is such a nice villain suit, it’s almost a shame it was retired barely a third into the show. If you’re a newcomer and looking for some nice Best Matches to play around with, I’d recommend picking this set up off Mandarake. They may not be Build’s most used forms, but they’re proof Bandai’s design department puts their all into practically any design, especially when they’ve got new series budget to play with.
|Family photo, Mk 2|