Revoltech Fist of the North Star - Shew

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Ridureyu is back with a look at another of the cool Revoltech Fist of the North Star figures - tell us all about it, R!

In real life, blindness is a crippling disability, requiring lots of adjustment, and even learning a new written language.  American laws exist to provide amenities for the blind, requiring braille versions of textbooks in many states, or braille markings on elevator buttons and door signs, and Canada actually prints paper money with raised markings to assist the visually-impaired.  Even then, loss of eyesight is a challenge, and makes life difficult for many.

In fiction, blindness is awesome and gives you super powers.  You've got Daredevil, Zato-Ichi, Toph, Eli, Doctor Mid-Nite, Kenshi, Rutger Hauer, Master Stick, Master Po, and probably a whole bunch of others.  The list goes on and on.  To be fair, there are some blind martial artists in real life, but their technique involves compensating for their lack of sight, not becoming more powerful because of it.  Don't get me wrong, overcoming disability is a noble thing, but it's kind of funny how blindness in fiction is more of an asset than anything else.

After that lengthy introduction, it should be no surprise that Shew is, in fact, a blind warrior, and his lack of sight really doesn't impede him at all.  Shew (alt. spellings: Shu, Shuu, Shuh) hails from Fist of the North Star, a classic anime that really, really doesn't specialize in subtlety.  He's one of the five masters of Nanto - the Fist of the South Star, having mastered Hakuroken, the White Heron Fist.  His technique is primarily kick-based, specializing in handstand kicks, flying attacks, a few attacks that utilize his hands, and even some illusionary moves.  He is known as the Star of Benevolence, destined to live his life only to protect others.  In his first chronological appearance, Shew sacrificed both his eyes to save the life of a young Kenshiro.  Later, he led the resistance against Souther's (Thouzer's) army, and proved instrumental in Kenshiro's defeat of the tyrant.  Blindness clearly did not slow Shew down, and the series makes a point of it - several thugs tried to mess with his hearing so he couldn't target them, and Shew promptly kicked their heads off.

"My eyes may not see you, but my heart knows where you are!"

Shew challenged Kenshiro to test his strength, and then accepted his assistance in fighting Souther.  After ken lost his first fight against Souther, Shew's son sacrificed his life to rescue Ken, and Shew took Ken in to try to nurse him back to full health until Souther attacked.

However, Souther defeated Shew by distracting him with some hostages, cut the tendons in his legs so he could no longer fight, and then used him to carry the capstone of his pyramid.  Kenshiro arrived just in time to see Shew reach the summit, and then get shot first with several arrows, and then a spear thrown by Souther himself.  He spoke to Ken one last time, and heaven restored his eyesight as a gift right before he died.  His sacrifice helped fuel Kenshiro's rage against Souther, and his compassion helped convert many of Souther's former soldiers to justice.

Revoltech (pronounced like "revolver," not "revolt") is a company owned by Kaiyodo which specializes in a very specific, modular ball-and-socket joint.  Their figures universally have great articulation, and can be pulled apart or swapped around to accommodate alternate hands, heads, or whatever.  This figure is Number 10 of the Fist of the North Star line, not one of the newest ones.  This is somewhat problematic, as the character is very popular, and the figure is often hard to find.  It's kind of a running theme with Shew - he's not playable in Ken's Rage, although he is clearly the most-requested character.  He's also the only Nanto master missing from the arcade fighting game, and is the top-requested one for the sequel.  His Revoltech figure tends to sell out really fast whenever someone has it in, and can go for exorbitant prices on eBay.

Packaging - **1/2
Revoltech toys have a standard packaging design, which applies to Shew.  He comes in a window box with a plastic tray designed to hold everything, and the pieces all fit without twisty-ties, rubber bands, tape, or excess force needed to remove them.  As Shew doesn't come with much, there is nothing taped beneath the tray except for a small flyer.

Sculpting - ****
As with others in the line, this figure is sculpted by Ken Matsuura, and it's just as good as the rest of his work.  Shew's likeness matches his appearance in the manga, anime, remake movie, and anything else he may appear in.  His costume has remained largely the same with each appearance, only having a color swap for the remake and some very minor alterations for Ken's Rage.  He wears fairly basic Fist of the North Star clothes - shoulder pads, a loincloth, but otherwise nothing too fancy.  His clothing looks somewhat worn, as it should, considering the post-apocalyptic setting.  More so for Shew, in that he can't be expected to choose clothes based on how they look.  The little details, like his tiny gold necklace, are included, which makes his costume more identifiable and less generic.

Shew's head sculpt is quite good, with the face matching his appearance, scars and all.  Shew clawed his own eyes out, and the figure reproduces his scars with remarkable detail - they are sculpted as well as painted, with appropriately ragged edges.  His face is also good, and it is distinctive even beneath the scarring.  His eyes are also half-open as they usually were in the series.  Shew's hair is good, as well, illustrating why a mullet may look good in a comic or cartoon or on a toy, but it is not a hairstyle that anybody should attempt in real life.  It's like the neon spandex of hair - just as most traditional superhero outfits look great on the page but terrible in live-action, so does the mullet.  At least it doesn't look bad on the figure.
Of course, there is the typical Revoltech complaint - these figures are 6" scale.  Exactly 6".  Most 6" figures, such as Marvel or DC's offerings, are actually in 6 1/2" scale.  Shew will look a little short in most mixed displays, although he positively towers over 5" figures.

Paint - ****
Despite Shew's fairly plain wardrobe, the figure's paint job is outstanding.  Most of his clothing is drab - faded, grayish blue, with a red shirt underneath.  The anime made his clothing bright blue, the remake movie made it pale yellow, but most adaptations agree on faded dark blue.  His few video game appearances confirm this, even with his (barely) altered costume in Ken's Rage.  A really nice detail that I did not immediately notice is the faint dusty brown wash over his outfit.  Of course Shew's clothes are dirty!  He's in a desert wasteland, and he's not really going to care about how pretty he looks!  It's ingenious, and I love that detail.  This simple wash is actually more than most Revoltech Fist of the North Star figures get.  It's subtle, but surprisingly realistic, and helps the figure stand out, turning his colors from merely drab to weathered and worn.

The paint on Shew's head is flawless.  His scars are exact, with the light pinkish paint following each scar's ragged edges without any visible slop.  His eyes are white and blank, and his eyebrows light gray.  His hair is also gray, with a very faint bluish tinge - Shew's hair is supposed to be gray, although the anime made it bright blue.  It's nice to see that tiny little nod toward the adaptation, while still keeping his hair color at least somewhat realistic.  The gray is nice and mottled, matching with the excellent work on his face.

Articulation ****
Revoltech articulation is pretty standard.  It's also very good, although not absolutely perfect.  Shew in particular had no stuck or difficult joints, which is a bonus.  Although his hips and thighs are swivel joints and not the trademarked ball joints everywhere else, you can still put him in just about any pose.  Revoltech articulation takes a second to get used to, but when you realize how each socket joint works, and how to pull them in or out for more range, you're fine.  It's a slight downside that the joints are so visible, but they aren't as bad as in most hyper-articulated lines.  Shew is particularly important, as he kicks.  A lot.  He flies through the air a lot.  He slashes through enemies like butter while performing acrobatic feats.  Most of the pictures I took for this review try to reflect this, depicting Shew's handstand kicks, handstand split kicks, and a variety of flying kicks.  The included stand seems a little too tall to properly balance him for a handstand kick, but it is possible.  if worse comes to worse and you have other Revoltech figures, you can also use one of the "shorter" stands that come with a few of them (Example: Hokuto Musou version Raoh).  I tried, and successfully replicated nearly everything he did in the series, including that one scene where he stood on two thugs and karate-chopped a third.  A note, though - he won't stay in that position without some help, as bad guy heads aren't very stable.  You can make him flip back, kick up, do a heel drop, kick behind himself, do the splits, twist in mid-air, or you can just pose him in the middle of a Capoeira-esque spin  kick... and of course, you can put him in a Crane stance to make Mr. Miyagi proud! Not many characters from Fist of the North Star specialized with kicks, so this figure is your chance to go nuts.  It's also not very difficult to pose him in the arial lunging chop he attempted to use on Souther or Kenshiro, which goes without saying.  Speaking of scene-specific poses, I did not have much trouble posing Shew and Kenshiro in a dual-blocked kick, which happened in their sparring match.  Oddly, Shew's legs posed more easily than Ken's, despite this being an older figure!

And one last note: All of my attempts to pose SHew holding up something like the pyramid capstone failed, because any object of the appropriate size would be too heavy for the figure.  You also can't jam a spear into his torso joint very easily, and it might damage the spear.  But if you suspended a pyramid, you could manage it.

Accessories - ***
Shew really lacks in the accessories department.  He comes with a standard Revoltech stand, closed fists, open hands to hold an accessory, flat open palms, slightly different flat open palms, and a spiked morning star weapon.  I understand that there isn't much he could have used, and applaud the mace - he held the object once, for a few seconds, when testing Kenshiro.  It's really there to hand off to one of the generic Punk figures for some variety.  The chain is real metal, and the two spiked balls separate so you can put Shew's hands around any of the handles.  It's a tight fit, but he holds it well.  it's a little loose in the Zeed Gang Member's hand, but servicable.

So, what else could they have given him?  Souther/Thouzer has the spear, but a few arrows wouldn't be a problem.  Perhaps a second, bloody head, or an unmarred head with both of his eyes.  The only other things I could think of would be replacement legs for after Souther cuts him, but that isn't much.  If nothing else, they could have included some poisoned food, matching another scene, but again, there isn't much that I can think of. A pyramid capstone would be about the size of Shew's packaging, and isn't feasible.

This figure came out before Revoltech toys started coming with little orange boxes to hold their accessories, or the coin, so they aren't here.  No complaints, as they were not a concept yet.

Value for money - **1/2
STANDARD REVOLTECH BLURB: At $25-$30 on average, these figures will make your wallet hurt.  But then,you're really not paying that much more than you would for a MOTU Classics figure, and the quality difference is tremendous.  These Revoltech figures showcase the same level of quality as high-end 6th scale figures, which does help soften the cost a bit.  A little.

SPECIFICALLY:  Shew is going to be expensive.  Expect to pay $35-$40 for him if you hunt around.  The character is popular, his figure is well-done, and I had to hunt a lot to find one that was affordable.  Be patient, and you'll be fine - and please, for the love of all that is holy, IGNORE the eBay listings at $80-$100.  This toy is not worth that.  You can find one for $35-$40 without that much trouble.  You can also find them for $25-$30 if you are lucky.  I'll explain more in the "Where To Find" section.

Things to Watch Out For -
The price, really.  Also, since his weapon's chain is actually metal, check if you can to make sure that it hasn't rusted or broken in the package.  I haven't heard of any of this, although mine has a rusty patina.  That might be the weapon's actual paint job... or it might not be.  There really aren't any quality control issues that I can think of with this one.

Overall - ***1/2
I've been reviewing Revoltech Fist of the North Star figures for a while now.  Of all of them, Shew is one of my favorites, up there with Jagi.  Everything about this figure just came together so well - good articulation, great paint and sculpting... and the only complaint is that he lacks accessories, but as previously stated, there isn't much else he could have come with.  It's an awesome character with an awesome toy.  Now they just need to make him DLC in Ken's Rage, and all will be well.

And finally, don't forget to check out my other Fist of the North Star reviews!

Where to buy
This is tough.  I found mine on eBay - $9.99 with $20 shipping from Hong Kong.  Expect to find the figure at $30-$40, and if youg find it at the low end of that (including shipping), snap it up.  At the time of this writing, it's sold out on Amazon (though that may change), as well as PowerAnime, HLJ, 1999, and Play-Asia.  Your best bet is to do a Google search for Revoltech Shew, Revoltech Shuu, Revoltech Shu, and Revoltech Shuh.  Be patient, and you'll find one.  This dude sells out fast when he does show up, though, so be careful, and good luck!

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This product was purchased for for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ridureyu.

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