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S.H. Figuarts – Sakura Kasugano

When playing Street Fighter, I have always been a fan of the “Ryu Family” of heroes. Ryu, Ken, Sakura, Akuma, that sort. They tend to have a nice balance with speed and power. That said, I also kind of prefer Sakura, for being a bit faster.

All of the other Street Fighter figures I have are from SOTA Toys’ old line. For the most part they are pretty good figures, even their Sakura, but the Figuarts Sakura just generally looked a lot nicer, so I’ve been wanting to pick her up for a while. She is definitely an upgrade. I may have to look into a Figuarts Ryu to go with her, because my SOTA Ryu has a broken part and well, I like Ryu.

I’m not really here to talk about Ryu though. In the usual Figuarts style, Sakura is pretty crazy poseable. nothing really gets in the way, though the skirt does limit her leg movement a bit at the waist. She has two pairs of hands, one set of fists and one open pair. The open hands are nice as they work for a relaxed open hand look and for throwing Hadoken fireballs. Speaking of which, she includes a Hadoken fireball accessory and a stand for it. She also has a few extra face options, which ass fit nice and tightly. Lastly she has a pair of cardboard pieces that make make up the scene of her fighting stage.

What’s more glaring about the accessories is the lack of some things. I don’t usually mention stands in reviews, but it’s worth noting that Sakura does not include a Tamashii Stage stand aside from the one for her Hadoken. A few more hands would have been nice as well, though I’m not real sure what else she needs. Maybe a pointing hand of some kind? The SOTA figure had a backpack and book accessory, something that I believe shows up during the fight intro moments. She kind of just feels really light on accessories compared to other Figuarts. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s notable.

Overall, I really like her. I’m glad I finally picked her up, she one of my favorite Street Fighter characters and she’s a really nice figure.

Mafex – Evangelion Unit 01

It’s a very Evangelion time right now apparently. The original show is on Netflix, which I highly recommend checking out. I also got my pre order for Unit01 in. I have never been a huge Anime person but I am a fan of quite a few older shows, Evangelion being one of them. I watched and rewatched the original series a lot, on VHS, because that was the thing at the time. I’ve still got several model kits and various figures from back then as well.

Given my history of Eva and how much I am starting to like Mafex as a company, I jumped on Eva01. This design is technically from the remake version Evangelion 2.0, which, honestly, I didn’t like nearly as much as the original, but it’s close enough that it’s not really a problem. Honestly, the only thing that feels off is the shoulder pads seem a little small compared to the original version, though they often had an inconsistent size anyway.

While I like this figure a lot, and Mafex has really upped it’s game in their more recent releases, but it has a few issues. I kind of wonder if the drastic change in body styles from super heroes to gangly robot set things back a bit. On mine specifically, the ankle is really lose and the foot falls off. I have heard reports of other lose joints including the hips. Mine isn’t bad, but I could see how some people may dislike it.

I also had a part come off of the swap-able shoulder part, though it didn’t break, it is a separate piece that came off and is easily repairable with a spot of glue. Lastly, I had some issue with swapping the hands initially, though it got easier after doing ti a few times. It doesn’t help that the shape and thinness doesn’t always allow for a good way to grip them to stick them on the peg, which is really tight. I was worried that I might snap some fingers off on accident.

I still really like this figure. It’s extremely poseable with plenty of range on every joint. It can make pretty much any pose that the Evas take in the show. It helps that the design is so skinny, allowing for more range without running into itself. The size is nice as well. It’s taller than the previous 6″ Mafex figures. It wouldn’t be 1/12th scale anyway, since Evangelions are building sized. It’s smaller than my old Bandai HG Model Kits. It’s also a bit smaller than this Kaiyodo Eva that I have, though that’s a little hard to tell because the Kaiyodo Eva has a funky squat pose that it can’t quite stand up from. It is more or less the same scale as the SEGA figures, but the SEGA figures are so cheap they kind of look pretty lame next to the Mafex.

There are a lot of great accessories here. There is an alternative Berserker head with an open mouth, a handful of hands, an alternate shoulder for deploying the Prog Knife as well as a loose Prog knife. There is a full Plug capsule and a partial one that both interact with a swapable part that goes in the back for an open plug insertion effect. There are two guns as well, one is the regular Evangelion machine gun, the other is a huge Gatling cannon. I don’t recall the Gatling cannon in the original series at all so it must be something from the Evangelion 2.0 series.

Lastly there is a large AT field effect, that works with one of the sets of hands. The Eva can hold the effect up with no problem. There is a standard claw grip stand included, but no stand for the AT field. It doesn’t work with other stands made for holding flat pieces from Figuarts and Figma.

I held off on Pre Ordering Eva Unit 02 until this figure was released due to the history of spotty Mafex releases, but damn if this figure doesn’t make me excited for more. I admit I used to be kind of a huge Eva nerd, so I’m kind of extra hype for some good Eva figures with nice pose-ability and not a lot of weird stylization going on (Revoltech).

S.H. Figuarts – Professor Severus Snape

I really enjoy Harry Potter. I have read the books a few times, I have watched the movies a few dozen times, each, I know a lot of the little extra tidbits of the lore and world. I am pretty excited for the idea of Figuarts doing a Harry Potter series. I have essentially one figure from these movies. Right at the end of the 1/12th line they did a sub line called Dueling Club, which was as close as we have gotten to having a set of good looking 1/12th Potter figures that had decent articulation. I have Harry Potter fromt his line, I think there was also a Malfoy, Lockheardt and a Snape, but I have never seen them.

I may be totally off on that assessment of 1/12th Potter stuff. Anyway, Figuarts has started with the three main heroes, and Professor Snape all based on their Sorcerer’s Stone likenesses. I’m honestly not super keep on the three kids, they look a little goofy, and I would much rather get the core cast in slightly older versions of themselves. Snape however, was already an adult, and didn’t really change much throughout the series, so I went ahead and picked him up.

I have to say, having him in hand, he is great. There are a few issues but he’s very nicely poseable and the likeness on the neutral face is a pretty dang good Alan Rickman likeness. Even if they never do the older cast, I can say I would be satisfied with just Snape. He reminds me a lot of why I liked The Rock and Bruce Lee, he is recognizable, which makes him fun to goof around with in ways you wouldn’t expect the character/actor to act.

So the downsides though. The alternate face is a little off, and I am not entirely sure what it’s meant to represent. Is he angry? Is he yelling? Is he sneering? It’s not real clear what he is supposed to be doing with his open mouth. It also looks a little less like Alan Rickman than the neutral face.

He is also pretty light on the accessories. I am not sure what he could have come with exactly, maybe some sort of book or a few potion vials since he is the Potions Master. He only has the alternate face, 3 sets of hands and his wand.

Lastly, the articulation overall is pretty good, even with the limiting skirt piece, but his arms seem to be missing a bicept swivel. This mean that it can be a little hard to get his arms looking quite right when he raises his arm up, in some poses. This one is kind of easy to write off since the design of his clothing looks like it would limit body movement quite a bit anyway.

Snape is still a really satisfying figure. He isn’t perfect but he is pretty much everything I had hoped for. I’m hoping he will scale alright with the upcoming McFarlane figures, though I feel like he will end up being a tad on the small side. Also, I’m not sure yet if I am going to bother with the McFarlane figures, as the likenesses are kind of iffy from the promo shots. Here is hoping we get Harry, Ron and Hermione from Goblet of Fire or Deathly Hallows in the Figurarts line. I’d also be game for some of the other teachers, Dumbledor and McGonagle, Lupin, and Mad Eye Moody would all be great with this line.

Mafex – Gwenpool

So, I don’t really do “Figure of the Year” stuff, but if I did, Mafex Gwenpool would very likely be my “Figure of the Year”.  I can’t express how worried I was about this figure leading up tot he release.  All of the previous Mafex figures I have picked up had some sort of issue, most often, arms or heads that don’t stay attached well.  The sculpts on the figures are all great, but the quality is a little dodgy.  I’ve mentioned before that as much as I like Mafex being cheaper than say, Figuarts, I wish they would accept a bump in cost if it meant they had better quality control.  It seems like this is starting to be the case across the board, because I’ve noticed a bump in the price on their figures, but I have also noticed that the join tolerance issues are pretty much going away.

So onto Gwenpool. Some brief background on the character, who isn’t a Deadpool spin off or a really even a Gwen Stacy/Spiderverse character.  Recently, Spider-Gwen has become a popular new character in Marvel comics.  She’s essentially an alternate universe iteration of Spider-Man, where Gwen Stacy was bit by the spider instead of Peter Parker.  At one point, Marvel did a series of parody covers as sort of a riff on Spider-Gwen, with Gwen Stacy as other heroes, like Thor, or the Avengers, or, Deadpool.  The Deadpool version ended up being popular enough that it was made into it’s own parody comic, though Gwenpool is not Gwen Stacy as Deadpool, she is Gwendolyn Poole, a new character.

Confused yet?

So, anyway, Gwenpool, is supposed to be a normal comic fan person from “the real world” that was sucked into the Marvel Comics universe.  She has no actual super powers aside from an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel characters, all of their super powers, weaknesses, secret identities, etc.  She uses this “ability” to sort of extort her way into becoming a mercenary in the Marvel Universe after getting some training from Captain America punching bag, Batroc the Leaper.

I mean, I already said it’s “Figure of the Year”, I’m not sure how much more praise I can give it than that.  The previous Marvel Legends is… not great.  It’s an ok toy, but the likeness is so off it’s may as well be a different character.  The Marvel Legends went for a sort of realistic look that just comes across as being some sort of weird midlife crisis old woman or something, the Mafex absolutely captures the essence of the stylized Gwenpool look.

She includes a bunch of fun accessories.  She has a pair of Katanas, two masked and one unmasked head with separate “hood down” part, a cell phone, and a couple of animal themed backpacks.  She also has a bunch of alternative hand options.  The handles on the Katanas in the back are also removable, which I mostly want to mention because mine were in very tight and I wasn’t sure they were.  One more minor complaint,t he only “holding” hangs she has are made for her Katanas, so she can’t really hold any other weapons (guns) from other figures very well.  She does tent to use other weapons at times.  You can sort of balance other things in her open palm hands, but the effect isn’t real super great.

The poseability is very good as well.  Between the joints and the alternative hands and heads, there is such a great range of action and emotion that can be expressed by this figure, which is great.  It’s just a very fun design which translates over to a very fun figure.

I have some other minor complaints.  The worst offense is that she really needed a second unmasked head (there is one coming with the upcoming Evil Gwenpool figure).  Basically just the smiling mouth on the unmasked head.  The unmasked head also had some iffy paint app choices, mostly on the mouth, though I’ve seen some light touch ups done by folks that really improved it.  I also kind of hate that she can’t wear the animal backpacks and the sword backpack at the same time.  Not a huge issue, but it would have been a nice addition.

I don’t have a lot to say about this figure, but it’s really a great figure.  The only real problem with it is that there are some who really dislike Gwenpool as a character.  Which is understandable, she is, by design, a little obnoxious.  Her whole shtick isn’t really meant to be a serious world shattering story like other heroes.  It’s pulling up F list nobodies like Batroc the Leaper and doing goofy stories with them.

(PS, Scooter not included, I just got it for her to use in the same order).

S.H. Figuarts – The Rock

I’m going to be straight up honest.  I don’t have any interest in Wresting, at all.  But I think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the actor, is pretty cool.  Plus this figure has a lot of hilarious faces and possibilities for photos.  I also ended up getting a good deal on him from the closing of Toys R Us, so there’s also that nice bonus.

As far as Figuarts go, he kind of feels like a mixed bag.  The face sculpts are great.  They look like the rock and convey a lot of nice goofyness and character.  Even without relating it directly to The Rock the wrestler, they still show off several of his “signature looks”.  He is also very poseable, even for a Figuarts toy.   He even has a jointed set of hands.

The poseability is also his major downside.  The joins on this figure are ugly as hell.  There isn’t really any way around that.  He also isn’t going to fit in with any other wrestling figures aside from the other Figuarts Wrestlers.  Most of the wrestling figures on the US market seem to be closer to 7″ in height.  The Rock is closer to 6″, and he’s a little on the overall small side of 6″.  So he’ll definitely look really puny next to any mainstream Wrestling toy.

He does work pretty well with a lot of other figures though, especially other Figuarts figures.  He’s not a bad figure by any stretch, but he does have his ups and downs compared to other figures out there.  He’s still a lot of fun to goof around with, ugly joints and all.