Figma Motoko Kusanagi (Double Feature!) – Review

Now that the internet is buzzing with news of the live action Ghost in the Shell movie, I think it’s time to review a figure of everyone’s favourite anime cyborg – Motoko Kusanagi.  This time around we’ll be having another double feature where I’ll be reviewing 2 versions of the Major.  Both coming from the Figma stable, we have Motoko as she appears in the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, and Ghost in the Shell Arise.  Although each figure represents the Major, they each have their own style.

First Impressions:

Motoko Kusanagi - Arise version.
Motoko Kusanagi – Arise version.

Arise Motoko comes to us in a mostly all black, skin-tight, special ops outfit which is broken up with various seams and other details.  There is a dark grey section that covers her arms and shoulders that is reminiscent of the jacket that the wears sometime later.  Her hair comes in a deep blue finish and the face is a bit different from the one that most of us will be familiar with.  The customary com ports that she has on the back of her neck are also present here.  This particular version is an earlier model of Motoko since the events that take place in Arise happen before the Ghost in the Shell movie that came out in 1995 (which has been given an updated remake in 2015).  She’s sporting a holster on her hip in which her sidearm can be placed which is a nice touch.

Stand Back
Stand Back
Freeze!
Freeze!

Stand Alone Motoko appears in a light blue outfit and it appears that she’s elected to put on some pants this time around.  Her initial outing in the Stand Alone Complex series has her getting around in pretty much just a body suit, tights, a jacket and boots (when she’s not in her tactical gear that is).  It also appears that her jacket had to be modified to allow for her “enhancements” in the chest area.  Stand Alone Motoko has more alike with the movie Motoko, only more anime styled. She also appears to be slightly taller and a little bit bigger than Arise Motoko.  Her “jacket” has slits near the shoulder joints to allow it to flex a bit when you lift her arms.  Be careful not to leave her arms lifted for too long or the plastic will keep its position.

Motoko Kusanagi - Stand Alone version
Motoko Kusanagi – Stand Alone version
Stand Back
Stand Back
Freeze!
Freeze!

Accessories:

Both Motokos come with the usual figma standards – display base, snap lock bag. And each has the usual array of interchangeable hands – left and right splayed hands, closed fists, and weapon holding hands.  In addition, they each have hands designed to hold their own sub-machine guns (Stand Alone Motoko’s sub-machine gun comes with a removable silencer), and they each have their own handgun.

Motoko's Gear
Motoko’s Gear

Stand Alone Motoko comes with two hair pieces – one straight and one to show a wind-swept look, and three faces – neutral/smiling, serious, and shouting.  Oddly enough, she comes with two different chest pieces.  I can see why they would include such a thing, but it just strikes me as odd that they would bother to go to that length for “that” specific detail (really, Max Factory…).

Motoko's Gear
Motoko’s Gear

Arise Motoko comes with three hair pieces – one plain and two with visors attached – one to show it being worn over the eyes and one to show it above the eyes.  She also comes with three faces – neutral/smiling, serious and “extra” serious.  Both figures also come with a spare wrist joint.  Something that I think all the newer figmas come with.

Mission Complete
Mission Complete

Articulation:

Arise Motoko’s head has a good range of movement.  She can look up and down as well as manage a decent left and right tilt, and turning is not an issue.  The shoulders move pretty freely and the joints are solid enough to hold poses well.  There’s a ball joint in the upper chest and the waist which allows for some nice twisting and tilting.  Her left hip moves freely, but the right hip is hindered by the holster.  It seems likely that the strap could be easily broken if it becomes over-extended.  The knees and ankles move well enough and are also solid enough to hold poses well.  It can be a bit tricky to balance Arise Motoko due to her “tactical heels”, but not impossible.

fisticuffs
Ready for fisticuffs…
kung-fu-style
…or kung fu style
Target Engaged
Target Engaged

Stand Alone Motoko’s head can look down a bit, but can’t look up very far, if at all, and can only manage a slight left and right tilt.  Turning is also not an issue.  The slits in the jacket allow the shoulders to move more freely without breaking up the overall shape.  The ball joints in the upper chest and waist also allow for a decent twisting and tilting motion.  There are no holsters or straps on Stand Alone Motoko’s hips so she’s able to move her legs around to a good degree.  Both figures are quite poseable in their own right and it’s not too difficult to get them into some dynamic poses/scenarios.

fisticuffs2
Ready for fisticuffs…
kung-fu-style2
…or kung fu style
Target Engaged
Target Engaged

Conclusion:

It’s a shame that there isn’t a Figma Motoko from the original Ghost in the Shell movie.  Maybe they might consider making one when the new live action movie gets closer to its release date.  At any rate, these two figures make a worthy addition to the collection.  Arise Motoko offers a glimpse into her past whereas Stand Alone Motoko offers us a glimpse into her future in regards to the original movie.  It’s interesting to see the same character presented in two quite different bodies.

stand-by2
Stand By
stand-by
Stand By
I can't see a thing with the blast shield down...
I can’t see a thing with the blast shield down…
375mL Drink can for scale
375mL Drink can for scale

Arise Motoko and Stand Alone Motoko can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Figma range.

 

 

tachikoma-battle
It’s time for After Hours Tachikoma Battles! Mikasa Ackerman stands in as referee
fight
And…. fight! (Arise Motoko quietly confident)
solid-hit
A lucky shot staggers the challenger!
follow-up-attack
The champion capitalises!
winner
We have a winner!
not-a-good-winner
Stand Alone Motoko is not always a gracious winner… (and Arise Motoko hates to lose)

Revoltech Deadpool – Review

Oh yes.   Coming up this week is the Merc With a Mouth.  The one and only Marvel Comic’s Deadpool!  I must admit I was pretty excited when I found out that he would be getting the Revoltech treatment.  There have been quite a few Deadpool figures made, with varying degrees of quality, and this may be one of the best so far (keep an eye out for the Play Arts Kai variant version though for something a little bit different).

yay
Yay!

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

boxfront
Box Front
Box Back
Box Back
Box front/left
Box front/left
Box front/right
Box front/right

The figure itself features a nice, clean sculpt and feels quite solid.  His outfit comprises of mainly black and red with the occasional green belt or strap to hold weapons and pouches (sooo many pouches…)  It’s a pretty good representation of the character and he has the pointy hood, for those interested in that sort of detail.  The box art has that comic book feel and there are speech bubbles that you can cut out.  The figure itself has been sculpted by Yamaguchi Katsuhisa, who I feel has lent his sculpting and design talents to other Revoltech figures as well.  The pictures on the box show Deadpool in lots of different action poses so it’s pretty apparent where that Yamaguchi style comes into play.

2 guns! Twice as many bullets!
2 guns! Twice as many bullets!
He slices, he dices!
He slices, he dices!

ACCESSORIES:

Deadpool comes with his standard dual katanas and dual handguns.  There are also interchangeable eye pieces and a spare head with a downturned mouth to create various expressions.  There’s also a little tool to help with exchanging the eye pieces. The interchangeable hands that are included in the package are left and right splayed hands, closed fists, weapon holding hands, and “thumbs up” hands.  There’s an effect part that he can stand on for extra stability when posing, as well as an articulated display stand.  He has faux sheathes for his swords in that they don’t really hold his swords at all.  Instead, it’s  just the sword grips that detach when you want to show Deadpool with his swords drawn.  It would have been nice to have that sort of option with his gun holsters as well.  The Revo Mini Snake (in this review) figure had an empty holster accessory so why not Deadpool?  It’s not a deal breaker in any way, but it would have been nice, you know?  It also would have been nice to have some sort of storage bag ala figma to store all the bits and bobs in.

That's right. It's all about me!
That’s right. It’s all about me!

ARTICULATION:

Now that I have him in hand I can definitely say… yep… it’s a Revoltech alright.

That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad figure.  On the contrary, it’s a very good figure.  It’s a very good figure that is extremely poseable and comes with some really fun accessories.  What I do mean is that there are a few characteristics that define Revoltech figures, and (love them or hate them) one of the more contentious features is present here.

Stand back! I got this!
Stand back! I got this!

And that is – the clicky revolver joints that define (plague?) the Revoltech line.  Those clicky joints can make simple posing into a chore.  I’ve often considered replacing all the revolver joints in my Revoltechs for non-clicky ones but alas, I am lazy.

Deadpool can be quite easily distracted...
Deadpool can be quite easily distracted…

The revolver joints in the arms I don’t have issues with (usually) but it’s the joints in the legs that seem to aggravate me the most.  The way the joints click means that they are usually one click too short or too far from where you want them to be.  And when you’re spending a lot of time trying to get a pose “just right”, those clicky joints can ruin the experience and then you just have to settle for “close enough…” (ugh…).

Mixin' it up with a gun/sword combo.
Mixin’ it up with a gun/sword combo.

Enough bitching about the joints, how does he handle?  The joint in his neck allows for some nice turning and tilting forward and back, but not so much in the left and right tilt. He has a revo joint in his upper chest and waist areas which again allows some twisting and tilting back and forward and it takes a bit of effort if you want any left and right tilt. The ball joints in the hips give some nice range, and there is a swivel in the upper thighs.  The revo joints in the knees have a very solid click, as do the joints in the ankles.  It’ll most likely be these joints that you’ll have the most issues with if you want to pose him without his display stand.  The toe joints might help a bit though.  The effect part that’s included will definitely help in making Deadpool stable enough for some dynamic ground-based poses/scenarios.

SHORYUKEN!!
SHORYUKEN!!

He’s got something weird going on with his shoulders.  There’s a smaller double revo joint there that while creating some nice movement, creates a disjointed effect at the shoulders.  It really messes with his shape when he has his arms up and then it becomes all about finding the best angle where it’s not so obvious.  It’ll really test your creativity in finding a good pose while still minimising that disjointed effect.

What's the deal... with these weird shoulders?
What’s the deal… with these weird shoulders?

CONCLUSION:

Revoltech Deadpool is a definite must-have for all you Deadpool fans out there.  A lot of the Marvel figures don’t  really capitalise on his comedic side in the way that this figure does.  It’s going to be a lot of fun getting him into all sorts of scenarios and it’s a good excuse for me to expand on his armoury.  Two handguns and two swords is a good start though.  It will be interesting to see if we’ll get more Marvel Revoltech figures now that Deadpool is out there.  Maybe I’ll finally get that kick-ass Cyclops (Jim Lee version) figure that I’ve been looking for for a while now…

Deadpool can be found at the link below along with other figures in the Revoltech range.

Hey Hibiki, guess who's got two thumbs and a big...sword!
Hey Hibiki, guess who’s got two thumbs and a big…sword!
God dammit, Deadpool...
God dammit, Deadpool…
Didn't I tell you not to come back here after what happened last time?!
Didn’t I tell you not to come back after what happened last time?!
Somebody help meee!!
Somebody help meee!!
...they're so cute when they're angry...
…they’re so cute when they’re angry…

Figma Shizuo Heiwajima – Review

Next up we have Figma Shizuo Heiwajima as he appears in the anime series Durarara x2.  Shizuo first appears in the first installment of Durarara and it’s quickly established that he’s the most dangerous man in Ikebukuro.  It’s not too long before he shows off his habit of throwing vending machines at whoever happens to be putting him in a bad mood.  It turns out that he actually hates violence, but sometimes his emotions (and adrenaline) get the better of him.

Shizuo Heiwajima, takin a break.
Shizuo Heiwajima, takin a break.

The anime Durarara centres around a district in Tokyo by the name of Ikebukuro and some of its more colourful inhabitants.  Mikado Ryuugamine has always longed for the excitement of the city life, and an invitation from a childhood friend convinces him to move to Tokyo.  Not long after his arrival he encounters characters that he never would have thought possible, from the super-humanly strong Shizuo Heiwajima to the mysterious Black Rider who rides a black motorcycle and wears an all black riding outfit.  It’s not just the people that Mikado meets in his new town that piques his interest.  He soon learns from his friend Masaomi that gangs are operating within the district.  The Dollars and the Yellow Flags seem to be the more dominant ones and it seems that Masaomi knows more about them than he’s letting on.  From there the story twists and turns as the different groups of characters go about their daily lives and their paths cross in interesting ways.

First Impressions

He looks very tidy in his bartender’s uniform.  He has quite the slender figure, offset with his scruffy hair.  Shizuo is not quite the happiest of chaps so his alternate faces are a testament to his badassery.  His vest is made of a softer plastic so as not to hinder articulation in some areas.  The figure itself has the usual figma polish – the lines are nice and clean, and the paint apps are spot on.  Most of the individual pieces are moulded in coloured plastic so there’s not a lot of paint apps on show here except for the alternate faces.  All in all, it’s a pretty good representation of the character.  Especially since figmas seem to excel in the anime figure department.

On the phone
On the phone
How did you get this nuimber?!!
How did you get this number?!!

Accessories

Shizuo has a penchant for extreme outbursts of strength so it’s fitting that he comes with a street sign that appears to be freshly ripped out of the ground.  Included in the package are a spare forearm and a spare hip piece to represent a “hand in pocket” pose.  There is a hair piece that has his sunglasses attached and he comes with 3 cigarettes.  The hands in the set include left and right closed fists, item holding hands, splayed hands, open hands with holes to attach a cigarette, and a right hand holding a mobile phone.

Shizuo's Gear
Shizuo’s Gear

The three faces in the package are his default serious face, an angry face, and a nasty smirk.  The nasty smirk would probably be the closest thing that we’ll get to a smiling/happy face from Shizuo.  Also included is the usual articulated stand, a spare wrist joint, an instruction sheet, and a snap-lock bag to store everything in.

Articulation

Shizuo’s slender build helps with articulation in most areas, but he’s not without a few issues.  His head can’t tilt back very far, if at all,  due to his hair (short as it is), but it can tilt down okay.  It can turn left and right all the way around and can only manage a slight tilt left and right.  The arms can lift to about 90 degrees at the shoulders, and they can rotate all the way around.  He has a decent bend at the elbows which can allow him to touch his nose or do a “glasses push” pose.

glasses-push
Glasses push

The waist and hips have a good range of movement.  He can just about do the splits but can only lift his legs to the front and back to just under 90 degrees.  The knees also can only bend just past 90 degrees.  The joint in the ankles can allow for turning and tilting movement and there is a hinge at the toes of his shoes.  It wouldn’t be too difficult to get him into some more dynamic poses.

High kick
High kick
Bartender style martial arts
Bartender style martial arts
Street sign, freshly plucked.
Street sign, freshly plucked.
You want some of this?!
You want some of this?!

Conclusion

Figma Shizuo Heiwajima is a definite purchase for fans of the Durarara series.  The series itself is also worth watching, especially for those who like to see different character arcs cross over and interact with one another.  For me, the series felt like it was a slow build but by the end of the series it turns into quite a roller coaster ride.  Along the way we learn a lot about the each of the characters in the story, and the three “main” characters face their own challenges and undergo their own changes.  I’m really excited for the Celty figma that has been announced – but I’m not sure if there’s been any mention of her bike being made.  If Racing Miku can have a bike, then so can Celty!  In the meantime, I’ll need to look into figma Izaya Orihara so that Shizuo has a target to focus his rage at.

Bartender and Maid - together at last!
Bartender and Maid – together at last!

Figma Shizuo can be found at the link below along with other figures in the figma range.

Hospitality Showdown
It’s time for the Hospitality Showdown!
Shizuo moves first
Shizuo moves first
Follows up with a kick
Follows up with a kick
Gets countered
Gets countered
And receives a solid punch from Ryomou
And receives a mighty punch from Ryomou
"Is that all you got?"
“Is that all you got?”
"Now it's my turn!"
“Now it’s my turn!”
"Get back here!"
“Get back here!”
Half time at the ol' Drink Can
Half time at the ol’ Drink Can