--Rainman's limited-edition Mugen figure (only 20 made)

So...money burning a hole in your pocket? Desperate to know what cool Champloo stuff has been released that you may have missed? Welcome to a handy guide. We may not be able to tell you where to get some of this stuff, but it's out there..

Figure Release Update--August 2011

--no further info on the Dark Horse busts.

--Triad Toys' license to Samurai Champloo has expired: the prototype Fuu figure was never put into production.

--See below for the Hobby Figures Global debacle.

Hobby Figures Global Release Update:

After getting the twenteenth delay notice via ToysLogic, I finally (in May 2010) sent them an email:

Subject: Champloo/Jin and Mugen figures from Hobby Figures Global
From: "Paula O'Keefe"
Date: Sun, 9 May 2010 22:07:27 -0400
To: "ToysLogic LLC"
I realize that you have no control over this, but I have been getting monthly "item delayed" notices on these two statuettes from you for well over a year now, and I really am starting to fear the worst. Can you tell me whether you have any information at all on the likelihood of these figures ever being produced? Can you, possibly, confirm whether or not Hobby Figures Global is even still in business? ... It would definitely ease my mind if you could share any information you may have. Thank you.

I got a prompt reply, saying that the matter would be looked into, and about two weeks later I got this:

Hi Paula,

We apologize for the inconvenience. I've contacted my manager and he stated that there were license issues with these figures and the manufacturer has delayed the production. We will have to cancel your order for now.
Thank you for your time.

So..."licensing issues" after all this time? sheesh.
I guess my fears were well founded; we'll never see these beauties after all. ===More below.

Yamato's Story!Image!Figures!

(Yes, they really do use three exclamation points in that title. =)-- Yamato USA's website does not give the name of the sculptor.)

These were the first Champloo figures we got, and they have a lot both to recommend and disrecommend them. They're small-- Jin, the tallest, is only 4 1/2" high--so they're easy to find space for, and their expressions and likenesses are just terrific. On the other hand, they feature a strange murky color pallette, lots of black shading for no discernable reason, and some really unwholesome skin tones; and the need for them to interlock into one mini-diorama caused poor Fuu to be squeezed into an uncomfortable-looking semi-crouch.

Each figure was packaged with a matching small bust designed as a magnet. These are also great likenesses, but we ended up displaying them on the shelf as the included magnets proved not strong enough to hold the figurines onto any metal surface.

So--your call. I've actually become quite fond of mine. =)

The Jazwares figures

The Jazwares action figures reached stores in late summer 2006. A second version, with the trio wearing different winter hats from the ones included here, was produced as a limited-run Hot Topic Stores Exclusive. (These were closed out in May 2007 and are now very hard to find even in the secondary markets, so if you missed them (I never got a Winter Jin...=( your only hope is stubborn persistence.)==They're a more typical toy size at approx. 7 inches tall, and were sculpted by Rocco Tartamella (who also worked on the Onimusha series for McFarlane). These were Jazwares' first anime figures: they'd previously specialized in characters from video games such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Jesse DeStasio of Jazwares told me that "there was a lot of touch-up done in China, like the additional heads and accessories. In that case it was a plus to have Asian sculptors working with us as they grasp anime faces a little better." DeStasio also shared his hopes for the future of Jazwares' Champloo series: "...if I had my way I'd like to [produce figures of] the Sunflower Samurai, the Dutchman, and the two punks from the graffiti episode. For series 2 (if series one is a hit) we are going to do super poseable Jin and Mugen figures with removeable samurai armor. Could be very cool stuff."

But alas, this doesn't seem to be in the cards, as nothing on the Champloo front has been heard from Jazwares since then.

See the "sneak peek" version: photos of the prototypes for these figures at The Jazwares Figures.

Lots more photos and description of these figures at Jazwares--Final Versions.

Champloo busts from Dark Horse

Shown at Toy Fair in 2008, these resin busts are 5" high with a suggested retail of about $50-$60 each.
Sculptor's name was not given.
--Status of these seems zeroed. They were originally listed with release dates thru spring-summer '08, but as of 7/10 there's no sign of any of them,
and they no longer appear on Dark Horse's website. Apparently there wasn't enough interest to put them into production, in which case only these prototypes exist. Sigh.

Hobby Figures Global's Jin and Mugen statuettes

These awesome 1/8 scale, cold-cast porcelain figures ("cold-cast porcelain" is a high-quality artists' resin that's about 1/3 porcelain powder) were promised for almost two years before vanishing off the radar.

Sculpted by Takahashi Tsuyoshi, they were to be limited editions of 2000 pieces each.

Founded in Hong Kong in February 2006, Hobby Figures Global claimed to be "devoted to planning, designing, manufacturing, and marketing of toys and character figures and accessories". 'Queen's Blade' and Champloo were their first anime figure lines, and they proudly advertised "gorgeous products with high grade quality made by the best Japanese sculptors and finishers. ... We pay careful attention to the knowledge of our licences and we study them as long as useful to propose products with many sculpt details, painting details, base details, package details." A press statement on their website dated March 20, 2008, stated: "We are proud to inform our customers that we have just signed a worldwide licence for Samurai Champloo that will become a line of Collectible Cold Cast figures."

Many more photos--or once there were-- at HFG's website: Hobby Figures Global

--Yeah yeah yeah, whatever. They've disappeared like a last-night's promise, with all their pretty rhetoric and these two mouth-watering prototypes, never to be seen again. Rumor had it that a few Mugens were sold through a German website for two weeks, but even that may not be true.
===DAMN it.

Triad Toys' Jin and Mugen 12" action figures

Our first fully articulated and poseable Champloo action figures! W00t! These beauties are built on Triad's "Otaku 2.0" body with over 35 points of articulation, and feature 360-degree moveable eyes system allowing full independent rotation of the eyes, ATAC modular weapons system (allowing customization with other Triad figures), sword blades, dagger and jewelry all in full metal, and highly detailed clothing and gear. As you can see, they're gonna be FUN to play with. =)

Founded in 1994 by 1:6 scale fan and collector Louie Tran, Triad Toys offers an inspiring mission statement: "We want better, well-thought out designs that are made of the highest quality possible without paying the premium. We want to be creative and artistic and not limit ourselves to anything. We want to make toys and products that are suited for us. When we make a product, it must meet our quality standards. The one question we always ask before a product goes out the door is: would we, as a consumer, gladly pay good money for what we make and be happy with this purchase?...We cannot express our gratitude enough to those who have supported us, so the only way to show our appreciation is to continually put out products that will not only meet your expectations, but...do everything in our power to blow [them] away. That is our promise."
===Well, if these are as good as they look from the pictures, they'll blow me away for sure. =)

More about Triad's Champloo figures and tons of pix at Triad Toys'website..

Rainman's limited edition Mugen custom action figure

("flamboyant gestures. a scent of wild animal. have a kick fiery thrill from life."--text of the Certificate of Authenticity)

The Korean artist Rainman customized this 12" action figure into a cool Mugen with painted details and an original-sculpture portrait head (even has real bead earrings!). Only 20 were made. I'm lucky and proud to own one. =)

You can see more photos (and much more of his cool work) at Rainman Gallery.
(Do NOT miss his gorgeous portrait doll of the late, much-mourned Japanese rock star, hide.)

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