Update: The missing winter hats I gripe about below were made available in a limited-run Hot Topic Exclusive version. 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.
OK, you've seen the "sneak peek" version of these figures, now here's how they look in actual release:
As you can see the packaging is quite spiffy and appropriate, with nice use of the show logo and the "sword grave" image in the background. You can also see, though, that they don't have quite as many accessories and additions as were originally projected. I'm sure this was due to budgetary and administrative concerns, and pretty much expected it. (But I deeply regret losing the blue hat and scarf from Jin's set; I really wanted those. Sigh.)
The figures themselves...I have to give a qualified rave. They're obviously light years cooler than the Story!Image set and have considerably more display and play value, but there are just too many little awkwardnesses to make them top-notch toys. Still, they're something I think you'll all want. =)
One at a time:
Fuu's stiff pose makes her my least favorite of the three. I realize her costuming makes her hard to pose (as you see in the Momo shot, her sleeve has to break for her to turn her arm),
and she isn't a fighter, but I do think this could have been done better.
Still, she's pretty cute and has the best accessories of the three, with her diary, tanto, rice bowl, sushi tray and of course Momo all left intact from the original designs. I guess it was decided that each figure could have only one alternate head, so Fuu's winter hat was scrapped
in favor of this "hair down" head. (Which probably appeals to more fans, though I regret losing the joke.)
Detail on the tanto is especially excellent (dig the skull!) and they even got her pink nail-polish right.
I have one complaint, though: after going to all the trouble to make her tanto complete and removable from the sheath, why not give her a hand that can hold it? Her closed fist is solid without the open slots the guys have, and her open hand doesn't have enough thumb grip to hang onto the knife without sticky-wax. Seems like something that got lost along the way, and it's kind of a shame, since the tanto is just beautiful.
(Ahh...the light of my life in tangible form at last...)-- *ahem* Seriously, this is a cool figure. The pose is dramatic and the sculpting is very nice. The stance makes him not too poseable, but his feet, left elbow and right hand do turn. The replaceable heads are a real struggle to remove and replace, but they fit and turn nicely when set. His obi is sculpted so that you can get both his katana and wakizashi into it--it takes some patience and effort (all the "play parts" of these figures take considerable strength to use) but they do fit and don't hamper the arm movement. And I just love the intensity they got into his eyes. =)
My only quibbles here are (a) some rough seams and (b) that they chose this red winter hat over the blue one from the DVD cover. They did have it in the projected set, and I wouldn't have minded losing the scarf if I could have had that hat..sigh...
(Odd painting point: both Jin's mon and Mugen's triangle are painted in pale blue, not white.)
But these are small quibbles. Jin is (gee, big surprise) my favorite of the three.
Mugen is more poseable than Jin (naturally, Mugen needs as much freedom of movement as possible =) and they managed most of his visual details just fine--his sword and dagger are especially nice. And I like the overall attitude of the figure. I wish I liked his overall paint job better (what is that brown streaking on his legs? hair? mud?) plus he has some rough and badly-fitted seams. But the main head's smirk is priceless, and I love the sculpt and paint job on the hat head.
Main quibble here--as you see--missing earring! How'd that happen? The hat head has both, so this is a weird goof.
And they didn't just miss painting it, it isn't there at all. Odd.
--So, a mixed review, I guess. Still, as I said, miles and miles better than the StoryImage figures, and probably the best Champloo toys we'll ever get.
You should get some. =)
...go back to Champloo Merchandise Main Page.