Saturday, 20 February 2016

Quick Crappy Review: Movie Revo Series No. 003 Stitch Experiment 626*

Are you turning Japanese? I really think so. (There is no way that song isn't racist).

I have a… confusing relationship with Disney, I absolutely love their theme parks but have absolutely no love for Walt himself, I like a number of characters and soundtracks while actively disliking the movies they come from and I don’t like Mary Poppins. That confusing element however is completely absent in today’s subject – I like Lilo & Stitch, I like Stitch, Kaiyodo made the best Stitch figure ever, I bought it. I may have ruined the ending of this review.

So we have here Movie Revo Series No. 003: Stitch Experiment 626, the third figure in Kaiyodo’s Figure Complex: Movie Revo series, sculpted by Ooshima Yuuki and why do the Japanese feel the need to give things so many bloody names? Have you ever tried to make sense of Microman for instance? No figure needs a line, a sub-line, a sub-sub-line, a grouping, a designation, a number and a name for fuckssake. In case you need telling Stitch is one of the two titular characters in the Disney film and subsequent franchise Lilo & Stich and is a childlike alien experiment designed to destroy who ends up friends with a little Hawaiian girl Lilo and lives with her and her (incredibly sexy) big sister Nani. He is EXTREMELY popular in Japan, so it’s kind of a surprise it took this long to get this figure. which was released February 2016. 

I Googled the sculptor and he seems to have quite a history with Kaiyodo doing mostly sexy women and chibis for anime and manga properties I’ve never heard of, regardless he sculpts himself a fantastic Stitch – the Japanese sculptors seem to have some kind of special super-power where they can translate cartoon characters into physical form with a skill and accuracy no other country’s inhabitants can reach, yes, not even Hot Toys. Yuuki keeps the racial stereotype going, and he (or the design team, if Kaiyodo have one, I assume they do) share his/their countrymen’s skills at integrating articulation points because aside from that waist swivel even the most obvious of joints – the strange ‘wedge’ of a joint to give the head extra forward and backwards range and the ball joint on his ‘fins’ disappear, I think it’s psychosomatic but it is undoubtedly true.

Also typical of a Japan-born action figure is just how customisable Stitch is, he comes with a metric fuck-ton of swappable parts to make both of his forms. As such I’m really kind of reviewing two figures: out of the box he comes in his ‘dog’ form with only one set of arms and a ‘happy’ face and is so adorable I want to squeeze him to death. But really for a company that prides itself on the articulation of its figures he’s not that articulated – he has swivels at his wrists, thighs and waist, ball joints at his shoulders, ears and neck (with an additional joint at the neck I can’t think of a description for) and a hinged jaw and in this form has no elbow or ankle articulation at all and frankly for a figure that costs roughly 15-30 dollars more than a standard collector’s figure I expect it to be able to move its feet, in fact the lack of articulation did leave me feeling a little ripped off as really, we couldn’t have given him ball joints at his wrists and ankles? The upside of course is that the brilliant sculpt isn’t ruined EXCEPT IT IS at the waist because like any character with this design (Sonic, Tails, Espio…) the second you turn his waist his stomach colour doesn’t match and his body becomes an odd shape, but that I suppose is unavoidable and I’m not holding it against the figure but I am using as a stick to beat the design team with as ‘it ruins the look’ can’t be used to justify the lack of articulation in other places. 

Of course the figure isn’t a rip off though because it comes with half another figure packed in. All the swappable parts shown in that above pile are used to give Stitch his ‘alien form’, his true form, with antennae and extra arms and a fin down his back, as well as give him an angry face to match his monstrous appearance (or just because Stitch gets pissed off a lot and destroys things, no matter what the form). Mostly swapping these parts was a breeze, the arms and fin pop in easily and once you figure out that the antennae’s pegs slope you can get them in the right holes swiftly (though remember to hold them around the ball joint, not above, or else it’ll be akin to pushing marshmallows into a bumhole). The face piece though I found to be unnecessarily difficult to swap, this is because the peg for it is on a ball joint of its own, I can’t for a second imagine why this you would do this but I’m sure the design team had a really good one (“shit, it’s a Revoltech toy and we haven’t got enough ball joints?” perhaps) but of course it makes pushing anything onto it needlessly difficult, I sort of lined it up and then left my thumb steadying the ball joint until the head was popped on enough, y’know, that method that usually means you hit your thumb when you’re hammering in a nail? That. I won’t be swapping his facial expressions too often thanks. This of course adds a bunch more articulation, most…annoyingly is his lower arms have an elbow joint that’s just… that makes no sense! Well ok I’m sure the lower ones have a joint to allow for better articulation when combined with the other arms but why not just give them both the joint? Use the same tool and save some money even? The wrist articulation remains swivels though to make the other hands compatible with the ‘top’ arms. The fin and both the antennae are also on tiny ball joints and you’ll be surprised just how much extra emotion you can get out of the figure just by tweaking the position of those dinglyboppers, combined with his ball jointed ears you can make some utterly loveable Stitches. I’m going to be keeping Stitch in his alien form but with a happy face, not just because I prefer that look but because it allows me keep track of all his parts easier.

Ridiculously Stitch also comes with accessories – a pair of sunglasses and an Ice Cream, no it’s not an ice cream it’s one of those ice things, like a slush puppy you eat? It’s one of those and it’s proof of just how much extra goes into the Japanese stuff a lot of the time, we have a transparent piece on top of another solid piece to make up the ice and give it the death a real one might, that’s unnecessary but so appreciated. Odd thing though, the cone attaches to the hand via a plug rather than just being something it holds, and the out-of-the-box hands used in dog form don’t have holes, so if you want him in dog form holding an ice-cream (which is the mostly likely scenario in-universe) you’ll have to swap a hand. I shan’t be using the sunglasses, just because they make Stitch look remarkably like Dame Edna Everage and now I can’t unsee it.

So in conclusion the figure looks brilliant and is undoubtedly the best Stitch figure that exists and probably ever will, but is not the most logical of things and really could have done with extra articulation for the price and to match with the lofty status that these sort of figures always seem aspire to have (or I guess have foist upon them by snobby Adult Collectors) but the sheer amount of swappable parts make up for it terms of value for money and in my case, customer satisfaction, I’ll always take less articulation over being able to turn my cute thing in a destructive monster of doom (it still should have had it though).

Former Best Stitch Action Figure readies his revenge

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