Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Quick Crappy Review: World Collectable Figure MG01 (Colossal Titan) and AT06 (Sasha Blouse)*

This will be a completely spoiler free review, both for the end of Attack on Titan season 1 and for anything that happens in the manga afterwards, why am I being unusually considerate? Because if I put spoilers in this at least two of my friends, possibly as many as six, will literally murder me and I would like to stay unmurdered.

So last weekend I went to Hyper Japan, London’s premiere Anime, Manga and Japanese Culture convention. It was bloody hot and most of the day was spent allowing three of my friends to show off their awesome Attack on Titan cosplay and be photographed by three quarters of the hall – and for the friend cosplaying as Sasha to give out potatoes (genius) - this would have been frustrating had they not looked so bloody good (and it was one’s birthday, so we were duty bound to indulge her). Shopping wise it was a bit of a bust, I was hoping to grab some Highschool of the Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog and Azumanga Diaoh merch but there was nothing to be found, as such it ended up being an all Attack on Titan spend-up and I regret nothing. All of that leads to me introducing you to another quick crappy review (sorry), so are you sitting comfortably? Then Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind die Jäger!

Ok, so World Collectable Figure is a range of small prize figures from Banpresto used for the likes of UFO Machines (or ‘the cranes’ if you will) though since 2015 Banpresto have also been selling them to comic book and speciality/hobby stores in Japan. They’ve done a whole bunch of franchises including Dragon Ball, Disney, One Piece, Star Wars, Kamen Rider, Iron Man, Gundam and as you can see Attack on Titan and the figures come in 5 styles: regular, Mega, Giga, Double and Premium, these are the only WCF I own and as they’re only available in Japan and thus comparatively pricey in England I can’t see that changing.

For your perusal and my criticism today we have two figures: Sasha Blouse is a regular figure and the Colossal Titan is a Mega figure. The Colossal Titan is one of two previously unseen types of Titan that appeared when the main character was small and broke through Wall Maria and I’ve just realised I’m talking gibberish to anyone who hasn’t seen/read this thing. Attack on Titan is set in giant walled environment constantly under attack from large humanoid monsters called Titans, it includes what is believed to be the last remnants of humanity (mostly hailing from Europe) and is separated into three sections via three circular walls, Wall Maria was the outer wall until it was broken into by the Colossal Titan and the Armoured Titan, two types of Titan no-one had ever seen before. The whole thing is the creation of Hajime Isayama who…you know what we won’t get into some of Isayama’s person beliefs and my feelings on them, I want this to be a QUICK crappy review after all, Attack on Titan is serialised in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine and reprinted into volumes in both Japanese and English, and has a popular anime based on it. Sasha was one of the 104th Training Corps with the series’ main character Erin Jaeger and joined the Survey Corps with him, she’s pretty much comic relief and is a food nut who has developed a reputation both in cannon and online for being obsessed with potatoes, hence why my friend who dressed as her was giving them out at the convention (genius).

Sasha’s pretty standard if you’ve any sort of experience with gashapon, she’s just over 2 inches tall and insanely detailed for her size and how much she’d cost the average Japanese fan, though as she’s intended for the UFO machines she’s actually a little higher grade than your standard vending machine gashapon – closer to our blind boxed mini figures than the Kinder Egg toys many gashapon would correspond to. If you’ve ever read/head someone mumble on about how superior Japanese merchandise is to Western action figures and mini-figures and rolled your eyes and thought ‘snobs’ hopefully these pictures will make you feel guilty, yes that person was a snob but they’re also correct, the Japanese are just better and more consistent at stuffing minuscule detail onto their products regardless of size of price point and seemingly far more willing to pay for extra paint apps, they’re also better and more consistent at things like proportion and integrating articulation into the design of the figure but as these are in super deformed ‘chibi’ style and have no points of articulation that’s really not very relevant, in fact I don’t know why I wrote it, oh yeah, to fill up the paragraph, that was it. Below is a close-up shot of her OMD gear and jacket (which coincidentally is also a close-up shot of her arse, oh dear what a shame) to prove my point about detailing:

I don’t know if the sculptors for these work on a two-up or three-up1 or what have you but even if they do someone still had to paint to these tiny details (like her straps) and put on that emblem on her jacket (which looks like some sort of decal to me), that alone is superior to anything currently being sold in my local Toys R Us (remember TRU doesn’t stock things like NECA in the UK). What I was actually disappointed at here is that so little construction was required, Sasha has a small rod (stop…that…laughing) to allow her stay upright and that has to be attached to her shin and the whole figure has to be put on the base, but I was expecting this in kit form – I’m sure the fact that you don’t have to do anything is a plus for many but I LIKE building these little figures, Kinder Eggs have trained me to enjoy it.

In terms of paint and sculpt the Colossal Titan is fantastic, I could have maybe gone for a wash on his ‘scull’ but it’s not really the ‘style of colouring’ the WCF toys use, they tend to have a more flat cartoony look, so I’m over that. I also really like his pose, with his hand outstretched like he’s peering over a little Wall Maria (I need a little Walla Maria, I wonder if I can make one out of biscuits…) but I’m a bit disappointed with him and it’s all because of his size, he’s just too small to be considered either good value or ‘mega’. He’s about 5” without the base but here’s a picture of him with his box:
so much swagger...
Even with packing I expect a bigger item to be in that. Now I will concede that part of my questioning his value for money is based on how much I had to pay for him as a westerner forced to buy him imported and from a convention; he was £20, about the same price as a standard 6” Collector’s figure before postage, but he’s not a collector’s figure, he’s an unarticulated gashapon (albeit a large one) and he’s a crane toy and just because Japanese stuff is better quality in comparison don’t change the fact that this is roughly the same as the medium size cuddly toys you can win from Southend-on-Sea and I know for a fact that they cost fuck all to make and to buy wholesale (my mum used to work for the wife of a man who supplied most of the UFO machines in our local arcades, including the aforementioned Southend-on-Sea’s). Of course he’s better quality than your average British crane toy and of course his intended audience probably wouldn’t be paying the equivalent of £20 for him (unless it was it was a crane in a really dickish arcade) so technically he’s probably not bad value for money, just a bit expensive for what he is if you’re someone who doesn’t live in Japan. Again this shouldn’t be taken to mean I don’t like him, or even that I have the dreaded ‘buyer’s remorse’, he’s well sculpted, well painted and all solid plastic (the best way to describe him I think is a bobble head who’s head doesn’t bobble) and will look absolutely cool on my ‘random crap’ shelves between the such  normal things as a brain in a jar, a pink rabbit and Rob Zombie - I just think that for £20 he should either be two inches bigger or be able to move his arms and head (or optionally sold in a smaller box, I guess).

In conclusion I’m mostly satisfied, I wish I could have built both figures and I wish the Titan was bigger but I went with the intention of buying a plastic Titan and a plastic 104th member with far more money ear-marked for the purchasing of both and if I couldn’t get a Female Titan and Annie (of whom there appears to be exactly fuck all merchandise) then I wanted a Colossal Titan and a Sasha and I achieved this, I had a great convention experience and the birthday girl had a brilliant convention experience and we all had melon bread so fuck it, successes all round, I should stop moaning about VFM and go and make a wall of custard creams for my new Titan to break.  

Couldn't find any custard creams
1 jargon translation: using a two-up, three-up etc is sculpting the item much larger and then reducing it via machine, this obviously allows for better detailing though some details can ‘close up’ when shrunk and merge into each other, I believe G.I. Joe: Real American Hero was done in this method and Star Wars still is but it’s fairly common in the west even if I’m wrong about that. 

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