Astro Toy with Rob Bricken - Play Arts Reimiby Rob Bricken, Aug 9th 2009
Toyline: Play Arts
Series: Star Ocean: The Last Hope
By: Square Enix
I tend to forget that Square Enix makes other RPGs besides Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. So does the rest of the planet, so it's not like I'm alone in this. All I know is that it's that Japanese science-fiction that shows up in games like Xenosaga and those SaGa games and even the Phantasy Stars before they went all MMORPG. Reimi here is the spunky best friend of the androgynous blond-haired main character Edge, who also has a toy in this tiny toyline from Square Enix.
If I don't sound that excited, I promise it's more after a careful examination of the toy than my disinterest in non-Final Fantasy RPGs (which is oddly considerable; I own both Fable II and Fallout 3 and made it about two hours into both of them). Without my rose-tinted FF glasses on, it's easier to see some of the Play Arts’ flaws, although I honestly believe that much like the games, the Star Ocean toys get the short end of the Square Enix stick.
Let's start with the joints. They almost uniformly stop at 90 degrees. You can bend her elbows and knees at right angles, and not a degree farther. It's so exact that it looks much more awkward than if they'd given her even slightly more range. The shoulder joints stick out from the body in a slightly unnatural way which seems to me more a matter of ease of toy assembly than accuracy. And the thigh joints have a large gap between the thighs and the crotch (cough) which is noticeable even in the above pick.
Now, I was playing with my Final Fantasy VII Tifa figure the other day — never you mind why — and there's a word of difference. He legs bend back maybe 130 degrees, her shoulders’ ball joints are inset further into her torso, still allowing movement but more pleasing to the eyes, and there are no ugly crotch joints. Again, it seems to me that while Square Enix went the extra mile on the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts figures, they just didn't try so hard on the Star Ocean figures. Which makes sense, frankly. But still.
Now I wanted to show you Reimi's character model, because… well, it'll be obvious in a minute. Point is, that's what she's supposed to look like. Now here's a close-up of the toy.
That's… that's not particularly close, is it? The game version of Reimi's head is significantly rounder than the toy's, especially the hair. In fact, the toy's face is much larger (and chubbier-looking, although it's hard to tell in the photo). And while Reimi's ponytail is clearly visible even when looking at her directly in the game art, I had no idea the toy even had a ponytail until I took it out of the package. It's not like the toy is totally off, but when you compare it to how dead-on those FF and KH figures are… well, you know.
Here's perhaps the best example — if you've read any of my Final Fantasy Play Arts reviews, you know that they don't often come with accessories except for two things: extra hands and a figure stand. Most of ‘em actually come with two sets of hands, although some have more. This Star Ocean figure has… wait for it… zero. And since she's supposed to hold her bow, did Square craft a hand that was forever grasping?
Yes and no — they made a normal hand, put a peg in it, and figured you could just wedge the bow in there. This mean it looks like Reimi is eternally just about to drop her bow, and it looks ridiculous, as you can see. Oh, the figure stand? Reimi doesn't come with one of those, either.
Here's the Edge figure. He's got super-nice boots, but I don't know that his joints are any better.
So to sum up: meh. It's not that Reimi (and presumably Edge) are bad, per se — the Play Arts figures are still a great series, and there a good amount of sculpting and paint apps on both Star Ocean guys. They're decently articulated, and pretty accurate to the game. It's just that Square Enix can clearly be so much better; they've proven time and time again with their Final Fantasy figures. If you're a fan of the game, the character or even the design, I can recommend them — I just don't want anyone thinking they're made with the same level of quality as the other Play Arts. Much like the game themselves, these Star Ocean figures are definitely Square Enix's sloppy seconds.
Not that that's ever bothered Krauser.
You can read more of Rob Bricken's bitter, needlessly mean-spirited thoughts on toys and many non-anime subjects over at ToplessRobot.com (which is safe for work).
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