Astro Toy
Figma Crystal Bowie

by David Cabrera, Aug 17th 2014

Figma Crystal Bowie
Space Adventure Cobra
Maker: Good Smile
Price: $65

Figma, figma. I've been doing this column for years now, my first review was of a figma. I've seen a hell of a lot of them in the meantime and said everything that there is to be said about the line. Every popular character gets a figma, and figures in the line have an upredictable range of quality, from the best cheap action figures in the business to merely acceptable, with the rare dip into disaster.

I personally theorize, from my years of looking at these figures, that the quality has to do with how much Good Smile's people are personally invested in the piece they're working on at the time. As such, I like to keep an eye out for the figmas and Nendoroids from things that aren't this year's current anime. So I was very excited when GSC announced a line of figmas from Buichi Terasawa's cigar-chomping sci-fi action series Cobra.

The protagonist figures were definitely cool, but the figure that really caught my eye was that of Cobra's arch-enemy, Crystal Bowie. Bowie is a cyborg with a golden skeleton and a transparent glass body. That's not exactly something you see every day in a figure, so I put in an order.

I was suitably impressed. I don't know a lot about materials, but the transparent plastic has a notably different feel than the figmas I'm used to handling, and that “new car smell” is a little stronger than usual when I first take it out of the box. This guy is also a lot bigger than the average Figma; the line's not in scale, but he isn't exactly a short anime girl.

The transparency is no special effect or fancy paint trick: there really is a plastic skeleton inside of that “glass” shell. The joints are of a duller yellow-ish plastic (likely beacause they'll actually see use, and gold paint inevitably chips), but the “bones” shine in gold.

The claw and face are gold-plated plastic. As always with gold-plated stuff, be really careful and try not not to touch these parts excessively: they'll catch your fingerprints. What's worse, the paint on gold figures tends to chip, and that's not something you can fix. (Ask the rusty old Hyakushiki on my desk.) The claw is immobile, as you might have been able to tell. No extra faces, since Bowie the character's expression is cast in gold and does not change.

Because this is basically a naked body without plastic clothing or hair to obstruct its movement, articulation is as perfect as it's going to get. In fact, the joints move so far that you'll want to be careful you don't go too far and pop the shoulder out. This figure does come apart if you pull a little bit, but it's on purpose and part replacement is simple and painless.

The groin area is flexible plastic so that you can do just about whatever you want moving the torso and legs. If you don't want it this way, you can exchange it for a harder plastic part that won't allow as much movement but will look more solid on display.

There are precious few extras in this set, but check this one. It's not just a wine glass, the drink (looks like whiskey?) is actually removable. Be careful it doesn't fall out. Note that this is the replacement arm for the claw; Bowie deserves time off from clawing dudes now and again.

The big accessory is definitely the replaceable shattered midsection, which is intended for use with the Cobra figma. Note the fistprint. A diagram inside shows that Cobra's disembodied arm is supposed to punch through his gut in a scene from the anime! Sweet!

I wanted to set up Hello Kitty to deliver the blow, but she's not tall enough and her fist is a little too big.

This is a regular figma with few bells and whistles... except for that extremely cool transparent body and golden skeleton. GSC always puts their best effort into the really interesting ideas, and I'm glad they got to work on such a cool concept. It's obviously a purchase only for big fans of either Cobra, or things that look really sweet and totally awesome.

Due to its size and the unique body, this figure costs a little bit more than Figmas typically do. We paid $65 shipped from Amiami, where it is still in stock months after we bought it back in May. Lesser-known characters and unusual pieces like this tend not to go back into production-- what would you do, after all, if people were banging down your door for Titan and Miku?-- so Cobra fans may want to pick this up soon or risk it disappearing. And I'm just sayin', but you can watch the Cobra TV series in its entirety on YouTube and the movie on Hulu, and how about that, right?

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera makes moe 4-panel comics about videogames at Kawaiikochan.You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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