Astro Toy with Rob Bricken: One Piece Portrait Of Pirates - Frankyby Rob Bricken,
Series: One Piece Portrait of Pirates
Despite One Piece being one of the top shonen series in Japan, it's always lacked for decent action figures. I don't know why. There's plenty of other merchandise—I personally own a One Piece first aid kit and women's bath salts (don't ask)—but other than a very limited assortment of action figures from Bandai in the early ‘00s, nothing. The discerning One Piece fanatic has had to make do with Megahouse's Portraits of Pirates line or do without.
It's not exactly a hardship, though. At around $40-50 a pop, the Portrait of Pirates line is a series of 8-inch resin (formerly vinyl) statues of the main characters of One Piece in reasonably iconic poses, and mostly in outfits from the Skypeia storyarc. The figures sold so well that when they were discontinued in 2006, some of them could fetch over $200 online. Megahouse finally realized there was still plenty of yen to be made and re-released some of the earlier figures, along with a few new additions, including Franky—the cyborg shipwright and new addition to Monkey D. Luffy's band of pirates (in Japan, natch).
Like all of the Portrait of Pirates series, Franky's likeness is simply astounding; the figures matches both Eiichiro Oda's manga art and the Toei anime design perfectly, from every angle—no small feat. Franky's hair and his flowing Hawaiian shirt are particularly well sculpted. Oddly, Franky's muscles seem to have more sculpting definition than all the other figures; it's not a bad thing, except in his groin area, which is disturbingly defined. I should probably clarify—his package is also intricately sculpted, which is incredibly creepy. Just try not to stare directly at it.
Franky stands a touch over 9-inches tall, making him the tallest of the POP Straw Hat pirates, as in the manga/anime, although his bent legs account for why he doesn't tower more significantly over the other figures in the series; he's also significantly tanner than his crewmates as well. Like all the new POP figures and re-releases, Franky is made of resin and not vinyl, giving him a sturdier feel and heftier weight; additionally, instead of the post that keeps the earlier figures standing on their bases, Franky's base has two pegs which fit (barely) into holes in his feet. But once you get him in, he's not going anywhere.
Franky's not just a plain statue; he left hand is removable, which reveals his gun/cannon, while his detachable right hand is attached via a chain to his huge forearm, a la his Strong Right attack; incidentally, the chain is easy to get back in. Franky also comes with his sunglasses (which are nearly impossible to put on, but stay in place once they're on) and two bottles of cola, his fuel of choice. It hardly qualifies him as an action figure, but given that none of the first few Portrait of Pirates series have any kind of special features, it's a welcome addition.
At $40-50, Franky—like the rest of the Portrait of Pirates line—is probably too expensive for all but the sincere One Piece fans; while it's still a but pricey for hardcore fans, the fact that we don't have any other options makes the Portrait of Pirates line the One Piece fans’ collectible of choice. Incidentally, new resin versions of the previous Luffy, Zoro and Nami figures have been recently released (Vivi too, if you care), along with a new Tony Tony Chopper; both the Sanji and Nico Robin figures are due to be re-released this summer, followed by a brand-new Usopp. All One Piece fans thinking about starting a POP collection should be warned—the Zoro figure has already been discontinued, and it looks like the new Chopper figure will be off the market soon, too. You might want to start your hunt with those two, otherwise, if you're hoping for the whole Straw Hat crew, you might end up short a few deckhands.
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