Astro Toy with Rob Bricken: Wave High Advanced Model Tachikomaby Rob Bricken, Feb 22nd 2009
TACHIKOMA 2ND GIG VERSION
Series: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
Toyline: WHAM! Wave High Advanced Model
By: Wave Corporation
Man, do I have some good news for you guys. See, I had a bit of extra money this month for “Astro Toy,” and I thought I'd treat myself by getting some toys I really actually kind of genuinely wanted. I've always been a big Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex fan (the movies, not so much), and while I have about a dozen tiny Tachikoma gashapon running around my office, I don't have a big one. Now, Japan makes plenty of expensive Tachikoma figures, and I ponied up $60 for this one, thinking that alas, I'd have another great toy, and you guys would have to deal with me being happy for yet another column.
Luckily for you, this Tachikoma @#$%ing sucks and I hate it. I probably hate it more because I was genuinely excited about getting it than I would have been otherwise. Please, if you are considering buying it, take your money, spend about a quarter of it on some crappy plastic toy from a grocery store capsule toy machine, and then give the rest to charity. You won't lose anything in the trade, and some worthy cause will have $59.75.
I'm going to start with the good points, which is pretty much the articulation and the looks. Frankly, this thing looks great. As you can see from the above pictures, it appears to be a very accurate 1:24-scale model of the Tachikoma as found in Stand Alone Complex. The proportions are right, the paint apps on the pieces are very sharp (especially the black lines), and since it's made out of mostly blue plastic, the main color is solid and uniform. It looks good.
The articulation is also good…as far as it goes, which it turns out is not very far. There are two ball joints on each “leg,” along with one hinge joint, although there aren't many different positions you'd really want to put them. The “ass” of the Tachikoma has a ball joint, in case you want to shift it around some (lord knows why). The arms have a double-ball joint, although the joints are literally ¼-inch apart from each other, so it's kind of useless. Actually, it's totally useless. The articulation is adequate; it's not a toy that needs a lot of articulation. I was just trying to think of something nice to say about it.
Okay, one more thing — the “ass” is hollow. This might sound odd, but if you've bought any kind of Tachikoma toy, you know that it's a nightmare to stand up, since half its body mass is in its butt. You can say what you want about the brilliant designs of Masamune Shirow all you want, but the fact is the Tachikoma's ass prevents it from ever being a reality. Now, because this figure has opted to make the ass hollow, it actually weighs the same as the torso, and thus the Tachikoma can stand up.
The downside is that the entire toy feels like it's made out of the cheap-ass plastic used for American vending machine toys, like those tiny football helmets. It would be more difficult to crush a soda can than this figure. While I suppose durability wasn't foremost on the mind of Wave Corporation, I would very much like my $60 toy to feel like more than $5 was spent on its materials.
Let me point out features this 1:24-scale Tachikoma figure DOES NOT HAVE, but should since I paid $60 @#$%ing dollars for it. 1) Extendable arms. In every Ghost in the Shell incarnation the Tachikomas can extend their little claw hands from their little fore-arms…BUT NOT HERE. For @#$%’s sake, MY TACHIKOMA GASHPON HAVE EXTENDABLE ARMS. 2) Moving Eyes. The eyes are spheres. There are things called “ball joints.” Look it up. 3) An opening in the back. You have a massive, hollow ass cockpit (ooh, that sounds extra dirty) — there is no reason I shouldn't be able to open the clearly defined hatch and see a little cockpit. I paid for a cockpit, dammit. I should get a cockpit.
These are not unreasonable requests, I think. I mean, I'm not asking for a firing missile or magnets in the feet, so it could stick to a refrigerator or something (although that would be totally sweet, and still within a $60 price point). Seriously, if the gashapon has more features than your $60 figure, maybe toy-making is not for you, alright?
If you were thinking the Tachikoma had a plethora of awesome accessories to make up for its lack of features, you were wrong — dead wrong. It has two different attachments for its front nozzle — gun and missile, I believe — and four replacement “feet,” where the claws are wheels, but they're on their sides, which can't be placed vertically, so it really makes no difference. Oh, and there's a 2 ½-inch Motoko figure.
As you can see, she's standing perfectly straight and has no articulation, although she is wearing pants, so that kind of evens out. She's marginally better looking than the $50 6-inch Motoko figure I reviewed a few weeks ago, although I might just be bitter (of course I'm bitter). Since she's in scale to the Tachikoma, she would fit perfectly inside the cockpit…if, you know, she was articulated and the ass opened up and had a cockpit inside.
So in summary: I'm going to beat this thing with a baseball bat, and see if it sails or just explodes upon contact (my money's on “explode”). It's not a bad toy in and of itself, but for $60, it should be a hell of a lot better than it is. It's a gyp, which makes me angrier than if it were just crappy. I don't mind buying crappy toys. But I hate being tricked into buying crappy toys. Clearly, there's only one thing this toy deserves.
It's not justice, exactly, but I'm going to rest a little easier knowing that Krauser's doing to the Tachikoma what the Tachikoma did to my wallet.
You can read more of Rob Bricken's bitter, needlessly mean-spirited thoughts on toys and many non-anime subjects over at ToplessRobot.com (safe for work).
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