Astro Toy with Rob Bricken - Bleach Girls DX Nell

by Rob Bricken,

Toyline: Bleach DX Girls
Series: Bleach
By: Banpresto
Cost: $25

As we've discussed, big anime series often gets screwed when it comes to toys in Japan. I don't know why. As a One Piece fan, I'm incredibly grateful to have Megahouse's Portrait of Pirates line, even though they're expensive and have no articulation. Bleach had a few figures from Megahouse at the same scale, but the line inexplicably stopped. But at least Bleach has had a mountain of pretty good, action-oriented gashapon over the years — Naruto has had virtually none of this, as most of its gashapon is cutesy. I don't understand this phenomenon in the tiniest degree.

So I'll always try to pick up good Bleach and/or Naruto figures for Astro Toy, just because they're so damn rare; and when I saw Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, I decided to I had to check her out (besides, I liked her design and her beautiful, lovely name — and please note that I'll be using the name on the package instead of Wikipedia, and try not to lose your mind over it). Nell here is part of a UFO catcher series from Banpresto — the perforated holes on the side of the box are a dead giveaway, as is the string up top. Although the figure looks good on the package, this is what I found when I opened it.

Not especially promising, right? Well, I'm happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. First of all, a little history lesson on Nell, just because I don't watch fansubs and I gave up on watching Bleach on Adult Swim somewhere in the middle of the Bount nonsense. From Wikipedia:

Neliel Tu Oderschvank, commonly known as Nel Tu, is a good-natured, child-like arrancar when first introduced. The remains of her Hollow mask make up a cartoonish skull on the top of her head. Nel and her companions believe Soul Reapers, not Hollows, to be evil, and as such are afraid of them. Nel's true form is that of a fully-grown woman, her mask appearing less cartoonish with a pair of curved horns. A large "3" tattoo on her back indicates that she was previously the Tercera Espada. Tired of her superiority over him, Nnoitra Jiruga snuck up on and attacked Nel from behind with the help of Szayel Aporro in the past, managing to crack her mask, causing her to turn into her child-form, giving her amnesia, and allowing him to expel her from the Espada.

I have no idea what any of that means! Whee! Anyways, here's a pic of Nell as she appears in Bleach:

Wait, that's Jodie Foster in the movie Nell. Let me try again.

There we go. As you can see, as far as Bleach manga-ka Tite Kubo goes, Nell's design is pretty restrained — although adult Nell's breasts are pretty much the same volume as child Nell's skull, at least they're marginally covered up. Which I'm fine with. As my collection of bunny girls attests, I'm not against sexy toys, but somehow, some of the Bleach girls are just so ludicrously designed that they make me feel dirty. For instance, I nearly ordered a Rangiku figure for Astro Toy a couple of months ago, and I probably would have hid it and its ludicrous chest in my closet, away from my wife.

But back to the toy, which assembles nicely into the excellent figure you see above. The pieces are all sculpted as to go in only one way in only opne place, so putting Nell together is a breeze. The sculpting of the toy is excellent for a UFO Catcher figure — it's not too flashy or detailed, but it doesn't leave anything out. Nell's clothes are neatly wrinkled and nicely tattered, although I'd say her face and hair is just about a perfect representation of the anime.

As you can see, Banpresto really captured Kubo’ art style in her eyes as well as the rest of her face, which so often can be an indistinguishable lump in anime toys. Her Hollow skull is likewise well sculpted and its eyes are painted black, making for a nice effect, although overall it might seem a little plain. Check out the back:

More nice hair sculpting, but I mostly wanted to point out she has the aforementioned “3” on her back for being the Tercera Espada, whatever that is. It's printed cleanly and clearly, which is always nice. If there's one problem with this figure at all, it's her feet.

They're practically blobs. I don't know why they bug me so much — I mean, the sculpting matches pretty much the rest of the figure, and I certainly wouldn't want her toes painted in any way — but they just look like blobs to me. Maybe they're too big, and I expected something daintier. But maybe she has big, plump feet in the anime. I don't know. Even though they bug me, I promise you they aren't any kind of dealbreaker for this otherwise great figure.

And it is a great figure, if kind of a cheap one. I saw somewhere that these things sell for 1500 yen in Japan (outside of a UFO catcher, natch) and I'd say that's a very fair price… for Japan. In the states, she'll run you between $20-25, which is very fair for importing a 1500 yen figure, but just try not to think about it too hard because if you look at her too long and wonder if she's worth $25 on her own, well… no. she's not, really. But since there's so few other options for Bleach fans out there, you can't be too picky if you actually want to own some Bleach merchandise.

Banpresto's Bleach Girls DX line has already done figures of Orihime and the well-endowed Rangiku in schoolgirl uniforms, and has also recently released figures of Yoruichi (in woman mode, not cat mode, of course) and Soi Fong. And it looks like there will be a figure of Rangiku in a bikini later on this year, too. Which is nice if you want the sexy ladies of Bleach, I guess, but if you want anything resembling a complete collection of Bleach figures — or heck, even just a decent collection of Bleach girls, since ladies like Rukia and Ichigo's sisters and classmates have been utterly forgotten — you're pretty much screwed.

So take a cue from Krauser, and just be happy with what you can get.

You can read more of Rob Bricken's bitter, needlessly mean-spirited thoughts on toys and many non-anime subjects over at (which is safe for work).

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