Astro Toy with Rob Bricken - Revoltech Eva Provisional Unit 05by Rob Bricken, Sep 20th 2009
I've covered more than a few money-grubbing Evangelion figures here on Astro Toy before. Invariably these are figures of Rei and Asuka in ludicrous outfits. Sometimes, Gainax's naked lust for money gets me down, but I also take a perverse pleasure in seeing what ridiculous new and utterly inappropriate ways they can think of to dress up the Evangelion girls (I'm still waiting on the Evangelion Hoboes, frankly).
I have a far less positive view regarding the new Evangelion movies. Now, since they haven't been released in America, I obviously haven't seen them, and have no idea of their quality. But I can't help but think of them as yet another way Gainax is trying to draw yet more cash out of the Evangelion well. To put it simply, I believe the original Evangelion series is brilliant, and I can't imagine what remaking it adds to it (it's like remaking Citizen Kane — why bother? What can you possibly add to the original?). Furthermore, it doesn't seem like Gainax is even trying to match the original, but only retelling the story in a way to maximize the merchandising this time around; hence all the new characters and EVA Units.
Which brings me to the subject of today's Astro Toy — the Revoltech figure of the new EVA Unit-05. Clearly, I'm predisposed not to like it, so bear that in mind as you read this review. I also dislike the design, which is only tangentially related to the toy — frankly, unless “EVANGELION” weren't stamped on the box in big letters, I'd have no idea this was an EVA Unit. Oh, it has the chest and head of an EVA Unit, but everything else is just crap cobbled together from Super Robot Wars. But why am I bitching about the design of the toy when that design is clearly accurate to the movie?
Because that design makes for a crappy toy. Obviously, the biggest change to the original EVAs’ low-tech, simplistic functionality is the addition of two legs — oh, and all the feet now have jet engines on them (Wikipedia assures me these are wheels, but I know what I see). Because of this design — and despite the fact that the lower half of Unit-05 technically twice the amount of articulation of the other EVAs — it is the least poseable Evangelion mecha Kaiyodo has made so far. This is because the design of the mecha is so top-heavy that it is absolutely necessary to keep all four legs on the ground to keep it standing — and the significant weight of the jets makes posing the legs even more difficult
Essentially, Unit-05 has two poses without its base — the first shot above, and this:
Neither of these rock my world, so to speak. But if you think I'm being petty about the design of 05, let me tell you the other design problem that makes this a crappy toy — the lance. Oh, it looks cool, sure (even if it doesn't look anything much like Evangelion grumble old man grumble). But instead of making the lance directly part of 05's arm, the design has it attached by the world's smallest hinge. I'm sure the Eva can whip it around gracefully in the movies, but on the toy, it just does this:
Of course it's too heavy for that tiny little hinge. To think otherwise would be madness. Basically, the lance just drops to the ground in whatever position you put it in — the sole exception being directly underneath the forearm, so the back part of the lance rests against the forearm itself (thankfully, the figure's Revoltech elbow and shoulder joints are strong enough to keep the entire arm from drooping with the lance). This means the hinge is more or less useless, and the lance has to stick straight out at all times — or you can let it point to the ground.
End result — this figure essentially has no articulation, at least virtually none that matters. If you've thought about ordering this thing, you're probably been enticed by two action poses of the 05, such as it rearing back…
…and dodging to the right.
Let me assure you that both of the pictures are lies… unless you don't mind gluing the lance into those specific positions (you can only pick one, unless you have some kind of solvent, of course). When I tried to replicate the rearing back pose, the lance simply dropped to rest on the EVA's head, which is far less majestic. The lance dropped to the ground in the second pose. I promise you, you cannot position the EVA Unit-05 in these two positions — and the lance is only a small part of the problem. Here's exactly what happened when I tried to make the rearing back pose:
The EVA is too damn heavy to use the stand. Same deal with the dodging to the right pose. All the weight makes the EVA topple over, so if you don't have it posed to stand on all fours, it's going to fall over anyways — EVEN WITH THE STAND. This is pathetic. What's sad is that if you're desperate, you can reposition the stand so that it works…
…but then you have EVA Unit-05 just floating there like an idiot. It's pitiful.
As for the Revoltech line's normal cornucopia of accessories, the 05 has… barely any. Well, it doesn't have any hands, so it doesn't need those. Besides the stand, it comes with a gear that goes on the lance in some way, a clear plastic box to put this one single accessory in, and a plastic orange Revoltech coin, which is I save up 30, I can get a Revoltech joint pliers (if I save up 100 — or, if I buy 100 @#$%ing Revoltech toys — I get a free Revoltech figure. Wow). It also comes with this free, mini, grape-flavored Revotech guy whose joints are so stiff he cannot be moved at all. Awesome.
So, in summary, this thing sucks on toast. Yeah, a lot of it has to do with my dislike of the mecha itself — and the unnecessary movies that spawned it — but I hope I clearly indicated how that design has made for one crappy-ass toy. Hell, if you love the new Evangelion movies and love the EVA Provisional Unit-05 — and you don't mind keeping it in one of the first two positions I showed you, I'm sure you'll like it fine. Me, I'll stick with the 1995 TV series and the mecha it starred. I know at least one person who agrees with me.
And we both prefer the original TV series ending, too.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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