Astro Toy with Rob Bricken: Hitman Reborn Yujin Deformed Seriesby Rob Bricken, Nov 1st 2009
XANTHUS, SQUALO, DINO, ROKUDO AND HIBARI
Series: Katekyo Hitman Reborn
Toyline: Deformed Figure Series
Back in July, I reviewed Yujin's Deformed Figure Series of D.Gray-man, and I liked them a lot. Now I'm heading back to the same toyline, this time it's another Jump series, the mystifying mafia comedy/madness of Reborn, and while I don't think the anime is to blame, I'm afraid these gashapon just don't stack up — not the least because you have to pay an extra $10 bucks for what are slightly lower quality figures than before.
I'm starting with these two, as they are the biggest “new” characters in the series, and because they're actually the best of the bunch. In my D.Gray-man review, I mentioned that Yujin's Deformed Series had excellent sculpting and paint applications for a 3-inch toyline. Varia assassin Xanxus and his right-hand-swordsman Squalo have the same level of quality: note the sharp edges on Xanxus’ coat and the buttons on Squalo's shirt. The facial expressions are sharp and individual, even though they're both grinning. Not bad.
Then we get to Dino, the third new character in Part 3, and we run into a problem. It's likely difficult to tell with my picture, but Dino's feet are not touching his base. In fact, his feet are at two totally different angles, which would make one foot look silly even if the other was touching the ground. Also note his left shoulder, and the way the peg is actually visible between the body and the arm. That's just crappy sculpting, people. Unfortunately, Dino's not the only one with problems.
Now I know enough about Reborn to know that these are two popular characters in costumes, and not their regular personas, and yet, these costumes are popular enough that many an anime nerd has cosplayed as them. Where do Dr. Rokudo and Policeman Hibari come from? I don't know, although I'm sure some of you do. The gashapon implies that they're from some kind of Reborn CCG (which I divined by seeing the word “CCG” printed in a large blob of Japanese text next to them) but otherwise, I'm stumped. As for the figures, they have very mediocre paint jobs — the paint isn't horrible, but neither does it line up exactly right with the sculpts. Look at Rokudo's right shoulder and the way his arm doesn't fit at all; and without anything protecting it, Hibari's baton isn't even approaching straight. Still, Rokudo's eyes and glasses are excellently done, and Hibari's police cap is removable, so they're a mix of lows and highs.
Let me tell you what Reborn’s Deformed Figure Series does right. See this? This is the full list of figures in Part 3, including the variants. As you can see, each figure has a variant which I'm guessing is more rare than the regular figure (well, more than a 50/50 split, assumedly). Obviously, I got the variant smiling Xanthus, as opposed to the regular one with the glare; I missed the variant Squalo pointing in consternation and the happy Dino with the turtle on his shoulder. I also missed the variant smiling Dr. Rokudo, but got the variant Policeman Hibari, instead of the normal one with handcuffs.
So what the Reborn Deformed Figure Series does right is not give out crap. There are no clear figures, no nonsense; whether you were plunking down 300 yen a pop in a Tokyo gashapon machine or bought the pack wholesale, every figure you bought was a viable figure and not a massive waste of money and plastic. Whether you get the normal figure or the variant, you're getting a decent figure of a Reborn character, and it's kind of sad I'm so excited about this. It's just that I'm so used to getting outright screwed by bastard gashapon tactics like clear and silver variants no one would ever want that I'm happy to see someone not screwing over the fans.
Frankly, it seems like a better idea anyway. If someone wants to collect the whole series, I would think they'd be more likely to make the financial commitment to buying random figures if they aren't buying crap half the time. Meanwhile, since every figure has a decent-to-cool variant, it raises the possibility that someone will want a specific variant, and keep buying gashapon that way. Even if there was an awesome One Piece gashapon line I loved, I would probably stop buying it after the third clear/bronze variant, just to keep from going mad.
These are the first two series in Yujin's Reborn Deformed Figure Series, which I figured I'd include since it's doubtful that any of you would want part 3. Admittedly, you'll probably have to buy the figure individually on eBay if you want to get into the series, since these came out last year — I couldn't find them for sale as a set, although I admit I didn't look very hard. Part 3 is currently easy to find, though, and Part 4 is due early next year.
That's Part 4, and I would think that the continued mix of new characters from Reborn’s massive cast and new versions of popular characters makes most Reborn fans happy. But I'll leave you with one final thought: four whole series of gashapon, and not a single figure of the title character? I know Reborn is a hitman baby (hitbaby?), and thus not be easy to make in-scale with the other figures. But ‘cmon. The show is named after him. Would it be weird if his figure was exactly as tall as the others? Yes, but those fun Gurren Lagann trading figures did it with Simon — I say it'd be better to have Reborn at a weird size than not at all. Or why not just pony up and make him to scale? Give him a special base? The show is named after him, for @#$%’s sake!
Overall, they're good - not great - figures; but for at $40 instead of $30, I couldn't recommend them to any but hardcore Reborn fans — which you would need to be to be willing to start at Part 3 anyways. And not mind that this line of Reborn gashapon has no Reborn in it.
Looking to pick some up for yourself? Here's a link!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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