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Astro Toy
Microman Guy Shishioh

by David Cabrera,

Microman Guy Shishioh
Maker: Takara
Cost: $10

I'm back from Otakon and slowly recovering from the con cold (thanks to everybody who showed up for the panel!). Today's special Emergency Edition of Astro Toy is a little different: usually I find you something I think you'll like from the depths of Internet mail-order sites, but unfortunately that wasn't possible for this time. Knowing that such a situation would one day come to pass, I bought a little something in Chinatown a few months ago for ten dollars and kept it buried someplace safe. Until now!

The stand on this figure proudly proclaims “Microman since 1974!”, which means I'm about fifteen years too young to have played with a Microman (or a Micronaut, as they were called here in the States). This line has a whole mythology that I'm completely ignorant to (and which you can read up on if you like) but in essence, the Microman is small, playable, and affordable. This is enough for 30 years’ worth of kids! In addition to the original Microman lines, Takara's also made a lot of character-based figures like this one, of Guy Shishio from King of Braves Gaogaigar.

I'm not going to mince words with you. The figure's pretty awful. Even for ten bucks I feel insulted. I try not to review outright crappy figures for you guys (because really, doesn't it just waste all our time?), but we're stuck with one this week.

Since this is one of those “armor” figures, I like to take a “before” shot. In case you didn't know, Guy is a cyborg: this isn't just the suit he wears to work. This is a character where you're probably going to slap the armor on right away, but it's nice to see that they bothered to sculpt Guy's mechanical innards as seen on the show. We'll actually see this come into play later, albeit underwhelmingly.

The posability is certainly there-- this figure's actually had a lengthy Internet career in the work of a brilliant stop-motion animator. The figure can move well enough, but that basic advantage of the Microman body is about all it's got going for it. In addition, there seems to be some kind of defect with the one I have here: the midsection is stuck in a weird, semi-slanted position, making Guy appear permanently sassy. He absolutely will-- not-- budge, sister. On the other hand, the arms and legs are quite eager to part with the body: such accidents are even more common than on a Revoltech or Figma. At least they're just as easily popped back on.

And here's the armor.  The sculpt is fine, but it still looks like crap. Take a look at this publicity photo for the figure (particularly Guy's face!), then come back and look again at what the real thing actually looks like. You can now somewhat imagine how I felt, looking back and forth between the pictures on the box and the thing inside of it. The figure is so ugly I actually had to spend some time online looking at pictures from other owners of this figure and verifying that it wasn't a bootleg.

The paint on these bits is a muddy, dull, “gold-like” color that neither looks good on its own nor particularly evokes the bright armor from the original show. Furthermore, while the armor attaches to the body (poorly), the front and back pieces don't actually make contact with each other, leaving a big, empty space at Guy's shoulders. A part of the chestplate pops out, revealing Guy's machine heart, but again, it doesn't look at all like it does in the animation: you just have to pop the bit out manually and when you finally poke the thing out, it kind of feels like you broke something.

Likewise, both of the faces that come with the figure are poorly painted, and Guy's mechanical braids look like tiny sausages, or perhaps excess plastic left on the figure in some manufacturing accident. Guy's lion's mane, on both heads, is thick and semi-floppy plastic: that I'm okay with. Both the armor and the included weapon, Guy's Will Knife, fit the figure poorly and are prone to falling off. In particular, Guy's lion gauntlet doesn't even feel like it was designed to go on the arm. Alternate hands are included: I mention this because I want to make note of the fact that the balled fists are just lumps of plastic lacking even thumbs. Just about everything in this package went wrong.

Gaogaigar is an otaku cult favorite, Guy is a beloved protagonist, and his robotic body should make for a great toy. This is not that toy. It's really a shock that nobody's made any kind of deluxe figure since the TV show was first airing nearly 15 years ago. Certainly, every single form and variation of the GGG robot itself has been sold, each by several different toy companies. Why not its pilot?

That said, if you're a Brave completist, you're hurting that badly for a Guy Shishio figure of any kind today, and you just don't care how crappy it is, good luck finding it online. I only happened to find one of these lying around in a store by sheer luck. I doubt it's uncommon, on account of how cheap and terrible it is, but it'll still be a hunt. You'd better get to Ebay, and please, by the oath of courage, don't pay more than ten bucks for this thing.

Infinitely more interesting than the Guy figure itself is the advertising pamphlet that comes with it. Labeled an “Infomercial”, the foldout features the adventures of the ROADSPARTAN team, an original Microman creation.

“Woman, I love you, but there's something I love even more: making sure every kid's Christmas rules.

Because seriously, check out the names of these guys’ rides. MACHSLUGGER! DELTAPHANTOM! And it goes without saying that all four vehicles combine into the mighty ROADSPARTAN, right? Of course. Don't even get me started on how there are magnet Micromen in the back of the booklet. Magnets! Man, I wish I'd gotten me a box of this stuff instead of this crappy Guy figure. The booklet is probably the Takara toy engineers’ way of telling me I bought the wrong thing.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze.

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