Astro Toy
Revoltech Blade Liger

by David Cabrera,

Revoltech Blade Liger
Series: Zoids
Company: Kaiyodo
Cost: about $70-$80

Maybe you remember Zoids? 80's kids may recall the original line of simple, motorized plastic model kits, but the anime also ran on Cartoon Network in the early 00's. It has its cult. As part of what seems to be a larger rollout of high-grade toys and plastic models based on the ten-year-old (ten years is when you want to start with this stuff!) Chaotic Century series, Blade Liger is the first in the Revoltech line's foray into Zoids.

Alright, I'm going to set a speed record and get to my first major complaint before we even take the toy out. This box is way too big. This is a small toy and it comes in something only slightly smaller than my light box. When I ordered it, shipping cost me a few bucks more than the toy did. I had to pick it up at the post office, because the mailman didn't feel like bringing the even bigger box this toy shipped in to the door. Is the box stuffed? Not really: the box appears designed to waste space, with each of the 10 included Revolchips and even the included Revoltech pliers prominently displayed in the window.

Why am I going on like this about a little extra plastic and cardboard? It's simple: as importers, we get screwed by overblown packaging like this. The Japanese buyer just walks into a shop and pays the equivalent of around $50 for this toy. Here at Astro Toy, I paid over $80. That's no joke! Whether you buy a Japanese toy from mail-order or at your local comics shop, you are shouldering the heavy cost of shipping it over from Japan. A big, half-empty box is an importer's worst nightmare because it means paying for some very expensive air.

Does the figure justify the cost? Frankly, I don't even think it justifies the original $50-ish retail. The Blade Liger is obviously a lot bulkier than the usual Revoltech figure, but it's still much smaller than the price point and the gigantic box imply. The only accessories are the machine's basic equipment, and it's clear that the pliers and the extra chips (why am I being given ten damn coins worth of Kool-Aid Points anyway?) were thrown in to try and sweeten a deal that's hard to swallow at $50 and outright silly at $80.

That said, I really like the look of the Blade Liger and the Revoltech is quite impressive on display. Many Zoids have this trim, lightweight look, with minimal armor and a lot of exposed mechanical innards. Such details-- like the springs on the legs, for example-- are lovingly painted on. A lot of armor bits can move (for “Open Mode” action) and are attached by Revoltech joint: as usual, these are fiddly and prone to falling off, making me shake my fist and swear like a Manga Video dub as I hopelessly try to pose the figure.

Sadly, the Liger isn't motorized like the old Zoids were: I guess that would have sacrificed posability, and I guess this is a “mature collectible” and totally not for kids, but the eight-year-old in me is saying that for $80 (that's like half a birthday, okay) he wants a gimmick.

The articulation for an animal-shaped robot is obviously very different from the humanoid Revoltechs. With flexible limbs and joints all through the body, this figure is above and beyond the original model kit in this department. There's even a shot on the package of the Liger sitting down and scratching its “ear” with its right leg. The usual Revoltech stand is, of course, supplied and fits underneath the machine for “pouncing” poses. I mean, what other sorts of poses does a wild cat really make? Ear-scratching and pouncing is cat life!

The Blade Liger's main weapons are these sweet gun/blades: with the help of a swinging bit of armor on the sides, these can be positioned either on top of the body as guns, or with the blades out for melee action. There are also launchers on the top and bottom of the body attached by Revoltech joints, but given the nature of the things there's not a lot you can do with them. The Liger's tail is probably some kind of weapon itself. Jointed in three places, it can easily be made to curl around the robot.

The toy looks pretty cool, but there just isn't a lot of playing to do with it. Ultimately the price (even before shipping enters the picture) is a dealbreaker unless you're a huge fan of Zoids. If you are, by the way, Kotobukiya is also doing a line of high-end plastic kits that might likewise interest you. At any price, I was thoroughly underwhelmed by what was in the box. If the money was coming out of my own pocket, I absolutely wouldn't have bought it. If you really want this one, wait for the importers to mark it down (they'll have to, eventually) and pounce when the time is right. Like a liger.

Where to buy?
Amiami: $82 shipped  - I bought from here to try the store out. The item itself is technically on sale at 25%, but the huge shipping charge cancelled out my savings and exceeded what I would have paid at other places online.
HLJ: about $78.35 shipped.
BBTS: about $73 shipped.

Astro Toy Extra: Revoltech Pliers

Revoltech pliers are the best, man! If you've played with Revoltechs you probably know that a lot of the joints on the average figure are small enough to give you trouble if you try and yank them out with your hands. And with switchable hands and heads, you're doing this all the time! Knowing this, Kaiyodo has special pliers that are specifically molded to fit these very pesky bits and save you a lot of annoyance. Just clamp down on the joint, pull, and you're done. These things are essential. By all rights, they should be sitting around in every store's Revoltech section for five bucks, but I've only seen them available in Kaiyodo's Revolchip trading program. Before this figure, I had a pair from Rob Bricken, the previous Astro Toy guy. Good lookin’ out, Rob.

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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