Astro Toy
Figma Mari Makinami Illustrious

by David Cabrera,

Figma Mari Makinami Illustrious
Series: Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance
Maker: Max Factory
Price: around $40

You know what's great about reviewing an Evangelion toy? I get to talk about Evangelion. No matter what you think of Eva, you can't deny how... discussable it is. Nerds have been at it for fifteen years now, and the show's reached a Gundam-level point where they're never, ever going to stop. Had I brought up the movies?

Oh, right, those. Here we have a figure of a character exclusive to Studio Khara's bigger, louder theatrical remake of Evangelion. Mari Makinami Illustrious (were they going for Tomino names?) is a mysterious new Eva pilot whose main function in the second film is to remind the viewer at every opportunity that she has larger-than-average breasts. Go on, watch that movie, come back here, and tell me I'm wrong.

I figured I would get to an Eva figure sooner or later (did you know I got this job by writing up BMX Rei? It's true!) and I wanted to wait until the newest Figmas came out. There have been a lot of figures of these characters, but the fact that the Figmas come with an Eva cockpit sold me. It's like a good old-fashioned playset-- for the recession!

Honestly, I'm not much impressed by the base figure. The detail is unusually low for Figma, even for a simple design such as this. The plugsuit is a flat pink-- a little dull but hey, it's accurate-- but the details, like the black lines on the suit and the ridged bits, are spottily painted. Plenty of Figmas-- Figmas of more challenging character designs, even-- look better than this.

There is a single flash of inspiration aside from the major gimmick, however. Max Factory has thought long and hard about Mari's hair: there are actually two hair bits that can be exchanged, one with the pigtails in front, and one with them in back. The hair itself bends a little bit: I tried to make a “hair scarf”, but unless you hold the hair in place (like with Mari's hand, here) the pieces wriggle back into their proper position. At first glance the glasses appear not to be removable (they're attached to the front piece), but you can yank them off.

Alternate faces include the Beast Mode face from the movie (the orb in the chest of the plugsuit is replaceable so that it changes colors like in the movie), a self-assured smirk, and the usual smile. The extras here are pretty slim, but I have to admit that they appear to cover Mari's entire range as a character. Where's my rimshot?

As you're probably already aware, Mari is wearing a skin-tight plugsuit. There's really nothing in the design that inherently restricts movement. There is one weird point, however. The chest is jointed (as in most Revoltechs) and, well, if you move her at the torso a bit, it becomes clear that the breasts are entirely detached from the body, with a large space between the two points. Once you see it, it's impossible to stop noticing, and it doesn't just look weird in the Exorcist pose I've come up with here. This is probably why most female Figmas don't try to do this! But Mari needs to seat herself comfortably, and I can see why they'd want her to bend back a little.

Is it weird that Mari's chair is a little fancier than she is? ‘Cause it is. The display you see here is extremely finicky: maybe one of the two required stands will detach itself! Maybe Mari's hands (and the sleeves of the plugsuit, so small and irritating that Max Factory actually provided replacements) will pop out! Maybe the triggers on the side will plop off again! But once you get it together you've got quite a display piece: with the cockpit suspended, it's a scene straight out of the anime. The “legs” of the cockpit swivel out a bit, and the detachable (and fond of detaching) triggers move to anywhere that Mari could reasonably reach them.

Either stand works for Mari herself, of course, but the figure doesn't have a hole for a peg in the back like most Figmas I've seen: there's a claw in the back to hold it instead. Speaking for myself, I'd much rather have a figure with a hole in the back than for my display to be messed up with a hook coming around the front of the body. Perhaps you feel otherwise?

The base figure is pretty boring, isn't terribly high-quality, and might even be a ripoff by itself, but the cockpit pushes this package into being legitimately interesting and different in an overcrowded field of Eva pilot figures... and Figmas, for that matter. I'm having Figma fatigue, to be quite honest, but we've got something new on the way, so look forward to it!

This is a new Figma from a very popular series, so there are plenty of these around. Buy it at:

KidNemo: $37 before domestic shipping
HLJ: $33 before international shipping

The Beast that Shouted "I" at the Heart of the World.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can also follow his Twitter, @sasuraiger.

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