Astro Toy Petit Pretty Squid Girl Super DX
by David Cabrera,
Petit Pretty Squid Girl Super DX
Series: Squid Girl
Maker: Evolution Toy
I didn't just buy a Squid Girl action figure here, I bought a Squid Girl extravaganza. When I first put in the order for this one, I didn't realize that there were three different packages, each with an ascending number of goodies. Because I care about all of you (and not much for the Astro Toy budget: spend every last cent, dammit!) I upgraded my preorder, made months ago, to the $110 Super Deluxe Limited Edition (as opposed to the Not-Super Deluxe Limited Edition, or, God forbid, the standard model). Now here was a column to look forward to!
Nope. This toy's a miss. Waste of money. Don't buy it. Let's get to specifics.
This is from the Petit Pretty line from Evolution Toy, a line and a maker I know absolutely nothing about and will avoid in the future. I was just bowled over by the weirdness of the piece and the sheer amount of stuff in this package: I had to have it. Like the Figutto, this is a figure that will remind you of the Figma, only in a bigger scale and with higher production values. That's the idea, anyway...
Paint issues are immediately noticeable: the blue details on the dress (collar, shoulders, trim at the bottom) are very spottily painted, contrary to the company's own promo shots seen on the box and online. These bits look hand-painted and probably vary by piece. As you can see, on my figure the circle design looks really uneven.
Not only are the joints quite apparent, screws are clearly visible on the sides. Why wouldn't you cap these, or at least supply caps? She's a squid, not a robot! The figure is only about as posable as the average doll, and the limbs are weakly secured and love to pop off. There's visible chipping on the hair, as well. These are things I'd be more willing to let go on a cheaper figure, but this cost us a lot of money.
Anyway, here is why I bought this figure in the first place (and frankly, the kind of thing that makes Astro Toy worth doing): this figure comes with a set of accessories that duplicate the famous “puking squid ink onto pasta” scene from the anime. This feature is the first of many disappointments. All the parts are separate: Squid Girl's head barely moves forward at all, the ink stream is too short. Setting this up in any way is not as easy as it should be, and getting the pose exactly the way it is in the anime appears impossible. Also, the plate accessory looks absolutely terrible: just an irregularly shaped slab of plastic with a little circle on it. Compare this to a figure like Professor Layton (still dirt cheap and recommended) and his beautiful furniture.
A major difference between the versions of this figure is Squid Girl's arsenal of facial expressions: the Limited DX version gets two more faces, and the Super DX gets two more, bringing us to eight damn Squid Girl faces, all of which are wonderful. I like the faces more than anything else in this box. She's got those big, expressive eyes, and all the details are crisp where many other parts of the figure are not. Astro Toy isn't even big enough for pictures of all of these faces! In addition, you can swap out Squid Girl's tentacle “hair”...
…for posable tentacle hair. Yes, Squid Girl's combat-ready hairdo has been replicated here. That sounds really cool, but as with the pasta gimmick, execution is half-assed at best. The tentacles themselves come on a plastic runner like a Gundam kit, and if you don't want the edges to look completely awful you'll need to clip them and shave them with just as much care.
Once you've assembled the hair, it's time for the terrible chore of actually attaching it. The pegs of the hair strands and holes in the back of the head don't go together well, and we've got eight very loosely secured strands of hair connected directly next to each other: as you install a new piece, the last piece is extremely likely to pop out, often leaving you at square one. If I'd bought this for myself, I would have put these parts away entirely before even finishing with them.
For your trouble you get an extremely flimsy, inflexible set of tentacles that kinda moves around a little bit but mostly just falls off. Actually “posing” the hair is a nightmare. Why this wasn't a pre-made piece - or at least designed to be more manageable - I have no idea. Laziness, I suppose.
When I pulled the stand out of the box, I was more than a little bit confused: it's this weird little spider-looking thing with four moving arms. There are no instructions in this box, so I had to just guess as to what was going on. I still don't really understand it, but I was able use the arms to hold Squid Girl's feet in place. Doesn't seem very efficient. What did the designers actually have in mind with this thing? Is it really just a foot holder? Your guess is as good as mine.
Another Super DX extra is an alternate swimsuit body. I don't really think taking off the dress does this figure any favors: posable figures like these tend to look better the more you're able to conceal the body. Disassembling and reassembling the toy is infuriating thanks to the total lack of any printed instructions whatsoever: I gave up on the swimsuit in frustration because I actually broke a major piece of the figure (without even noticing!) trying to put her back together. That's why this paragraph doesn't have a picture. The swimsuit body looks terrible anyway.
Anyway, the one honestly cool thing about this figure (again, Super DX version only) is that it glows under blacklight. Are you having a dance party? Are you just feeling tacky? Squid Girl is here for you! All white parts of the figure glow. Thankfully, nothing can go wrong with this feature, though if there'd been a way I suspect Evolution would have found it.
Because of the nature of the feature I made you a little video about it. It's very short, but I think you get the idea.
The crying face is also exclusive to the Super DX version. It tells you how to feel about having bought it.
The lovable character and the sheer amount of cool features made me want to like this toy. I write as I sit down and play with the toy, and the more time I spent with the figure the worse I felt about it. There were nice ideas here, but there are a lot of major problems here, things that should really have been noticed and taken care of in the quality assurance process. Especially given the price, there's no excuse for the low quality and squandered potential of this figure. I'm naturally attracted to weird novelties (and it's frankly impossible for me to resist spending ANN's money on something this weird), but if Evolution Toy really expects people to pay the high price of Squid Girl, then they need to work on their polish. A lot. I wouldn't even buy this for $30.
Though it's a ripoff, the Super Deluxe ran us $110 shipped from Amiami. Of course, if you're willing to buy one of the lesser versions you can take that down a little bit. HLJ has the standard version only for $92 shipped (whoa whoa whoooa, that's not worth it either), and Amiami has the other two versions. A reissue of this figure with short hair will be coming out in August. Note that despite the Amiami shots, the joints on this figure are not actually colored black.
I should note that the figure has a one-star review average on Amazon Japan. They all complain about the smell. I didn't notice until they said so, but It's true. This figure even smells weird. Please don't buy it.
At least someone is happy around here, cause I sure as hell ain't!
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 follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.
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