by David Cabrera,
Series: Death Note
Often here at Astro Toy I sit and wonder to myself why Japanese toy companies, who appear to enjoy brisk sales on this side of the ocean, don't pursue properties that are more popular with Western anime fans. Don't get me wrong-- as a fan of old guy anime I'm pleased as punch with Japan's otaku-market toys. It just seems a missed business opportunity that, for example, there are no high-end toys from big Shonen Jump franchises worthy of reviewing (Revoltech or better: we try to keep away from trading figures, gashapon, UFO catcher toys and so on because they typically aren't worth the time) on this column.
Well, that's changed, because this week we've got a high-end figure from Death Note! I read a book of this one time! This is again the Figutto line from Griffon, which came about as a higher-quality (and more expensive) competitor to Max Factory's flagship Figma line. Last time I reviewed one of these figures, it was pretty good. A bit expensive, but solid.
This is a good time to revisit Figutto, as, well... Figma quality has been noticeably slipping lately. Is it just me, guys? I've heard a bit to this effect from the ANN comments and from other collectors. Hell, if you ask me, the really good-looking Figma and Revoltech releases are from Robocop (!!) and Aliens. But this is an anime site! Let's see what Griffon has on offer this time.
Right out of the box (mercifully, much smaller and more sensibly packed than the giant box we dealt with last time) the extra cash gets us a lot. The figure itself is quite tall (about 7 inches), and it's an order of magnitude more detailed than we'd get from a cheaper toy line. The creepy face in particular benefits from the larger scale of the figure, and little details, like stitches, the belt, and the removable Death Note hanging from it, impress further.
The paint job is spotless, with no errors to report. What you're paying for (and you'll be paying a lot, we'll get there...) is apparently a superior sculpt and paint.
However, posability is not up there with comparable figures: basic at best. The shoulders swivel a little bit, but their range of motion is limited by the feathers. The elbows and knees are basic up-and-down joints, and the head moves just the tiniest bit. The torso doesn't really move aside from a single swivel point at the chest, and the sculpt very deliberately forces the character into his characteristic slouch. It moves here and there, but this figure isn't exactly flexible. If you find yourself bringing an arm or leg too far, it will happily pop out of its socket to remind you that it doesn't do that. (Try touching Ryuk's hand to his head.)
Of course (and this is becoming a running theme) Ryuk isn't supposed to be too flexible himself, and a lot (not all) of the posability issues with this figure seem to stem from the super-lanky character design itself.
You can either display Ryuk with normal feathers (made of flexible plastic) at his back or with wings. As you can see, the wings are massive, imposing, and static. They're also painted a little different from the rest of the blacks on the figure: it suggests a smoky appearance rather than a feathery one. I don't know Death Note well enough to know if this is correct, or if Griffon decided that these huge lumps of plastic didn't need the detailing that the rest of the figure did.
Also included are two different Death Notes, two apples (one with a bite taken out), extra hands for the accessories, and a face with a wide-open, smiling mouth that you'll noticed I switched to immediately. I sure hate replacing the heads on spiky-haired characters like this: it's like pulling apart a plastic hedgehog. Those spikes are fairly sharp! The accessories are all handled in “almost-Figma” ways, with a rack for the hands and a big plastic box to drop everything into.
(The wings were a bit big for my setup, but I couldn't leave you without this picture...)
This is actually very different from the last Figutto I looked at, which was much more of a full action figure. I'm reminded a lot of the Play-Arts line with this particular release: it's first and foremost a pretty thing to put on your shelf. However, perhaps owing to the character design, it's not really designed to be played with a lot. Folks who want a good-looking Ryuk on their desk will be well served, but don't expect to be able to do a lot with it.
It's a really expensive figure, though: small company, international shipping, terrible exchange rate. All these factors pile up. Barring the occassional blowout sale at your favorite online toy retailer, “is this worth the money?” is starting to become an unfair question here at Astro Toy.
Ryuk is on backorder at Amiami for about $86, but he was on backorder when we bought him and it went through, so give it a try! Otherwise, HLJ has him in stock for more like $90. Light is available in both locations as well in the $70-$80 neighborhood, but we didn't have the money to double-review these very expensive figures (and honestly, Light doesn't make nearly as interesting a toy).
CQ, CQ! The distress signal is coming from inside the apple! Hold on apple, I'm comin' to save you-- with my teeth!!
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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