Astro Toy Figma Guts (Black Swordsman version)
by David Cabrera,
If you look at the Astro Toy archive, you'll note that it's been a couple of months since we bought a male figure. That's the longest we've gone in a while, actually! As such, it is perhaps overcompensating that we're following up a long run of girl figures with one of the roughest dudes possible.
Berserk is one of those things I've been harassed so much to read that I'll probably never wind up catching up on it. You know that effect, when your friend just can't stop about the geek thing they want you to be in on, and all it does is make that item annoying by association and put it further down on your backlist? Be careful with your recommendations, everybody: I want you to watch Giant Robo, but I'll try not to bother you about it.
Anyway, it's Guts! With the movies from 4C coming soon, of course we're going to see a little Berserk stuff coming out. I wouldn't be surprised if a Griffith were in the works either. This is a much bigger Figma than we're used to, more reminiscent in scale of the hulking Love Machine than the small girls usually represented in the Figma line.
Likewise, that single-tone look is fine for a lot of anime characters but doesn't really fly for Berserk, and as such this Figma's paint and detailing are more in line with Kentaro Miura's gritty art. Guts looks rugged and well-worn, in beat-up leather and armor. The skin in particular has a grimy tone, like Guts hasn't had the chance to bathe in a while. Well, that's period-accurate!
Posability is normal for Figma but not as flexible as the smaller figures: I was particularly disappointed when the hip joint popped out after only the most conservative movement of the legs.
Again, this looks a lot better than the usual Figma, as the design simply calls for a higher level of detail: after all, Guts is always packing weapons. We got armor, we got pouches, we got a knife-belt and a knife on a belt (not removable), and we got a real metal chain! This is no Art of War statue, but this package costs about as much as Art Of War's Behelit necklace does by itself, so...
The handcannon is just a replaceable hand piece molded in shape, which is kind of a disappointment: wouldn't a hand that actually flipped open to reveal the cannon just be the coolest? Spring-load it, I say! Where are my precious gimmicks? You know how I feel about them!
Of course, any proper figure of this character must include the Dragon Slayer sword, and it is gigantic as it should be. Despite its size, the sword is feather-light, a necessity considering the figure needs to be able to hoist the blade effortlessly one-handed. Fond as I am of heavy accessories, this is definitely a choice for the better: Guts is never thrown off balance, and the sword arm stays in place with no trouble.
The sword can also be attached to the back as you'd expect, but it's a fiddly assembly that makes using the stand difficult (not a lot to be done there, it's nearly blocked by the huge blade) and is prone to falling apart if jostled at all.
The last accessory is a full cloak made of black fabric. The only plastic here is up at the top, and no jointed, flapping-in-the-wind plastic like Revoltechs have either. It's a scratchy, frayed thing that's firmly set into its shape and feels as harsh to the touch as Guts' angry stare looks. Not a lot to say here, other than that it's nice they went the extra mile on this and got the rough feel of it right. It's a cheap little piece, but it's oddly appropriate.
The instructions and box pictures indicate that you can slip the handle of the blade through a well-hidden hole in the cape, but... it seems very well-hidden, as I sure couldn't find it. It got to the point where I was no longer willing to risk damaging the fragile, brittle cloak! Maybe I'm stupid?
Extras include a single other facial expression-- teeth clenched with rage-- to complete the range of Guts' emotions and the usual assortment of hands. The stand is very slightly different from usual this time, with a smaller black peg that reaches over the pouches on the back of Guts' belt.
There is not a lot else they could have included in this box: the character is as faithfully reproduced as we could possibly expect from a Figma. Even upon inspection, there are no real flaws in execution here. I'm not bowled over with joy, but I am impressed, and if you're a fan of Berserk you will probably find yourself compelled to buy it by malevolent forces beyond your control.
That is, if you find it. We paid $60 shipped for this figure (small box, lower shipping cost) from Amiami. This is always the case with Figma and other Good Smile products, but it continues to bear repeating: if you want it, buy it ASAP or it's likely to just up and disappear. HLJ already has the item listed as “discontinued”, despite the fact that it just came out on the 28th of January. Guess this is just GSC's business plan, huh? As was once sung: “It's too late, it's too late.”
Swordfight!! Hey, Miura is an acknowledged Idolm (at ster) fan; I'm sure he's cool with Cirno too.
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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