Astro Toy
D-Arts Terry Bogard

by David Cabrera,

D-Arts Terry Bogard
King of Fighters
Maker: Bandai
Price: $50-60

Videogame month is continuing here at Astro Toy with something from the “I had this on order anyway” category. It's also our Christmas column, so luckily we have something red and white.

This is actually the first time we've covered this line, despite its having been around for a while: D-Arts (D stands for Digital, I believe) is Bandai's line for videogame characters. The Megaman X releases had been Astro Toy candidates, but the schedule never quite worked out and a trustworthy source sold hers 'cause she hated them. So I was cautious, and I waited.

And it got to a point where I could no longer refuse. Terry effin' Bogard. Videogames' greatest American hero. This is specifically Terry as he was seen in King of Fighters '94 (the first KOF), not his original game (Fatal Fury/Garou Densetsu).

I love that the box has a move list on it, and refers specifically only to the attacks and commands used in '94.

This is a differently branded line from Figuarts, but the basic figure is comparable. The rugged Terry's classic outfit looks nicely worn with weathering around the edges, the “Fatal Fury” on his hat is clean.

However, this is a major case of  the prototype looking much better than the final figure: testing those photos against what's actually in the box is revelatory. The low-detail face is not half as good as what's shown on the box, and his Chucks are sloppily painted. I've also got a scuff on the long ponytail, some kind of production issue. This is by no means a terrible-looking figure, but it's bound to disappoint when the early photos were as nice as they were. Keep this lesson on your mind whenever you look at figure publicity photos.

The figure doesn't stand up well on its own, so you will want a stand, and no, one is not included. There is a hole for a peg, but the panel that covers it is so badly designed and difficult to poke out that I didn't bother and went with the claw instead.

And here's a shot from the back, to show the star and the long ponytail. The ponytail part does not like to stay put in Terry's head: it just kind of slips into the back and doesn't even look like it was designed to remain attached for any length of time. It will definitely fall out when posing. Not sure what they were thinking here, or if they were in fact thinking about it.

Because the character is a martial artist with famous signature moves, posability is obviously very important. The box is plastered with images of the figure doing these moves, so as to ease your concerns. Behold: Crack Shoot!

The effect parts are the fire and energy bursts from when Terry uses his attacks. So you've got your Burn Knuckle: the effect for this actually consists of two different pieces, one for the arm and one that covers the fist. Sadly, this is the only effect part that actually looks good.

Power Wave is the standby, of course. It is quite difficult to get Terry in a kneeling pose, and I found the game-accurate poses shown on the box extremely difficult to achieve: the figure can't actually bend or tilt its torso as much as is needed. As a result, it's hard enough to get his fist on the floor in the first place. I spent an hour just getting this pose and eventually gave it up.

And the large effect part is the super move, Power Geyser. It looks like it's come from a Godzilla figure, right? Same pose, different piece. The effect pieces don't clip on to the fist or anything, you're just supposed to leave them in front of Terry. I think the makers anticipated how hard that pose would be to make. Also note the replacement ponytail being used here: the idea is that his hair's being blown back. Nice touch. Ponytail still doesn't stay on.

Now of course you know that Buster Wolf didn't appear until Mark of the Wolves in 2000, but I tried to do it anyway. There are a few things about the extreme pose that this figure cannot do: Terry's body doesn't bend backwards enough, the left arm can't reach across the chest to grab the right arm, and the legs can't get in the right position. So forget about that. (The figure does Rising Tackle fine.)

Another major oversight: Terry cannot remove his hat. Well, you can, but the hat is actually the top of his head and there's no “hatless” replacement piece. Terry's kind of got half a head. Obviously no good for display. Replacement heads for different facial expressions are, for reasons I do not understand, excruciating to replace. Couple this with the difficulty of keeping the ponytail on and you'll just never want to touch Terry's head, ever.

Anyway, Terry fans know this is a huge problem because of his “OK!” win pose where he throws the hat in the air. (This pose is the KOF '94 version.) He can't do it. I know. I'm as disappointed as you are.

The final accessory is Terry's traveling bag, attached to a spare hand. I really like this, actually. The string is sturdy. It looks good. I'm relieved to finally say that. If I were to leave this out on my shelf, it would probably be in this kind of pose.

I expect and typically get great figures from Bandai... but at best this is merely okay. And not in the way you would say “OKAY!” or “Are you okay? Buster Wolf!”, just kind of a quiet, disappointed “okay...” that trails off into sadness.  The more I looked at the figure, the more little problems piled up and really soured the whole experience. It's double disappointing because I personally love this character (note the length of this review) and had high expectations.

I hope all D-Arts figures aren't as middling as this. Are the production costs going to licensing? That would suck, because they have a ton of great videogame licenses, and I don't want to see such a mediocre figure of Sol Badguy. Sigh.

We got this for $60 shipped from Amiami, and you should probably be able to get it for less from Bluefin in the coming months. Prototypes of Terry's nemesis (and videogames' original American Japanophile, from whom all others should take notes) Geese Howard, among other SNK favorites, have been shown. I could have this wrong, but a note inside the box has a silhouette of Samurai Shodown's Haohmaru on it. Pokémon D-Arts are coming too: Mewtwo sold out to preorders instantly.


And now I'd like to make an after-column note. This is the last Astro Toy of the year, and indeed of my second year after having taken this column over from Rob Bricken. Thank all of you so much for allowing me to do this for as long as I have! To mark this occasion-- and because my first January deadline would have been on a day I intend to spend sleeping off the jetlag after my holiday vacation in Japan-- I will be taking Astro Toy off for the first time since I took up the column. No, I have no intention whatsoever of doing any work from out there. If you want to see my travelogue, then Twitter at @sasuraiger and @kawaiikochans – yes, even the Kawaiikochans-- will probably be the means.

However, that's not all I have to say! The January Astro Toy will be our third anniversary column and by happy coincidence I have lined up what is easily the biggest toy review we have done. It is likely the biggest we will ever do, unless the Japanese toy industry makes something bigger and sends it to me for free. It is something completely insane: its very existence has been the subject of an ANN news story. Not to give it away or anything... but in about a month a castle of black steel will show up here. Look forward to it.

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.

discuss this in the forum (6 posts) |
bookmark/share with:

Astro Toy homepage / archives