Astro Toy
SH Figuarts Lelouch Lamperouge

by David Cabrera,

SH Figuarts Lelouch Lamperouge (Zero R2 Version)
Code Geass R2
Maker: Bandai
Price: $40-50

I've decided that this month's theme has been “I review toys from series I don't know anything about.” Last time was Oreimo and this time was Code Geass. Yeah, I never watched that. I experienced it, mind, in the same way as I am currently experiencing Valvrave: I hear people flip on the Internet every week with that same familiar mixture of anticipation, disgust, joy and loathing. When I watched the first episode of Valvrave, I decided that ah, yes, this was the cartoon that illustrated the feeling I had only seen via text and screenshots up until now. This was “Geass.” I've still never actually watched a single episode of Code Geass.

So here's Lelouch Lamperouge (Zero), the protagonist of Code Geass, who I only know as a superb support pilot in Super Robot Wars. The outfit is from the second season specifically. This is a super-popular character, which makes it weird that he's only been an action figure one time before that I know of: a figma from the very early days of the line (and one of the earliest Astro Toys, under my predecessor). That one's long gone, so Bandai is picking up the slack with a Figuarts. I generally like Figuarts better than figma (my grounds are basically quality of construction), but let's see how this one goes.

As an aside: action figures of male anime characters sure continue to be uncommon, huh? Though there certainly seems to be demand: recently the figure of Kirito from Sword Art Online was a big enough hit that I couldn't even get a hold of it in preorders. And I spend a lot of time preordering!

Actually, this Figuarts looks a lot like a figma, doesn't it? Super-slim proportions courtesy of CLAMP's character design, with arms and legs best described as noodly. Articulation is average in the arms and legs for all your fabulous posing needs. The torso, however, does not budge in any way. With long coats and capes that cover the body, of late they're made of soft plastic something on the inside will allow movement. Not so here at all.

Overall, an average sculpt with the kind of lapses in paint detail that you get at this price. The gold in particular is sloppy, and the same goes for the eyes, which call for some fine detail the paint job doesn't quite nail.

You can replace Lelouch's head with the Zero helmet as part of dressing him up. I say it a lot, but Figuarts does armor and helmets quite a bit better than human faces. Beware of sharp edges, and be aware that the helmet can come apart, though you wouldn't really want it to.

To complete the Zero outift, a major accessory is supplied in the form of a fixed-pose cape. This allows Lelouch to look good doing exactly one thing: raising the cape with his right arm in a typically dramatic gesture. The thing is, the cape will always wave forwards in space like that. There's no articulation, but the plastic has a little give. It's a good idea for display, but the problem is that it is the only available option. Posable figures are about choosing an expression, so I always consider it a minus when a character is locked into a particular mood, if you get what I'm saying.

(Also, this cape was such a dust magnet, you have no idea how many times I cleaned it off to no avail)

There's an extra helmet for Lelouch to hold in his hands: the only difference between the two pieces is that one has a hole for a peg in it, and the other doesn't.

One of the extra faces is of course Lelouch using the Geass eye with a smug smirk on his face. Man, does this dude have a chin, though? Both of the alternate faces are like this, his chin gets scrunched up into his face. I don't know if this is a character design thing or not, but those two faces look bizarre. This really calls for more detail than a figure in this size/price range will deliver, and I'm surprised they tried it at all. The eyes look better than the regular eyes, I think.

And that's completely it for accessories. A couple of hands and faces are supplied, but this is really a bare-bones package, common in the Figuarts line.

As usual with Figuarts, there is no stand. I am, as ever, supplying my own Tamashii Stand. They're quite good, and I just bought my second pack of them, just for the figures that I display on my own shelf (Myth Cloth and Super Robot Chogokin, for those curious). Due to his flat feet and the light build, you shouldn't have much trouble posing Lelouch on his own. Once that cape gets involved, though, there is trouble, since there's no peg and the claw can't easily reach his back.. I just leaned him up against the arm.

In case you haven't noticed, I am not all that impressed with this figure, even when taking into account that this isn't the highest-end line around. I have seen great Figuarts and lousy Figuarts: this falls into the dull, adequate middle that so many of the figures in these lines occupy. (If you've ever wondered why I don't only review figma and Nendoroid and so on, well..) If you love Lelouch, and a lot of folks do, your results will probably be better. As a toy nerd, though, I wasn't too excited. If you're looking for something exciting, though, man, have you seen this Gilgamesh figure coming out? You better believe I got that on order!

We paid $43 shipped at Amiami, when the yen was a little higher than it is right now. The Bluefin release is $43.99 as well.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera makes moe 4-panel comics about videogames at Kawaiikochan. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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