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Astro Toy
Figma Inogashira Goro Extra Helping Version

by David Cabrera,

Figma Inogashira Goro Extra Helping Version
Series: Kodoku no Gourmet (The Solitary Gourmet)
Maker: Good Smile
Price: $80

Again this week, I have explaining to do. This whole article may be an excuse to just talk about the Solitary Gourmet. I am not ashamed.

Kodoku no Gourmet is a manga about a traveling businessman whose main joy in life comes from the meals he eats-- always alone-- at humble, hole-in-the-wall (non-fictional) restaurants that he discovers in his travels. I'd love to point you to some place you could read it, but unfortunately the only official release was on the departed JManga: I never even got a chance to buy it!

I actually watch the live-action version. A buddy introduced me to this, and it's become something we watch pretty regularly. Nearly the entire show consists of this guy sitting at his table, very slowly taking in his food, and it is gripping.  The lead (Matsushige Yutaka) is so expressive and endearing, and the food looks so damn good, that it's like you are sitting there at Mom'n'Pop Ramen having the most unexpectedly delicious meal of your life. I think you should watch it... somehow.

Anyway, let nobody accuse Good Smile of not tackling a broad range of subject matter. They do superheroes, they do moe characters, they do robots (with Sentinel! This is very exciting!), they do internet memes and weird Japanese celebrities, and dammit, if they're going to do an action figure of a guy who eats food at restaurants, they're gonna do it right! That's why we have the “Extra Helping” version here: it has a number of accessories that push the cost of the figure up, but which the character simply can't do without. I'd be surprised if anybody who seriously wanted a figure of this character would bother to buy the non-deluxe version. It's merely a figure of a guy in a suit, after all.

Take this figure out and that PVC smell-- you know the one-- hits you hard. There's a ton of bendy plastic in this piece; we'll get to it.

Note that Goro's head, neck and collar are sculpted so that he can never really look up. He's a guy who's mostly looking down (at the plate, you see) so we can presume the designers decided it wasn't worth messing up his hair or the neat, unbroken look of suit.

I've looked at figmas in mundane, normal menswear before, and, to be honest... they're always pretty much the same. Movement isn't a problem because the jacket is made of flexible plastic that bends to get out of the way. So is the tie.

This isn't a jacket that was meant to “come off”, but it can be replaced. Like with the Jotaro figure I looked at years ago, the designers have made special considerations to give Goro the ability to put his hands in his pockets. The two replacement jackets either have one or both sides pulled up: yank out the arms, put on the new jacket, and now Goro can get at his pockets. To complete the illusion, you have special “trick” hands that aren't fully formed past the wrist, so they can slip into the figure's small pockets.

Because you were curious, here's what the figure looks like without its jacket... or its arms.

Goro always steps out for a smoke, so there is of course an extra hand for that.

There is a Japanese internet meme of Goro putting people into an arm lock, and I suspect this has something to do with this figure getting made. I have done my due dilligence in supporting this internet joke for which I have no context. Assistance was provided by A Certain Kamen Rider.

Finally, food. Goro is well-fed even in plastic: the regular release of the figure comes with a rice bowl and a hand holding some of that rice between a pair of chopsticks. The bowl is poorly secured to a specific “bowl-holding” hand by a peg that doesn't fit very well: thankfully the rest of the accessories Goro has to hold aren't like this. The rice enough to convey “he eats”, but it's just rice, right? It's not enough. For one thing, doesn't he look weird eating standing up? Wouldn't you feel funny?

The “Extra Helping” version comes with a full meal: an entree and soup (from the manga, of course) in addition to the rice. If we had Goro just stand there and hold this stuff, it'd look awkward, so the big extras in this deluxe package are a no-frills restaurant chair and table. Just like at the kind of places he frequents!

Unfortunately, the chair is rather poorly done. It is, like the real thing, a slick plastic stool... and it has no means of actually securing the figure. You'll really have to fiddle around to get Goro to sit on the chair in a way that doesn't lead to him toppling off of it immediately.

So do I recommend you a figure like this? Yeah, sure. This is the finest in “hungry businessman” action figures out there, bar none. The “Extra Helping” version was GSC store exclusive, and is gone from the earth now. You could probably get by with the aforementioned figma furniture. Only the standard version remains... and that is sold out on my usual spots Amiami and HLJ. When you think a figma's gonna sell out, it doesn't. When you don't think a figma's gonna sell out, it does. This isn't a character with a following outside of Japan, so it might be tough to find the figure now.

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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