Bandai

All posts tagged Bandai

Luigi is the taller, lankier plumber who is the brother of Mario, from the Super Mario game series, not to mention numerous spin offs and other media. Always playing second fiddle to Mario in his adventures, (he is P2 by default after all!) Luigi is often depicted as more cowardly then his heroic brother. Much like Mario, Luigi has never received a true action figure, only statues or vinyl figures with limited articulation. Finally Bandai steps up to the plate to bring us the second release in their Mario series, the most natural choice, being Luigi.

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Name: Liugi
Line: S.H.Figarts Super Mario
Manufacturer: Bandai
Released: 2014
Price: Then: 2500 YEN.  Now: depends on place of purchase – at least $30 MISB
Scale:
4.5  Inches in height
Accessories: One red shell, one brick box, one pair of holding hands and one display stand.

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Once again I happened to be back in Japan during December and as luck would have it, Bandai’s S H Figuarts Luigi happened to be released when I was there, obviously not as much of a build up as Mario for this release, but still plenty of great store displays featuring now both brothers!

If you happened to check out Bandai’s Showcase in Akiharbara (near McDonalds right under Akiharbara Station) you would know that Yoshi was soon to follow with a black Yoshi-shaped out line teased at that display. (Not to mention the same black outline included in all Luigi instruction booklets.)

So of course I was going to pick up a Luigi figure, no way I would pass up once again picking up a wanted figure at the time of its release, for a great price!

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SCULPTING

Once again Bandai has done a great job with the sculpting, just like Mario it’s like Luigi has walked right off the TV Screen and into our hands, based of the most recent games look and style (Super Mario Bros WII or the most recent Super Smash Bros, for example), I can’t fault the sculpting at all, it looks great!

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PAINT

Following Mario’s lead Luigi is cast in the bulk of the colours he is meant to be. This is a big plus in my book and it’s my preferred way to make a toy or figure. There is some great work on the eyes and the paint on the buttons and shoes is very neat. Same thing applies with the accessories too: very neat and tidy paint applications.

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ARTICULATION

Luigi features about the same articulation as Mario’s joints which are swivel/hinge style joints with a couple of ball joints thrown in for good measure. Luigi’s articulation is as follows: Ball joint/swivel head, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel hands, swivel/hinge groin, hinge knees, ball jointed feet. Just like Mario it’s a good realistic range of motion and works well for Luigi. You can get all the poses you would want out of him and the stand helps a lot too.

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ACCESSORIES

Luigi comes with a bit more in the way of accessories then Mario; you get everything I feel should have come with Mario to begin with, like the extra hands and a turtle shell. The stand out for me is the display stand included with Luigi, it’s great and provides a number of posing opportunities for the figure.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Like with the previous Mario figure, this is a well made toy and there aren’t many faults, if any. Although some of the plastic does feel a little brittle it is still a solid toy. Just make sure you don’t lose any of the smaller parts!

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PRICE

I paid retail price for Luigi, that was around 2,500 -3,000 YEN and of course no shipping costs, because I lugged him back in my suitcase. It’s a great price and if you can get it for around that you are doing well.

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OVERALL

Luigi is another strong example of how Bandai are creating an excellent Super Mario Bros toyline. With Yoshi announced, I feel this line can only go from strength to strength and I hope in the near future we get other Nintendo characters as well, beyond just the Mario Bros series. It’s definitely worth picking up Luigi if you already have Mario. He’s a great addition to an already growing collection of awesome Mario figures.

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Mario is the short, stocky plumber who is the star of Nintendo’s Super Mario game series, not to mention numerous spin offs and other media and unless you’ve been living under a rock since the mid 1980’s there’s little to no chance you don’t know who he is. Mario has never received a true action figure, only statues or vinyl figures with limited articulation. Finally Bandai steps up to the plate to bring us what can be considered a definitive version of Mario.

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Name: Mario/Play set B
Line: S.H.Figarts Super Mario
Manufacturer: Bandai
Released: 2014
Price: Then: 1500 YEN. Now: depends on place of purchase – at least $30 MISB
Scale: 4.3 Inches in height (Mario)
Accessories: Mario – One coin, one mushroom, one question mark box and one small stand for the coin.
Play set B – One set of grasping hands, One Coin, One Goomba, One turtle shell, Two coin stands, three pipe pieces and two sets of clear hand connection pieces.

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I was lucky enough to be over in Japan when this figure was released there in June, it was almost impossible to escape the giant store displays and even TV ads for this figure. Not to mention when you would walk into any Yodobashi – Akiba style store, there would be stacks and stacks of the figure piled up near said store displays.

Even though I had one ordered at BBTS how could I not pass picking one up? So of course I did (and a couple as gifts too). My friend Javier (who was holidaying in Japan when I was) ended up buying two sets of everything! (Mario + Play set A + Play set B) I’ll be in Japan in December again this year and hopefully with a little luck I can pick up Luigi too.

There was no way I was going to pass up buying such an awesome Mario figure at the time of release from its country of origin, as a toy collector, I feel it’s just one of those once in a life time awesome experiences. Especially seeing I buy most of my toys online these days, it’s always great to be able to head out when in Japan and snatch up new and old toys at great prices!

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SCULPTING
This is one of those great examples of sculpting for a video game character, Mario looks perfect, from his head down to his feet, it’s unmistakingly Mario. I think he ticks enough boxes to represent both new and retro versions too. I feel he’s bordering slightly more on the retro style for me. He looks great and I really can’t say enough positive things about Mario’s sculpting! It’s easily one of the stand out categories for Mario.

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PAINT
For Mario paint is kept to a minimum, mainly just for small details like his buttons or the inside of his mouth. It’s very crisp and clean, I can’t fault it at all. Mario’s accessories have the most paint and they are the same high level of application as Mario. His eyes are definitely a stand out as there is a lot going on there paint wise. I love that that for most pieces they have just cast it in the colour it’s meant to be, this is the best approach and I think the end result is great!

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ARTICULATION
Most of Mario’s joints are swivel/hinge style joints with a couple of ball joints thrown in for good measure. Mario’s articulation is as follows: Ball joint/swivel head, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel hands, swivel/hinge groin, hinge knees, ball jointed feet. Mario has a good amount of articulation and most importantly you can place him in most of the poses Mario needs to be put in. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn good. Obviously a choice was made at some stage to make Mario look as seamless as possible but have as much articulation as he could too. His head is restricted a bit by the closeness to the body, the same with the shoulders; otherwise it’s got great articulation.

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ACCESSORIES
Mario by himself comes with the basic parts you would want, where this figure really starts to shine is when you pick up the play sets A and B to go with him, that it really becomes a pretty epic figure. Extra hands as well as all the bits and pieces you would want to create a mini Super Mario world display. I only purchased play set B, but now I’m feeling more inclined to pick up set A too as the variety of play and poses greatly improves with a stand to get some great in air poses. All the accessories are great and are well made and sculpted well too, it really feels like a lot of effort went into the design to make it look perfect to the source material, for not only Mario, but his accessories too. I would expect nothing less from a Japanese company, dealing with a very well known and much loved Japanese creation.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
Bandai, on the whole, make very well made toys. Mario is a great example of this and I don’t think you would have too many issues with this figure; however, I would be gentle with the clear stands and take your time when swapping out hands. I wouldn’t try to force Mario into any extreme poses he’s not made for either. But besides that, Mario is great, but, like the box says, definitely for collectors and children aged 15 years and over.

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PRICE
I paid about 1,500 Yen for Mario and about the same for play set B, from one of the many toy stores in Akihabara, That’s the best price you are going to find anywhere and is well worth it! No shipping costs or heavy store over heads. To put this in perspective when I got back home to Australia EB Games was selling just Mario for $50 AUD. Shop around and you can get Mario for a good price. But just don’t pay exuberant amounts for him.

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OVERALL
This is probably one of the best, if not THE best Mario figure/toy ever made, that’s a big call, however, this one is so perfectly executed and made, that it leaves any competition eating its dust! You aren’t going to find a better one and now that Luigi has been announced I hope its full steam ahead for a complete series of Mario figures. If you are still on the fence about whether or not to buy this figure I wouldn’t think about it too long as the obvious choice would be to pick it up ASAP!

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Venusaur is a Seed Pokemon and the final stage of evolution of Bulbasuar, Razor Leaf and Vine Whip are two of its common and popular attacks. It is a Pokemon that is not considered as popular as some of the other main characters, however, it is still a mascot for Pokemon Green and Green Leaf versions of the game

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Name: Venusaur
Line: D-Arts Pokemon
Manufacturer: Bandai
Released: 2013
Price: 3,400 YEN
Scale: 31132 inches in height (roughly)
Accessories: One base and Two Vine Whip accessories 

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I didn’t get into Pokemon that much when I was younger, sure I watched the cartoon in the morning, but I felt I was just a little too old for it to appeal to me. I did really like all the original monster designs; the Gameboy versions of the Pokemon games I really didn’t want to touch due to the dreadful mono-chromatic graphics. However when the Gameboy advance version came out, I took a little bit more notice, with graphics more like what one would expect from a Super Nintendo, even if on a smaller screen, I was able to enjoy and appreciate the Pokemon series beyond just the cartoon.

Bandai is now bringing out Pokemon monsters with a large number of articulation and great sculpting. I’m reviewing the fourth release from the series, one of my favourite Pokemon – Venusaur.

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SCULPTING

This is one of the main selling points of the figure in my opinion. The sculpting is excellent; Bandai have done a great job bringing Venusaur from 2D to 3D. Comparing it to pictures from the game and cartoon, it’s easy to see that it could be from either one. Even though most of the sculpting is smooth surfaces, there is a nice amount of detail of the leaves and petals as well as the trunk that holds them. There are a few little bits of detail on the main Venusaur body, like bumps or warts, depending on what you want to call them. This figure’s sculpting really looks great and was one of my reasons for purchasing it.

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PAINT

Paint is kept to a minimum, but I feel it helps when considering the source material. Which weather cartoon or video game, the detail in the characters was always fairly simple. What paint we do have is mainly used for detailing, such as teeth or inside the ear, etc. It’s all very clean and crisp with little to no slop – basically what most collectors should come to expect from collectibles in this day and age.

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ARTICULATION

One thing guaranteed with any Figuarts/D-Arts figure from Bandai is that it will have a lot of articulation and I mean A LOT. Sometimes even articulation where you wouldn’t even need articulation! This figure has at least 24 points of articulation, the bulk of which are ball jointed, even something as simple as the mouth is on a ball joint. Each individual petal and leaf is ball jointed and each leg is split into three sections. The body and head are also split up into a number of sections giving you greater possibility for this figure, even though most poses for this guy will be with all four feet on the ground you can get very subtle variations of expression from Venusaur. I’m very impressed with the amount of articulation here, when Bandai could have just cut some corners instead.

One issue I do have with this figure however is that the leaves can be a real pain to work with and to get them sitting right is quite a chore. If you do pop them out by mistake, they have numbers on the bottom of each leaf so they can be put back into the right place without too much trouble.

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ACCESSORIES

The main accessories that come with Venusaur are appropriate to the character, firstly two Vine Whips with multiple extensions. These are great! They snap into to the top of the back just under the middle leaf on either side. A small amount of force is needed to have them sitting in nice and tight. Once attached, I feel they add a lot of play value to Venusaur. My complaint with them is that sometimes the weight of them causes them to droop a bit and they come apart a little too easily. The other accessory included is a clear base for Venusaur; there is no peg to attach Venusaur and it just sits on top. The base is very cool too.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Sometimes the vines and leaves can feel a little delicate, coupled with the annoyance of adjusting and posing both, otherwise Venusaur is quite sturdy, but I can’t help but feel too much force will break something if you aren’t careful.

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PRICE

Venusaur is good value if you can find it at its retail price or close to that with not too much of a mark up. If you are paying more than that, unless you are a big Venusaur or Pokemon fan, I wouldn’t think it would be worth the price.

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OVERALL

Overall I really like Venusaur a lot. There are a few annoyances with this figure – it’s not perfect that’s for sure. However if you are a Pokemon fan I think you’d be very happy having this figure in your collection. I would consider myself more of a general Pokemon fan and I get a lot of joy out of this figure, it looks partially cool having it next to the other figures from the series. It remains to be seen if we will get any other creatures to add to the series, as any of the smaller Pokemon would be pretty tiny if produced to scale.

 

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