Japan

All posts tagged Japan

Asuka is the current reigning NXT women’s champion and the longest reigning singles champion in NXT history, male or female. Before signing with WWE she had a long career wrestling for numerous Japanese female wrestling promotions. And like most Japanese wrestlers her wrestling style is considered to be ‘stiff’ as she incorporates many kicks and submission holds into her repertoire of signature moves.   

 

Name: Asuka
Line: WWE Elite Collection 47
Manufacturer: Mattel
Released:
2016
Price: $15.99
Scale: Roughly 15 CM in height
Accessories: Asuka Mask, Diorama display part

When NXT was here recently touring in Australia one of the wrestlers I really wanted to see wrestle live was Asuka. Thankfully for me, she was announced as one of the wrestlers to be on the card.

It was a pretty good match, probably one of the better ones on the card, the crowd was really involved too and that really helped the atmosphere, even if I don’t regularly watch NXT it was still a pretty fun show, even if the WWE’s events have been a bit below par when compared to WCW when they were out here, many, many years ago.

Having seen Asuka wrestle live, it reminded me I still hadn’t ordered her figure yet, even although I had intended to do so. So I promptly got on it, however, that order didn’t turn up until January so no Asuka on my best of list, because I’m pretty sure she would have easily beaten out Emma.

SCULPTING

When Mattel announced this figure and the prototype images were shown it was a bit of a surprise to see that Mattel would be making a whole new body just for Asuka as sometimes Mattel cut corners when it comes to the finished product. However they can sometimes really go all out and do what needs to be done.

That is definitely the case here. The body matches Asuka’s proportions perfectly is also a good match to what I would say is your normal athletic female Japanese body in general too. Mattel did not cut any corners here.

The head sculpt is a good match for the character as well, it’s got that grin that Asuka tends to sport during matches, I’d like to see a neutral expression at some point in the near future as well. Also, Asuka is a bit shorter than you normal female wrestling figure too.

PAINT

Mattel normally do a pretty good job with their paint applications in my book. I’d say they have done an exceptional effort with Asuka’s outfit as it features a lot of tassels and multi coloured fabrics, and I guess in more general terms Asuka’s costume is what you generally think of when you think of Japanese female wrestlers.

ARTICULATION

Asuka has the following articulation: Ball jointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbow, swivel wrist, ball joint chest, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinge knees, swivel shin and rocker ankle joints.

That’s pretty much the standard amount of articulation for a female wrestling figure from Mattel and it is quite a lot of articulation that also doesn’t look too ugly either. I just wish the arms came in a little closer to the body, but that’s about it.

you can get Asuka into a good number of poses and wrestling moves, but ultimately for this figure, the articulation does take a little bit of a back seat to the new body sculpt.

ACCESSORIES

Asuka comes with the mask she wears during her entrance and  part of a larger diorama display that you can put together by buying other wrestlers from the same series. The mask fits on Asuka’s face snug and looks good.

The diorama (not pictured) I don’t really care for. It would be nice if Asuka came with her entrance robe too, but those type of additional accessories are more for Defining Moments figures.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Not really any I can think of, Mattel makes a really good product, quality control wise 95% of the time. I have no complaints with Asuka.

PRICE

I paid $15.99 USD for Asuka from Ringside Collectibles and I’m happy with that. As always, when ordering from Ringside I bundled Asuka in with a number of other figures to save on shipping costs.

OVERALL

This is a great first figure of Asuka from Mattel, the paint application overall is excellent the new body made just for Asuka is amazing and the head sculpt captures the character very well!

It will be interesting to see what Mattel do with any new releases of Asuka figures, but I imagine we’ll see a few soon enough as you just don’t make a whole new body and just use it once!

I’ll definitely be interested in picking up more Asuka figures in the future and if you are a fan of her and you should have this figure in your collection, it’s just too good to pass up!

 

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The Japanese character mascot Kumamon, was created by the government of Kumamoto Prefecture in 2010 to increase tourism, it’s popularity exploded in 2011 and he started appearing everywhere. Kumamon’s personality is described as cute and naughty.

 

Name: Kumamon Bear
Line: Ptimo, N0.2
Manufacturer: Fujimi
Released:
2016
Price: 1,275 YEN
Scale: 5.5 inches in height
Accessories: Various eye and mouth parts


On my most recent visit to Japan, I naturally decided to check out my local LaLa Port and the hobby store contained within. Sometimes when I go to this store I get lucky and find a bargain or two or even sometimes a rarish toy for a decent price.

This particular visit I stumbled across the Kumamon Bear model kit in the “case shop” section of the store. (In case you’re not familiar with the concept of a case shop, it’s a clear glass box you rent to sell your toys and other collectible items – they are in most main shopping areas, Nakano, Akihabara etc.)

Of course knowing Japan as only as I do, I knew that if I really wanted to buy this Kumamon figure, I’d better do it right away because if I didn’t, there’d be a chance that if I went back for it, it might be gone.

Only once did that work for me and that was for a Hot Toys 1/4 scale T-800 Endoskeleton ( I was just glad it was still there, considering the good price it was at!)

The figure now in my possession, I was quite happy with myself as it is a pretty decent representation of a Japanese mascot character.

like other Japanese mascot characters you might be familiar with (Gatchapin, Chiba Kun and  Funassyi to name a few) it can be hard to find a toy or figure that represents the character very well that isn’t a plush toy. So when I do find one, I’ll naturally buy it straight away.

SCULPTING

For a 2D drawing turned into a 3D figure Kumamon looks great! He’s a very simple design so there’s not too much in the way of detail. Only thing to be a where of, is that there may be imperfections on the surface of the figure due to the plastic it’s made of. If this model kit is missing anything it’s the option to have proper feet to have him sitting down properly.

PAINT

There’s no paint at all. It’s either cast in the colour it’s meant to be or it’s a sticker you have to put on yourself.

ARTICULATION

Kumamon Bear has the following articulation: Swivel head, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed hips and ball-jointed ankles. It’s a good amount of articulation considering the design of the character. You can get him in a number of decent poses and he balances quite well too.

ACCESSORIES

Kumamon Bear comes with a variety of different eyes and mouth pieces so you have a number of options for different facial expressions. The parts included cover all the standard Kumamon expressions and it’s nice to be able to change the face whenever you feel like it. However, it can be a little tedious to do so, you need to take apart the head every time you want to change the pieces out and poking each piece out of the head can be a bit fiddly.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

None that I can really think of, besides making sure you don’t loose any of those spare parts.

PRICE

I paid 1000 YEN for my Kumamon bear, he was loose and already assembled and for that price I’m very happy with the figure and the accessories, plus I didn’t have to do the hard work of putting him together either!

OVERALL

I think this is a pretty great representation of the Kumamon Bear character mascot. It’s a decent size and has a good amount of accessories, even if you do have to put it together yourself. Definitely recommended if you like Japanese character mascot toys and in particular Kumamon Bear!

 

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Nami is the Straw Hat Pirates’ Navigator and one of the first to join Luffy’s crew. Initially forced to serve the fishman Arlong as his cartographer, Luffy frees Nami from their service, after which Nami decides to permanently join the Straw Hats. Nami is obsessed with obtaining large amounts of money and her dream is to draw a complete map of the Grand Line.    

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Name: Nami (Sailing Again Ver.)
Line: Portrait Of Pirates (Excellent Model)
Manufacturer: MegaHouse
Released: 2011
Price: Then: 5,700 YEN, Now: about the same if bought in Japan
Scale: 1/8
Accessories: Base

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Originally my wife and I (who is the bigger One Piece fan out of the two of us) were going to watch the Anime together, that was until we reached the end of what Madman had put out here in Australia and are waiting for more DVDs to be released.

In the meantime, my wife bought herself the complete comic series up to the most recent book. (All in Japanese obviously) so I don’t know if we will continue watching the DVD or if she will just read the books herself.

Either way, I’m quite happy to buy the characters I like the most in statue form which the two of us can both appreciate together.

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SCULPTING

One thing I always tend to find about Japanese toy companies is they will always understand the characters which originate from Japan stylistically better than western or other Asian countries.

They just seem to have a better grasp of how to go about making the character look like it walked off the screen and into your hands and P.O.P Nami is no different. There was a little bit of hit and miss with the first figures in the series but MegaHouse has really upped their game with every new release.

This particular version of Nami is after the series time-jump, where Nami has grown up a bit and filled out (to paraphrase Sin City) and in a lot of ways has now become fan service and a lot more sexualized then she appeared before the time-jump.

There are things I like about the design (longer hair, more mature, proportioned body) and things I don’t (bust size is a bit over the top and she could wear better fitting clothes).

With that, all said it’s still an excellent representation of how Nami now looks in the Manga and Anime. MegaHouse have done a great job of translating those drawings into 3D and not losing the things that make Nami look unique. (Even if a lot of Anime/Manga female characters look pretty similar, to begin with.)

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PAINT

As expected nice and neat, the highlights for me are the hair, which has a translucently near the tips and the jeans which have some subtle blending of colours. Besides that, everything is up to standard and you have little to nothing to worry about.

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ARTICULATION

Nami is a statue and there fore has no articulation at all.

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ACCESSORIES

Nami comes with a base to help her stand up and that’s about it, it’s cast in a bright orange plastic and feels like it’s quality plastic in hand.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

You aren’t going to have any issues with Nami, unless you bought a fake (hopefully not) or bought a really bad second hand one. (Once again, hopefully not)

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PRICE

I bought my Nami, just like Nico Robin from my mate who was down grading his collection so I got her for a really good price (about $40 AUD, if I remember correctly) and if you can make it to Japan you will be able to find her in various conditions for decent prices. Obviously the place to go is Japan, Mandarake among others always has a seemingly endless supply of One Piece P.O.P and the prices are always great, plus you know it’s not a knock off too.

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OVERALL

As far as character representations go I’m quite happy with this particular version of Nami and that’s what it comes down to if you are going to collect MegaHouse P.O.P ‘Excellent Model’ series, just buy whichever ones you like the best, they all tend to work together in a display cabinet, even if they are from different parts of the overall One Piece story.

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NeXt Man is made by Real X Head, which is a small Japanese company run by Mori Katsura, who makes vinyl toys. Over the years there have been a number of figures and variations released as well as collaborations with other people or stores. NeXt Man is a larger size 8” adult sized figures from Real X Head, which have proven very popular with Sofubi collecters!

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Name: NeXt Man (NeXt Man Spirit)
Line: N/A
Manufacturer: Real X Head
Released:
2015
Price: First released – 6,000 YEN (guestimate). Now – varies 6,000 – 15,000 YEN
Scale: 8 Inches in height
Accessories: None.

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I picked up NeXt Man on my most recent trip to Japan in November, I was there for a month and Japan didn’t disappoint as Tokyo and Osaka, even Nagoya offered up a great amount of figures and toys at excellent prices and sometimes not so excellent prices, but still a bargain anyways.

This particular NeXt Man had been put up on a certain toy re-seller’s website and sat there since it had been posted. I kept my eye on it, but decided to pick it up, once I had seen it in person.

I had also taken with me a bunch of toys and figures I didn’t want anymore to sell to the buyback stores and was also flush with unwanted toy cash – more so then I expected!

Once I had seen NeXt Man in person, I decided I must have it, that red translucent plastic was just too awesome to resist!

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SCULPTING

As in previous reviews, I’ve raved on about the excellent base body and its number of details and textures, that still rings true today as the body is still great. NeXt Man’s head, and lower arms are new pieces and like all new Real Head pieces are up to par with the standard that’s expected.

The mohawk rocks and I love the Ninja Turtles style mouth as well! It’s a really nice head sculpt and one of my new favs.

I’m pretty sure there was a smaller sized figure released of NeXt Man previously, so like all the original smaller Real Head stuff, NeXt Man gets an upgrade!

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PAINT

NeXt Man has been cast in translucent red plastic and I think its a great choice ( and because I’m a sucker for red, grey or clear translucent toys). There’s not too much paint applied to the figure, mainly black and sliver for the main colours and then a tiny bit of red and gold on the belt. There’s also a bit of a black rub to bring out those details too.

A lot of Real Head’s colour-ways are tributes to either western or Japanese characters most of the time, some more obvious then others, it’s not clear to me if this is the case here, but I still love the application of the black and sliver. Just enough of both to really work with the red.

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ARTICULATION

NeXt Man has six points of articulation: head, arms, elbows and waist. All these joints are swivels and can be rotated 360 degrees. For this type of figure and the material it’s made out of, this is a great amount of articulation for the larger size. You can get a good number of subtle, yet expressive poses. It really is a great base body and hasn’t shown it’s age yet.

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ACCESSORIES

No accessories for this figure, besides the scarf/neck wrap if you can even call it an accessory. It still looks pretty cool and it’s good this was carried over from the smaller figures

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There are none at all – this is an adult designer toy after all. It is made very well, so there are no issues with it.

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PRICE

I paid around 10,000 Yen for this guy and as far as Real Head figures go, that’s not too bad as the mark-up wasn’t over the top, but then, I guess NeXt Man isn’t as popular as some of the other releases.

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OVERALL

I only need one NeXt Man in my collection and this is it. I’ve said before that it’s really up to the collector how deep down the rabbit hole of Real Head toys you want to go, But I try not to impulse buy the figures too much, now days one great colour-way of a particular sculpt is enough for me, unless it’s Pheyous Man, then the amount is, never enough! NeXt Man is definitely only for die hard Real Head fans.

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Sun Dad is made by Real X Head, which is a small Japanese company run by Mori Katsura, who makes vinyl toys. Over the years there have been a number of figures and variations released as well as collaborations with other people or stores. Sun Dad is a larger size 8” adult sized figures from Real X Head, which have proven very popular with Sofubi collectors!

Real_x_head_sundad_01

Name: Sun Dad
Line: N/A
Manufacturer: Real X Head
Released: 2015
Price: First released – 6,000 YEN (guestimate). Now – varies 6,000 – 15,000 YEN
Scale: 9 Inches in height
Accessories: None.

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Yet another Real Head release of new parts on the now classic base body, which in turn creates yet another character, whose name roughly, translates into “Sun Dad” or “Sun Father” I think Sun Father sounds a lot cooler then Sun Dad, but that’s just me.

I’ll be repeating myself a little bit in this review, but it’s hard not to when a lot about this toy has already been covered in previous reviews.

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SCULPTING

I’ve talked a lot before how much I love the base body the adult sized Real Head figures uses. My opinion still hasn’t changed as its still a great part of this figure. It’s still got all those cool little details which make it so awesome, but what really makes each release stand out is the paint.
The new components are Sun Dad’s head and “weapon” arm and they look great! the new head is a lot larger then any of the other heads seen thus far, it not only gives Sun Dad more height, but make him come across as a little more intimidating too. There are lots of nice little details all over the head; it really has a lot of character. The same can be said about the weapon arm.

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PAINT
As always the paint work really shines for this figure, quite literally too, as the main coat is a brilliant Gold. The black rub helps to really bring out the details also. There are a few small areas like the belt and face which have additional paint on them and as expected they are up to a high standard as well. The only downside, is that the nature of the black rub can make the figure seem a little untidy so to speak, But I don’t think is distracts too much.

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ARTICULATION
Sun Dad has six points of articulation: head, arms, elbows and waist. All these joints are swivels and can be rotated 360 degrees. For this type of figure and the material it’s made out of, this is a great amount of articulation for the larger size. You can get a good number of subtle, yet expressive poses as well as little more extreme ones. It really is a great base body for the small, yet growing, variants and collaborations.

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ACCESSORIES
No accessories for this figure, besides the scarf/neck wrap if you can even call it an accessory. It still looks pretty cool and it’s good this was carried over from the smaller figures. Some other Sun Dad’s I’ve seen come with a spare normal hand, in addition to the weapon hand, but, unfortunately this particular one does not.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

There are none at all – this is an adult designer toy after all. It is made very well, so there are no issues with it.

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PRICE
I paid about 15,000 Yen for this particular Sun Dad and the lowest I’ve seen this figure for on the secondary market is 12,000 from the usual suspects. It’s a bit of a hefty mark-up, but I was willing to pay that amount for this particular colour-way. It just depends with how comfortable you re with the price.

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OVERALL
I like Sun Dad, but I’m not crazy about him like Pheyous or Chaos Man, I think I will be very selective with how many Sun Dad’s I buy and I don’t think I will be buying more then one as I am very happy with the paint and look of this particular one.
On his own he’s a great figure and if you are a completist you may want to pick up at least one that you like if you can find it for a good price.

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Nico Robin is the Straw Hat Pirates archaeologist and has the Hana Hana no Mi (Devil Fruit) power. She is the sixth person to join the Straw Pirates crew after Alabasta saga and was previously associated with Baroque Works. Her dream is to find the Rio Poneglyph which tells the true history of the One Piece world.

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Name: Nico Robin (Strong World Edition)
Line: Portrait Of Pirates (Excellent Model)
Manufacturer: MegaHouse
Released: 2011
Price: Then: 6,000 YEN. Now: 7,000 YEN or more MISB
Scale: 1/8
Accessories: Gun/rifle and base

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I’m still slowly getting through the One Piece Anime, watching it with my wife, who really loves One Piece! I haven’t seen any of the One Piece movies yet (let alone the one this figure is based on). But the reason I bought this figure was because I wanted an awesome looking version of Nico Robin and this statue does a great job of being just that.

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SCULPTING
The sculpting really matches the character and the Anime very well. If you are familiar with Nico Robin then you will recognize her quite easily. If not, then she might just appear like any other random Anime statue. But everything is there that makes Nico Robin, Nico Robin: The long legs, large bust, thin waist, long thin defined nose and large eyes not to mention dark brown hair. The hard part about making 2D drawings or illustrations 3D is that, if not done in quite the right way, the figure’s likeness can look off. In this case the transition is excellent and like other P.O.P releases Nico Robin looks fantastic! There are also plenty of nice details in the clothing and accessories!

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PAINT
The other important part of this figure is paint applications! For this type of figure they have to be not only neat and tidy but help to enhance the simple, yet elegant, sculpting. MegaHouse have done a great job here. There is a lot of very subtle paint application. Like on the grey stockings, for example. Just enough paint to help provide detail, but not enough to make it too obvious. The eyes appear to be a tampo style printing and are nice and crisp! Even the smaller details like the belt buckle or jacket details are nice and neat too.

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ARTICULATION
This is a statue, so unfortunately there isn’t any articulation.

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ACCESSORIES
The great thing about MegaHouse’s One Piece P.O.P statues is you get a decent amount of extra parts to change up the figure a bit, if you want. Nico Robin comes with extra arms (for use without the jacket on), an additional head with her hair up in a ponytail, additional hand, and glasses as well as a second coat collar (to be used with the ponytailed head) and a gun/rifle of some description.

Even though the pose remains the same, you can still change whether you want Robin’s jacket on or off, whether you want her to hold the gun or not and whether you want her hair up in a ponytail or not (which you can place the glasses on this head also). So there is a good amount of variety that can be achieved. I personally prefer Nico Robin with the long hair and without the coat and gun, so that’s how I have her displayed.

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POTENTIAL PROBLEMS
Like a lot of Japanese products there is hardly much, if anything to watch out for. If buying second hand, just be sure to check the figure out thoroughly before purchase to make sure you are happy with the condition and to make sure nothing is broken.

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PRICE
I bought my Nico Robin from a friend of mine who was down grading his One Piece collection.  I paid $70 AUD for her. That’s a great price and you are sure to find similar price for this figure in Japan. eBay on the other hand, I can’t really say you would find a deal, as the eBay prices always seem a little high and you might be buying a knock off by mistake.

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OVERALL
This version of Nico Robin, I think looks the best out of what is available atm. I prefer her look before the story time-jump; where she has shoulder length hair and a fringe. That’s the look I like the best. So this statue was a no brainer for me! It’s also in scale with Chopper and Zoro statues, I also bought from the P.O.P series. Good thing about One Piece is each character changes their style enough times, you are bound to find one design you like. For me, I’ve found a Nico Robin statue I’m really happy with, that ticks all my boxes. If you can find one for a good price I wouldn’t hesitate to grab it.

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