Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What happened the the 'action' in 'action figure'?

Update: For those of you who want to get Revoltech figures, check out Hobby Link Japan.

I was walking through a Toys'R'Us the other day, perusing the aisles. As I was checking out the "action figures", I kept getting more and more frustrated. But wasn't until I got to the end of one of the aisles that I lost my temper.

On the shelf where the McFarlane Toys. Now, McFarlane deserve much kudos for their awesome sculpts. Especially for the two series I was looking at: Dragons and Military. They are gorgeous pieces of art. But that is the problem I have with them. These are not action figures. They can't even be considered toys. These are practically statues. And it wasn't just them. About the only toys I could find with any decent poseability were the Marvel Legends toys and, of course, GI Joe its requisite knockoffs.

What the fuck happened to goddamn articulation? Who decided that mini-statues with a swivel neck here or one slightly movable arm there counts as a fucking action figure? If they can fit it onto a 3 3/4" tall figure, why can't they be put on your 6" tall figure?

I mean, look at this:

Badass, right? And absolutely gorgeous. Now read this, straight from the official website:

Figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall on custom base. Articulated at neck and wrists.

Neck and wrists? Neck and wrists? What the hell? What kind of soldier can only move his neck and wrists? Please, tell me now.

And the crazy part? The characters you would think necessitated flexibility in movement were the larger offenders. Like Batman figures. It took them think long to accept that the Dark Knight just might find actual knees and elbows useful. And goddamn Naruto toys. Whoever heard of a ninja that can only move one part of his body? At all?

Star Wars seems to be on the right track, giving their latest figures ball joints out the wazoo. But they can't seem to stop using that goddamn T-square. It is okay for like Vader, since he is supposed to be stiff.But, come on, all that jumping around and they can't even do a side kick? I want to have a Mace Windu that can walk without looking like he has a perma-wedgie.

The point of toys is to have fun. And I cannot see the fun in these static poses that half the time look pretty stupid. I mean, why make a toy based on a popular comic, show or movie, but not make it so that the user of the toy cannot recreate his favorite parts with said toy? Why make them so hard to play with?

I am sure some of you were thinking "Well, just use you imagination." I already do. I imagine these little suckers are alive. I imagine my coffee table is a debris-strew battlefield, and that the forces of good must defend that dish of peppermint candy from the minions of darkness. I should not have to also imagine that my goddamn forces of good have somewhat realistic range of motion as well.

Once again, Japan comes out on top. Check out the Revoltech line from Kaiyodo. For example, their Dante from Devil May Cry 3:

Do you see this? THAT IS ALL ONE FIGURE. Not a bunch of fucking gashapon or statues or whatever. One figure in all those poses. And it is only slightly larger than a G.I. Joe 3 3/4" figure. And lets not forget the Microman series, which has always been insanely articulated.

Come on, American toy companies. Stop letting the Japanese be on the forefront of geek technology. Toys were once made for playing, and now they are made for collectors to stuff on a shelf somewhere, hoping to pay for college when he has to get laid first (which won't happen because of the toys). Bring back the action figures we can put into crazy positions while we dangle them by shoestring rappelling lines down the living room sofa.

At least there is some hope with Hasbro's new G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary figures and of course their acquisition of Marvel Legends.

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5 brain pickings:

  1. Holy hell, that Dante figure is awesome (probably more fun to play with than that piss-poor DMC2).

    God, I love those games. Makes me wanna buy a PS3, just to play DMC4.

  2. hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

  3. Vermillion, that is so funny--I just this morning wrote something about Vader-as-action-figure for an article.

    I must have tripped and splashed into your brain receptable ever so briefly in my sleep last night

  4. That Dante figure kicks ass! I went to the Revoltec sight but didn't see where to buy em. Do you have the link to the retailer?

  5. Sure Manny. I usually go to Hobby Link Japan.


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