Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Figuarts Zero Boa Hancock

Gashapon-like figurine or figurine-like gashapon?

The second figurine review on this blog for this year. ^^

This is Tamashii Nation's Figuarts Zero Boa Hancock from "One Piece". ^^

Out in late 2010, Boa Hancock was one of the first five releases in Figuarts Zero series, which was then a brand new product line for Tamashii Nation. The other four being Monkey D. Luffy, Shanks, Blackbeard Marshall D. Teach and Whitebeard Edward Newgate.

Personally, I don't have much interest in the entire series as it's all about fixed figurines, from Bandai some more. ^^; The company does produces some good-looking figurines occasionally, but most of the ones I have seen in the past weren't that great. ^^; From Hobby Division, another merchandising division in Bandai, Emotion Style 1/8 Mari Illustrious Makinami and Sheryl Nome were two figurines I paid great attention to before their actual releases. Unfortunately, the end products' craftsmanship was just too disappointing for me to make the actual purchase. ^^ Looking at other releases from that series, like Villetta, Kallen and Ranka Lee, I didn't find them impressive either. ^^;

I'm avoiding from saying that they are bad, because they are not. They are just not as good as the releases from rivaling companies like Kotobukiya, Max Factory, Megahouse and others. Since most companies hold the right to release their own versions of the same characters, the one with the most impressive design and combinations of elements wins. ^^ Take Mari Illustrious Makinami and Sheryl Nome as examples, Max Factory's 1/6 scale version and Megahouse's Excellent Model version for the respective characters seem a lot better than Bandai's Emotion Style releases (in my opinion), despite being more expensive (about 1,500 Yen and 800 Yen higher respectively).

I suppose you can say that my confidence in Bandai's figurine design is not as high as some of the other said companies. ^^; So when the other division in Bandai, Tamashii Nation announced Figuarts Zero - the division's first attempt in the fixed figurine world, I was a bit skeptical about the quality of figurines from the series. I wasn't expecting a miraculous revamp in quality that would totally throw the Hobby Division's releases out of the window (that sounds exaggerated XD). Except for Boa Hancock, there wasn't any character among the initial wave of releases that I was particularly interested in anyway, ^^; It wasn't until November last year when Naruto and Sasuke from "Naruto: Shippuden" were released that the product series started to move beyond "One Piece" characters, but even with more anime series appended to the release list now, I still don't see too many that I'm interested in.

Except for Boa Hancock obviously. ^^

Boa Hancock's debut in the anime.
Video clip is from Youtube. Follow this link to the website if you can't see anything.

I just love Boa Hancock. ^^ That's the reason good enough for me to get this figurine really. ^^ I didn't really care about the story of "One Piece", nor do I have the energy to start caring about it now with so many twists and turns in the story after so many years, but I do like some of the characters in the story and I pay attention to their merchandises. ^^ I first knew Boa Hancock through news about her Megahouse's POP figurine release, and the fact that she's voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi (三石琴乃, Captain Ramius in "Gundam SEED" and "SEED Destiny", Misato in "Neon Genesis Evangelion") just makes the character even more awesome to me. ^^

I suppose I should be grateful that the Figuarts Zero series is of a lower price range, thus allowing me to get a figurine of her without causing severe damage to my wallet. ^^; There were tons of larger and of course better-looking figurines of Boa Hancock from Megahouse's Excellent Model POP (Portrait Of Pirates) series featuring her in regular, swimsuit and wedding dress designs with different color variations. Luckily for me, I could withdraw myself from her beauty far enough to not hand in my money for those high-priced figurines. ^^;

Anyway, I can't really think of anything else to say about why I got this figurine in the first place. ^^; I just love Boa Hancock. That's it. XD

Side views of the box.

Box side image showing S.H. Figuarts Monkey D. Luffy (sold separately).

Top (left) and bottom views of the box.

Introduction of the figurines on the back of the box.

The gimmicks of this figurine: her cape can be removed, an option head with an embarrassed expression is included as well.

Comparison with S.H. Figuarts Garo to show you how small the box of Figuarts Zero Boa Hancock is. ^^

With the Chibi-Arts version. ^^

Different products, different "scales", both versions of Boa Hancock can be shown with the same pose. ^^

Like many of my other figurines, I have no plan in opening the box and expose the Pirate Empress to dust and fingerprints. ^^; Luckily for me, the box's windows provide a very clear view of the figurine stored inside. ^^

The way the option head unit seems somewhat "floating" inside the box is a bit creepy to me. ^^;

The paint work applied to her blouse and dress is very well done. The glossy red paint work, design-accurate patterns on the dress, body line, sculpt work of the scale-like patterns at wrist level are very nice details. Even the little snake earrings looks really good despite the figurine's overall small size. However, the default face expression seems a bit iffy to me. ^^; It's not terrible, but it really isn't as good as the official image shown during the figure's announcement, which you can also find on the box itself. ^^;

Now don't get me wrong here, I'm not nitpicking to have Megahouse POP-equivalent quality on this 2,625-Yen (inclusive of tax) figurine. That would be impossible. ^^; But I do think that the figurine's face should have been done better. Maybe the eyes should be painted smaller and her lips sculpted higher, closer to the nose - there are ways to improve the current face design.

It's sort of amazing to me that the folks over at another Division in Bandai, the Candy Toy Division seem to be able to do better face sculpt on their gashapon figurines and release them at a much lower price range. As mentioned in its review, I was really impressed by the face sculpt of all the figurines in MS Gundam Seed Destiny Heroines 7 gashapon series. For that, I wonder why the same kind of quality cannot be shared with other divisions. ^^;

On a separate note, I suppose that's what I meant with Bandai's figurine design as mentioned earlier on. Technically there's nothing wrong with their figurines, but aesthetically, there's always some kind of flaw that makes their releases appear less attractive. Everything is great, except the face, which is arguably the most important part on a figurine. ^^;

The outcome of the face is a bit disappointing to me, I'm still happy with the overall figurine - at least it's unmistakably Boa Hancock. I do believe that Tamashii Nation could have done better with the paint work of her face, which would then make the figurine seem perfect in every aspect. ^^

For the record, I think the quality of the Figuarts Zero line had improved. I received my pre-ordered Boa Hancock and Salome some time ago and the face design is so much better than this first version. ^^ That's definitely good to see. ^^

View full gallery:
Figuarts Zero Boa Hancock

1 comment:

Rowan Chang said...

creepy floating head....

like from the japanese ghost story.

Hope manufacturer conceal this on next box package...