Moribito Type 02
Review by Coldiron
In the early 2000’s I had the luxury of stumbling upon Kaiyodo figures at my local comic store in Knoxville, TN, where I grew up. I was always a giant robot fan, but I was not exposed to much of of the toys beyond Gundam, Voltron, and Robotech until I was an adult. Thanks to Diamond bringing these into comic stores many of us got to discover some great new designs from Japan. Because of this I was collecting Kaiyodo Evangelion and Virtual-On figures well before I ever was introduced to the media that inspired them. The great things of the Kaiyodo figures of this time were they were sculpted by the amazing Katsuhisa Yamaguchi and they came with loads of accessories.
Before discovering the toy in this review, I had never heard of the anime Jinki: Extend, or the mecha called Combat Robot Moribito Number 2. It was released under their Robot Museum line, but was unlike the rest of the line. I was so interested in the design after buying it I imported the first DVD right away. The show was a typical kid has family drama, finds giant robot, fights battle formula. I figured even if the story is bad, there would at least be some mecha eye candy. Of course, there was not enough to justify the risk of wasting money on the rest of the series. Even being from what seemed like such a mediocre show, this figure is still one of my favorites, for reasons I will get into later.
Considering the items all the Kaiyodo figures of this time came loaded with, the price was quite fair even for a new collector. I paid $24.95 in late 2002 when this figure was released in the states. For its heft and detail I expected a higher price even then.
The box is around twelve by nine inches, but there is nothing overly complicated about its design. There is a mall window shows the figure, and some typical anime character and mecha art on the front. The back of the package is what actually sold me on it. The figure did not seem so eye catching from its window, but seeing all the poses it could do on the back of the box is actually what convinced me to buy it. It came with a single sheet of basic instructions, and they were of better quality than some of the other instructions I have seen Kaiyodo pack. It's not like most of their products even need instructions. When you open the box you are greeted to the figure and all its parts laid out inside a plastic shell. Inside you find a handgun, rifle, sword, spear, blades, boosters, and variant hands among other odds and ends. This figure was really fully loaded.
The basic figure is strong on its own. It features a color scheme of a vibrant blue with gray. There are accents of black and purple with green for the eyes/windows. The paint details are very sharp, and the castis quite good on most parts. The backpack has some slight imperfections keeping its rigid rectangular shape, and there is an odd hole that may have been meant for a possible stand abandoned from the design, or was part of something related to the casting process. This is a small enough issue to barely warrant mentioning, especially since you will be staring at the front of the figure most of the time. The design carries such a sense of motion that you would not notice much of an issue with the back anyhow. The design of the mecha is very angular, and reflects the exaggerated form of a large muscular body builder. Thedesign of the body is why I love this figure so much. The figure is designed with contrapposto in mind, which gives it such a realistic sense weight. At this time Yamaguchi was making non symmetrical sculpts of robots. Part of this technique is what made them so dynamic. Parts appear to pull on each other with tension and gravity. The weight of the items they held is apparent as if the figure is actively using its own strength to hold everything up. The weight of the figure itself has a natural looking lean. This is one of the things that made me such a fan of Yamaguchi. If you compare most of his sculpts you can see his style in them much like you might notice the style an illustrator uses on their drawings.
The head/cockpit features window placement in a way to create a personification of this robot. While I was not a huge fan of the head design at first, it grew on me. The head has a great range of motion. From what I can tell, there are at least three joints involved: a hinge joint for looking up and down, a swivel at the base of the neck, and a perpendicular swivel below that allowing the head to have some side to side tilt. The bottom-most swivel can only turn at some angles.
This figure features over 20 points of articulation, and out of all the many Kaiyodo figures I own, it's the only one I can think of that has diecast. That is right, I said diecast. The figure is six inches tall and weighs over 198 grams. Compare that weight to a modern made robot figure of a similar mass like the Super Robot Chogokin Zeorymer that comes in at 209 grams.
As for the articulation, this chunky robot is capable of many poses. Moribito has joints everywhere and they are so well integrated into the design, none of them stand out like what we have grown used to with the modern Revoltech line. Joints are all friction joints, and even for being 10 years old, they are still very strong in this figure except for a couple. One elbow joint has less resistance, though it can still hold itself up, and the left foot joint is fairly weak. It was actually never that strong even when the figure was new. It is still strong enough to handle a fair range of poses, but they included two stands that insert into base of the feet to help the figure old more dynamic poses when it seems like it would topple over. I would have liked to have seen a stand included for some flying or jumping poses, just because this figure looks like it could pull them off so well.
Like I said, this figure is loaded. Even at the most basic level, there are still a lot of non weapon accessories. It comes with a set of boosters that go in the back of the legs, or they can be covered with a plate that is already on the figure out of the box. The boosters look much better, but have a hard time staying on while handling the figure, as do some of the other add ons. There are pegs to fill holes on the side of the backpack, but one side does not fit too firmly either. There is also a set of pegs to replace the shoulder pads, but the pads are on there so well that I would be afraid to remove them for fear of breaking the version of the shoulders that obviously looks better. In addition to all this, there are a dozen hands to switch between. They snap in firmly, and the wrist pegs are thick enough that you do not feel like they are going to break as you switch them out. They allow twisting of 360 degrees, but there are no joints that allow for other movement. They are designed with a fairly tight tolerance that keeps them from sliding out on their own.
Another aspect of the basic figure is a built-in shield. The shield has multiple modes as well as a set of joints that add to the articulation. I counted at least four modes for the shield, but you may discover even more. You can combine two additional panels in a variety of ways to make a shield that can suit a whole set of poses based around just it. One mode even makes it resemble a large sort of melee weapon.
One final feature of the main figure is that you can add mounting points on the backpack for carrying weapons. These slide in and out easily, but they stay in once you have the figure posed. The weapons have a tendency to fall off when you are moving it as well, but they will stay put when left alone. They may take a few tries to get to stay though, which makes this frustrating when trying to get the figure set into a final position. Making the part that inserts fit tighter could had improved this.
If all those parts are not enough, this figure features an impressive arsenal as well. I will start off with the melee weapons. Moribito comes with two single handed blades. One is sort of an axe, and the other a blade with the handle built inside of it. Both look very deadly, and lend themselves to some very cool poses. When not used by Moribito they would look great used by other figures as well.
The other melee weapon is a rod that can be converted into a double sided war scythe or a spear. The detailing and finish of this weapon is great and it can have at least four variations depending on how you combine its parts. The rod or axe can be stored on his left rack on his backpack. If you are willing to scratch the paint, you might fit the other blade in there, but it's not worth the risk.
Moribito is also equipped with a heavy duty looking handgun as well as a massive rifle. The handgun can be stored on his backpack, where it will likely stay as this rifle is really the item you will want to display him with. The rifle is highly detailed and has a nice mix of color variation to make the parts stand out as being functional as in a real gun. It includes a removable stock and a built in stand for sniping poses. This stand also folds and acts a handle so that you can do some dynamic action poses of him swinging the gun up into position to fire.
The typical scale of the Robot Museum figures vs the massive Moribito.
Even with the the small flaws this figure has, none of them would cause me not to recommend this figure to any mecha collector. I consider it a chore to pose, but once you obtain the pose you want, it looks magnificent. The design, the weight, and the quality of this one makes it one my favorite figures out of all the the Yamaguchi sculpts I own. I was so impressed with this figure that I sought out the rest of the Robot Museum line to only be disappointed by them in comparison to this figure. The RM figures turned out to be more of a precursor to the Revoltech line rather than continue the larger figures they had done for previous lines.
You can still find them on ebay for close to retail, but the range of prices you find can be five times as much. Compared to the cost of figures today by Kaiyodo among other companies, I would still recommend getting this figure at aftermarket prices. I consider it a value even at twice the cost of retail. While I enjoy this figure as is, I might consider taking the risk of making some slight modifications to a few of the accessories and a couple of the joints to alleviate any of the headaches caused by posing it.
|Posted 23 October, 2012 - 20:13 by Coldiron|