Evil Ryu vs Psycho Bison
Review by Optimal III
In 2004, it was the 15th anniversary of Street Fighter as a franchise. Part of the celebration was SOTA Toys being tapped to produce action figures. This was a pretty big deal at the time, because good SF toys were few and far between. And by all appearances, SOTA hit a home run every time. Or at least hit a ball every time that looked like it could be a home run.
The line was broken up into a series of 4 rounds released over a couple of years. Round 1 consists of Ryu, Chun-Li, Sodom, Sagat, and Bison. Each figure got at least 2 variants in the form of alternate color outfits, if not a major character shift. And in some cases, the variants were exclusives, like this two-pack from SDCC 2004.
The only additional contents are this SOTA catalog, proof that ANYTHING can sell a license for toys.
Psyco Bison probably looks amazing with a black light or some other fancy setup, but even without those things, he's still a visual treat.
Most figs come with the same accessories, but some are a little different. This Bison has only one 1 set of hands and 1 head, but he comes with a pedestal made to shroud him in psycho power.
If you didn't know, Bison is the head of Shadowloo AKA Shadowlaw, the archetypical 90's crime & drug syndicate. He's the big bad boss from Street Fighter II and still the most famous villain featured. If you really want to get into the continuity, he's also only half of himself in this form, split from Rose (at times, the Street Fighter storyline can best be described as "weird").
He's also the last role Raul Julia played before passing away. At best, the movie wasn't great, but he was as usual, so I guess it balances out.
Between the sculpt and box art, it's obvious this design is based on Bison from the Alpha and Capcom-made VS games. Seeing the inner components may or may not have been intentional, but it's cool and fits the character.
The plates on his feet are rubber, but the paint makes them look metal. His feet swivel at the ankles, and have a cut for a toe/ball-of-foot joint.
His knees are double-jointed, beholden to massively built quadriceps and hamstrings.
His hips are ball-jointed, and are only slightly hindered by his shirt, a light rubber, is pliable. Whether translucent or painted (he was also made in red and white outfits), the detailing is amazing. The muscle definition is obvious, but the seam lines and stitching present in his clothes and boots are impressive.
He bends at the elbows, and his shoulders are ball-joints, but his muscles make him thick to move.
His hands rotate and bend at the wrist. They are removable, if you have any Bison hands from the other 2 versions.
He has a very deep ab crunch that gives him a lot of forward and a little back.
His head rotates off his neck, but his thickness makes him kind of stiff.
It's probably fair to say Bison and the rest of the line are around the 6-inch figure neck of the woods, but they're really made to scale with each other. Bison himself comes just under 7-inches.
These days, quality action figures tend to skew towards one end of the spectrum when it comes to articulation. They're either ridiculously poseable at the expense or compromise of maintaining a believable sculpt or they're as poseable as possible within the confines of the sculpt and what it looks like the character can do. SOTA went with the latter, so while every character can't do all their signature moves, they can do at least enough of them to be fun and recognizable.
Ryu has been, and will probably always be, the standard bearer for Street Fighter. But if you want a little spice, that's where Evil Ryu comes in. Overcome with the power of dark hadou, he's even more powerful and dangerous than Akuma in this state. And his move set becomes a lot more like Akuma's, though he still has some unique techniques.
He has pretty much all the same joints as Bison (same goes for all the other figures) but his sculpt and shape make him handle very differently.
Like Bison, the bottom of his top hinders his hips, but it also subdues his ab crunch.
Evil Ryu is a straight repaint of the Ryu figure, so what sets him apart is his black uniform and darkened skin tone. He looks burned because he's brimming with evil power.
SOTA took it one step further by displaying the destruction symbol on his back, normally only seen after he's connected with the Raging Demon or won a round.
Evil Ryu is also available solo, so the only difference is accessories. The solo version comes with multiple hands and heads, and a duffle bag. The SDCC version has a new angry head and two different effects hands. I have both, so I've been able to mix and match. The left hand is a glowing/translucent fist and the right hand is the same covered with crackling energy, a signature of the unblockable electric fireball.
This is the angry head, and he's angry because they couldn't be bothered to give him a duffle bag that matches the rest of his look.
And this is the previously mentioned left hand.
No matter how good Bison looks, this particular confrontation usually ends like this.
Previous to buying this, I had no experience with SOTA Toys, so I had no expectations in that regard. And these days, I'm very unhappy with Street Fighter (V is the current iteration as of this review) and Capcom (creator of the franchise/publisher). But all of the above comes together to make me enjoy this set, these figures even more. Hands down, Street Fighter II and everything that came from it in the 90's was the peak of the franchise. It did wonders for the video game industry in general and the fighting game genre in particular, so it made total sense to celebrate 15 years, and I'm glad these are a part of that.
Bison is excellent. I wish they'd have included the cape with this version too, but I see the appeal of doing so many variants. One of the coolest things about playing Street Fighter is the different color schemes every character has. I'd actually argue it even popularized the gimmick. Evil Ryu isn't as impressive, but he's still a pretty good figure. The arms on my extra broke at the shoulders, but I think that's a fluke rather than common problem. The two make a good pair, but to be honest, I got this set because it was by far the cheapest way to get Bison. Every figure in this line has multiple color variants, and they were all pretty affordable when released. But now you'll be better served to search at conventions, because the online prices are crazy high. If you count Evil Ryu as a variant of Ryu, he's also available in white & grey. Bison was widely released in red & white/grey. So, I only recommend these for Street Fighter fans ready to settle for whatever they can find.
|Posted 17 February, 2017 - 10:27 by Optimal III|