Review by VF5SS
In the realm of Original Video Animation, few titles can garner the unique distinction of being a true pioneer like Megazone 23. If wasn't the first, but it certainly one of coolest. One of Megazone's notable staples is the Garland: an oddly named red motorcycle that goes one step beyond the Akira bike in coolness as it can transform into a sleek robot.
Megazone 23 III, is the often maligned end to the Megazone franchise. It resides in that awkward niche of anime sequels set far after the original work that they hardly seem relevant to their forebears. Despite issues that arose in the whole series from changes in directors and character designers, not to mention the passage of time, there was still one consistent element of mechanical designs from Shinji Aramaki. If there's one thing the man gets, it's robots that turn into motorcycles and the E=X Garland is one of his best designs.
During the brief resurgence of Megazone 23 merchandise, Atelier Sai released three unique Garland action figures under the "Megazone 23 Mechanics" line. Out of all of them the E=X Garland figure intrigued me the most in part because this is to date the only toy of this design.
After liberating the figure from it's odd box (a plastic clam shell inside a plastic sleeve), I was immediately drawn to the toy's excellent sculpt and flexibility. Atlelier Sai was really able to capture the sleekness of the E=X Garland. The prominent thighs, tapered shins, and the pointy feet immediately remind me of a classic 80's anime ninja. Other parts such as the long forearms, wide shoulders, and small head almost remind of something from a Gainax work. Despite the figure's inability to transform into motorcycle mode, the general shape of the limbs and visible wheels one the shoulders capture the feeling of a high powered street machine.
Detail all around the figure is excellent. However, I have mixed feelings on the paint job. The shiny metallic paint goes a long way for catching your attention and accentuating details, but every nick and flaw is also immediately apparent. The figure's PVC construction also means some details parts can appear misshapen and the joints are especially sensitive to heat. Putting the E=X Garland under a hot lamp for these photos made the whole toy a bit floppy. I recommend either heating or cooling the figure and carefully moving each joint to break any excess paint that might be gumming up the works.
The figure is absolutely loaded with articulation. Each leg contains a total of six points of articulation and employs a lot of nifty tricks such as double-jointed knees and ankles to give the toy a wide range of motion.
The arms are equally flexible with many swivels and hinge joints. One thing that may not be immediately obvious is the rotational shoulder joint consist of the entire wheel assembly. The figure comes with several optional hands including the usual open palm and fists. The other hands are all permanently attached to a weapon.
The figure includes a pair of hands grasping the E=X Garland's signature knives.
The E=X Garland comes with the gun is it seen wielding in the OVA.
It also comes with a much smaller hand gun. I can't recall if this is shown in the series. Given Altelier Sai's use of concept art weapons in their Proto Garland toy, I think this may be straight from the lineart.
Weapon bay: lock off.
Also included are two alternate arms with the missile launchers open. These arms do not possess a full elbow joint, although the upper arm is still a separate piece which is joined to the lower arm via a ball joint. These arms can accept any of the optional hands.
The E=X Garland is roughly the same size as Organic Hobby's Maneuver Slave Collection figures. I find there is a striking contrast between the two toy lines as one emphasized a very rounded, animated look with a few robust joints while the other is much more chiseled, dynamic, and loaded with joints.
Now before everyone gets too excited, I just want to point out that this guy is a little on the small side. As much as I want to recommend this toy, not only is it smaller than a can of soda it also costs at least 10 times as much. I realize the relative obscurity of the design coupled with the intricate nature of the toy does somewhat justify the MSRP of 3000 yen. However, the combination of sloppy paint, size, and finicky PVC construction doesn't make the reality sting any less. My overall opinion of the toy is that at some level it is worth checking out, especially if you find a good deal.
|Posted 23 February, 2010 - 10:14 by VF5SS|