Project BM! - Kaneda's Bike
Review by Atom
A big shout out to Ken at Angolz, as they went above and beyond and provided this for review at our request. They had not planned to carry this as it's a bit pricey, but got us a set to review anyway.
Written and illustrated by the very talented Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira the manga was originally published in serialized form in Young Magazine from 1982 to 1990. Akira the feature film was released in 1988 in Japan, and was written and directed by Otomo himself two years before the manga was concluded.
The film saw a limited release in the States from late 1988 throughout 1989, and was hailed by critics and audiences as ground breaking and innovative. It was its subsequent release on home video that propelled the film and manga to cult-hit status.
Over 20 years later, it is considered by most to be one the quintessential science fiction stories of the last 20-plus years, and Katsuhiro Otomo's work on Akira is credited with reshaping modern anime and manga. Akira, quite simply, is a Classic with a capital ‘C’.
Akira is set in the near future, 30 years after an unusual explosion goes off in Tokyo, leveling the city and triggering World War III. The central story focuses on Kaneda and Tetsuo, two childhood friends that now ride in a motorcycle gang on the streets of Neo-Tokyo. Early in the story, Tetsuo encounters a strange boy during a motorcycle chase, leaving him catatonic. Tetsuo and the boy are retrieved by the military, and we learn as the story unfolds that he has been pulled into a secret experiment to awaken latent psychic power. Kaneda, concerned for his friend, gets pulled into events that will reshape their world dramatically once again.
To give away more of the story is to ruin the joy of experiencing it for yourself. If you haven't seen Akira, you should. If you have seen it, well, you don't need me reiterating the entire plot to you so on to the toy review!
Kanada on his motorcycle is probably the most iconic anime image in both the Western or Eastern hemispheres, so when I started seeing pictures of Project BM! 1/6 Kaneda and his bike, of course I was way interested, but who the hell is Project BM!?
"Project BM!" come from ‘B’ for Bandai and ‘M’ for Medicom Toys, with the 2 companies producing Projects together. Medicom Toys was responsible for the design and manufacturing of the Shotaro Kaneda figure (you can read that review here.) Bandai, under the supervision of Katsuhiro Otomo, produced the bike.
Kaneda's bike ships in a big box. Images of the bike with Kaneda riding it decorate the box, and are printed in a high gloss against a black satin finish, just like the Medicom Toys released Kaneda figure.
Inside, the bike is wrapped in plastic and stored in a styrofoam coffin. With the exception of the panels, the bike is completely assembled. Just add three triple AAA batteries and you’re good to go.
This initial release also ships with a set of blank cowling parts and two sticker sheets, so you may recreate Otomo's DVD illustration.
It's nice they included these, but I probably won't be doing anything with them other than storing them in the closet.
The bike measures 19.5 inches long and weighs 5 pounds, 7 ounces. That's right; it weighs more than the last 4 Soul of Chogokins combined.
The seat of the bike, as well as the running boards, is made of rubber. Using different media where appropriate really gives this piece a high quality feel.
The wheels are a heavy, high density rubber, and the shock absorbers actually work on the font fork.
The frame and almost all of the chrome parts you see here are made of die cast metal. The removable panels are each individually wrapped in plastic and stored in a panel on the back of the styrofoam packing. Each piece is made of a thick, heavy ABS plastic that feels good and solid in the hands.
All the red, plastic parts of the bike appear to not only be molded in color but the outer facing parts are all treated with a high gloss coat of paint. It makes a very noticeable difference in person. Magnets are embedded into each piece which holds them in place tightly and securely with no fear of pieces falling off with even the most aggressive of handling.
The front cowling actually rises up, as seen in the movie and manga.
It doesn't stop there! Not content with it just looking pretty, Bandai went above and beyond to include lights and sounds. At the back of the bike is a two-position switch.
The first position is lights only, and they are very bright and noticeable even in normal daylight.
The second position is for lights and sounds. Flipping the switch plays a powering up sound while the turn indicators blink. Pressing the right pedal plays the sound of the bike starting up and accelerating. Pressing the left peddle makes the brakes squeal. All of the sound effects are crystal clear and loud.
If you feel the sound effects need a bit more oomph, you can plug in a set of external speakers by removing the left side cover.
1/6 scale is big. That is hard to grasp when you only own 1 or 2 figures, but when you start getting vehicles in this size, where to put it becomes a very valid concern. As fantastic as the Batmobile was, after several months I was left with the problem of trying to figure out where to store this 3 foot long collectible. It became this thing to deal with... And ultimately that's no fun.
Something like Kaneda's bike, however, still fits on the shelf, can be picked, handled, and played with without overtaking your space.
The addition of the sounds and not just lights really helps propel this to the toy "hall of fame", and in my opinion, not only is it toy of the year, it's toy of my lifetime. Seriously, it represents everything I love about Japanese toys.
While the suggested retail price of $420.00 is very high, you actually get something that feels like it's worth every dollar in your hands without apology or excuses. We spend 100 bucks here, 50 bucks there, 150 for that, and many times these things come up short of what we expect of these prices. I suggest saving up and buying this bad boy. You will not be disappointed, no matter what kind of collector you are. Years from now people will reminisce about the pieces they wish they had bought, and the Project BM! Kaneda's Bike will be at the top of many people's lists.
If you decided to pass on a Kaneda figure you can still have some fun with Kaneda's bike all by itself and your existing toys.
You can get your Project BM! 1/6 scale Kaneda's Bike at Angolz.
|Posted 5 May, 2010 - 22:26 by Atom|