Review by The Galaxy Ranger
The oddly titled “Heroman” was the result of a collaboration between animation studio Bones and major comic book industry figure Stan Lee. Of course, collaboration is pretty much all I can say as I’m not sure of all the details of the arrangement. My impression is that Lee created the concept of the show and Bones did most of the actual scriptwriting, but like I said, I’m fuzzy on the details.
Regardless of who did the major writing, the show wears its American influence on its red, white, and blue sleeve. This carries over to the packaging of the Robot Damashii Heroman, which uses American comic book style panels to advertise the figure on the back.
The premise of the show is that the protagonist Joey Jones is living with his grandmother and going to high school in Center City, California in the present day. Joey’s life is pretty good, other than the fact that a cheerleader friend of his has an obvious crush on him; which would be fine except her overprotective brother is captain of the football team and hates Joey. For some reason Joey thinks that getting some new toy robot called a “Heybo” will make his life better, although I’m not entirely sure why. Long story short, Joey finds and repairs an abandoned Heybo and fixes it up; however, soon after he finishes, the toy is struck by a bolt of lightning that transforms it into the superhero Heroman. This is NEVER explained, but the show doesn’t try too hard to be realistic and it isn’t the most ridiculous origin story I’ve ever heard. What follows is 26 episodes of pretty standard action cartoon fare; Joey faces off against a race of humanoid cockroach aliens called the Skrug that are accidentally summoned to Earth by his science teacher; a mad scientist that’s jealous of Heroman for stealing his spotlight; and a sentient plant with an army of carnivorous vines. The show ended with a “to be continued” hinting at the return of a major villain but due to limited success there probably won’t be a second season. The poor guy even got relegated to “Side Hero” status on his own toy box.
Somehow the bolt of lightning also manages to transform the handheld control device for the Heybo into some large metal thing that Joey wears on his left arm that allows him to control the mute Heroman. Well, ‘control’ is a relative term because he usually just screams something like “Heroman, attack!” and lets the robot do all the work, but it also allows him to generate a shield bubble to protect himself and Heroman. He can also spin the blue ring on the display to select different abilities for Heroman to use.
The included Joey figure is unnecessary, but a nice touch and to be honest, Heroman without Joey is like Tetsujin without Shotaro; yeah, we want to see the robot but the kid is the real protagonist.
Joey is completely non posable and his stance gives him a tendency to fall over forward. To remedy this Bandai included a horseshoe shaped accessory that can be placed behind either of his feet in order to keep him standing. It helps a bit, but he can still stand without it.
Accessories include a stand that channels the ring theme coming from the ‘O’ in ‘Heroman.’ Even in the show Heroman will pose so that the red lines on his body form a glowing circle. You also get two extra sets of hands: the standard outstretched hands with splayed fingers. and two hands with bent fingers suggesting he’s about to grab something. There are also two angry faces: one yelling, and one with barred teeth, and an extra head to place them in. There are also translucent blue spiky pieces that are supposed to be electricity coming out of Heroman’s body when he gets angry.
The details are great. Heroman retains his cartoony appearance but doesn’t seem out of place in three dimensions. All the important aspects of the design are included such as the legs that look like giant fingers, and the stars running down his sides.
Posability is mixed. The Robot Damashii staples are included like movable shoulder armor and double jointed elbows, but for some reason his legs cannot be bent straight out. Instead they go off at an angle, and I’m not sure why this wasn’t addressed.
Upper body mobility is pretty good, though, and the chest and torso can move independently. I wasn’t sure how Bandai would handle the “bendy metal” look used in the show, but rather than using hard plastic, the pieces running down the front and back of the torso are made of a shiny rubber that blends with the rest of the figure.
Despite some limitations the posability overall is great and you can pull off some nice dynamic poses. Unfortunately, I’m not good at creating dynamic poses so here are some weak attempts on my part.
Heroman doesn’t have any weapons or ranged attacks, but when he gets angry electricity blasts out of his body giving him a “powered up” look that reminds me of a certain high profile anime franchise.
Slots on the shoulder can be slid open to accommodate the blue energy spikes which fit inside securely.
Overall I really like this figure. It doesn’t transform or have a bunch of weapon accessories, but Bandai compensated for that by including a custom base and stand as well as a figure of the show’s protagonist (of course that probably won’t matter to you if you’re just here for the robot). The design is simple and cartoony and lacks the excessive panel lines and sharp pieces that we see on a lot of robot toys today, and while some might find that bland, to some it might be a breath of fresh air.
Other than the red, white, and blue color scheme there seems to be a missed opportunity for some “made in America” extras, but Bones never really did much to emphasize the American setting; though I will say they did a good job portraying the U.S. and it was a refreshing change from Japanese high school drama. Heroman can be found right now on some sites like Hobby Link Japan for roughly $30 before shipping and if you like the design I recommend you pick him up. If you’re willing to wait, however, you’ll probably be able to get him for less in a few months since Heroman doesn’t really have the pull to make toys go flying off the shelves.
|Posted 27 January, 2012 - 10:32 by The Galaxy Ranger|