Review by Dkun
One of my all time favorite video games is Phantasy Star Online. This was one of those games that absolutely oozed style and atmosphere, such that even though I first played it was on the Gamecube near six years after it originally came out for the Sega Dreamcast, I was hooked. I wasn't even playing online with other people, but the story and music of the game was more than enough to make me eagerly spend more and more hours of my childhood into this game. I still pick up the game and play on my HUnewearl from time to time (I think I have around 469 hours logged as of this review).
With that in mind, it's always bothered me that despite having some fantastic mechanical and character designs, there really isn't that much in the way of Phantasy Star merchandise. There were a few random gashapons and trading figures, but not much in terms of a high-end collectible.
Kotobukiya released their RAcaseal model kit about two years and that model kit was a nice version of the popular robot maid character. So much so that they've released several other colors and molds of that model kit with various popular weapons and head choices. Even though I was left wanting more like a model kit of a HUcast or RAcast, I had to accept the sad fact that Phantasy Star is just one of those properties that would not be able to obtain a high-end collectible ever.
Then last year at Tamashii Nations Winter show, Bandai managed to make my jaw drop in surprise and my head tilt quizzically in confusion as they announced the chogokin RAcaseal.
The RAcaseal is a longe-ranged android character known as a Cast in the Phantasy Star Online setting. This particular one being the major character Elenor Camuel. Elenor is one of the first characters you meet on the strange planet Ragol and quickly becomes one of your closest friends, who is with you through the storyline until the very end of episode I.
Elenor comes packaged in a very simple and clean box. I like that they specifically state that this is the Blue Burst version of Phantasy Star, and not the original on the bottom of the box.
Out of the box, Elenor is a very clean, well-sculpted, and surprisingly hefty toy. Mine had a few tiny paint splotches located at her upper chest, but I wasn't too annoyed by this. I have to say that Elenor is pretty accurate to her in game character model. It's a little bit more cartoony and stylized than the game though, with much thicker lining and a much larger foot print. Despite this, it remains the most accurate physical representation of the Racaseal yet.
The die-cast content on Elenor is well-placed and effective. Her feet are entirely metal, and the shin-plated on her lower legs is metal as well. The brace that holds her skirt and box in place are also metal along with her shoulder pads.
Her skirt is a hinged assembly that wraps around her hips. The skirt is pegged into her back using a ball joint with plenty of motion. On top of that, her bow piece is on an additional hinge while her individual bow ends are on ball joints. There is a surprising amount of articulation on just the outer layer piece.
For the sake of articulation though, let's remove the skirt piece for now and get a better look at Elenor's posability. Her legs are essentially SH Figuarts legs, with the pull-down hip joint along with the die-cast quadruple-jointed feet that I love so much. At first I thought there was no foot swivel, but then I learned that it was just very well hidden in the sculpt.
Her upper half is not lacking in articulation, though it is a bit more simple. Her torso is ball-jointed and her neck is double-jointed. Both arms are on ball-joints, with a rather tight bicep swivel. Both arms are single-jointed like a Figma joint, and the wrists are ball-jointed. Although a little bit dumbed down, I can understand why Bandai would have made these decisions considering their previous experiences with putting more joints into a female-bodied figure.
Elenor's eyes are cast in clear plastic and look almost concerningly good. The lifeless eyes work perfectly in tandem with her expressionless mask of a face. It looks a little bit too creepy if you look at it for too long, but that's not a bad thing.
Elenor is LOADED with accessories. Including the standard hands that most figures come with now: fists, splayed hands, and holding things hands. I have to mention though that I think Bandai went a little nuts in terms of how many holding things hands should be included. Elenor has three pairs of holding things hands for her various weapons. At least one of these pairs feels superfluous and unnecessary to me.
In addition to hands, this toy comes with loads of familiar weapons, including a photon-powered Saber. As a Ranger class, fans may remember having to grind a few levels before actually being able to use this weapon as a long range-based class.
Also included is a Red Handgun. That's capitalized because that actually was one of the higher-level rare weapons in the game. It really is just a red handgun. Despite being entirely painted metallic red, they made a point in making sure that the photon chamber up at the top was still clear plastic. A very nice touch.
The main weapon that Elenor comes with though is her rifle. The blue photon chamber makes this particular version a Sniper. It's big, impractical, and I freaking love it.
Interestingly enough, the rifle's photon chamber is actually removable so that you can swap it out with a yellow one, making this one of the higher level versions of the gun, which is just called a laser actually.
Although those are all of the weapons that Elenor comes with, she has plenty of more accessories as well. The first being a baby Mag. Mags are the robotic pet companion that all characters in PSO had. Elenor's first appearance was actually entirely based around teaching you all about Mags and how to care for them. The Mag is a single piece of plastic with a clear eye. It's simple and plain, but effective.
The Mag is able to hover over Elenor's shoulder be using one of the included clear-mounting pieces. It just pegs right into her back and fits snuggly. It's ball-jointed as well so you can have the Mag looking left and right around.
In addition to that, Elenor also comes with her Mag as well. Featured in the Soul of Steel quest, which you get to see if you complete a set of certain tasks in the quest line. This Mag is gorgeously detailed, and makes a very nice set of wings for Elenor. The clear parts are all ball-jointed on and free to wave around. This Mag is attached just like the other, using a different clear piece again.
As if that weren't enough, this toy also comes with several in-game items. The clear diamonds are the currency in the game known as Meseta, and the red box would be the container for a rare weapon, such as the Red Handgun. The box is a box. You would brake them open in hopes of finding loads of money and weapons. In addition to that, the Meseta and weapon have their own stands to simulate how they floated in place in the game as well. The box is also great for holding extra bits and pieces.
The box also has two clips so that you can hold onto the rifle and saber as well.
Elenor also comes with her own stand, which is based on the Phantasy Star Online logo. I don't know what any of it's saying, but I think it looks really freaking neat.
There's also a bit of customization with this toy as well. Included is a sheet of the various IDs in the game. In PSO, every character would have a specific ID assigned to them based on their names. Every single possible ID is included so that you can make this RAcaseal into your specific character. I made mine the Whitehill, since that is the ID that Elenor had in the storyline.
The larger ones are also included for her stand, so that you can put additional IDs into the stand itself. I went ahead and put my two IDs from the game, along with Elenor's.
As if that weren't enough, Elenor has one last accessories and it's a super awesome one. She comes with a plastic chat-bubble and a huge sheet of stickers with Japanse on it. When PSO came out for the Dreamcast, it was before voicechat existed, so characters had to communicate primarily through chat instead. This chat bubble comes with a stand so you can make it seem like Elenor is talking just like in game.
RAcaseal Elenor is a toy that if you told me a year ago a chogokin of a Phantasy Star Online character were to exist, I would have never believed you. But now that it does exist, I am very glad that it does. Someone over in Bandai really loves Phantasy Star Online like I do. There's a lot of love and attention to detail that went into this release, and I can not recommend it enough. If you played PSO and loved it, you need this toy. If you like femmebot action figures, you need this toy. If you like pink frilly-maid stuff, you need this toy. And if you like all three of these things? Then you're pretty much set for life.
|Posted 20 October, 2012 - 15:06 by Dkun|