Review by Atom
Leo Aiolia is a character from the manga and anime series Saint Seiya.
In the early storyline told in the Sanctuary Arc, Leo Aiolia is one of the Gold Saint loyal to Pope Aries, and fights against our heroes, the Bronze Saints. Leo Aiolia is brother to Sagittarius Aiolos, and it isn't until his dead brothers Cloth comes to Pegasus Seiya's aid in a confrontation with him that he realizes there may be more to our heroes than meets the eye.
As the series progresses Leo fights alongside our heroes in fighting to defend the physical incarnation of Athena. The characters high points lead to using the forbidden technique, Athena's Exclamation and ultimately sacrificing himself at the Wailing Wall with the other Gold Saints during the Hades: Inferno Arc. Leo Aiolia proves himself a great and noble warrior in the series and is most definitely a favored character of mine.
The package is the standard Saint Cloth Myth fair, a book style package that opens to reveal two windows with the parts and pieces all neatly laid out in clear vacuum-form trays. No surprises here. Always a nice presentation though.
Here is an interesting fact about the packaging I have not mentioned in reviews before, the writing around the box is actually code written in Greek, Latin and other languages that give hints to what later releases will be in the Saint Cloth Myth line. Honestly, I don't have the time to dig up what the code on the box means, and news of new releases tends to be out to the fan community long before the codes come out so it hasn't been something I have focused on myself. Just know, as usual, Bandai spares no detail with this series. Something fans truly appreciate about the line.
The figure itself is a Generation 1 body type with copious amounts of articulation. Later generations (there up to 3 now) have a fuller range of motion in the torso. This generally isn't an issue though as Gold Saint Cloths (armor) design tends to have full torso armor so movement in the waist would be limited even if there where more joints in that part of the figure.
The Cloth looks very nice, however being an earlier release many of the die-cast parts are a bit thick limiting his pose ability. The coloring of the “jewels” in the Cloth are off as well. They should be more of a turquoise but on this release are blue. Overall, the completed figure doesn't look bad but many of the parts just look a bit too thick.
All Cloths in the Saint Seiya series are designed after a constellation. Gold Saint in particular are one of the twelve Zodiac in addition to being a constellation in the night sky. So when the cloths are not worn they form the constellation they are designed after. Leo, of course turns into a Lion. Object mode is basically a “naked” statue that you fit the parts of the Cloth onto, when done you have a statue of a lion. Looks good. Looks like a lion. Not much else to say about that...
Being an early release, Aiolia's face sculpt isn't as nice as later releases. Honestly, he's downright ugly... Poor Aiolia, how's he's supposed to mack on the babes with a face like that. Don't feel too bad for him though Bandai has a fix for the “ugly face syndrome” but more on that in a moment. Later releases don't suffer from this problem as Bandai has improved their sculpting and manufacturing process the further they get in the series.
So fans who supported the early releases are not left high and dry with ugly figures Bandai started releasing “Appendixes” for previous figures to fix their early mistakes.
An appendix is several things rolled into an inexpensive package.
One, they have replacement parts to improve sculpts, slim the silhouette and make the character overall more “anime accurate”. Basically, they fix any mistakes in the early release.
Two, they tend to include enough new parts to get the characters into more subtle and “anime accurate” hero poses and sometimes include accessories that appeared later in the series. The hero pose or hero moment is a big deal with these characters and collectors of the series. Like I have said in previous reviews, the series is very much about the drama of the cloths and every character gets its moment in the spotlight. So being able to display the character in an exact pose or moment from the series is important to a Saint Cloth Myth collectors.
Three, there is a bust and display stand included. So if you want to just capture the characters big “hero moment” you can in the form a display bust while leaving your figure dressed in their Cloth or leaving the Cloth in object mode. Choices, it's all about choices and Bandai makes sure fans have that when they invest in these collectibles.
So while some might complain Bandai is soaking its customers twice. I do think they give you enough to justify the extra purchase and I would rather buy a $15.00 accessory pack than a whole new $50.00 figure to get the improvements. Perspective folks, it's all in how you choose to look at things.
So by itself the initial Leo release is a bit of a disappointment. While it has lots of die-cast and doesn't look horrible it just falls short in capturing the character so as a fan of the series and the toys I'm a bit disappointed. However combine it with the Appendix release and it really shines. Saint Cloth Myth collectors should grab Leo and his Appendix, just know you will swap out more of the die-cast parts for plastic ones but you end up with a fantastic representation of Leo Aiolia. If you watch the series you know you need Leo in the mix.
For non-fans and collectors in general it's probably a pass. While I like the design I don't think the general collecting community would find a lot of joy in this piece unless you have a thing for lions.
And last, but by no means least I have included a video review:
|Posted 8 December, 2008 - 11:03 by Atom|