Review by Atom
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 groundbreaking and innovative. It was its subsequent release on home video that propelled the film and manga to cult-like 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!" stands for B for Bandai and M for Medicom Toys, with the 2 companies producing Projects together. Well, this is the first of the fruits of their efforts, a 1/6 Shotaro Kaneda. It's pretty much a higher-end Real Action Hero.
The box is the usual Japanese packaging: window box with lid, held in place with Velcro. What is a step above the norm is the print quality on the box. The whole thing is done on a satin finish with super high gloss images over that. The effect is subtle, but elegant.
When you open the lid, a die-cut AKIRA logo over the window greets you. Rather sharp-looking packing.
Inside, it's a vacuum-formed tray holding the figure, and all his parts and pieces neatly in place. In addition to the Kaneda figure, you also get a generous amount of accessories...
- RAH clear figure stand
- Beam Cannon
- Battery Pack
- Alternate head (wearing goggles)
- Spare hands
The Kaneda figure stands 12 inches tall and features over 40 points of articulation. From what I can make out online, this is Medicom Toys' 301 Real Action Hero body modified to keep proportions anime accurate. What the difference is between the standard body and this release I am really not sure. It looks good though, that's for sure.
Sculpt detail is subtle, yet effective, really capturing the look of Kaneda from the source material.
Spare hands and the spare head pop on and off with ease, making switching around accessories a snap.
Costume detail and craftsmanship are excellent. Elastic in the sleeves keep them pushed up where they should be, and the clasps on the front of the jacket actually work to hold the front flap in place.
Kaneda's jacket back seems based on Manga illustrations, and not the Anime, as this release features the phrase, "Good for health, bad for education" around the image of the pill, which only appears in the Manga.
The included beam cannon and battery pack feature a generous amount of sculpted and painted detail.
The scope actually flips out on the cannon, and clear colored plastic on the end of the barrel creates the effect of the beam about to fire.
When Kaneda jumps on his bike, he usually dons a pair of goggles. Medicom included a spare head, equally as detailed as the first head. The goggles are not removable.
While Kaneda is pretty sweet what you all really want to see is how the figure looks on the bike...
...which we will look at in just a few days.
|Posted 14 April, 2010 - 13:14 by Atom