Review by VF5SS
This figure was provided by HobbyLink Japan.
Buichi Terasawa's Cobra is a manga that is truly a classic. It stars the titular bounty hunter who embarks on fantastic adventures across the galaxy seeking fame and fortune. This cigar chomping, gun arm sporting scoundrel is an iconic character of Japanese sci-fi and has been featured in numerous anime adaptations, video games, toys, and other assorted merchandise. Such a memorable hero could only be matched by an equally striking villain.
Enter: Crystal Bowie...
Crystal Bowie as he appeared in the 1982 anime.
Cobra met his deadliest foe in the form of a powerful cyborg named Crystal Bowie. His body consists of a golden skeleton protected by nigh-invulnerable polarizing glass. This simple idea created an incredibly striking character design and allowed Crystal Bowie to endure for just as long as Cobra himself. His name is also sometimes written as "Crystal Boy" but let's not let proper translation get in the way of honoring Ziggy Stardust.
While there have been a few toys of Crystal Bowie over the years, most have fallen by the wayside. Recently Max Factory took the opportunity to create a fresh trio of Cobra based figures that included the popular villain.
The figma of Crystal Bowie stands around six and a half inches tall. His clear hard plastic body faithfully reproduces the golden internal skeleton with chromed pieces embedded in his limbs. The sculpt is appropriately sublime with Bowie's body looking like a classical sculpture of an athlete. I also wonder if Buichi Terasawa was a fan of Takara's Henshin Cyborg toys as the two concepts seem incredibly similar.
The sculpted muscles in his body refract the image of his bones in a very pleasing manner. Every way you look at Crystal Bowie, he evokes the image of a mysterious being from parts unknown.
Topping Bowie's neck is this beautifully chromed golden head. All the chromed parts have a mirror-like finish that catches the eye and makes Crystal Bowie feel like a quality figure. He only has one expression: an intimidating stare from a wholly gold face.
(Picture helpfully provided by CollectionDX member Recognizer)
The figma does a great job at emulating Terasawa's original design which lacked colored eyes and bones in his hands and feet. This version of Crystal Bowie also appeared in the recent Cobra The Space Pirate animation.
While Max Factory has done several clear figmas in the form of their limited release "figma Archetypes," they lack the additional detail of an internal skeleton that sets Crystal Bowie apart. Some bones like the pelvis are separate from the clear plastic that surrounds them while the ones in his arms and legs are embedded without an easy way to remove them.
This toy usese Max Factory's standard figma joints cast in gold plastic. They do an alright job of matching the chromed parts and provide smooth posing for the figure.
Similarly, Crystal Bowie's ankles use transparent joints to match the original design.
Within Bowie's chest is a pair of golden lungs and a small spherical chamber with a bright red gem in the middle.
When you pop off Crystal Bowie's upper body to use his accessories, you'll find this golden sphere is actually a sleeve that fits around his chest joint. It usually stays on but can drop off while changing out midsections.
Crystal Bowie comes equipped with his signature claw arm by default. This crescent moon shaped weapon can rotate around at the base and looks appropriately menacing.
"Ah Cobra... Today we'll settle the score!"
Due to his straightforward design, Crystal Bowie really lends himself to being an action figure and the figma is a very expressive toy as a result. To help him emote, Bowie comes with four pairs of hands which consist of fists, calm hands, gesturing hands, and gripping hands. All of these are done in clear plastic with a small hinged wrist that pegs into the forearms easily.
"You'll never defeat me!!"
"No matter where you run, I'll always find you... Cobra!!"
Crystal Bowie is an amazing figure who feels right and moves about really well.
From subtle walking poses...
To a full on kneel.
He also comes with the standard figma display stand which does a good job of letting him leap around like the super cyborg warrior he is.
Bowie also comes with a normal right forearm so he can appear a bit more casual.
Crystal Bowie's only non body part accessory is this small wine glass that has a removable amber colored insert.
The glass fits snugly into his gesturing hands and is really small so be careful not to damage or lose it. Also the insert is even tinier so be extra cautious or it will disappear forever.
One of the odder extra bits for Crystal Bowie is an alternate set of clear underpants. Out of the box he's fitted with a soft, flexible underoos that bends out of the way when you move his hips around but you can also install a hard plastic pair. Just pop off Bowie's legs to change his briefs.
"I was built to be a Genuine Jockey™."
The solid piece is slightly more restrictive but otherwise functions the same as the soft pelvis.
Bowie's biggest accessory is an alternate battle damaged midsection that has a familiar fist imprint. This is meant to be used with figma Cobra's false forearm accessory.
The backside has a hole for either attaching the stand or one of Cobra's forearms to recreate the end of a memorable showdown between the two arch-rivals. Sadly I do not have a figma Cobra to demonstrate this feature.
"I have you now tiny Cobra!!"
However I do have another Cobra toy of sorts in the form of the tiny driver inside Bandai's Machine Robo Psychoroid (Gobots Psycho).
"Aha! Your Future Machine is a robot in disguise!"
This was a radical new direction for the Cobra series.
"Rrrrrrragh! All these damn cobras and not a single cigar between them!"
Without the real Cobra, there may be no one to stop Crystal Bowie...
"Hahaha! Are these really Earth's mightiest heroes?!"
"Not a single one of you can stop me!"
"To hell with you vermin!"
"I've had more of a challenge killing cockroaches!"
"Is there no one else strong enough to face me?"
"When I'm done with this planet, you'll never forget the name Crystal Bow-"
"That's for sullying the name of England's greatest musician!"
But Crystal Bowie will not be defeated here. His wounds will heal and his resolve will grow stronger as he waits for the right time to return...
UNDER THE MOONLIGHT!
THE SERIOUS MOONLIGHT!!
The figma of Crystal Bowie is an excellent action figure all around. He feels great, poses well, and looks fantastic. Fans of the Cobra series or just collectors in general should definitely check him out. He's a true classic sci-fi villain and deserves to stand alongside your Darth Vaders, Cybermen, or Cylon Centurions.
Pick up your Crystal Bowie at HobbyLink Japan.
Comments5 comments posted
I own all three Cobra figures and I can say that they're among the best toys I own.
What's that actual cobra figure from?
GI Joe Sigma Six Adventure Team Snake-Eyes. There's also an Adventure Team Storm Shadow with a tiger (which is fantastic), an Adventure Team Recondo with a gator (which I don't have), and a regular Sigma Six Snake-Eyes with his pet wolf (which is almost as good as the tiger). There was going to be a second wave of Adventure Team figures including a giant scorpion, a shark and a gorilla, but they were sadly not released. I love the style of these figures - their chunky, cartoony aesthetic reminds me of Xevoz, TF:Animated, and more recently, Hero Mashers and Construct Bots, all really well engineered toys with a distinctive look.
Without knowing the scale, I would've sworn that this was a Microman figure.
Oh yeah, I need that thing.