Review by VF5SS
Fleet Carrier Akagi remains one of the more popular characters in the Kantai Collection series (who isn't Shimakaze, Tenryuu, or Kongou). As such, the fleet's elegant senpai is high on the list for bigger and better figures. Medicom, purveyors of 1/6 scale action figures of characters from Japanese media, looked at the current crop of Akagi merchandise and decided, "we're gonna need a bigger boat." Have they managed to make a vessel worthy of deployment, or has the increased size put a few leaks in the normally reliable gal? Let's get ready to sortie with the Real Action Hero Akagai from Kantai Collection.
This Akagi stands the requisite 30 centimeters tall to qualify her for the 1/6 scale category, and is a pleasing rendition of the bauxite queen. She is built from a stock Medicom female body with unique parts for her head, hands, shoes, costume, and accessories.
Akagi is packed without her trademark quiver and carrier deck attached. From bow to stern, the Real Action Hero Fleet Girl both looks and feels like a good mid-range 12-inch figure. However, she is far from Hot Toys quality, and at a glance you'd be forgiven for mistaking this Akagi for the much smaller figma version.
Putting the two toys side-by-side, it's easy to see how the use of a real cloth outfit helps the larger aircraft carrier look more natural as her puffy sleeves don't limit her arm movement like on the smaller boat. The reds on the RAH's outfit are also noticeable brighter, and more eye-catching, than on the figma.
A closer look at the costume on Medicom's Akagi reveals a generally competent level of craftsmanship that stumbles in a few areas. For one thing, a lot of the red straps on her skirt and arm are loosely tied and can come undone. While this can be fixed, I kinda wish they had been pre-made clip on flourishes to aid in ease of handling. Also, the string used to secure her muneate (chest protector) and skirt armor is rather thick, unlike on genuine archery wear. On one hand, this is a typical compromise for scale figures, but on the other hand it does give Akagi's outfit more of a boat-y feel, as the thicker string resembles the moorings at a dock.
The troublesome shoulder antenna is still present on the RAH, but at least here it is a solid piece of plastic that is pinned onto the movable cloth strap on her shoulder. You still have to be mindful of the egg whisk-looking thing when positioning Akagi's head, but I find it is easier to tuck it under her long hair than on the figma.
Her trademark boat shoes have received a subtle upgrade, thanks to the figure's increased size. Now you can see daylight between the struts that hold up the tiny carrier decks which form the top of Akagi's navalized geta. Strangely, just her stocking clad feet are molded plastic, which creates a stark contrast to the rest of the garment's real working thigh highs.
Akagi's footwear allows her to stand alright without extra support. The sole of each tiny boat is fairly flat, but does angle up slightly in order to have a tiny rudder. Honestly, though, any tippiness is mostly due to her relatively small ankle joints lacking the tightness to hold up the fully outfitted archer.
The RAH Fleet Girl comes with three faces, which are exchanged by removing the front part of her hair and swapping in the desired expression. By default, Akagi has a gentle smile that is reminiscent of her stock artwork.
Her next face is a happy open-mouthed smile.
The final expression is the requisite "feelin' bad" one, in where Akagi is frowning with two anime tears poised to roll down her cheeks.
In addition to her large carrier-related equipment, Akagi comes with several small accessories, which include eight arrows (four green and four white), an Instant Repair bucket, and three tiny airplanes.
Akagi also comes with a set of clear display stands, but I'll talk about those later on in this review.
She also has a total of eight hands, all of which plug into her wrists via a long peg. The wrist itself is a ball-shaped universal joint. Note that her right-side gloved hands all must share a single wrist cuff to complete the look. The cuff tends to slide off her hand, so it's best to pose Akagi and then tidy up troublesome spots like these.
Now, because my figure didn't come with instructions (if it's even supposed have some), I honestly don't know what all the hands are for, so please forgive me if I don't showcase all of them.
Akagi's trusty carrier deck is expertly realized as a single plank of painted plastic. All of the details, like the runway markings and outlines of the elevators, are actually engraved on the surface of the deck, which further enhances their crispness.
The deck attaches with a ball-joint connection to Akagi's right arm. Popping the accessory onto its mount is no trouble at all, but I found that the tightness of the joint makes it too easy to dislodge the small ball-tipped post from her bicep. It is possible to push the connector back in, but it's keyed to go into Akagi's arm in a certain way, so you have to orient it while it is threaded through her sleeve. I also noticed that there appears to be some dried glue that used to keep the peg connected to Akagi's cloth sleeve, but that didn't last long. And I noticed that the faux-leather strap around the connector seems to have developed a small tear, which I find worrying...
To make a long briefing short, try to treat Akagi's carrier deck joint with extra care.
Moving on, Akagi's radio mast-tipped quiver clips on a C-peg mounted on the back of her shirt. The straps are made of a leather-like material (similar to some shoelaces), and look passable. What's not passable is the fact that I found another tear on the longer strap...
Aside from that, the quiver performs its duties admirably, as it can hold all of Akagi's arrows. Like the real archery gear, the arrows are simply held in by gravity and will fall out if the open end is tipped too far.
Sitting around Akagi's waist is her smokestack-themed pouch. It uses the same type of straps as her quiver, and does its job of being a charming part of her outfit. My only issue with this accessory is how it often bumps against the quiver during posing. However, that is just a reality of Akagi's design, so I can't really fault the toy for it.
And last be not least, is Akagi's gigantic Japanese bow (yumi). This thing is why the figure comes in such a massive box, and it makes the RAH figure look very impressive. The bowstring is tied taut around each end, and is actually elastic enough to launch one of the arrows for a short distance. Akagi has a dedicated hand for holding her weapon, and manages to wield it fairly well, despite it being so large.
Now let's talk articulation. Since Akagi uses a stock 1/6 scale female body, her range of movement is only limited by her outfit. The use of Medicom's off-the-shelf anime body affords Akagi a comprehensive set of joints. Unfortunately, she shares a neck problem similar to the figma's issues, as Akagi's solid plastic hair is sculpted a bit too close to her body to allow her head to turn easily. This figure really needed either an alternate piece with Akagi's hair swept back a bit, or a hinge in the longest part of her locks.
Getting Akagi to pose with an arrow drawn back was quite difficult at first. Lacking instructions, it took me a few tries to even notice the small notches in one of her right hands that allow Akagi to grasp the fins of an arrow. I'm also not entirely sure of where the string is supposed to go in this 1/6 scale display of kyudo (formal Japanese archery), but I ended up hooking the bowstring on one of the fins, and I think this looks the most authentic. And as I mentioned before, the string is elastic enough to actually shoot an arrow, so you have to be really careful when setting this all up or the tiny projectile will fly out of Akagi's hands.
All that said, if you are willing to make the effort, the Real Action Hero Akagi can look both powerful and graceful as she demonstrates the traditional way of the bow.
Various KanColle media, like the tie-in anime and manga, show a carrier's arrows magically turning into planes after they are fired off. After a sortie is over, the tiny fairy-piloted aircraft land on the deck just as they would on the actual ship. I find this to be one of the coolest things about the RAH figure - the big Akagi possesses a cool air of whimsy, as she both launches and retrieves airplanes like an actual carrier vessel.
"Thank you for your hard work!"
It is proper manners to thank your fairies after a mission is complete.
Akagi can also assume a more traditional aircraft carrier mode.
When a sortie goes poorly, Akagi can freshen up with the Instant Repair bucket. It's a bit more cup-shaped than the figma's wider sand pail, but it still looks the part and even has molded water on top.
These buckets are chock full of a special something that cures what ails your sails.
Now, if you need some help keeping Akagi upright in more unstable poses, Medicom included one of their stock figure stands for that purpose. This thing is basically an oversized Tamashii Stage, but with noticeably inferior quality. All of the joints are stiff and creaky (even if you loosen the screws to the point of the nuts falling off), and the plastic feels like something would break if you tried to move the armature too quickly. Also, the hole in the base seems way too snug, as I can barely rotate the arm when I need to.
Honestly though, you're better off just leaving Medicom's stand in the box and using a better aftermarket one instead. I've found even a Tamashii Stage (like an Act 5) is perfectly fine for assisting Akagi.
Akagi's other display stand is a long transparent pole, that is exclusively for allowing her little airplanes to "fly" alongside her. You are supposed to be able to slide the three included mounts onto the pole, but poor quality control has made it so I can barely fit one of the mounts, let alone all of them! I wasn't really gung-ho about this gimmick, but the way Medicom botched its execution is just irritating.
You know what though? I don't need that cumbersome setup, because it's way more fun to just have Akagi hold the airplanes in her hands, or place them on her carrier deck.
Overall, I find the Real Action Hero Akagi to be less shipshape than I had hoped for. While there are things to like about this figure in terms of its design, looks, and general charm, I think Medicom's devotion to remaining in their mid-range 1/6 scale niche that hamper the product. For example, her carrier deck connection is far too delicate to survive even one photography session with moderate posing, and that just puts a downer on the whole experience. Other issues like some of the small straps in Akagi's equipment developing tears makes the toy feel more shoddy than it is. It puts the figure in a weird gray area between delicate doll and action-ready toy, resulting in a product that appears to waffle between the two ideals without providing enough satisfaction in either category.
In the end, I would only recommend this toy to diehard fans - or to people more into customizing their 1/6 scale figures, as they could probably fix most of these issues. I also noticed that Real Action Heroes come with a full list of parts and clothing with prices for each, just in case you need to order replacements direct from Medicom. And I have heard they will service people outside of Japan. Perhaps maintenance is just as key in owning one of these toys as it is in actually playing Kantai Collection.
Until then, see you next sortie.
|Posted 28 August, 2015 - 12:56 by VF5SS|