Friday, 27 May 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Link (Majora's Mask 3D Ver.)

When Nintendo finally began licensing their characters out to companies to produce figures it didn’t take long for said companies to realise they were on to a golden goose. So after the success of their Skyward Sword Figma and Wind Waker Nendoroid figures, Good Smile Company have turned to the Legend of Zelda franchise once again for another iteration of the legendary Hero of Time. This Nendoroid Link is based on his appearance in the 2000 Nintendo 64 game Majora’s Mask, or more specifically its 2015 3DS remake Majora’s Mask 3D. This unique Zelda offering took Link out of Hyrule, placing him in the land of Termina with only three days to stop the moon crashing into the Earth. However thanks to some ocarina trickery, you can do an awful lot in 72 hours. For Smash Bros. fans this figure can also serve a double purpose, representing Young Link from Super Smash Bros. Melee. This was the only game in the franchise Young Link appeared in, before being replaced by Toon Link from Brawl onwards.

Uniform packaging for a toy line can be a bit hit or miss, but the style chosen for Nendoroid does a relatively good job of being aesthetically pleasing while giving off the right sense of “fun” the line is going for. The standard white colourscheme is nicely complimented by the addition of green and purple, two key colours for getting across that Legend of Zelda feel. The box also features plenty of images of the figure along the back and spines, so you should be short of inspiration on how to pose the figure. Inside the figure and its accessories can be found on the usual clear plastic tray, along with a smaller tray taped underneath to house a few more additional pieces.

With Majora’s Mask acting as a direct sequel, the Link that appears in this game is the very same younger version that appears in Ocarina of Time. This more child-like appearance lends itself well to the Nendoroid aesthetic – perhaps not quite as seamlessly as Toon Link does but more than enough for this design to feel right at home here. To the untrained eye all Links probably seem exactly the same, but when you look at them close up you can appreciate the quite apparent differences between them all. The clothing differences might be subtle, but things like facial structure and hair colouring are a lot more varied. The head sculpt is really where this figure shines, due to the great paintwork on both the face and the shading on the hair. Articulation is pretty on par for a standard Nendoroid, featuring a ball-jointed in the neck and hips as well as a waist and shoulder swivels. Similarly the hat is segmented so that the end-piece can rotate for billowing action poses too.

When a company does a Legend of Zelda figure getting the accessories right is arguably one of the most important factors, and Nendoroid’s penchant for never skipping out extras really makes this figure another recipe for success. Link comes packaged with an alternate “action” face, six alternate arm pieces, bent right leg, sword, sheathe, shield, bunny hood, red potion and even a static Tatl figurine with her own articulated stand piece. While that might not include the variety of weapons people hope for with each Zelda release, it is a nice array of both weapons and inventory items. While the sheathe unfortunately cannot physically connect to the back of the figure, it does have a hole through the middle for the stand port to fit through it and create the illusion of it connecting. The sword’s handle can be removed to fit it into the corresponding hands, but the whole hilt section can also come off and alternatively plug into the hole at the top of the sheathe as well. Meanwhile the bunny hood doesn’t physically connect to the figure, instead slotting over the top of the head just like a hairband would. This means it’s also reasonable compatible with other Nendoroids too, providing they have a similar head shape of course. The one criticism I would make is that two faces is a surprisingly low count for a Nendoroid, but the set still has a few other tricks on offer to offset this slightly.

It may be entirely an entirely a coincidence, but I really like this is Link comes with completely different ones to the Wind Waker version with the two both having some that are relevant to the franchise as a whole (such as the potion and heart container). It’s a nice touch that entices fans into buying multiple versions of Link all the more as they’ll also be building up a nicely sizeable accessory collection.

But of course it wouldn’t be a proper Majora’s Mask release without some masks would it? Included here are the main three smaller sized masks (Deku Scrub, Goron and Zora) along with a full sized Majora’s Mask which Nendoroid Link is able to wear. A small transparent connector piece is provided which connects underneath the hair, making a peg for the mask to hook onto and be worn properly. The smaller masks feature small peg-holes at the bottom so that the arms provided are able to hold them securely. All four masks are wonderfully detailed and accurate to the game versions, especially the Majora’s Mask which almost qualifies as an amazing display piece on its own.

There will be fans out there that rolled their eyes at Majora’s Mask Link’s announcement and said “Another Link?! When are they going to make ‘x’ character?!” However it’s hard to feel that bad about GSC’s dedication to one character when they do such a magnificent job with him each time. This figure is everything you could ever want from a Link Nendoroid - the design wonderfully is captured in their signature style and comes with an impressive array of both franchise-wise and game-specific accessories. Nendoroid is a line that really emphasises fun, and that couldn’t be made any more clear here. With three Links already covered between Nendoroid and Figma and more on the way (along with a Zelda at long last) there’s still a chance for the novelty to wear off, but if they all come out this good then a shelf full of Links doesn’t seem like a bad prospect at all.

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