Friday 2 November 2012

Toybox REVIEW: Play Arts Kai Cyborg Ninja

Square Enix's Play Arts Kai toy line is something I seem to have completely avoided over the years, and not just because its filled with Final Fantasy figures. Although previous entries into the line such as the Fullmetal Alchemist, Kingdom Hearts and Batman: Arkham Asylum figures have wowed me, I've either been too preoccupied with other toys or too hesitant to pay for slightly more expensive larger figures. But when Play Arts Kai announced they would finally be tackling characters from the first Metal Gear Solid game, I knew there was one I just couldn't pass up. MGS is one of my favourite video games of all time, with the Cyborg Ninja/Gray Fox being my favourite character from the game. A limited 500-piece version based on the alternate red costume from the game was also released, annoyingly including an open mask Gray Fox head.

The box is a simple white design, which is good in that it doesn't draw any attention away from the figure peeking out from the window. The original Metal Gear Solid logo is placed in the bottom left corner next to the Play Arts Kai logo, while a cardboard box "MGS 25th Anniversary" logo is displayed proudly on the window. The box spines are plain, but the back includes a large picture of the ninja with some smaller action pose pictures (with suitable backgrounds).

As I mentioned earlier, I'm far more used to smaller figures. But I can't help to be wowed by the sheer size and bulk of Ninja, who stands at an impressive nine and a half inches (approx). The sculpt is perfect, and chock-full of tiny detailing. The entire body is covered in little paint applications, from the black panel lining to bring out the skeletal structure of the design to industry names and warning messages. In terms of poseability Ninja has a ball jointed head, hips and shoulders while ratchet joints for the elbows, knees, feet and hands. The upper-torso is also a separate piece, so there's some limited movement there too. Meanwhile the toe sections are also rotatable for further posing, but unfortunately doing so tends to make the feet look very unnatural.

These problems with the feet also mean that the Cyborg Ninja can be very difficult to pose. He's a fairly dynamic character (he IS a ninja after all), and so the ability to pull off dynamic action poses or at the very least a semi-decent kneeling pose (it is MUCH harder than the picture on the back lets on) seem rather vital. I've seen Square Enix pack stands in with other figures in the Play Arts (not sure about since its switched to Play Arts Kai) line before, and it really wouldn't have gone amiss here.

The accessory count is fairly low, but then I've never thought a mountains of extras was high on Square Enix's priority list anyway. Cyborg Ninja comes packed with his sword, an alternate right hand in order to hold it and finally an alternate rail gun arm. The gun can be switched out with relative ease (although mine had a little trouble staying in) and also features a bunch of tiny detailing.

For my first Play Arts Kai purchase, I'm very pleased with the Cyborg Ninja. Because of its posing issues it does feel more like a moveable statue than a dynamic figure, but the sheer level of detail and impressive sculpting more than make up for it. Until a better Cyborg Ninja figure comes around, this is a highly recommended purchase for Metal Gear fans and also a good stand alone purchase whether you're into Play Arts Kai figures or not. The only true downside is that it seems to be a pretty popular figure and might be difficult to get for a reasonable price on the after market - so get it while you can!

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