Tuesday 15 December 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Mako Mankanshoku Fight Club-spec Two Star Goku Uniform ver.

Despite ties with Good Smile Company and proving to be a popular series on both sides of the world, Kill la Kill hasn’t had all that much luck on the articulated figure front. Two Figma and a handful of Nendoroids is about all that’s been mustered, and even scale statues have largely been relegated to ones of only Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin. However among these slim pickings were some real gems, and Nendoroid Mako Mankanshoku was one of them. GSC obviously agreed, since the character then made a reappearance in the line this year as their Summer Wondefest exclusive (although that title is less special now that GSC sell the figures at any cons they attend worldwide). This figure however is Mako Mankanshoku Fight Club-spec Two Star Goku Uniform ver., based on her appearance in episode seven of series where she fights against Ryuko in order to protect her family’s new found wealth.

Much like the Figma line Nendoroids tend to have a rather uniform packaging design, however there does seem to be far more leeway for individual quirks here. The Kill la Kill figures were a good example of this, with previous entries having both the life fibre thread design running through the colours and the big bold Japanese font on the window. Fight Club Mako’s is much of the same again, once again coming in a rather fetching black and orange colour scheme like her mass release counterpart. Both the spines and back feature multiple images of the figure in various poses, giving you a great indication of the kind of poses you’re able to pull off with her.

When Fight Club Mako was initially revealed what I expected was a very slight retool of the original Mako Nendoroid with some new parts thrown on top of it, but with the figure in hand I’m both surprised and impressed at the extent of this retooling. Obviously pieces like the coat, hat, belt and shoes are new but so is a lot of the body itself. The torso is newly sculpted and unlike the original features an exposed midriff and the legs are longer in comparison to the original. Even the head is slightly different, featuring a noticeably lighter shade of brown for the hair. Of course the main appeal is in all the new bits like the new face(s), hat and coat, but it’s really great to see GSC didn’t cheap out on this release. 

Anyway, Fight Club Mako is based on a Japanese bancho (the leader of a group of underachievers/delinquents), with a hat and flowing black coat that conceals a number of different weapons. Unfortunately none of these weapons are removable, but they are properly sculpted into the coat rather than simply painted on. Fight Club Mako has all the usual Nendoroid articulation in the neck, shoulders and thighs, but additionally the coat sleeves are segmented at the shoulders and elbows which allows each piece to be rotated separately for different billowing effects. Similarly there are two cuts in the back of the coat to allow the pieces to swing outwards. The hat is of course removable, as is the coat itself which is simply pinned down under the neck joint.

Being the president of Honnouji Academy’s fight club, this powered-up version of Mako has a variety of different weapons at her disposal – some of which are included here as accessories. Packaged with this release are her star shaped “Mako” knuckleduster and baseball bat, along with a selection of alternate arms (included two in the V-pose and a pair of crossed arms) and the green reed to place in her mouth. The reed is small and easily breakable, but once it’s slotted into the hole in the corner of the face it should stay put nice and firmly. Meanwhile the knuckleduster can be clipped onto the default left hand via some small indents, and the bat held in the right (slightly open) hand by removing the pommel and sliding it into place.

Weapons aren’t everything though, as fans know it would be wrong to do this figure without covering the softer side of Mako as well. Once realising the error of her ways, Mako bursts into the kind of over the top tears you would expect of her – and GSC have managed to capture those perfectly in plastic form. To go along with the alternate crying face is a translucent blue piece which attaches under the neck joint and in front of her face, creating the perfect downpour of tears. If this isn’t over the top enough for you though, the second piece is a freestanding waterfall of tears. This doesn’t physically attach to the figure, but is instead simply placed in front of her eyes to give the desired effect. And of course with Nendoroid accessories being mostly universal, these pieces will also look great with any other figures from the line you might have in your collection. And vice versa too – the star background that comes with Winter clothes Isabelle/Shizue from Animal Crossing is perfect for Kill la Kill figures.

The original Mako Nendoroid was already a fantastic figure, and this Fight Club version manages to improve on that greatness yet again. Further proving that Mako is a character that was born to become a Nendoroid, this figure impresses with both its more unique than expected sculpt and selection of impressive accessories. Usually figures based on fleeting appearances are the ones easiest to skip, but as a fan favourite no Kill la Kill fan should be without this. The exclusive price tag might be a bit daunting, but Fight Club Mako is undoubtedly one of the best pieces in my Kill la Kill collection – second only to the majesty of the Ryuko Senketsu Kisaragi ver. scale statue.

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