Friday 26 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: MegaHouse G.E.M. Series Jessie (Musashi) & Wobbuffet (Sonans)

If there's one big area of figure collecting that this blog has never touched upon before, it's statues. As someone who considers posing and articulation a big factor in how much I get out of a figure, static non-articulated statues (be they scale or non-scale) are usually something that don't particularly appeal to me. But not every property or franchise has the luxury of getting a wide range of figures, and sometimes statues are the only way to go. For some inexplicable reason, Pokémon is one such franchise. Recently the likes of D-Arts, Figuarts and Nendoroid have done some great work in the way of game-specific characters or just the Pokémon themselves, but the anime itself hasn't been so lucky. However MegaHouse have recently revealed that the cast will be joining their non-scale G.E.M. statue line, which is also currently doing a similar thing with the Digimon franchise. Each character is set to also come with at least one Pokémon, and first on the release schedule are Musashi and Sonans. However English speakers will know these characters far better as Team Rocket member Jessie and her trusted Wobbuffet.

Jessie and Wobbuffet come in a rather large box considering their small size by comparison, done up with some rather flashy and dynamic colouring. The Japanese Pokémon logo is printed in the top corner along with a picture of Wobbuffet, while Jessie features at the bottom against a Pokéball backdrop. The characters' names are also printed in English on the box, however as you can expect it uses their Japanese names rather than the English versions (if by any chance these should ever get a proper American release, it would be interesting to see if they changed that somehow - be it via sticker or otherwise). The back has some more rather dynamic images of the figures, along with Japanese text which I'd like to think is snippets of the Team Rocket motto but sadly cannot verify. If there are any Japanese speakers reading this, please let me know!

Opening the box it's time to "Prepare for trouble" as Jessie arrives in all her pompous glory. If you're a buyer who hasn't been paying close attention to these figures outside of their initial announcement the first thing that's going to hit you like a freight train is the size. Standing at a height of around 12cm (just over 4.5"), Jessie isn't a very big figure at all - about the size of your average Figma. That might not sound all that bad, but when you look at the 5500 yen (minus any store-specific discounts) price tag and also consider that this doesn't have the engineering or accessories of an articulated figure, it can feel like a bitter pill to swallow. 

The sculpt itself is good, but perhaps doesn't quite live up to MegaHouse's supposed reputation. The colours are all perfect and the hair detailing is superb, but something doesn't quite feel right about the head sculpt. It's not woefully inaccurate by any means, but on glance does look a little squished and rounded off compared to her sharper anime jawline. One thing that shouldn't be criticised however is the pose - if you're going to make Team Rocket statues the obvious thing to do is to put them in extravagant 'motto' poses and that's exactly what MegaHouse have done. Finally the head is in fact on a ball joint and can be adjusted into a position that suits you, however it doesn't lock into place particularly firmly and so too much fiddling about can result in the head popping off easily.

Along with Jessie is a roughly in-scale Wobbuffet figure, rather appropriately (though likely done as a cost-cutting measure) made from squishy vinyl plastic. There are probably fans out there who would have much rather Jessie come with Ekans or Arbok than Wobbuffet since that's who she mainly had during the show's early run, but given just how synonymous Wobbuffet has become with Team Rocket over the years it's hardly a surprise they decided to go with him. He's basically their fourth member at this point. That said it does seem a little confusing when you note that the Ash/Satoshi figure will come with Charmander, which clearly DOES reference the early part of the series considering how much little time he had Charmander in comparison to Charizard. Guess there isn't really clear timeline logic to the pairings after all.

Finally the package also comes with a designated pink display base, which features a number of Team Rocket 'R' logos in white with accompanying Wobbuffet silhouettes. While the base also has "Team Rocket" printed on it, it makes no reference to it specifically being Jessie's personal display base other than simply assuming it from the colour. The base itself looks great, but personally I wish it showed some signs of having some sort of connectivity with the forthcoming James' figure, allowing for a more dynamic Team Rocket display where the two aren't spaced so far apart. As this stand is an oval shape and only has notches to lock the Jessie figure onto, it seems unlikely that is possible.

While my personal experience with statues is limited, Jessie & Wobbuffet isn't my first foray into that area so I do have some idea of what to expect when it comes to new releases. While it's likely that anyone purchasing this figure will have a strong sense of nostalgia driving them, with given the price the small size might come as a pretty big disappointment to those who aren't fully expecting it. On top of that, as nice as it is the overall quality of the figure doesn't live up to the expectations that come with a big company like MegaHouse - barely feeling that much more impressive that your average UFO prize statue. Still, it's nice to finally get Pokémon anime figures in any shape or form and it will be interesting to see where the forthcoming James, Ash and Misty figures take things from here. Fingers crossed a Brock gets announced soon to round off the main cast.

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