Tuesday 23 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Figure Complex Movie REVO Stitch

It wasn't that long ago that Kaiyodo's Revoltech line was one of the most talked about and eagerly anticipated Japanese toy lines among collectors, providing a wide variety of mecha, anime girls, tokusatsu kaiju and Western movie characters among its various divisions. But times change, and as the likes of S.H. Figuarts, Super Robot Chokogin, Robot Damashii and Figma became more and more prevalent Revoltech figures started to die down a bit in popularity. However the line never truly went away, and has recently reinvented itself with a number of different lines all working under a "Powered by Revoltech" tagline. Among these is a new Figure Complex MOVIE REVO line seemingly dedicated to Western film properties, including Back to the Future and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The third entry however is a Disney character that's proven just as popular in Japan as he has in the West, going as far as to receive a long-running anime spin-off series that. He is of course Experiment 626, aka Stitch from Lilo & Stitch.

While I've been out of the Revoltech circuit for quite a few years, one thing I remember about the line back in it's most popular days is that the packaging of the main Yamaguichi line wasn't the most exciting thing. Things changed when the SFX tokusatsu line started with its fancy book cover style boxes, but the mainline tended to just stick to bland white boxes with minimal flare. It's nice to say that the same can't be said for this Movie Revo series packaging, which seems to have fully embraced the signature Lilo & Stitch style and iconography. The box is not only a very fitting shade of light blue, but also covered in the various Hawaiian style patterns you see on all sorts of merchandise for the franchise. The spines and back feature a huge selection of stock images of the figure in various poses, but my absolute favourite element of this packaging has to be the insert card which features beach scenery lifted straight out of the film itself. Just beautiful.

When I first preordered Movie Revo Stitch I wasn't quite sure what to expect in terms of scale. Both his price and common sense were telling me otherwise, but for some reason I was expecting a Stitch which would likely be in scale with Revoltech's humanoid figures (which would make the figure pretty damn small). But while this Stitch is fairly short, it's a nice bulky figure which a fair bit of weight to it. The sculpt itself is absolutely perfect, with the majority of the joints well hidden to present a seamless looking figure that could have easily jumped straight out of the film. On the whole the paintwork is superb, but with me being overdue some bad luck in the figure department my figure unfortunately has two rather noticeable paint chips on two of his upper teeth. It's something I hope to rectify at some point, but the teeth are a rather awkward shade of peachy orange that unless mixed properly would look really obvious. 

Some common complaints when it comes to Revoltech figures include floppy joints or just plain unworkable articulation, consistently due to the brand's trademark revolver joint which is used for every main bit of articulation one of their figures has. Stitch on the other hand is incredibly sturdy, with the joints well utilised wherever needed. There are revolver joints in the neck, shoulders, ears and jaw - with the latter using a total of three to not only have the jaw open and close but to also adjust how much of the upper teeth are showing. Other points of articulation include a neck tilt for Stitch to properly assume a four-legged position, rotating hands, moving tongue, a waist swivel and swivel hips. Certainly more limited than what you'd get from more revolver joints, but far less obtrusive and still all the movement you need.

Despite their past flaws one thing Revoltech figures have always been fairly consistent with is a great selection of accessories, and things haven't at all changed there. Among the goodies included here is an alternate scowling faceplate, alternate grasping hands, red sunglasses and flavoured ice shaving cone. The cone has a peg sticking out of the cone to fix into the additional pair of hands, while the glasses just pop over the face and balance over the nose like any pair of glasses would. There are any number of scene-specific accessories Kaiyodo could have chosen for this release, but the whole "Stuck on You" montage bit was a really nice piece of the film to choose from.

The best part of Stitch's accessory count however are the additional pieces to assume Stitch's "alien" form, which include an extra pair of arms, antennae and back fins. Both the antennae and back fin piece are on their own tiny revolver joint, so plug into their designated holes with ease while still having their own degree of articulation. The extra arms are more curious case however, as the ones packaged separately in the box also have hinged elbow joints. I can only assume these weren't the ones attached to the figure in package to present a more seamless sculpt, but in both my opinion and (judging by the stock images) Kaiyodo's these arms are more suited to being the top pair than the bottom. Why only one pair of arms is a little confusing, but in the grand scheme of things the added elbow joints don't add a huge range of movement anyway, so it's a case of having one pair slightly better than the other rather than two massively different. The ability to switch Stitch into this form was one of the biggest selling points on this figure for me, and it really doesn't disappoint in practice.

With Stitch being one of my favourite Disney characters as one of my favourite fictional characters in general, it's possible there might have been a bit of bias present when I dived into this review. But, and I have absolutely no idea how Kaiyodo did it, this figure has turned out far better than I ever could have expected. I've never been the biggest critic of the Revoltech line, but their flaws are simply things that can't be easily ignored in the wake of far superior lines. It does seem that Kaiyodo have managed to address these problems in the face of competition though, which Stitch sporting a great sculpt, nice accessories and a well-managed range of articulation despite the limitations of revolver joints. The teeth paint problem is a little disappointing, but I'm confident that I was just unlucky in picking up a dud and that not all will suffer from this. Movie Revo Stitch is simply a fun figure that is incredibly addictive and very hard to put down. With all the great plushes Stitch gets all over the world, it's about time he had a great articulated figure. Who would have believed that Revoltech would be the ones to deliver?

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