Friday 2 February 2018

Toybox REVIEW: NX Edgestyle Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Release Date: December 2017
RRP: 3780 yen

2017 marked Gurren Lagann’s 10th anniversary, and though Gainax aren’t really in much of a position to give it the celebration it deserves at least there were at least some notable merchandise releases to mark its birthday. Myethos kicked off the year by finally releasing their 1/8 scale Nia Teppelin Wedding version statue, while Bandai Tamashii Nations closed it off with a double bill of surprise releases. Following on from November’s Proplica Core Drill was the release of NX EdgeStyle Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – adding the titular mecha’s final form to Bandai’s growing range of super-deformed articulated robots. Bandai choosing Tengen Toppa over regular Gurren Lagann is a little surprising, but given the scarcity of other figures for the various forms (the only other articulated figure is the 2008 Revoltech) it’s far from unwelcome.

NX EdgeStyle packaging is both fairly basic and uniform, but certainly has a great look to it and keeps the attention squarely on the figure. Printed on the nice big window is the name of the figure as well as its designation and the title "Gunmen Unit", which I'm sure you all know is the blanket name for all Gurren Lagann mecha. On the bag are a number of suitably dynamic images set against a fitting space backdrop. Inside the figure and its accessories are placed on a single white plastic tray, with a bag containing all the stand pieces tucked in just behind it.

On immediate glance that NX EdgeStyle line’s body proportions feel in line with Banpresto’s Super Robot Wars games – which is rather fitting given Gurren Lagann has appeared in them every now and again. First things first, the detailing on this figure is just utterly fantastic – Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a detailed design at the best of times, but it’s incredible just how well sculpted everything is here. From the demon-like faces on the legs and arms to the Lazengann head waist, everything here is exactly as it should be. Even the sunglasses face has all the grooves moulded into the plastic, with the eye segments also sculpted in rather than simply painted over the top. Meanwhile the head isn’t so oversized that it it’s the key point of focus like on a Nendoroid, but large enough that you get a great deal of expression out of the facesculpt. The colours and paintwork on the figure are equally superb, topped off with those essential translucent green spiral energy flames which can be added and removed from its back at your leisure. While the Revoltech may still be the best option if you’re looking for something with proper proportions, the NX EdgeStyle trumps it in pretty much every other way.

But before we continue on with just how good or bad the figure is, there’s a pretty significant accessory to bring up. NX EdgeStyle figures actually come with stands! It might be simply because Bandai feel that tiny-limbed figures need them far more than their properly proportioned counterparts (which in fairness is probably true), but this is one of the few lines where display stands come as standard with each release. The bases themselves can be connected together either at the sides or above each other (thanks to the pole-like connector pieces provided), and come with two adjustable arms that can either connect directly into the figure or via an additional plug. I use the term “adjustable” rather than “articulated” because the arms aren’t jointed in the conventional sense, and need to be taken apart to be repositioned. Either way getting a stand with a Tamashii Nations figure feels like a real treat.

Unlike Nendoroids which sacrifice proper articulation for their distinct aesthetic, NX EdgeStyle figures remain fully articulated even if their stumpy bodies don’t balance quite as well as a full-sized figure would. Gurren Lagann features ball joints in its head, neck, shoulders, shoulder pads (so that they can be rotated and posed separate to the arms), waist, hips and ankles together with hinged elbows and knees and rotatable wrists. As such each limb retains a full range of motion, so even when the figure falls under its own weight it can still pull off some great mid-air poses with the assistance of the stand. As the figure is made up primarily of ball joints bits may pop off every now and again, but on the whole it’s build very sturdily without any notably loose joints.

In addition to the aforementioned display stand Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann also comes with an additional pair of open hands, a pair of swords (based on the one’s Viral/Enki previously used in the show) and two semi-translucent drills. The drills themselves are moulded from translucent “spiral energy” green plastic, but have had the top halves painted silver to give off the semi-translucent effect. It might not seem like a huge amount of accessories, but given the addition of the stand and how little there is to include with TTGL anyway this is about as much as you could want/expect. The drills were obviously a must, while the swords make a nice display alternative if you’re sick of displaying your Gurren Laganns mid-Giga Drill. The drills connect in place of the forearms, which can simply be unplugged from the elbow joints and replaced with the drills, thus retaining that all-important elbow articulation.

The NX EdgeStyle line is something that’s been on my radar for a long time now, but between all the other Tamashii Nations products I’d never found a chance to dive into it until now. NX EdgeStyle Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann may not be everyone’s first choice for a new Bandai Gurren Lagann figure, but the line has done wonders with the design. This charming, super-deformed version of the show’s titanic “mecha” still has all the attitude of the properly proportioned design, together with good articulation and accessories. It might not be the kind of line that someone would buy into on a regular basis, but if you ever see a robot you like there you won’t be disappointed by the results.

No comments: