Monday 18 June 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Figure Complex Amazing Yamaguchi Carnage

Release Date: May 2018 
RRP: 7452 yen

Once upon a time Kaiyodo's Revoltech line ruled the roost when it came to collector-orientated affordable, articulated figures from Japan. But with the rise of competitors such as Figma and S.H. Figuarts, Revoltech's trademark clicky revolver joints began to lose their charm for many buyers. However the line never stopped, and in recent years Revoltech technology has branched off into a number of lines under the "Figure Complex" umbrella. The most popular of these has been the Amazing Yamaguchi line – where sculptor Katuhisa Yamaguchi gives his take on various characters from the Marvel Comics universe. Its latest release is another addition from the Spider-Man family, logically following on from the success of its Venom figure with the release of the symbiote's murderous offspring. With a design evocative of 90s comic edginess and all manner of possibilities when it comes to posing and accessories, Amazing Yamaguchi Carnage is the perfect addition to Revoltech's big comeback.

If you ever want to see figure packaging done right, look no further than the Amazing Yamaguchi line. Fully embracing the character's comic book roots, Amazing Yamaguchi Carnage's box is such an explosion of colour and images that you don't know where to look first. Serving as the background to the various stock images of the figure plastered around the box are panels and comic covers from Carnage's earliest appearances, complete with quotes and text bubbles for that extra comic book feel. There's barely a blank bit of space on this box, and it just looks so good it almost feels a shame to not have it proudly on display alongside the figure. Even the inside backing card features a huge image of Carnage facing off against Venom. Inside you'll find the figure and its extremely wide variety of accessories spread across two clear plastic trays.

The Amazing Yamaguchi line prioritises stylised sculpts that truly excel when placed in dynamic poses, so when put in a neutral position it's easy to assume Carnage doesn't look like much. A nicely made Carnage figure certainly, but nothing particularly standout. Despite the way Revoltech joints can often break the sculpts up in a rather unsightly way Carnage has come out with a reasonably clean looking silhouette, which is helped by the two-tone colourscheme and muscular detailing that covers the whole body. Both this moulding and the paint apps are nice and sharp, and while Carnage has the same glossy finish as most Revoltech figures it in no way makes it look cheap and/or unpleasant. If anything it actually suits the figure perfectly - making all that moulded detailing stand out and preserve the design as the grotesque monstrosity that Carnage is.

It's when you get to posing Carnage that the figure truly begins to shine. Carnage features the trademark Revoltech revolver joints in his head/neck, elbows, waist, pelvis, knees and ankles along with double joints for each shoulder. It isn't all just the cumbersome-yet-satifying "click click click" of revolver joints though, as the hips utilise a ball-joint/upper leg swivel combination for more fluid movement. They're still a little limited, but definitely far less cumbersome than revolver joints would have been in their place. Thanks to the way it sits on the neck joint the lower jaw also has some movement, but sadly the only mouth options you really have here are "open" or "wide open". 

The sculpt and joints work in tandem to allow Carnage to pull off some truly expressive poses, with all those seemingly odd design choices when looked at in a neutral pose suddenly making sense as they hide any breaks in the sculpt these poses would usually create. In fact successfully getting the most out of these joints seems almost like a fine art, as even when you manage to pull off incredible poses you simply know that the figure is capable of so much more as well. Amazing Yamaguchi Carnage is definitely a figure that requires plenty of messing around with in order to properly get your head around it, but following that small learning curve you'll be able to get some truly fantastic looking poses out of it.

But if Carnage hasn't done enough to impress you so far, just wait until you get a look at all the accessories this figure comes with. First up is an additional two sets of eyes, which like with the other Amazing Yamaguchi releases can be swapped out for a wide range of expressions. Removing the eyes involves taking the top half of the head completely off the joint, then pushing the eyes out using a special poking rod that's kindly been provided. Once that's been done it’s just a simple case of popping the new eyes in their place and fixing the head back onto the body. Given the unorthodox shape of Carnage's eyes it doesn't feel like the additional eyes provide that much variety when it comes to expressions for the most part, but the subtle differences they can manage are pretty good nonetheless. An unmasked head or even an alternate head with closed jaw would have been nice, but given how much else has been crammed into this release it's understandable why they perhaps weren't considered.

As for the rest of the accessories...just where do you begin? Carnage comes packaged with 12 plug-in tendrils of various size (four small, four medium length and four large), two long curved spikes, two short straight spikes, two curved blades, two longer serrated blades, two axe blades, four adapter pieces to fit the weapons/tendrils to the body (two extended tendril ones and two rectangular plug pieces) and finally two additional pairs of hands. Together with the two sets of eyes previously mentioned that's an astounding 32 accessories unique to this toy. The eight largest weapons and four adapter pieces all come with their own revolved joints to give them a wider range of articulation wherever you choose to place them (as well as giving you a nice surplus of joints just in case of any breakages) while the tendrils and smaller spikes just plug directly into the figure. You're not short of places to plug them in either - Carnage sports six sockets on his back, two on his chest, two on his shoulders and then another one on four of the hands provided. The amount of different layouts and weapon combinations you can do with this figure feels almost limitless, almost frustratingly so as you sit there deciding which piece looks best where. There's also the odd moment of the revolver joints popping apart when you try to remove them from the wrist socket, which is increasingly annoying even with the aid of a handy little tool to help pull the joints out without breaking them. But once you've got through all that, the end result is so worth it.

Finally rounding off the accessories is an articulated display stand, and even those have had a massive overhaul since the classic Revoltech days. Whereas those used to consist of a fairly basic V-shaped base, sold arm and attaching revolver joint, the Amazing Yamaguchi line come with clear stands more akin to Figma's or Bandai's Tamashii Act 3 stages. The arm is articulated in two different places, and even the connector piece is a basic plug rather than another revolver joint. The stand can attach to the figure in three different ways – directly into the arm, via an extended angled plug or via an additional articulated claw adaptor piece. Personally I always find plugging it directly into the figure the cleanest and most hassle free method, but you certainly can't fault Kaiyodo for giving buyers options.

With lines like Figma, Figuarts and Mafex around now it would have been so easy for Revoltech to have died a pretty quick death. But its perseverance is definitely something to be commended, and offerings such as the Amazing Yamaguchi range are nothing short of astounding. Amazing Yamaguchi Carnage is a shockingly good figure, perfectly blending that 90s aesthetic with Yamaguchi's stylised sculpting and articulation. The Marvel Legends Carnage is a great figure for sure, but in terms of variety and the level of expression it has it doesn't even compare to this. Amazing Yamaguchi Carnage's biggest flaw is that there's almost too much you can do with the figure, and without having the handling of the revolver joints to a fine art it might feel like you aren't posing the figure to its maximum potential. But at even a fraction of that potential is enough to prove that this isn't just the best Carnage toy on the market right now – it's quite possibly the best one ever.


noiritter said...

Hi there, been reading your reviews for quite some time and I must say they're quite informative and even pushed me to buy some of the figures. I got a question about this figure though: how tall is it, at least compared to Mafex figures? Got me some Mafex Spiderman figures and I was wondering if Revoltech Carnage is bigger than them, which would be great if so. Thanks!

Alex said...

Thank you for the kind words! While I don't have the MAFEX Carnage to compare him with, I measured him alongside my comic Spider-Man and Ben Reilly Spider-Man figures and they're pretty much the same scale. Carnage is maybe a little bit taller and chunkier if they posed them next to each other standing straight, but even then it's negligible and in proper poses you wouldn't see any difference.

Hope that helps!