Monday, June 25, 2012

Review 11: Legendeary Loto's Armor Returns

Legendary Armor of Loto returns.
Sorry everyone, but I don’t know much about Dragon Quest, other that it is a long lasting RPG with Akira Toriyama in its roots. Artwork for the game is very reminiscent of all his works and animation style. The game has gone on for many years, with an impressive amount of sequels. I assure you this: whether you call him Loto, Roto, Erdrick, whatever...the name is the name of legends and heroes. In all his glory, here is the story:
The figure is why we are here, though. This is a Square Enix exclusive figure. As I have mentioned before, this is Square’s stab at the Armor Plus formula…specifically the Saint Myth Cloth formation. It comes with the armor already donned for the most part, as opposed to the Bandai figures, with only some minor further assembly required.
Very simple, but didn't skimp on design.

The opening flap like a book is a pretty nice edition to the packaging.

Like the Gold Saints, wrinkles come easily in the cape.

The metallic azure and gold trimmings make this look all but amazing.

For heroes only.
The first thing I want to talk about is the base body. In a nutshell, it’s a Saint Myth Cloth G3 body, with a Dragonball character head. Now, since this is a Square production, their take on the base body is not so skinny and “frail” as the Myth Cloth family. This is not to say he is bigger than all of them, either. Loto is roughly in between two molds of Myth Cloth. Thicker than Seiya, tall as the Crystal Saint, yes still slightly thinner than Aldebaran. The base body is also a bit more detailed with the abs and chest being pretty cut up. All in all, though it may be an imitation (or even an homage to) another popular formula, it looks the best of all of them. This doesn’t at all mean that it is 100% superior, however, since it is a bit light. Yes, Bandai figures are heavier (which can be good and bad). My particular figure’s plastic is so thin, that I have rather questionable articulation in some areas…most noticeably the knees. As with any collector, weak legs joints can and will spell disaster with a figure, especially when posing him around other figures. If it falls, it will take others down with it, and potentially break something. Not good.

Nice ink, Bro!

"Tsunashi Takuto? He's a punk."

A bit unique take on head technology.
The hair piece is  pretty big chunk of the back of the head, but it makes for the helmet to firmly fit.
 Dealing with its articulation, you should have a good idea what to expect. The feet have both side to side and front to back ankle movements, and foot even has toe articulation as well. Double hinged knee joints, with thigh and shin twisting are useable. Pretty standard. The arms have double ball joints for the hands and wrists, and are actually reversible. So, as they may not offer the full maneuverability as the standard Bandai figure, it offers a more secure and less frightening interchanging of hands. The elbows are double hinged, and bicep is connected to the shoulder on a twisting joint. The waist connects to the legs via ball joints, abdomen is on twist, with chest connected by ball joint as well. The shoulders share the same setup as a G3, with a cone-like piece covering the rod that connects the shoulder to the chest. The neck seems to be on a ball joint as well (I’m afraid to check fully) and head is connected via ball joint. Note: Loto’s backside is laced with prominent screws, and his buttocks is branded with “Copyright Square Enix Made in China. 
"Why yes, my armor IS shiny."

"That's no way to talk to a hero."

 Paint is a good point. A dull blueish-gray for Loto’s jumpsuit that covers him from his neck to the start of the boots. In fact, the head is the only skin shown on the figure at all. The boots and armor follow a lovely blend of a brilliant metallic azure with gold trimming. In my hometown, when I played football as a kid, our school colors were blue and gold, so this color scheme will always have a special place in my heart. The azure and gold are only further enhanced by the few crimson stones prominent in a few key places about the armor and weapons. The center of the chest, face cover on helmet, the guard and pommel of the sword have these crimson paints. The back of the helmet has a duller red paint to color in the “hair” out the back. The inside strap of the shield is brown, and the hilt of the sword is a duller blue with cross grooves to facilitate the look of a handle. The face has normal pale skin with several shades of brown hair, black eyebrows. White eyes with blue pupils, the same brown indenting on the sides of the eyes is the same used on the mouth. This is a bit strange to say, but of all my figures, this might be the best sculpted nose I have ever seen on an action figure. Sure, statues, and some trading figures have good noses, but this one takes the cake for any figure I have. Good job, Square! Another interesting thing to look at is the sword and shield. The shield is reminiscent of the sigil on the front of the package (or is it the other way around?) and the sword is superbly painted as well. Now, I’m not sure if the language engraved on the shield is either Greek, Roman, or something else entirely, but it undeniably reads “Roto”, or Loto to us in the west. As for the sword, the fuller (inner indent of the blade) is gold, and engraved with letters that I think say Dragon something. The second word is 5 characters, and ends in a “T” so…maybe “Dragon Quest?” Maybe someone out there can help me out?

Making swordplay look good since '86

 Next, is armor assembly. The boots are already there as a part of the base body, but they need to be removed so that the leg armors can be slid on. The same thing with the hands, as they need to be removed so the forearm armor can be slid into place. Next is the chest. Via two hinges on the rib cage area, the back side opens and closes again once the arms are through. The waist parts connect in the front and the back and secure into holes and pegs on both front and back of the chest, and waist pieces themselves. The side skirt armors peg into little grooves on the waist, and the shoulders follow the process but opposite. The shoulders have the receiving end as opposed to the skirt armor’s giving end. It’s just like the Myth Cloths. The cape is added with two dangerously small golden pegs that insert through the holes of the cape into the receiving holes of the chest, hang over the traps and drape down the back. Finally, the helmet is added by removing the hair piece from the heat. The helmet, however is a technology all its own. It does not simply fixate itself atop a bald head, but rather has a protruding white piece of plastic that grooves into a large receiving plastic arrangement in the head. It’s a bit difficult to explain without simply showing you, or reading its instructions. 
Cape and Shield applied. Hero status: achieved.

Special parts aren’t too plentiful with this, but I think I know why. Two extra sets of hands (holding and opened), sword, shield, and the cape made out of the same cheap material that the original Gold Saints have for their capes. The helmet has a special gimmick that allows the face guard goes up and down, discerning whether Loto is either looking nice, or is in the midst of battle. Like before, all parts are beautifully painted, and have a simple yet distinguishing design. Keep in mind that in order to use the shield, the hand must first be removed put on the handle then the grooved strap must slide over the arm. Then, the hand can be put back on the ball joint.
Teaching heroes a thing or two about slaying Dragons.

Faceguard down

Gracious sculpt enough to see his eyes even through the faceguard. Nice touch!

That is what a hero looks like.

 Completed, this kit retains its articulation, which is a big plus. Now, for those that never seen this, I bet you’re wondering: How much of it is die cast? Answer: none. Imagine the shock. I knew the box was a bit light when I picked it up, but when I held it in my hand, I was amazed. Revoltechs Geno Breaker and even Alphonse Elric outweigh this thing. In fact, the only metal to be found here are the screws, and rivets that make up joints. That’s impressive, since from an outside look, the point job would have you believe that the armor would put all kinds of weight on it, but it’s not the case here.
Maybe I should have done a bit more research about this particular exclusive, but everything I seem to find is in Japanese, and Google Chrome can’t translate everything. So far, due to the amount of pieces it came with, and the material used in the armor, I am led to believe that the purpose of this figure is “compatibility”. This comes from an RPG, and this particular armor must be found, not given. So, if I’m not wrong, I would guess that there are other armors around. This is where this figure would shine. Releasing other figures or just other armors in general that coincide with this particular mold would be superlative in retrospect. So, I hope that Square releases more of this for the sake of compatibility, or even for the sake of making an actual line from Dragon Quest, and not just an exclusive. 

"Have at thee!"

 Overall, I have to give this a 7.5/10.  I would have rated higher, but it lacks some certain flair and accessories to truly complete a figure nowadays. Also, though it may be a nice aspect to have such light armor, it doesn’t secure properly. When donned, you can still move it around while on the body without moving the main body itself. Again, because it’s light and retains articulation, it can be posed in beautiful dynamic ways…but you really don’t need to here. Even if you wanted to, it’s a Square figure, and not very compatible with your average stand. You aren’t just going to make do with your standard Tamashi Stage, and expect this to turn out alright. No extra faces to make him look either friendly, fierce, confused anything. It kind of leaves the toy as a blank for me when I’m imagining things to do with posing.
Legendary Armor and Legendary Robe

Azure battle

 Why get it? The same reason I did: rarity. I think this will have some real good resale value years down, and if not, it will certainly be rare this time next year, so you will be able to fetch a pretty penny for it. If you are a huge Dragon Quest fan, I would totally recommend this, because no matter what, it is a great figure.

The capes remind me of the Singapore flag, lol.

 In all honesty, I bought this because I thought of how rare it will be years later and a bit as a nod to finally have something in my collection with Akira Toriyama on it, and it not be Dragonball anything (not that anything is wrong with Dragonball, but it’s nice to have something else from him). I didn’t check until after it shipped, that it was made by Square. Not that I mind Square’s Play Arts (Kai) series. They are some great stuff in there, but I do not collect from Square. They simply offer a kind of style that I don’t feel like diving into again. Years ago, I had two different Sephiroth’s and a Kadaj. They were all customized with wings from Redeemer and Redeemer II figures from the Spawn series. They have since been back at my home in New Jersey, and I have not looked at them in almost 3 years. The last reason I do not collect Square, is the money and the grunge look. I would have to get pretty much everything I’m interested in, which would include everything Street Fighter (Ryu, Akuma, Cammy, Chun-Li), Bleach (Ichigo, Toshiro, Rukia), Nathan Drake, and Kratos. That is a pretty hefty chunk, besides finding them all still available at respectable retailers. Everything else I have has a certain amount of cartoon to it, and they would be a bit too close to real for them to fit in with everything else.

What legends are made of...

The only one of its kind in this collection.
 Finally, it will be quite difficult to leave you off with this doing what it does best. All I can really find are vids that show finding it. Maybe some of you have played this game, and it will bring some nostalgia to your eyes. Maybe someone has never found this armor. In whatever way, I hope these vids help in promoting the figure, because believe me…it is worth the buy (if the price has not risen).
 Yeah, this game has roots, son!
Just to see where it has gone for 25yr anniversary.
Enjoy the rest of this month everyone. We still have some nice releases scheduled for June, and I have some mail that I am ever-so-patiently waiting to arrive here. I swear, if there are two companies that have made real bucks off of me in my lifetime, it’s Bandai and Hasbro…but hey, who haven’t they raked money from?
Happy Hobbying, everyone!

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