Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review 13: D-Arts Vile (Vava)

 Whether with a Rock or a Mega, there is no denying the superiority of this platformer. I figure I need not tell you all how epic this particular series of games has done to genre of platforming, since everyone should know, or at least have some clue of the effect and legend of the Blue Bomber. However, we are not here for the bomber himself per se, but his future incarnation, codename: X, and the reoccurring antagonist, who is the latest member of the Rockman/Megaman X D-Arts line up.

 Vile, or “Vava” in Japan, is one serious dude. He first busted the scene in the first Megaman X on the SNES, as a seemingly impossible to beat boss in giant Ride Armor. The fact of the matter is, X would have lost that fight, if not saved by Zero (in his first form). Vile would come back to make trouble for X and Zero many times over, and has personal grudge against X.

The thing about Vile, is that he’s unstable. Apparently, there is a screw loose in his head (which is closer to the real truth than you may realize), and he’s got this insatiable thirst to hunt down and destroy Mavericks. But he doesn’t just defeat them. He erases their existence as much as he can, crushing everything in his way…even things and people not in his way. 

He was also an S-A ranked officer in Commander Sigma’s 17th Elite Unit (X’s unit) before Sigma rebelled. But as unstable a Reploid he was, he never really counted himself amongst the ranks of the Maverick Hunters, and inevitably was labeled a Maverick instead. Looks like Vile was fine with that, since he joined up with Sigma as a voluntary Maverick, where his lust for destruction can be sated…especially wherever X is involved. Want the downiest of the lows on Vile, check it out here:  But let’s get on with this figure.
Nice paint job

Extra cannon leg is fully articulated.

Effect part. Woot.

I'm more of a vodka man, myself, but bourbon can work too.
Paint: As I said, he is the newest member of the D-Arts family for Megaman X, making him the 5th toy mold. Vile has always been known for his iconic purple with gold trim, and a helmet that hides his face in shadow. Bandai made sure to get this all down, with him being the best metallic paint job thus far (with the exception of that super-glossy X exclusive). Usually, I like to see the difference between the figure they used on the box art, and the figure that actually came, and there isn’t too much of a difference other than maybe the small vent on the bottom left chest plate. The box art seemed to sport the vent colored in black, vice the figure in possession leaves the base purple. 
The only one to have twin rectangular thrusters, vice a single circular one.

Double jointed.

Double jointed.

Strongest joints on the toy.
In a weird twist of old and new design, Bandai decided to make Vile in his in game Megaman X look, with the Sigma sigil in the front of his helmet, vice the red “V” that was there prior to his official defection. However, his right shoulder armor is the identical his left shoulder armor, ignoring the original SNES Megaman X design of his cannon being seated in the shoulder. So now, we have strange but highly functional (and even appreciated) meld of his Maverick Hunter X look with a stand-alone cannon with his Megaman X look with the Sigma sigil…I’m down. I mean, Maverick Hunter X is a pseudo-prequel/remake anyway, right? So I guess it all fits. Another thing to notice about Vile is his hands. Like his feet and torso, they are not painted flat white as the original art may have you to believe. X and both Zero’s all have hands painted flat white, and smooth, almost chubby transitions from the palms to the fingertips. It’s not that way with Vile. Like most conventional robots nowadays, his fingers are segmented, and it’s actually molded that way. Personally, I think it looks better than X and Zero’s look, but X and Zero are sculpted according to their original design, which portrays huge hands with gloves, but Vile’s might just be an aspect of him being an evil character, of just more “mature” a robot. Sigma, Spark Mandrill and such share similar hand manufacturing.

"Oooh, what's this?"

"Now, we're rockin!"
Articulation: Understand that Vile shares the same articulation of the whole Megaman X D-Arts line. Since I haven’t reviewed any member of this line, be sure to expect similar movement. Like anything belonging to Megaman, the feet are huge, and connected to large leg armors via a ball joint and hinge joint. It’s pretty interesting to note just how the ball joint is positioned in the foot to ensure maximum range of movement. We’ve got some double jointed knees going on, with a connecting plastic piece in between the top and bottom portions of the leg. The thigh piece is a bit special for Vile, since it is the only one that connects directly into the waist via ball joint without a connecting plastic part. The waist is connected via ball joint to the bottom torso/stomach area, and again to the chest area. Hop on over to the shoulders (which are again, connected by ball joints), you will find that the shoulder armor is connected very well. A rectangular peg and two “humps” affix themselves into two indents on opposite sides of the shoulders with a rectangular hole in between the shoulder articulation. I love this scheme, actually, since before I (nervously) inspected the shoulder, I assumed the affixation had something to do with some kind of adhesive like super glue, which of course would mean breakage if pressure is incorrectly applied. This is not to say that you cannot apply any yourself…just make sure it is just a single dab, and only that, since you may end up locking up the rest of the shoulder. The arrangement of the shoulder armor allows for a great range of motion, and you don’t want to impede that.


"I can haz 2? Muahahahaha!"
The rest of the arms follow the leg scheme, with the elbows being double jointed with connecting silver plastic pieces. The hands are connected by a single, small ball joint that quite frankly…scares me. The size of the joint allows of optimum range of motion for the hands, but after a few swaps, I’m afraid of breaking it. Personally, I don’t see any stress marks after the few swaps, but I’m still crossing my fingers. Finish it up with the top if the chest. You fill find that the neck is connected by ball joints on both the top and bottom. This is now a standard thing across the board with newer Bandai figures (that I have collected, at least). The head is interesting that even though Vile’s face is hidden behind his helmet, the black “shadow” is a part of the helmet itself. I thought this would happen. 

"I LOVE target practice."

Special Parts: Might be the best part of the figure. They didn’t skimp on this area, and it’s VERY appreciated. First thing’s first…Vile’s iconic shoulder cannon, the Front Runner. Vile isn’t Vile without it. You attach it by removing a small knob on the side of Vile’s blue backpack, and replacing it with the peg of the cannon’s arm. From there, you have his ammo belt. The entire thing is articulated, link by link. Insert the tab into the top hole of the cannon and slightly bend over the chain until the ball joint finds its place on the top of his backpack. The ball joint is there so that you may place the chain in either direction, if you so choose to attach it to Vile’s SECOND cannon. That’s right, they give vile another noise maker for his left shoulder, being attached in the same fashion as the first. 

Full open mode

Next up for weapons, is his leg. In case you didn’t know, Vile is somewhat of a weapons enthusiast (especially in Maverick Hunter X). Veil has been known to tote a concealed cannon of sorts on his left knee, and this toy makes it look awesome. You have to do some work to get it right, however. First, you must remove the leg itself. Next, replace the leg with the cannon leg. Remove the original left leg armor from the thigh, and the golden trim atop the armor. You then reattach the leg armor to the cannon leg. It’s a bit cumbersome and even scary when you change out the leg, but the final product is rewarding enough for me.

"After a long day's exterminating, I like to sit back with a relaxing drink."

"You know, I'm not as think as you drunk I am."

"Ready for Huntin'."
All cannon barrels have replaceable heads, in case you want to add the one effect piece that he has, which is a small yellow burst of translucent plastic. It is certainly the most pathetic of the effect parts in the line so far, but the assortment of all special pieces make up for it. He also has a second pair of open tensed hands (my favorite kind), and one right hand made specifically for holding his cup of bourbon. The cup of bourbon is the crème de la crème of the special parts for me. It comes from a scene in the X manga, in which X meets Vile in a bar, and he is sipping a glass of bourbon. He explains that as a Reploid, they cannot tell the difference if it’s “bourbon or mud”, and asks for a glass of bourbon when he dies. In all the figures I have collected, I never had anyone “classy” enough to have a drink as an effect part. I think it’s a great addition! Very nice gesture there, Bandai!

Interchangeability: Being a part of this family, Vile can inter change certain parts of his body. This gimmick was first introduced by Bandai for the release of X in his first armor, giving him the ability to look like he had obtained the armor piece by piece, like he does in the Megaman X games. I have switched out Vile’s forearms only. Not to say that the legs and torso and such cannot be switched out as well, but I like Vile’s character design, so I saw no reason to. Also, the holes in the cannon heads are perfect to match all the effect pieces of previous D-Arts Megaman X figures. 

"Zero always thought he was so cool."

"I can do it, too!"

Man, oh, man…I like Vile. Of all the toys in this line, he is certainly my favorite. Not that Vile is my favorite character of the five, but as far as a toy is concerned, he offers the best parts and articulation if ranked against everything else. Overall, I’m giving him a solid 9.25/10. Trust me, this dude is solid. He is full of great possibility, and posing potential. He is the first antagonist release, so he has a heavy burden on his shoulders. Now, I only knock him down .75 points because of the scary hand ball joints, the oh-so-very tight connection from the stomach to the waist, and finally, the pathetic looking “blast” effect part. I didn’t expect much…but I was hoping for more than that. 

You know its a bad day when this is outside your window.

This keeps coming out sideways.

Just an example of interchanging parts, and compatibility of the D-Arts family.
Vile doing what he does best...
Should you buy this guy? I say, yes. If you are a real fan of one the greatest platformers of our lifetime, then the first antagonist release deserves some love. However, if you just wanted X and Zero (like I’m sure a lot of people do), then hold off. He is certainly worth the buy, in every aspect. He comes with a ton of things to make him look like a Reploid’s worst nightmare. 

D-Arts X line family photo

Next up, I got some goodness in the mail, so I’m thinking about taking some pics building one of these. It’s been a while since I sat down and put shit together piece by piece, and since the new Master Grades of Gundam aren’t coming out with anything I want, I had to come back to these. Also, this is my first take at a Macross (Frontier) product, but I have always been a bit curious. I’m excited to see how it turns out.  Stay tuned!

Happy Hobbying, everyone!

1 comment:

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