Monday, January 2, 2017

Review 15: S. H. Figuarts Uchiha Itachi

  (I own none of the art displayed)
 Ah...Itachi Uchiha. What to say about this guy? Well, he ranks pretty high on the popularity polls of the most popular anime currently. It’s safe to say that he isn’t a nobody.

   Taking some relatively obvious cues from Illumi Zoldyck from Hunter X Hunter, being the more powerful older brother of the “cool guy” from the main story, belonging to a famous family of powerful members. Itachi plays the cliché trope of being the bad guy in the beginning to being one of the greatest heroes of the entire story. A child genius turned adult genius whose entire life is shrouded in the “do the wrong thing for the right reason” theme. He’s a ninja held responsible for annihilating his entire clan…yeah.

   Here’s the thing: Itachi is the man, wherever he is. He almost always knows what to do well before he gets on the scene. He’s deadly with a kunai(or probably any weapon he has), extremely gifted in ninjutsu, but most of all is his incredible mastery over his bloodline-limit, the Sharingan. Simply put, the Sharingan is a crazy powerful eye that can do all sorts of stuff, including giving the wielder access to black flames, a giant chakra samurai monster, a host of illusions, dimensional transportation, alter reality, and if you’re good enough, it becomes an even better eye with even better powers…like summoning meteors and stuff. Itachi can’t do it all, but he hardly needs it. He’s too smart in a “I subconsciously know everything” kind of way.

   If you want to know it all about the man, myth, and legend of Itachi, I implore you…read about it:

   So, right off the bat when this guy was first teased through the Bandai pages, I knew I was going to have him. The Naruto figures of the figuarts line isn’t the very best the line has to offer, so I wasn’t expecting something to write home to. I will say that Bandai did pull their resources together to make the best figure they could for their budget.

   Starting with the box art: it only gives images of the figure. That is satisfactory if you’re familiar enough with the character and the story in general. Personally, I would’ve liked some art of the character, though I understand that figuarts box packaging doesn’t normally do that. There is a red and black theme about the box, keeping in line with the Sharingan motif.

Paint: I didn’t think that there would be a lot to talk about here, judging from the initial production pictures. The main body itself(not including the faces) has a grand total of roughly 6 colors. Itachi’s inner jumpsuit is all one flat greyish-blue, with light grey “socks” over his ninja sandals that match the net and belt of the jumpsuit. The Konoha headband has its metallic sheen as always and his hair tie is red.. I’m glad that they did justice to the character by painting all his toenails, getting his necklace right and painting his ring (shu) on each ring finger of the right hands. One thing I have to point out: the Akatsuki robe. While it has a simple design and requires only 3 colors of paint, when the cloak is closed, the clod does not line up. It isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it sticks out like a sore thumb, especially since its Bandai that painted it. Something so small could’ve been done correctly.

When they make an ordinary looking guy one of the most powerful

Articulation: Understand that even though the robe is rubbery, it still restricts much movement…most of it, actually. Without it, you get the basics. Ball jointed head and neck. The torso is divided into 3 parts, with the top and bottom being ball jointed together via the belly area. The arms…well, they are designed to come off with adequate effort. Ball joints at the shoulders and a peg at the biceps. You then slide the arm pieces over the onto the peg, and that will give the figure new “shoulders”. Bicep swivels, double hinged elbows and ball jointed wrists as you would expect. The hips are the last of the ball joints that are kept right inside a swivel. Double jointed knees, strong ankle tilt, foot swivel and toe bend. Your basic criteria for figuarts. The arms are a bit finnicky at first. You have o get the feel down for inserting the shoulders correctly to get the arms in open poses. The torso articulation doesn’t exactly allow for a wide range of ab crunch and arching back, but I could understand that Itachi isn’t the one for dynamic posing. He’s just too damn cool for that.

This is actually very Un-Itachi...

Special Parts: Meh…here we go with possibly the most disappointing part. Let’s start with the pros: the cloak is an outside piece, and has nothing to do with the figure’s base articulation. Good call. In order to use the cloak, however, you have to remove the arms and the ponytail to ensure it fits properly. Next, the cloak has a hole coming from the left side that acts as a holder for a left hand. This way, you can have Itachi in his iconic “lazy hand” pose. You get 4 faces in total: normal stoic Sharingan, yelling Mangekyo, crazy bulging eye Mangekyo, and the warm, “Yuruse, Sasuke” face. For hands: fists, half-clenched hands, 2 fingered ninjutsu hands, left lazy hand, right pointing(casting Genjustu) finger and right “Yuruse, Sasuke” hand. Here’s another thing: Itachi is known for a bunch of sh*t he can do. They go far beyond just a damn cloak. Now, I am aware of things like overall budget, paint, parts count, etc, but there were no kunais, no flame parts, orange or black. Sure, Sasuke didn’t get any flame parts either, but he did at least get something iconic with his chidori parts.

The Brothers Uchiha


Overall Score: 7/10. And that’s pushing it. I like Itachi as much as the next guy. He’s a great character, and I had to consider it when giving him a score. I also had to consider the fact that for the most part, I had a plain figure with almost the best articulation in the series(second only to Kakashi). Is the cloak cool? Hell yeah! But the coolness really ends there for me. I really would’ve paid the extra 5-10 bucks and call it an exclusive if it came with at least 2 more effect pieces. Anything from flame effects, hands with kunais, crows…anything.

   Does Itachi stack up? Is he worth the buy? Well, one has to take into account that the Naruto line of figuarts is probably one of the lowest on the totem pole as far as molds. You’re not really working with a whole lot here. This is mainly in part due to keeping the clothing in line with the character, which makes the figure suffer. In most cases, the figures suffer the hardest in the shoulder connections(looking at you, Naruto molds, first Sasuke and Minato). So, having what Itachi has as a mold is pretty rewarding. However, considering a figure like Itachi a reward is a hard reflection of what you’re dealing with in the first place.

It works...a little bit.

   Itachi is only, and I mean only worth the buy if you really like the character and want to buy him before he’s scarce and the prices jack up, and/or you want to get as much of this line as you can. Look, I’ll say it again: I like the guy. I was all about this release as soon as I saw the prototype. It was just… an underwhelming experience. As good as the call was to make the cloak work in that fashion, I think it would’ve been a great idea to give him a few more effect pieces to complete him. I just don’t want to be caught in another repaint/retool scam for another Itachi with better pieces, like the example of the first SSJ Vegeta and Premium Color SSJ Vegeta with the “Final Flash” hands.

Taking his place among the Naruto roster

   Nevertheless, Itachi is a most welcomed addition to the line for me, and my collection in general. As much as I may have dogged him, he’s probably the #2 figure as a whole for the series. There are some creative things you can do with the one ­real effect piece he has which can add value to him altogether. He’s the best character in the show to be released so far.

Full Naruto cast so far

    Now, this here is more like it for me:

There's a wind coming...a hot one.

Happy Hobbying, everyone!

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