Not to be outdone by fellow FPNYC blogger Unkie Dev, my wife and I also got an addition to our family this week. Only ours has come in the form of a cat. “Pixel” is currently hiding under a bookshelf after a an hour long train ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn, because that kind of thing is apparently traumatizing to cats. Anywho, belated congrads to Unkie Dev, his wife and their child, I wish them nothing but the best, even though this congrads comes a month late.
Meanwhile this cat ( and several video games), demand my full attention, which means it’s time for the annual best of lists. Obviously this is a 2 parter, with the 2nd part dedicated to comics. I’m starting off with toys in the event that the Mayan Apocalypse is a legit thing and I need something to ensure my sad, so very,very sad, legacy.
While it’s been forever, since I’ve picked up any sort of Gunpla, Bandai has continuously impressed me with the majority of the releases from the -Arts line over this past year. The former king Revoltech, IMO, has gotten a tad lazy with some of their stuff as of late, focusing on Western properties with various degrees of quality as the results. Bandai, on the other hand, stuck with the properties they’re known for (Gundam, Godzilla, Dragon Ball Z), added some new ones (Tiger and Bunny), and embraced some popular fan-favorite video game series (Persona 4, Megaman). It’s also worth nothing Figma had the blessing of the Nintendo license, and while the Samus Aran and Link Figmas are AMAZING, it’s not enough to carry the line when the rest of their non-Beserk offerings are so focused on barely legal school girls (Although I am a fan of their Fate/Zero stuff too). But the -Arts is definitely my import line of the year, as they’veall had fantastic sculpts, unparalleled paints jobs, fantastic articulation, and feel a lot more sturdier than their peers. Also thanks to the distribution deal with Bluefinn, cheaper. In a year where both Revoltech and Figma kind of dropped the ball, Bandai’s Arts stepped up big.
In terms of video game figures though, NECA certainly put some cool stuff out this year, but Square Enix definitely showed up to play. With only 1 “new” Final Fantasy game to tie-into, Square did it damnedest to secure a lot of huge 3-party licenses, ones that had fans dying for toys for years. Both their Halo, Street Fighter and Metal Gear lines saw figures released on popular characters never done the justice they deserved, and Squenix branched out to handle huge western properties like the Batman: Arkham Asylum/City titles and Mass Effect. Not to mention cult title Vanquish finally getting the plastic treatment we were promised! And like I mentioned in the past, COWBOY BEBOP PLAY ARTS FIGURES, HOW COOL IS THAT?! 2013 also looks like another promising year for the company, but more on that in a few weeks. They’re another best for being the best buy at their scale/price, and delivering usually solid products that represent both Easter and Western Video Game properties.
I tend to talk about super hero toys a lot here (UNDERSTATEMENT, yes I am aware of this), but I got to say, I’m a little underwhelmed by what were offered this year overall. DC Collectibles is working on putting out more articulate toys, but we won’t see the fruits of their labor until 2012 most likely. Mattel’s DC All Stars line felt like a no-show this year, with the exception of some of the Bat-toys that made it on the shelf this year. Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line is getting better, but I think I’m going to give the nod to the return of the Legends line, which was slightly more diverse, although repaint heavy. 2013 will be interesting for both line for certain, given we’re now in the Marvel NOW era of comics, meaning everyone’s getting a redesign. Also props to the Hot Toys Avengers line, which has been nothing short of amazing.
Overall, if I were to choose a single figure to be my toy of the year, it would be the Figma Samus Aran figure. It’s perfect in every way and it’s a great reward for all of us who waited so long for a quality figure based on the legendary Nintendo franchise. That’s all for this week, next time, I talk about comics!