Vault Review: Ori-Toy Limited & Guan Yu from The Three Kingdoms

This week I’m doing something special and taking a look at the independent toy company Ori-Toy.  Each day I’ll be discussing the company and their uniquely designed figures, while reviewing each of the five characters that they’ve released so far in their distinctive Ori-Fig line.

Ori-Toy Limited is a toy design company that started up in 2009 and is based in China.  Their goal is to leave a brand new mark on the toy world with their own distinct toys that not only look great on the shelf, but are also fun to play with.   Their mission statement says it best, “We love toys, we play toys and we make toys.”   That’s definitely the kind of company I love to support.

Ori-Toy has developed their own “buck” body system called the Ori-Fig.  Similar to Minimates, the unique design of these bodies can be adapted to any genre.  This allows licensed characters such as Batman or Spiderman to coexist with historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, or even mythological beings like Hercules, all while staying is the same scale and style.

Each figure comes with different face plates that display a variety of emotions or reactions in a simple animated style.  Usually there are three normal faces, and a fourth one that is overly exaggerated for fun.  I know the animated design isn’t for everyone, but I’m actually pretty fond of the Ori-Fig look.  It hits that perfect caricature look that you usually find in chibi or vinyl figures.

But unlike most vinyl figures, Ori-Figs have a nice amount of articulation that allows for some really great action poses.  Most of the joints are swivel/hinges, similar to Revoltech or Figma.  But they’ve also implemented the rarely seen diagonally cut swivel joint at the elbows.  It’s been a long time since I’ve dealt with this kind of joint, and I’d been spoiled over the last few years by these complicated multi-articulated figures.  But after playing with it for a while, I realized just how versatile this particular joint is.  It won’t be able to replace an arm with five or six joints, but it can come damned close.

Ori-Toy has chosen a unique subject as the focus for their inaugural figure line, The Three Kingdoms.  The Three Kingdoms is a roughly one hundred year period in ancient Chinese history that chronicles the fracturing and reunification of the country.  The story was originally chronicled in the epic historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and combines history, legend, and myth together into an 800,000 word classic that is well known throughout all of Eastern Asia.

Although most Western audiences have never read the historical classic, we have been introduced to the story through more modern pop culture means and references.  Most obvious of which is the video game series by the same name, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but there is also the Dynasty Warriors series, Kessen 2, and Destiny of an Emperor just to name a few.  The tale has also been adapted into various anime and manga series like Ikki Tousen and even the SD Gundam series Sangokuden.  Continue to page 2…

26 thoughts on “Vault Review: Ori-Toy Limited & Guan Yu from The Three Kingdoms

    1. Thanks Doc, glad you like them. I hadn’t heard of them till a couple weeks ago myself. But I’m glad I did, cause they’re just so damned fun to play around with.

  1. Those look quite cool.

    If I ran across those somewhere, I’d definitely pick up one or two (depending on price) to check out.

    1. I knew I forgot something.

      The Three Kingdom figures are priced at 1600 yen, while the exclusive Ravages of Time line are 1800 yen.

      Importing them will cost a bit more of course, but I think it’s definitely reasonable.

  2. They’re fun to play with and, though the joints take some getting used to, they allow for way more movement than you’d think. Plus, those extra faceplates are just so much fun. 🙂

  3. Oh wow! These are awesome. Tell me where I can get them and I’ll impoversh myself to collect them! Well okay, I’d buy one or two… so they could FIGHT!

    1. They do great fighting poses. There’s no easy way to get them at the moment unless you have a middleman. But the folks at Ori are working on it.

  4. They look pretty rad. I would most likely definitely pick up a Guan Yu for a reasonable price. They look like deluxe class playmobil dudes.

    1. I’ve been talking back and forth with one of the designers at Ori-Toy and he’s been really great about supplying us with products and information.

  5. I am a total mark for anything Kung Fu related and these are the coolest new figures I have seen in a while. DEFINITELY will buy if they become more readily available!

  6. dude, i’m an enormous fan of romance of the three kingdoms, and the dynasty warriors games… and these look cool, even though i’m about as opposed to the “designer vinyl” look as one could conceivably be. i’m behind on reading the other articles due to a change in my computer access (damned wife made off w/ the laptop!) but i’ll get to each of them, i promise.

    i’ve been craving more standard figures, hopefully in the 6 or 7 inch scales, for about 8 years now. GUAN YU!!!! he’d be my first purchase. 🙂

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