One of the more interesting toy lines to come along in a while is Revoltech’s new Buddhist Statue Collection, sculpted by Takeya Takayuki. Going against the core teachings of Buddha himself, I never knew how cool the toy of a Buddhist god could be.
The first thing you need to know about Buddhist deities is that most of them are shared throughout the various religious and cultural beliefs in Asia. Most of these characters originated in Hinduism and were later adapted into Buddhism. A character like Tamonten will have multiple names like Vaisravana or Bishamonten, but will usually still represents the same religious significance to the various religions of the region with only minor differences to his appearance.
Tamonten is the King of the North, and the commander of the Four Heavenly Kings that rule over the cardinal directions. He is the scourge of evil-doers, and usually is wearing battle armor while carrying either a halberd or mace that symbolizes his power. In some religions he is even shown with a mongoose to symbolize his victory over the snake-like Naga. Tamonten is also the Lord of Wealth and is usually depicted holding a small pagoda, which symbolizes the divine treasure house.
The first thing that struck me about this figure is how intricate his sculpt is. I’m talking a Mandarin Spawn type level of detail here. Every piece of armor is decorated in a very ornate fashion, while every bit of clothing is folded and layered to look as realistic as possible.
The paint job only adds to the sculpt, while taking nothing away. Thinly raised pieces like his armor’s design work are colored with almost no slop, which is pretty amazing. I was also very impressed by the washes that were given to the figure’s clothing. They really bring out the tiny recessed sculpts, while at the same time giving him that worn statue look. This is most noticeable with the gold on his armor and halo, which look oxidized and a bit tarnished.
Tamonten’s articulation is as detailed as you’d imagine from a Revoltech. His head, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, knees, and ankles are all revolver joints. What really surprised me was that his halo, shoulder pads, and the four plates of his lower body armor are also articulated with revolver joints. This really helps in preventing his sculpt from getting in the way of posing. Continue to page 2…
14 thoughts on “Vault Review: Revoltech
Takeya Part 1, Tamonten”
I am so frakking annoyed that I missed pre-ordering and purchasing the first two Takeya figures. I’ve been looking forward to them since they were first unveiled, and somehow I completely missed the window to purchase them. Oh well, at least I have Ashura pre-ordered, and he’s the one I wanted most.
Heads Up! Amiami put up a re-release preorder on Tamonten for anyone interested.
and part two: http://www.amiami.com/top/detail/detail?gcode=FIG-IPN-3392&page=top
this dude just looks incredible. crazy excellent, and color me very jealous. no chance you snagged a few photos of this badass next to some other toys, is there? just for a size comparison or anything? like you mention his size, but you buy a lot of revoltech-scale stuff, is he small for a revoltech, or just smaller than you’d like? is he like MU sized?
Yeah, he’s a bit smaller than a normal Revoltech. I think they had to cut down on his size to financially accommodate for all the pieces and paint apps. Or maybe Takeya just likes his figures small…
“Buddhist action figures are probably the most oxymoronic thing I’ve seen”.
Actually, hundreds of years ago, smaller religious statues (usually a foot or less in height) were the equivalent of action figures in Japan. People would sculpt them, collect them, and tell heroic stories associated with these characters.
I think he was just referring to how various religions frown upon worldly goods in general so having an action figure is kind of like the ultimate slap in the face. Kind of like how the (I’m typing this sentence. I am on the internet… typing the words “the bible says”. Congratulations, world. It finally happened.) bible says “you shall not make for yourself a graven image” and yet you find people buying, for instance, a giant Jesus bust candle… not in fun, even… Who the hell even knows where it came from? Was it a gift? I don’t know. And it sits on your piano staring at you for 20 years before you give the piano to your children and make them accept the candle and then it sits at THEIR house on THEIR piano being creepy and just generally daring anyone to throw it away or light it and finally you get rid of it at a white elephant party–a second white elephant party, mind, because it was given back during the first one and came back to your house for a whole other year.
At any rate, like that.
Only slightly less creepy.
Both the original statement about Buddhists and your statement about graven images are oversimplified and somewhat missing the point of each teaching.
The commandment about graven images is about avoiding idolatry. It’s not saying don’t craft a uh, giant Jesus bust candle. It’s saying don’t venerate the giant Jesus bust candle, don’t give it undue power, don’t treat it as you would treat God. In the context of your example, the inability to divest the giant Jesus bust candle would be the violation of the teaching, but the actual crafting of it wouldn’t be. And actually burning it, its presumable intended use, would likely having fascinating results.
Similarly, it sounds like Vault is taking the concept of non-possession and construing it as not owning objects, which isn’t quite the aim (unless you’re the standard stereotypical TV monk). The idea of non-possession isn’t so much about not owning things, but rather divesting yourself of the sense of entitlement, the emotional power that comes with ownership. Vault’s right in that, as toy collectors, we consciously or not often let the little plastic men make the decisions for us, but the idea of a Buddhist representation (even in figure form) isn’t really against the teaching at all. Provided that it doesn’t have power over you of course.
um… not to turn this into a religious ramshackle, but yes, divesting yourself of worldly possession was exactly about not owning things. minimalism, the least you needed to survive.
but more to the point, buddhists descend from hindus, whether they like it or not, and hindus believe in the concept of darshan (or darsana), which states that the god can be seen, and see, believers through physical manifestations like statues. the god uses this as a means of passing along blessings, while the viewer gets to commune w/ said deity (or guru, it works for them too) there’s nothing unnatural or unsightly about owning a statue of a deity to those religions, though you would want it in a venerated location in the home where visitors could also stop by and worship the statue. while buddhists do not believe in a concept similar, they certainly don’t share the western fear of idolatry (which contrary to what MM says above would absolutely include the relentless churnout of product w/ jesus or mary’s visage on it… the concept of veneration is a slippery slope, because for so many folks, the item becomes the expression of their love for jesus, who actually told people not to worship him either… but basically, they replace chasteness and properness in the eyes of the lord for jesus hoarding… that will NOT get you into heaven.) catholics in particular have struggled for centuries to properly define idolatry, as any act or object that draws attention away from the lord was once considered idolatry, but then they developed three foot hats and stitched their robes w/ gold… but i’ll stop there. it’s a toy board.
needless to say, the buddhists don’t care about your action figure, and the hindus would actually love it… so no harm no foul. 🙂 just remember to leave the figures some clarified butter once in a while, cool?
Wow, I didn’t expect such a great theological debate. That’s pretty cool.
My personal understanding of Buddhist teachings is that material possessions are an obstacle to happiness. Every item you own you are responsible for, and the act of worrying about and taking care of those responsibilities prevents a person from coming to terms with themselves and the world around them.
There’s nothing wrong with a Tamonten figure in itself, but the fact that I want it and the rest of the collection really just gets in the way of my true happiness and spiritual growth.
exactly… you’re blocking your path to true happiness… but then again, since the Way is Everything and Nothing, perhaps you’re not.
I had never thought of it that way, but the idea that the feelings towards the material possessions are the obstacle to happiness and not the possessions themselves is interesting.
Never expected this to become a religious discussion.
The point that I was trying to make was:
In Japan, for the general public, Buddhism started out more as a collectors’ hobby than a religion. So, in this situation, Revoltech Takeya is just applying a new twist to something that has already existed for centuries – there is nothing oxymoronic about Buddhist action figures in/from Japan.
As for all the talk about the Buddhist religion, Buddhism in Japan is practically a different religion than that in the rest of Asia – but I think this would be a more appropriate topic to be discussed elsewhere.
That’s pretty interesting. I didn’t know Japanese collector culture went that far back. Thanks for the insight, Dorkey.
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