I was pretty excited this week when I got my shipping confirmation for Bandai’s new Sailor Moon figure. I’ve been waiting twenty years for decent toys from this franchise. I honestly thought the franchise was never going to get an action figure treatment. But when Toei Animation announced a new series was going to start in winter 2013, Bandai saw their chance to make a few bucks off of the older fans.
But I’m pretty sure they never anticipated just how much demand there was for toys from this series. Most of the online Japanese retailers sold out of their preorders the first day they went up, and Bluefin even made a few comments about having to raise the amount of stock on their Amazon store because it was getting close to selling out as well. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was waiting all this time for some decent toys.
But the downside of anticipation is hype. While this Sailor Moon figure is good, I was a bit disappointed by some minor flaws with the final product. One of the biggest things to keep in mind when looking over this figure is that females are not Bandai’s strong suit. Armored mechs, robots, bug men, and rangers they’ve got down pat when it comes to production, but there’re some issues with clothing, skin, and facial features that they still haven’t perfected. So don’t expect Figma results here or you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment right out of the box.
Sculpt wise, Serena was based on the anime design more than the manga. She’s got her standard first appearance look with the sailor suit, short skirt, and long boots and gloves. A lot of the fabric pieces that have been added on, like her bows and skirt, are made of a rubbery plastic. These parts look really good visually, and prevent most of her movements from being hampered. But you’ll also want to watch out for them. A good example is the large bow on her back, which is only attached by a small piece and could easily be ripped off with little force.
While the sculpt does look good, there are a couple of practical issues that bug me. First are her feet. They’re a bit too short, which limits how much she can balance in dynamic poses. I can’t even tell you how many times she fell over during the photo shoot.
My second problem with the figure also encroaches on her articulation. The two meatballs on her head are glued on, but the ponytails attach to them with a ball joint. Unfortunately the ball joint is on the side, which really limits just how far back and forth her ponytails can move. So certain scenes just aren’t going to be possible because the hair can’t replicate that windswept look.
As for the rest of her articulation, Bandai did a pretty good job. Her head, wrists, and ankles are swivel/hinges. Her elbows and knees have very similar joints, but instead of being round they’re flat. This actually keeps them locked in place where the pegs attach to her limbs. So they really just act like a very versatile hinge with very limited swiveling. Her shoulders are ball joints attached to swivel/hinges. Her chest, lower torso, and hips are ball joints, while her thighs have swivels just underneath that joint.
Interestingly, Bandai went with shiny paints instead of the darker colors of the anime. The white of her uniform is pearlized, while the blue and pink areas are more metallic and have that glittery effect when you look closely in the light. Another strange choice is that they went with more of a pink color instead of red for her boots and bows. Continue to page 2…