Revoltech Street Fighter Online

Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

We have a new guest reviewer tonight - Mubashar Ahmed! He's looking at several of the Kaiyodo Revoltech figures, a series I really don't cover enough. Take it away!

Thanks Michael. Really appreciate you letting us folks get a word in here.

Hey there good folks. I am reviewing a toy series from Japan, based on Street Fighter. Street Fighter is by now a household name, pretty much like Superman or Batman. Maybe less, but yet, a hugely popular name of a game that paved the way for many other games in the fighting genre. Of course, for hardcore fans, there was the occasional Street Fighter movie, and then the 2 animated pics, not to mention the animated series made and aired in the US. And of course, the many versions and releases of the game, with Street Fighter IV making the rounds presently. But the other media aside, Street Fighter toys have seen different forms of treatment, from the 3-3/4" figures collaborated with the GI Joe Line to the 5 inchers collaborated with X-men, to the more accurate toys from SOTA. They have always been popular. Some versions better than others.

The latest figures from the Street Fighter mythos are based on the new venture: Street Fighter Online, Mouse Generation. A quick word on the game these figures are based on. Though made with the same classic stances and moves, and characters (and introducing a few new ones to launch the game), to me the game was a turn off. Street Fighter is a nick-of-second hand to hand game, and not a single mouse weilding fanboy can beat the odds like one with a joystick can. You just don't need a broken mouse! To me, when I tried out the game, it didn't have that 'Street Fighter' appeal. But that could just be me.

Factoring in on the new venture of Street Fighter Online, Kaiyodo released new Street Fighter Figures, marketing the 'Revoltech' series for its extra poseability. Kaiyodo is a more 'robot' friendly line, and has done classic 80s manga and robot shows extensively with the 'revoltech' maximum poseability in tow. For those who don't know, Revoltech is supposed to be the new breakthrough in action figure articulation, with a promise of a wider degree of movement, standard poses made possible due to the ratchet tech of the revolver joints, and of couse, 360% of poseability on each joint (provided the sculpt does not cancel it out). When we think articulation, and Street Fighter, it is a match made in heaven. How else does Ryu-son get a Hadouken strike with accuracy intact, how else does Zangief get the pile driver on his opponents? We all know that stateside, when we speak articulation, the Marvel Legends revolution comes to mind. In my estimate, it will  always be the breakthrough point in action figure articulation history. Revoltech is billed to carry that further, creating its own niche in articulation revolution. Does it succeed? Lets find out (what I preceive anyways).

The first series has 7 figures. I am reviewing 4 of them (which I got my hands on). It wasn't as much the characters this time inducing me to open my wallet as it was the whole 'Revoltech' thing. I just wanted to try these out!
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo
Packaging: *** 1/2
These are small, built-to-purpose storable window boxes. Colourful? check. Informative? check, and displaying the character properly? check too. I knew these were produced in the orient, but can't yet help point out the flaws in the English instructions. Though the working of the revolver joint is explained accurately, there might be some other information, which might make you snigger a bit. Also, safety wise, the package is just good enough, but not shipping freindly. Two of my boxes were somewhat crushed from the corners. If thrown from a considerable height, the package might absorb the damage, keeping the figure safe, but a little more sturdiness wouldn't have hurt, particularly with fragile contents, as I found I could easily crush the package with a little exertion of a few fingers. The packaging also includes two ads for other figures upcoming in the revoltech line. As for graphics, can't ask for more I'd say. Also, the package is figure specific, both outside and inside. It shows the character itself, some other characters, various poses, and a nice section displaying what the revolver joint can do. One thing, these packages are cute, though that might just be me.

Sculpt: Hu Fei/Hico, Ken and Ryu - ***1/2, Zangief - ***
Kaiyodo initially said that these figures will look good in any proper pose, whether an action pose, or standing one. I have to agree. Whether standing with hands folded, or preparing a Hadouken or fire fist, the figures look good. Really good. The face sculpts are not exceptionalbut fairly good. The hair is the outstanding factor in the face sculpts, sculpted to look like a 3D animated model (more striking with the characters with more hair anyways). But the muscle details are what raise the bar here. The proportions of the muscle, hands and face are just fine. The texture on the clothes is done to a tee, with soft material used here and there, particularly on Ryu's, Ken's and Hu Fei's shirts. Also, since Ryu and Ken wear the same time of garb, they both have removable, flexible and movable shoulder pieces, which move as their arms do. Even the netting details on Hu Fei's costume have been sculpted, and not just painted, showing the good effort the sculptors put in. 

Now I thought that Ryu and Ken maybe knockoffs of each other, with just varying head sculpts. Well, they are'nt. The sculpts are different for these two. Only the upper part of the torse is similar, the rest is a different sculpt, and that's a very very good thing. As for the look of the figures, the only area where the hardcore sculpt/articulation crazy fan may see a flaw is when the articulation goes over a certain point, exposing the revolver joints. Yet, even with that minus, the sculpts look good. I tried them out in different poses, and I have to admit, I was surprised at some of the poses these little buggers could hold. I guess they put a lot of thought into this line. However, why the stars came down is a case of how you preceive this. Being a bit too judgemental, and for a moment, thinking I am not a Street Fighter fan, I would cite the problem as the bits compromised in the overall look of the sculpt when carried to certain degrees of articulation, whereby the revolver joints are exposed. We can readily see them on the elbows, knees on alligures, and on the hips as well in Zangief's case. The other thing which I haven't brought up till now, is that each and every part in each and every figure (i.e: head, leg, enkle, hands, torso, groin area) is removable and interchangeable. Hence, some folks see that as a blessing, others might see it as an unecessary feature, that compromises the sculpt in many ways. But I reserve judgement on that for now, accepting that these are for specific markets and consumers and are trying to walk a fine line between look and function. Hence, a case of form following function, to a level. I for one, find it acceptable. 

One thing that ticked me off, and will do so many others is the scale. These are 4" - 4.25" figures, meaning you will have a hard time fitting them with other figures. A bit larger for 3-3/4" figures and too small for 5" figures, these are strictly in a category of their own. So, another factor making them strictly for the fanboy base. Why Kaiyodo did this is beyond me. They went to the trouble of English interpratition so that people abroad could buy these, and did so without considering market trends, and brought an uncommon scale into the market. Talking scale, I should let readers know that I rated this on individual figures. If I rated this as a set, consider a half star taken off in Zangief's case. For, a huge let down for me was the scale of the figures among themselves. Even adumbstruck fan knows that Zangief is probably one of the biggest (sizewise) of the Street Fighters. He towers over Ryu, Ken and the like. Yet here, he is only slightly taller, and packs just a little more bulk. Seems to me someone let go the case of accuracy for the sake of cost (of making different sized packages and all). And that in my book, is a  big no no. They did however, as stated earlier make figure specific packaging. (Then, why not fix this problem?)

Paint: ****
Kaiyodo did a splendid job here. A good paint job if I ever saw one. Of course, Ryu and Ken and Zangief are mostly, essentially two coloured warriors, with a plain garment and then the skin tone. For some reason the tone on these three appears to be different. There is not even the slightest slopiness. Considering the tiny scale, that's quite impressive. Hu Fei stands out in this category. He has a radiant garment, with different colours, and the fading designs. And the painterscaptured it beautifully. I would like to say, that he looks better than in the gaming media! Zangief's scars are done quite well. But the paint really stands out in the muscles. They went to the trouble of putting slightly different paint aps in the creases, shape and cuts of Zangief, making for a more realistic look. It is not too overly done, and blends in very nicely with the rest of the paint. Ryu is done plainly, but because of the sculpt, seems textured appropriately. There is no two tone on the garments, but even without it, these look pretty good.

Articualtion - Hu Fei/Hico, Ken and Ryu: ****, Zangief - ***1/2
The main reason for me buying these figures orthefocal point of their marketability, is their articulation.Lets see, does the revolver tech indeed make a breakthrough? Yes, it does. And how much is the impact of the break through? Well, that's an entirely different question. Based on different things and perceptions, I gave this a lower score than it should have been. (It should have been a 4 star for each figure, no less). For one, there is no doubt, the joints have 360% moveability, removable, replaceable and an accessory to the posing. The figures are basically linked limb by limb with the revolver joints of different sizes, depending on the body part.

The ratchet joints work in that pleasing way that you could click here and there, and with a slightest click and change in angle, one limb, or foot can easily support the figure's weight, leaving it in an impressive pose along the way. However, the  jointsare also a hindrance - if this is seen as a toy, rather than a display figure. This depends on what you expect. If you expect to play with these with 'fluidity' in articulation, then it is not for you. The revolver inserts/joints are tight in some places. That will allow you to rotate the limb from side to side and then forward or backward with difficulty. Going to and fro is not a problem, going sideways and to and fro at the same time is. For instance, In the Marvel Legends Cable or Angel I have, I can easily move the leg sideways andforward and backward fluidly (in most cases), but in this case (almost all 4  figures are the same), it is not so. With time, I believe, the inserts/joints will slip up a bit, and fluid articulation can be made, but till then, expect to move a limb, one way at a time, else you might break the ratchet joint, and I don't think Zangief will be happy about lending one of his to Ryu, if you see what I mean. (There are no extra revolver joints.) 

However, if fluid articulationis not an issue, then I believe this category has a star more. The STRONGEST point of the revolver joint? It's degrees. The angles that I can acheive (keeping in mind how a normal human being would pose) are quite impressive. They can fold hands, and cock their fist really close to their faces, forming very realistic poses. The extra pair of hands helps. In that context, if you are looking only to display these, articulation wise, these figures are gold. They indeed have something new. An action figure doing a classic kung-fu stance, and standing on its own on one footis pretty impressive, I'd say. A note though, that on almost all 4 figures, the articulation suffers at the waist. There is a fairly small portion of the mid axis revolver joint linking the abdomen to the hips, and the waist by itself does not move, only the upper torso does. However so far, this hasn't  stopped me getting any imaginable pose. And I am an artist! The only restrictions, naturally come from the sculpt itself. That is why Zangief dude here lost a star and a half, as his neck has a hard time going side to side.But up and down? i   pretty good. Also, if you do not mind the fact that the figures' limbs can be removed, replaced, or even echanged, then you might like the fact that the limbs can also be extended to a degree to get more poseability. This especially works in the most squatty, or cringy of poses. So, that said, what then is the verdict on the most important factor in this series? In my estimate, a fairly impressive tech that enhances poseability and gives you some killer displays on the shelf.

Accessories - ***
All the figures come with two extra pairs of hands. Somehow, the hands suit the specific figures. The coolest thing is that the hands are exchangable between figures. I used one of Hu Fei's hands to help Zangief obtain the crossed arms pose. I could give Zangief's bulky shoes to Ryu, orKen. Other than that, Ken, Ryuand Zangief come with thior signature enerygy blasts. Hu Fei comes with an axe. Also, each figure comes with an extra stand, which I am not counting as an accessory. As part of the maximum poseabilitystatement, I take the stand as an essential part of the mix. Why then three stars, with two pairs of hands and a energy blast or weapon? Well, what I would really have loved to see is an extra head sculpt. A grimmace, or gape or mopey expression. Hu Fei looks like he is in a trance. Ken has a perpetual smirk, so that when he is getting trounced, he is doing so happily. Zangief has that look like he is eyeing something indecently.  You get the point. An extra head sculpt would have upped the bar for the figures. My biggest gripe? No extra revolver joints. Those things are different sizes. I am not worrying about breaking the bigger one connecting the sternum. It is the wee ankle and elbow ones I am worried about. Any impatient guy who wants to get these rocking may realise too late that the posing works at a 'pace'. What if a joint breaks? Well, then your figure is pretty much useless. A crippled Street Fighter is no Street Fighter. Now maybe I am expecting too much here, but when you consider the value (more on that below) you can't help but feel that.

Fun factor: ***1/2
Cool is the word here friends. As I mentioned before, if you are a Street Fighter fan, these figures are gold. You could have hours of fun on end posing them, displaying them, or looking at different possibilities where a figure uses another's 'tools' to up the ante. They are for ages 15 and over which is understandable, as they comprise small parts by tons, and are of course too fragile for a ten year old to 'toy' with, but just so formidable for a more understanding 15 year old to appreciate them.

Value: **1/2
This where the real downer comes. For super poseable, 4 - 4.25", colourful, accesspry endowed figures, a price tag of $ 25.00 is a hefty sum to incur. Perhaps an extra head sculpt would have brought this category another half star or so. I know they are a new rage, particularly now, in the orient, where they may be selling for a lesser amount. But this is what I saw at least two retailers in my jurisdiction asking for them. That's right folks, fandom suffers from 'veiled exploitation' here, again. 

Things to Watch Out For -
For one, these are for ages 15 and up, understandably. Small parts, real small, and moreover they are fragile. We don't need an impatient little tyke twsiting and turning those joints as he pleases and breaking apart an expensive figure. So, the real thing to watch out for? Those joints, when you get cracking with these on first sight. Gradually, as you get a hang of them, it will not be a problem.

Overall: ***
Revoltech has given us something old, with new panache. Considering the minuses and pluses, I think its safe to say that it is a series I would not go into wholeheartedly right away, (considering the present price tag in local areas), but definitely give it a try for a figure or two to start with.Fanboys will no doubt be pleased. The rest of us, will have to experiment, it learn the curve and then decide for ourselves if it is a series that sums up to more figures in the collection.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Hu Fei/Hico, Ken and Ryu - ***1/2, Zangief - ***
Paint - ****
Articulation - Hu Fei/Hico, Ken and Ryu: ****, Zangief - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Street Fighter Revoltech action figures from Kaiyodo

Figure from the collection of Mubashar Ahmed.

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