Toki - Fist of the North Star

   "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."

Ridureyu is back with another look at a great Revoltech figure - tell us all about him, R!

Fiction in general is full of Christ analogues.  Gandalf returned from the dead.  Neo was "The One" who sacrificed himself in a cross pose to save humanity.  Aslan just flat-out said he was Jesus in Narnia.  When compared to Toki, they all seem

Toki, from the '80s manga/anime Fist of the North Star, is one of the Hokuto brothers - four men adopted to learn Hokuto Shinken, the Divine Fist of the North Star.   It just might be the goriest fighting style possible, as Hokuto Shinken uses acupressure points to make people rupture into bloody messes.  The series created a strange combination of Mad Max aesthetics and exploding heads, but then evolved into a deep, tragic drama... with exploding heads. 

Hokuto Shinken is meant to have only one successor, and the fact that four people were trained at once causes most of the conflict in the series.  Toki was originally tapped to be the successor, but thermonuclear war kind of put a monkey wrench in that.  When the bombs dropped, Toki gave up his place in the shelter to save the hero, his lover, and a bunch of unnamed children.  He survived, but ended up with severe radiation poisoning.  Toki gave up his successorship to Kenshiro, the youngest brother (and main hero of the series), and chose to live out the rest of his days using his knowledge to heal others.  When Raoh, the eldest brother, began conquering the post-apocalyptic world, he jailed Toki in Cassandra Prison to keep him out of the way.  When Ken rescued Toki, this put him at odds with Raoh for the majority of the series.

Toki may have spent his entire tenure in Fist of the North Star slowly weakening and dying, but he was still extremely powerful.  Although he wished to avoid violence, he was still quite capable of mowing through enemy bandits, raiders, soldiers, and would-be murderers, using his expert knowledge of pressure points to give them "merciful," painless deaths.  Toki's enemies usually felt pretty happy until they exploded.    He fought Raoh twice, and nearly defeated him the second time - that fight was also the only time Raoh showed mercy, as he broke down in tears and refused to kill someone as kind as Toki.  When Toki finally died, it was because he let a villain kill him in order to teach Kenshiro true strength in sadness, and thus unlock Hokuto Shinken's ultimate technique.

So, in review, we have Toki, nicknamed the "Man of Miracles" and "Benevolent Savior," who sacrificially gave everything he had to heal, help, and save others, was so kind that the main villain refused to kill him, and gave his life to help the hero and save others.  He doesn't come back from the dead, but his spirit talks to Raoh a few times, Obi-Wan-style.  That, and he looks like most classical depictions of Jesus.  Toki grew the beard in prison, but it was really, really obvious.  He even dressed in a martial arts version of the traditional "Jesus toga," just in case a few people had trouble figuring it out.

Revoltech (As in "Revolve-Tech," not "Revolt Tech") is a company owned by Kaiyodo that specializes in a patented "revoltech" ball-and-socket joint, which isn't terribly different from some of the more flexible joints in the Western market.  But they tend to be durable and more modular than what is seen in most other figures, which is a bonus.  Revoltech started out making robot toys, but then branched out to anime, manga, video games, and even Godzilla.  Their Fist of the North Star line has been releasing single figures on and off for the last few years.  They don't have "waves," per se, but each individual figure is about as likely to be available as any others.  Toki is number 005 in the line, one of the earlier pieces to be released.

Packaging - ****
Packaging is standard across this line, in box format with a plastic tray.  No twist-ties, rubber bands, tape, or holes in the tray are used, and yet everything fits well into their little slots, and stays in place.  Toki is also insulated with a few sheets of soft, baglike plastic.  It's a big package, but it will protect your figure as it ships across the ocean.  It's also very reusable, which is good for storage purposes.

Sculpting - ****
Revoltech credits its sculptors right on the package, and as far as I can tell every figure in Fist of the North Star has been sculpted by Ken Matsuura.  I take off my hat to Mr. Matsuura, because his work has been universally fantastic.  Toki looks exactly as he does in the series - that is to say, according to Tetsuo Hara's original artwork, and specifically when he was best-drawn.  As I've already said, that means he basically looks like Kung-Fu Jesus.  He's muscular, but a little more slender than most of the other fighters.  His clothing perfectly replicates what he usually wore in the series - plain, pale clothes, a little old and worn, with one misplaced shoulder pad.  He probably had two at one point, and just never bothered to replace the one he lost.  His face is also flawless - you could set it up in a church building and no one would be the wiser.  It isn't just in the likeness, as Toki's expression is also flawless.  You can almost see the calm serenity in his eyes.  His beard has individually sculpted hairs, and there is even some detailing on his headband.  Toki's loincloth is sculpted from soft, flexible plastic, and does not get in the way of his articulation.

I have to spoil one of his accessories here:  Toki comes with an alternate head to turn him into another character: Amiba.  Amiba was a cocky little jerk who was so sure that he knew everything that he tried to "fix" Toki's patients for him, inadvertently injuring them even more.  Toki accidentally hit him in the face while trying to push him out of the way, and Amiba responded to this slight by helping Raoh imprison Toki, and then promptly impersonating him just to smear his name.  Instead of healing others, Amiba used people as human guinea pigs to teach himself pressure points, and his "experiments" turned the Village of Miracles into a hellhole.  Ken fought Amiba and almost lost purely because he was fooled into thinking that Toki had become a cruel monster, but when he found out the truth, he dispatched Amiba pretty quickly.  The Amiba head is hilarious - to start with, it matches the fact that he looks relatively like pre-disease Toki, but different enough that Kenshiro should have been ashamed for falling for it.  Amiba's face is essentially Toki's with black hair, no beard, and some of Christopher Lambert's facial features.  The artist admitted the celebrity resemblance.  The figure also has the shiftiest facial expression ever.  Just looking at this toy makes me check my wallet to make sure he hasn't swiped it.  It's utterly fantastic!  Amiba really isn't a major character, although he has gained new life recently in the PS3/XBox 360 game, Ken's Rage, as Jagi's partner in crime in their alternate universe story mode.  The game downplays Amiba's creepier aspects in favor of the comic relief, and the result is honestly hilarious.  Coincidentally, the Amiba head reflects game-Amiba's humor more than series-Amiba's creepiness, despite the figure coming out first.

Toki is in the same 6" scale as other Revoltech Fist of the North Star figures.  That is to say, he is exactly 6" tall.  This makes him kind of small when put next to most 6" figures, since western lines tend to make 6 1/2" the standard.  That's too bad, although Toki doesn't have to be incredibly tall.

Paint - ***1/2
Technically, Toki's paint is perfect.  Everything that should be gray is gray, he has subtle paint washes over his skin and clothes to bring out the details, and his face shows especially good work.  However, I am docking half a star because this is one of the rare Revoltech figures of mine to actually have paint slop. There is some gray splatter on one arm, and the Amiba head has a little black speck on the nose.  Most toylines have a lot of this as a general rule, but it's so rare in Revoltech lines that it means more the few times it happens.  Toki actually gave me some quality control problems in general, but more on that later.

Other than the mistakes, the paint is perfect.  Nothing is gloppy or flat, and if you ignore the little speck on Amiba, both faces are flawless. The paint really highlights Toki's calmness and Amiba's shifty smirk.

Articulation - ****
Let's get this out of the way: Toki's articulation is awesome and deserves four stars, but getting this figure to work gave me nightmares.  I have only handled this one, and thus I don't know if it's a general problem or I'm just special, but some of the glue from his loincloth had leaked into a hip joint, freezing Toki's leg in place.  It took a lot of careful work with an X-Acto knife to fix, although Toki looks undamaged.  And then I had trouble with his wrist joints.  Pretty much all revoltech joints are designed to be easily removable - that's how you swap heads, hands, and whatever.  Specifically, you should be able to take the ball joint itself out of his wrist as a separate piece.  It is very important that both pegs on that joint are loose enough to offer full rotation in all directions.  However, both of Toki's wrist joints were stuck in his forearm, and it took forever to carefully wriggle and jimmy them free without damaging any plastic.  Thankfully, after freeing those joints, they have worked perfectly fine since, and haven't given me any trouble whatsoever.  Those quality control issues raise some red flags, but if they aren't common and I'm just unlucky, then there is no reason to deduct points.  Just be careful.

The real test for Toki's articulation comes from the character's history in the series.  His specific fighting style used flowing, tai chi-like movements, and the fact that you can put him in those poses is fantastic.  His loincloth rarely gets in the way of movement, not even when seated or doing a flying kick.  You can also easily place him in a lotus position, which is how he spent most of his jail time.  And if you lift his hands from there, you can mimic the first reveal of his "compassionate" attacks, most infamously used in that Guilty Gear-esque fighting game as his Instant Kill move.  If you've played the game, you've probably seen it more times than you want to admit.  Leaving him in that pose does not permanently alter the loincloth, as it will spring back to a vertical position eventually.  And of course, you can pose him coughing into his hand, stooping over from illness, or doing both.  Because when he wasn't fighting or healing people, that's just what Toki did.

For another example of how good his articulation is, look at this:  In Ken's Rage, Jagi's story mode ends with Jagi and Amiba walking into the sunset, arms around each other's waists.  You can mimic this extraordinarily disturbing pose with both figures, and one of the pictures in this review shows just that.  You have been forewarned.

Also, his hair is articulated.  That's kind of funny.

Accessories - ****
Technically, Toki does not come with many accessories, numerically-speaking.  He has a standard Revoltech stand, three sets of hands, a pair of shackles, and of course the Amiba head.  I've already said a piece on the Amiba head, so I'll just reiterate that it is fantastic and essentially gives you two figures for the price of one.

The hands are really the only ones Toki needs, although I would not have been unhappy to see a pair that could hold accessories.  He has two closed fists, two flat palms, and two generic open hands that match most casual poses as well as nearly all of his battle stances or attacks.  With those three, you can really take nearly any pose he used in the series.  About the only thing I could think of aside from a hand meant to hold an item would be pointing fingers, since all Hokuto Shinken practitioners poked at least somebody to death.  But it's not that big an issue.

The shackles are a nice little addition, even if Toki only wore them for about five panels of the manga.  They are made of plastic with metal chains, and can be attached by removing his hands, slipping the shackles over his wrists, and then putting his hands back on.  They look good, and are in scale - especially those chains.  It's nice to include these, as Toki never really interacted with specific items much, or at least nothing that's "accessory material."  Giving him those shackles is a nice way to pad out the figure without reaching too far.

Value - **1/2
And now we have the kicker.  Revoltech figures pretty much always cost $30.  You might be able to swing it down to $25 if you look hard, but then just as many will be $35 or more.  In the Fist of the North Star line, really popular characters tend to go up near $40, and at least one has always retailed for $100 (Raoh with his gigantic horse).  $30 is only 33% more than the average MOTU Classics figure, and this is certainly a higher-quality toy, but it hurts the wallet just the same.

Things to Watch Out For -
If it turns out that I am not a special case, then watch the hip joints and watch the wrists.  If they seem stuck, look to see if it's glue or dried paint, and act accordingly.  Also, as is the case with every single Revoltech figure, the ball joint on top of its stand needs to be worked a little to begin with.  Just take it and loosen it up carefully so you can turn it without putting any stress on the plastic.

Overall- *** or ****
If other Tokis have the same quality control issues as mine, then the score goes down.  If they don't, however, then this is a fantastic, solid figure.  Toki si one of the most important characters in the series, and getting Amiba's head is just an awesome bonus.  If you're not a fan of Fist of the North Star then it won't mean as much to you, although you can always sneak him into a religious display and see if anybody notices.  Nobody will.

Where to Buy
Again, Amazon and eBay have everything.  Most Fist of the North Star figures sell out relatively quick;y wherever they are, and Toki is no different, although you can find him with just a little google-fu.

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ridureyu.

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