Fist of the North Star #23 - RAOH HOKUTO MUSOU (Ken's Rage) VERSION
Revoltech - 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."

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

Every hero needs a great villain, and sometimes those villains overtake their entire series.  Darth Vader is easily more popular than Luke Skywalker, for example.  In Fist of the North Star, we have Raoh.  To give some context, Raoh is absolutely huge in Japan.  He's famous enough that they gave him a real-life funeral to promote the remake movies a couple of years ago.  Those movies were even named after him, despite technically being about Kenshiro, the series hero.  Raoh also got himself a thirteen-episode anime, Legends of the Dark King, which for some reason got a region 1 DVD and full dub before the original Fist of the North Star.

Raoh was the oldest of four brothers trained in Hokuto Shinken ("The Divine Fist of the North Star"), a martial art that utilizes acupressure points to completely obliterate opponents.  It is traditionally passed down from one master to one student, which means that Master Ryuken had no idea what he was doing when he adopted four kids at once.  Raoh was the oldest and technically most powerful, but Ryuken denied him successorship because of certain flaws in his character.  You know, the kinds of flaws that involve trampling and destroying everything in sight.  This is what Raoh did with his life - taking the title "Ken-Oh" ("King of Fists"), he formed an army and began conquering the post-apocalyptic world.  This soon put Raoh in conflict with Kenshiro, his youngest brother, and that served as the meat of the series.  Ken and Raoh first fought to a draw, and then withdrew with the understanding that the world would be worse off if both died than neither.  Raoh helped Kenshiro face Souther, had an epic duel with raoh (in which he actually showed mercy), rampaged after his and Ken's mutual love interest, and eventually faced Kenshiro in an incredible, climactic duel.

Despite the fact that he basically depopulated an already ruined world, Raoh was not pure evil.  He held to a very specific code of honor and morals, which manifested itself every so often, whether in sparing raoh or slapping the head off a rapist.  However, his obsession with power, violence, and terror as the only way to control the post-apocalyptic world was his downfall.  Nearly all of Raoh's generals, lieutenants, and henchmen were complete scum, and he rarely ever tried to rein them in.,  He believed that the ends justified the means, and thus personally slaughtered innocents in order to quell rebellion or learn new martial art secrets.  The series insinuates that if he had been born back in the days of conquerors and barbarian hordes, Raoh would have been a great hero.  Instead, he became the King of Missing the Point, and nearly ruined a world that was already wrecked.  However, he redeemed himself at the end by killing off his worst henchmen before facing Ken.  After he lost, Raoh took his defeat very well, treating Kenshiro like a brother for the first time in years.  He ultimately sent his life force into the heavens, giving light and hope to the world and helping it rebuild.  Again, Raoh wasn't all bad.  It's just that his way of solving problems was to punch people in half until the problem went away.

Fist of the North Star continued for a while after Raoh's death, but somehow every main plot arc and villain had some close relationship to the man, with his long-lost brother, leftover henchmen, previously-unknown birthplace, and suddenly-discovered son.  It got pretty silly after a while.

This particular figure is of Raoh as he appears in Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (Hokuto Musou in Japan), the newest Fist of the North Star game (Released in late 2010).  The game advertised new costume designs for the characters, which ranged from subtle changes (Jagi) to massive overhauls (Shin).  As for Raoh, his costume is fairly similar to how he dressed when in Ken-Oh mode, except for a few key differences.

Revoltech (pronounced like "revolver," not "revolt") is a company owned by Kaiyodo which specializes in a very specific, modular ball-and-socket joint.  Their figures universally have great articulation, and can be pulled apart or swapped around to accommodate alternate hands, heads, or whatever.  This figure is Number 23 of the Fist of the North Star line, and the most recently-released.  Technically, it came out in mid-November 2010, but some retailers still have it on preorder at the time of this writing.  In fact, mine only came in a few days ago because I put in a preorder at a trusted outlet!

Packaging - ****
Revoltech toys  have standard packaging, and Raoh is technically no different.  He comes in a window box with a plastic tray designed to hold everything.  The pieces all fit without twisty-ties, rubber bands, tape, or excess force needed to remove them.  Raoh is also well-protected with little soft sheets of plastic between his body and cape, between his limbs, between the figure and tray, and technically between any place where two pieces of plastic might rub together.  It works quite well, keeping the figure pristine in package.  His cape comes in three sections, two of which are stored under the tray.  You can also easily pack Raoh and all of his stuff back in, thus making storage a breeze.

Sculpting - ****
Before I explain the rating, allow me to explain the costume.  As previously mentioned, Ken's Rage dressed everybody in something new.  Raoh's costume at first looks very different from his normal garb, but actually is pretty similar.  The differences in total are:
-He has long sleeves, whereas he went sleeveless in the series.
-The shoulder guards are more detailed.
-His breastplate is slightly more complex, and looks like padded armor rather than light plate.
-He has similarly-armored pants instead of just slacks with boots in the original.
-His cape is black and has a design around the hem rather than red and plain.
-His helmet has larger horns than the original, as well as a red ponytail.

The sleeves are really the biggest change, and the overall effect is that this is Raoh's Winter Wear.  If it's cold out, he'll put on long sleeves.  And it's not like Raoh only wore one outfit, either - he has a variety in the series, both in the course of the narrative and in several flashbacks.  The new remake movies and his spinoff even gave him more outfits, thus making another variation even less of an issue.  Overall, this is one of the better in-game costume variants, and it's cool that we got a figure of it. There have already been three series-accurate Raohs released, after all (plain, shirtless/final battle, and with his horse).

That said, the sculpting is fantastic, although that should be no surprise.  Ken Matsuura is an excellent toy sculptor, as his work has reflected throughout this series.  Raoh is roughly 6 1/2" tall, which puts him at half an inch taller than most of the other figures in this series.  Unfortunately, that means he's just about even with most western 6" figures, such as Marvel or DC toys.  It's unfortunate because Raoh is a big guy.  He's not a giant like some characters in this series, but he is about seven feet tall, and a couple of heads above just about everybody else.  He is taller than He-Man, and that's what counts.

Raoh's face is great.  You get two heads, and both have typical expressions for him - a blank, flat stare (meaning that he's probably about to kill you), and an angry, mouth-open glare (meaning that he is about to kill you).    It's got his facial shape, short-cropped hair, and even the eyes - it's a little hard to spot them in the picture as they are kind of sunken.  More importantly, both heads have perfectly reproduced Raoh's furrowed brow.  Raoh has the most serious forehead in all of fiction, and it's nice to see those anger-creases intact.

His armor is also great, rendered to match his in-game appearance. It's got quite a bit of small detail, whether in the little rivets on certain armored portions, wrinkles in the cloth, or an odd script on his breastplate that looks suspiciously like Hebrew.  And all this time I thought Raoh was a gentile!  There are little holes on his back to accompany the cape and shoulder guards in addition to the hole for his stand, but none of that ruins the figure.  Also, oddly, in a detail kept over from his original design, Raoh has both a belt and suspenders.  I guess he really doesn't want his pants to fall down.  The suspenders can be annoying, as they tend to pop out all the time, but they are easy to put back in place.  Importantly, he is proportioned like a large man, but not a grotesque muscle freak.  Raoh has always looked more like a real-life bodybuilder than an exaggerated comic villain.  The helmet and cape are also important, but I will cover those with the other accessories.

Paint - ****
Mine has a paint flaw, but it's one that I have not seen in any other Raohs anywhere, so it's probably just a unique missed step.  I'll get to that in a moment.

Raoh's paint is fantastic, but that really is not surprising considering this series.  He has a lighter wash on his skin than most Revoltech figures, which might make the furrows on his forehead a little harder to spot, but it's no biggie.  His hair is also blonde, identifying Raoh as the most Aryan Japanese man ever.  This is also accurate to the original manga.  The anima gave him darker skin and black hair, but the manga portrayed him as blonde, and thus all other adaptation (video games, remake movies, spinoff series) have given him yellow or silver hair.  This is more on the yellow end of the spectrum, which is fine.  Raoh maybe the oldest brother, but he's too young to go gray.  Ken's Rage gives him a mixture between gold and silver for hair, so this may not be a hundred percent accurate, close though it may be.  The armor is also pretty great, especially considering the in-game render's naturally muted colors.  Depending on the material, his clothing is black, brown, silver, gold, or a very dark purple for the breastplate.  Each piece is painted to resemble the correct type of material. Fabric looks like fabric, metal looks like metal, and the combination is pretty good.  There is even detailing on the smaller rivets or straps holding his outfit together.  His breastplate also looks excellent, with purple used in just the right proportion to look good, not cartoonish.  His shoulder guards are mostly silver and red, with black for the non-metallic parts.  The effect looks pretty good, with a gradient scale instead of flat color changes.

The missed paint step is with Raoh's cape.  The cape comes in three segments plus a mantle, and is black with gold trim.  On my rightmost segment, the gold trim on the hem is entirely missing.  This is not the case with the other two segments, nor does this show up in any other Raoh figures that I have been able to find, so I think it's unique.

Articulation - ****
Revoltech articulation is pretty much an automatic four stars.  The only flaw with Raoh is that his leg armor gets in the way of some poses.  He can sit, kick, get into the lotus position, kneel, ride a horse, leap, stagger, limp, or do pretty much whatever you want, but the leg armor means that you have to be slightly creative.  For this line, that's unfortunate.  Importantly, he can ride his horse, but that's another story.  With all of his gear intact, Raoh's movement is slightly hindered, but his shoulder guards move to accommodate different poses.  I suspect that a lot of people will pose him without his gear, one fist raised to the heavens, as this was the really iconic pose in which he gave up his life.  That's too bad, as there are a lot of poses you can put Raoh in.  If you give him his cape, he won't even need his stand!

The cape is another odd one.  It's articulated just like others in this line - three segments, each with its own revoltech ball joint.  This is overall great, except that each segment is straight and posed in such a way that it's way too easy to accidentally give Raoh three mini-capes if you don't pose it carefully.  To put on the cape, you need to follow a simple procedure: Remove his shoulder guards (and their revoltech joints), plug the mantle into two small holes in his back, then plug the three cape segments into the mantle, and replace the shoulder guards.  Now, if you REALLY want to be game-accurate, he wouldn't have his shoulder guards without the cape.  But if you want to be series-accurate, he would.  It's up to you based on the individual pose.

Raoh's head and neck have slightly better articulation than most figures in this line - instead of just a ball joint in the head, he gets an extra one at the base of his neck, which allows for more subtle head movements.  Thankfully, it is supremely easy to swap his heads and hands, more so than any other Fist of the North Star figure I have messed around with. Nothing is loose, and it's not just that nothing is stuck, none of the joints feel like they could be stuck.  That's really good.  The ratchets are clearly in place, but nothing feels like "forcing" Raoh's joints.

Accessories - ****
Raoh comes with an alternate head, three pairs of hands, his three-part cape, his mantle, his shoulder guards, his helmet, a base, two differently-sized stands from the base, a little double-jointed extension for one or both of the stands, an orange accessories box, and a little useless plastic token.  The box is nice, and can hold Raoh's hands, alternate head, and the little extension.  By the way, a little inscription on the bottom officially labels it as a "Revocontainer."  As for his base and stand, one is the same tall "jumping" height as other Revoltech figures, whereas the other is short enough to pose him standing.  The little extension helps a lot with more subtle poses, and also serves as a good anchor if you need to use it when he has his cape - if the cape is flared out, then Raoh will need his base.  He is somewhat light on hands, which his only options being closed fists, open hands, and flat palms.  However, the only other kind I could think of would be pointing fingers, from when he pointed to the sky a few times, or when he lethally poked people through the sternum.  But for the most part, Raoh's hands are quite sufficient.  Maybe he could have come with that three-pronged knife he used once, but again it really isn't much of a big deal.  The other Ken's Rage-style figures in this line also come with energy blasts or special effects, which are absent here.  That is likely because of the material for his cape, helmet, shoulder guards, and whatever else.

The cape is kind of odd, as it is not made of soft, floppy plastic the way one might expect.  It's hard plastic, enough to make a light "tink" sound when struck. Strange, and I hope this does not make it brittle, but it has not given me any trouble yet.

Raoh's helmet is also hard plastic, which might make the crest on top slightly brittle.  The helmet looks utterly gorgeous, and is given the same treatment as the figure, not an "accessory."  The horns are huge as they are in the game, with a light wash near the tips.  All of the gold detailing on his helmet is great, as well, especially that cobra crest in the front.  His helmet's little red ponytail looks good as well, and is actually articulated.  It swivels and can be taken off if you want to go for a more comic-accurate look.  The helmet fits nicely over Raoh's head, although it is not snug, tight, or secure.  It will fall off if he is upside-down, but that is not a problem.  Overall, it is excellent, and I kind of want a helmet like this in real life.  For work.  And church.  And higher education.  I lead a strange life.

Now, there is one omission if you know the series, but it's also completely understandable: Raoh's horse.  His horse, Kokuoh ("Black King") is as much a part of his design as his fists.  It's the only vehicle he ever uses, even refusing to walk if his faithful steed is nowhere near.  Anybody who wants to fight Raoh has to make him dismount first, and that horse has crushed almost as many enemies as the man himself is seen killing.  Little-known fact: Raoh's very first appearance in the manga included a splash page mirroring Frank Frazetta's "Death Dealer" artwork almost exactly.  Kokuoh actually looks just like the horse from that painting, and it was an intentional tribute.  It's obvious why they did not include a gigantic black stallion with this figure, because of what it would have done to the price tag. For what it's worth, you can buy Raoh with Kokuoh, but it will cost you about $100 suggested retail price.  And that's why you won't see him on his horse in any of these pictures!  Yeah, it gave me a heart attack, too.

Value - ***
Eh. I have already said my piece on Revoltech's $30 price tag for everything.  Painful, but only 33% more painful than a MOTU Classic.  However, Raoh actually seems closer to being worth the price than many others.  He's big and solid, has a detailed sculpt, and his paint job is actually intricate.  The accessories are pretty thorough, too, especially with such an excellent helmet.  It still hurts the wallet.

Things to Watch Out For -
You can't see his cape's paint detailing in the package, but I doubt that other people will find the same defect on theirs.  When you have Raoh, remember to test out the joints on his stand, the same as any other Revoltech figure.  His cape and helmet might be slightly fragile, so keep them safe.

Overall - ****
This figure does have flaws, but none of them detract enough to take off points.  This really is a good toy and a great representation of Raoh the Conqueror, even if it's his video game costume.  I can't really give any permanent complaints, and it's honestly one of the best of the line.

Where to Buy
He is not on Amazon, although eBay will undoubtedly have some. has him in stock (it's where i bought mine), as well as plenty of other Fist of the North Star figures, and they definitely get a vote of confidence from me!

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

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