Fist of the North Star: Zeed Gang Member and Nameless Asura
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!

By definition, a $30 toyline can't have many army builders.  Unfortunately, Fist of the North Star was made for it.  For every major bad guy it seemed like there were at least thirty mohawked punks, armored soldiers, or mutant goons waiting to be splattered.  Revoltech has taken advantage of this and released two of them - the Zeed Gangster was #2 in the line, and Nameless Asura is #18.

Zeed's gang was the first group of antagonists presented in the series - the first chapter of the manga and first episode of the anime.  They weren't very distinctive, but served as nice punching bags, with Zeed himself giving audiences their first full-body explosion when he died.  This figure takes that into account, and gives us the closest thing to an action feature you'll find in the line - blood and guts!  Please excuse the gory nature of some of the pictures in this review.

The Nameless Asura is actually an individual character from the second part of the series.  After Raoh's death, the timeline jumped forward about ten years before the story continued.  The Land of Shura was a hilariously overdone Spartan culture, in which males had to kill at least a hundred men in combat to earn a name and their place in society.  Nameless Asura is, of course, one who hasn't earned a name. He's mostly remembered for causing the death of Falco, one of the main heroes in the series, and most likely inspiring the design for Vega from Street Fighter II.  The idea was that if a nameless grunt like him could do so much damage, then the rest of the Asura warriors must be terrible!  Unfortunately, this just didn't work out well, as most Asura ended up as punching bags for Ken, and by the time the fat dude in a crab suit attacked, they had really lost their intimidation factor.  But at least this guy is cool, and he comes with accessories to transform him into several generic warriors from that part of the series.

Packaging - ***1/2
Both figures are packaged the same as any other Revoltech Fist of the North Star figures.  It's a square box with plastic trays inside and loose plastic to pad the figures.  All of the parts fit into their little slots without any damage, rubber bands, or twisty ties, and they stay well-protected.  It's actually pretty convenient.  The Nameless Asura's box is much bigger than the Zeed Thug's, in order to accommodate the extra accessories.  Check under the tray for both - Zeed Thug's base is under his tray, whereas the Asura has an orange box to hold some of his stuff.  They use a lot of material, but the packaging is nicely reusable for storage.

Sculpting - ZEED:***1/2  ASURA:****
No surprise here, as nearly every Fist of the North Star Revoltech figure looks excellent (the exception is Yuria #20, who just looks awful).  The Zeed Thug gets a slightly lower score for a couple of reasons.  One of those is the mohawk - it's tiny, floppy, and not really like most of the mohawks in the series.  The other is because his "action feature" hurts the sculpt a little bit, giving it some obvious cut lines and openings.  Other than that, it's pretty good.  The thug is dressed like most motorcycle raiders either here or in Mad Max - green pants, random knee pads and arm guards, and a shoulder ensemble that looks like part of a football uniform.  To complete the Road Warrior ensemble, he's even got random feathers in his collar! If you ignore the mohawk's size, it's well-sculpted in that it looks like hair, and his face is just great.  It's got this arrogant jock-grin that you just want to punch.  And thankfully, if you go ahead with the action feature, you get just that!  His post-smashing head is beaten, misshapen, dented in, and has some brains sticking out the top.  It's also got one bulging eye and a really, really goofy facial expression with the thug's tongue sticking out.  It'd be funny if weren't so violent!  As for the rest of the gore, he's got some ribs, both sculpted on the inside of his torso and sticking out, a visible spine, an articulated blood splatter, and a clump of organs.  They all look fine, and there probably wasn't a way to squeeze any more inside his body cavity.  When blown open, the thug looks a lot like many people who tried to fight Kenshiro, and they put a lot of attention into his insides.

The Nameless Asura came much later in the line, and improves tremendously on his thug brother.  He's wearing the same armor from the series, which is sculpted in several pieces, some individually articulated to add more movement.  It doesn't look gaudy or terribly out of place, and gives him a G.I. Joe ninja look... albeit without the neon colors.  The Asura's head is fantastic, replicating the character's narrow face and dead eyes.  He had a pretty unique face in Fist of the North Star, and it's good to see that they got it right.  Also of note is his hair - the Asura has one of those annoyingly ubiquitous bowl cuts from the early '90s (although he's from the '80s), complete with a little ponytail.  The ponytail looks great, and matches most of his possible poses.  His alternate head replicates a bunch of the other random Asura thugs, and is bald, as that was the new mohawk in that part of the show.  The bald head's also got a great face, with an angry little snarling expression.  He looks mad about something, and it's probably those big ears.

Paint - ZEED: ***1/2  ASURA: ****
Just as with any of these figures, both have really great paint.  The Zeed Thug has basic flesh tones with a light wash to bring out the details, and good coloration on his clothes and armor.  The feathers on his color are kind of gloppy, however, and that detracts a little bit.  Both of his faces are great, and he's even got some war paint under his eyes.  The big Z on his forehead marks him as part of Zeed's gang, and it should be noted that this is not Zeed himself.  That guy was bigger and had a different tattoo.  Without the Z, he'd just be another random thug.  He still is, but now you can tie him to the beginning of the story.  The thug's guts are also fairly well done, albeit simplistic.  Red for blood, pinkish for organs, white for bones. Unfortunately, there is a little paint slop on the ribs, and it seems that they had some problems with the color white.  Those two detract a little from the figure's overall look, although everything else is great.

Nameless Asura does not have this problem - the white parts of his costume are just fine. Both of his faces are also exceptional, with the regular head helping give him that "bored" expression he had, as well as highlighting his eyes.  Nameless Asura had narrower eyes than most of the characters in Fist of the North Star.  His alternate head has a great expression, and the paint job just brings out his eyes, individual teeth, and even the ears.  His outfit is also pretty good, with cloth looking like cloth and metal looking like metal.  I like some of the little details in this sculpt, such as the white tie on his ponytail or the slightly different shade where his hair is shorter.

Articulation - ZEED: ***  ASURA: ****
The Zeed thug sacrifices a lot of articulation for the sake of his action feature.  He has Revoltech joints in his head (regular), shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles, which help with poseability.  He has cut joints where other Revoltech figures have cut joints, with the odd addition of his wrists.  This is too bad, as it keeps you from swapping his hands out for any reason.  The legs also seem a little stiff, mostly because he only has one knee joint instead of the usual two.  His squished head is a cut joint, but it';s not very noticeable and both are easily to remove and swap out.  His whole neck has an extra Revoltech joint for the sake of the action feature, which is good.  When you take his body apart, the pieces use a mixture between Revoltech and swivel joints, which is also good - but watch out for theblood splash.  I have two, and both came with it stuck in place.  One broke, one worked.  Try to swivel it carefully, and if you get it right you can take the blood on or off at will without causing any damage.  It just needs to be unstuck.

The Nameless Asura has completely normal Revoltech articulation, and is awesome for it, but it has one flaw.  His leg armor gets in the way of some poses, particularly any kind of flying kick.  You can still put him in those positions, but it takes a tiny bit more thought.  Importantly, you can put him in any pose from his brief tenure in the series, as well as a lot more.  He's a ninja, and you can easily ninja him up however you want.   A nice added touch is the articulation on his chestplate.  Both pieces have Revoltech joints to allow for better arm movement, and that's really good.  His ponytail is its own swivel joint, and can be removed without any damage to the figure.  It actually looks good in different poses, depending on the rest of his body.  Because of the nature of his outfit, the Asura's articulation is pretty well-hidden, too, unless you swap his hand for the included claw.  If you work his torso carefully, you can pull him apart at the upper chest, just the same as almost any other Revoltech figure.  Why did I mention this?  Because that's how he died!  Cut in half, and yet still somehow managing to give some last words even though his lungs were probably bisected.

Action Feature (Zeed Only): ****
One of the selling points of Fist of the North Star was Ken's fighting style, Hokuto Shinken, which uses acupressure points to make his enemies die in increasingly horrible, messy ways.  Usually their heads exploded, but people split in half, burst into little pieces, twisted themselves into knots, self-dismembered, imploded, and otherwise reduced themselves to chunky salsa.  The thug's feature is meant to invoke a full-torso explosion, but you can mess with it for a few different effects.  The basic way to transform him is as follows: Open his right chest panel (revealing some ribs!), then crack the torso open down the middle.  Swivel his head and neck up, rotate it to show off the smashed head, and put it back in place.  You can also take out either head if you don't want the spare interfering with his torso cavity.  His stomach comes out with a string of guts, his arms and shoulders are connected to side pieces, and his back shows you his spine with the extra blood splatter.  Almost everything is removable - you can easily take off either side, head, neck, or the blood splatter.  For the guts and stomach section, you can take it out if you tip it at an angle and slide it out. It may be a little tricky at first, but will be easy once you get the hang of it.  Just don't stress the peg.  Here are some suggestions for some different Hokuto Shinken effects:

1. Just take off the chest cavity, and lodge a weapon in the exposed ribs.
2. Position the damaged head on top, and remove the "normal" head.  Close the body as usual, then press his smashed head and neck down until they're almost entirely in the chest cavity, and he's open a little bit at the seams.  Imploded!
3. Swivel down his stomach and guts, then close the rest of the body as usual.  Put a weapon or someone's fist in the hole!
4. Take off one side of the thug.
5. Take out the stomach segment entirely, and stick a weapon there.
6. Open his body a little bit, position the blood spurt straight up, and pose another figure punching into his torso.

See?  ultraviolence is easy!

Accessories - ZEED: ** OR ****  ASURA: ****
The Zeed thug takes a massive hit in the accessories department.  He comes with a stand, an axe, and... that's it.  You could count his alternate head if you wanted.  He doesn't even have any extra hands!  The axe looks good and is appropriately bloodstained to match the mood, but this guy is incredibly sparse.  Why the secondary rating?  Because a lot of figures in this line come with extra items just for him!  The following is a short list, and keep in mind that I am only including items specifically made for this thug.  Others, such as Souther's spear, Jagi's Shotgun, or the little weapons that come with Rei's pack-in goon don't count, even though he could wield them without a problem.

Shin #6: Sickle, axe (different sculpt), alternate head (stabbed through)
Shu #10: Spiked mace & chain
Juza #16: Poleaxe, chicken leg, bottle of alcohol, canned food, loaf of bread
Kenshiro Country of Shura #17: Spiked club
Rei Hokuto Musou Version #22(and #23): Alternate head (sliced into pieces)

If you collect the whole line, the Zeed thug gets four heads (one normal, three injured), six weapons (most of them axes), and four supply/food items.  I still would have greatly preferred if the thug just came with his own stuff, but at least they've tried to fix the problem in future releases.  If you collect the whole line, it's good.  If not, then it's very annoying.

The Nameless Asura is on the other end of the spectrum, as he comes with his own little arsenal.  He's got two heads, a mask, three sets of hands (closed fists, open fists to hold weapons, and two open palms in a different pose than most other figures), two three-sectioned staffs (six pieces total), sheathes for the staffs, a cleaver-like sword, a spiked knife, a claw that replaces one of his hands, a normal Revoltech stand, one of those little boxes that come with about half of the figures in this line, and a pointless little orange disc.  The disc is just an extended Revoltech advertisement, and might as well be part of a frisbee game.  The box is nice to store his heads, mask, and hands, but it does not fit any of the other weapons.  It's a standard item with several figures, though, so that's forgivable.  As for the weapons, they actually aren't generic.  The sectioned staffs were something he specifically used, and they did extend.  You can have two medium staffs, two short, or one really long. The two medium ones are just long enough for that little stilt-walking stunt he did, too.  He doesn't come with any throwing stars or tiny daggers, which is fine.  They would be a mess to keep track of.  The spiked knife and cleaver sword match two specific Asura grunts from a short while later, and the hand-claw can make him resemble part of the Human Centipede brigade, although that effect is lost unless you get about ten of them and put them on each other's shoulders.  Don't try that, it would just look silly.  Even then, the claw's a pretty good accessory. The figure's flesh-colored wrist joint is still visible underneath it, but you could just write that off as his actual wrist.  His bald head with any of the bladed weapons works for a generic Asura, as well.  All weapons fit snugly into his hands, which are evenly open.  His mask is soft, rubbery plastic, and fits snugly over both faces.  With it on his regular head, you can really see how the Nameless Asura may have inspired Vega from Street Fighter.  It goes a little deeper than just appearances - Guile and Falco could be brothers, and Zangief looks exactly like a henchman from the beginning of the series, even down to the scars.  Add to that the fact that Fist of the North Star's main artist worked on Street Fighter II's character design, and it's kind of obvious.

Value - **1/2
I've never liked paying $30 for an action figure, even if it IS only $10 more than a MOTU Classic.  It's especially rough for Army Builder figures.  You aren't going to buy a legion of Zeed thugs unless you have some serious scratch, and the same goes for Asura.  It should be noted that the Zeed Thug usually retails for a little below $30, often $25 or so.  That's nice, but still a lot.  Nameless Asura gives you more bang for your buck in the form of lots and lots of accessories, but the price still stings a little.

Things to Watch Out For -
The blood splatter on the Zeed thug tends to be stuck, and you should be careful not to accidentally break it.  The Nameless Asura's staffs are made of harder plastic that feels slightly brittle, so don't go stepping on them, and don't bend them around the pegs.  Of course, you should test all joints immediately, including the one on top of each stand.  Other than that, these figures should be just fine.

Overall - ZEED: ***  ASURA: ****
The Zeed Thug takes a few major hits: He barely comes with any of his own accessories, he's built around his action feature, and he's expensive for an army builder.  I like the figure more than its score, but it does lose a star for all of its flaws.  And of course, if you want to kitbash a Road Warrior display, you'll need about a hundred of these guys.  Start saving now!

Nameless Asura is just fantastic either as a specific individual or an army builder, and he's just a great ninja even if you don't care about the series.  It might be better that way, as the second series of Fist of the North Star was pretty inferior to the first, and usually gets ignored.  Nearly all of the video games, remakes, movies, etc. end with Raoh for a reason.  Here's a fun tidbit:  A flashback showed him killing at least a hundred pirates when he was a teenager, and he still hadn't earned a name!  This forever solves the Ninjas vs. Pirates debate, but just what kind of slaughter do you need to ger a name in Shura culture?

Where to Buy is pretty handy for most of these toys.  This is good, as the big retailers (BigBadToyStore, EntertainmentEarth, etc.) tend to sell out fast. has most of the Revoltech line in stock at pretty good prices, and their customer service is excellent.  I usually get my Revoltech from them if not Amazon.  And if all else fails, there's always eBay!

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

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