Super Imaginative Chogokin
Movie Spider-Man

"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."

SpideyWeb is back, and he's checking out something pretty interesting...tell them all about it, SW!

Bandai has been very successful with the toy line of Super Imaginative Chogokin (SIC) based on characters created by the late Ishinomori Shotaro. The success saw a number of spin-off toy lines. In 2004, SIC Movie Realization was created as a form of SIC reinterpretation of movie characters which includes characters like Devilman and Masked Rider.

SIC are very good with highly articulated action figures so if you put two and two together, you will soon realise that they would make a very good Spidey figure. Indeed they did just that, and in this review, we will be looking at the SIC Movie Realization Spider-Man and Black Spider-Man 2-pack.

This is in fact my first set of SIC figures and I am pretty sure many Spidey fans who do not own any SIC figures might actually pick up this set. Let’s get going then! 

Packaging - ***
This 2-pack set comes in a cardboard box (with a peg hanger hook) which is similar to the SIC line of figures. For MOC collectors, the cardboard box is a little flimsy and is very prone to damage. On my box, the bottom right corner is already dented probably due to a bump during transportation. The figures, however, are rather sturdy packaged and protected by the plastic tray with ample space given for any possible shock/bump which might happen. One setback is the numerous twist ties used to secure the figures. They also used cellophane tape to tape down alternate Venom’s mask, which might be a concern for MOC collectors as over time, the cellophane tape may degrade. The poor quality of the cardboard and the twist ties knocked off 1 point in this category.

The red/blue Spidey is packaged on the left and black Spidey on the right. The colours on the box also reflect the position of the figures i.e. red on the left side and black on the right side, which I thought is a very nice touch. The figures are clearly visible on the transparent window in front. In the background is an orange/yellow cardboard of Spider-Man 3 Spidey’s symbol. This cardboard can be used as a display backing on the shelf (I actually considered this as part of the packaging and not part of the accessories). The back of the box are some pictures of the actual figures in some dynamic (though not too much) poses. Rather attractive. Included in the package is another insert sheet showing the Venom interchangeable mask for the black Spidey with lots of Japanese words on it (which I cannot understand though).

Sculpting - ***1/2
This is an SIC interpretation of movie Spidey so I shall cut them some slack and not nitpick with the inaccuracies compared with the movie character. I believe you will either love the sculpt of this figure or you will hate it. Personally I like it, more than I expected myself to. The musculature sculpting on the chest and the thighs are simply impressive. What impresses me further is that Bandai instead jolly well just made repaints of the figures, decided to sculpt the spider symbols differently. And the symbols are movie accurate, both front and back!

The figure is about 18cm tall, which is around 7”. This means that this is not in scale with other Marvel Legends figures which is set at 6” scale. However, I believe they should be in scale if you pose them along with other SIC figures.

The overall body sculpt “flows” pretty smoothly, just that the SIC interpretation gives an armourish look to Spidey. The shoulder pads particularly stand out. The thick neck does bother me a little but I am slowly getting used to it. Maybe something worth mentioning is that the sculpt of the alternate Venom mask really capture the essence of the alien symbiote. Many would find that it looks more Carnage than Vemom though.

Maybe since sculpted weblines have become a norm, most people will not report this. Yes, the weblines on both red/blue and black Spidey are sculpted and raised, similar to the suit in movie and the other lines of movie Spidey figures by Toy Biz and/or Hasbro. If there is one other complaint, that would be that when black Spidey is being posed as Venom, the body used would be too small since Venom should be bigger and more muscular in size (of course one could argue Topher is not anywhere bigger than Tobey). I would also like to highlight that the lower abdomen piece can actually rotated like a belt. Spidey fans may not be used to this but it does not affect the look and the posing of the figures at all.

Paint - ***
The paint varies slightly amongst the few packs I saw which is expected of mass produced figures. The main issues are the paint slips on the raised weblines on the body. Fortunately, they are all alright and I had not seen one with an atrocious paintjob like figures from other toy producers. But if you do have a choice to select, choose one with a better paintjob.

Another point worth mentioning is that the red/blue Spidey has gold coloured weblines. I know this had bothered a few people but I actually like it. Black Spidey’s weblines are painted accurate to the movie in silver.

Articulation - ***1/2
Having heard a lot of good things about SIC’s articulation on action figures, this is one department I am looking forward to. Bandai does make their SIC figures highly articulated and poseable. I am happy at how these 2 figures turned out. The figure can actually do a decent 4 point crouch! Both red/blue and black Spidey has the same articulation and the same range of movements. Plenty of joints and points of articulation (read: useful ones) for posing and playing fun.

Key point to note is that the figures are the “thwip” articulation, meaning that clenched fists would be impossible. I was hoping for some interchangeable fists for posing.

On the bright side, the double jointed elbows and knees are very well done. They follow the same design as the Hasbro Unleashed 360° figure (which I just reviewed a while back) but for Bandai, the joints came out looking way better. It could also be that this new double joints gave the armoured look which is in-sync with the SIC interpretation of Spidey. The shoulder/chest joint also allowed a wide range of movement which played a large part in allowing Spidey to get into a nice 4 point crouch pose.

Joints - ***
The figures felt of higher quality out of the packaging. It feels more “solid” compared to the Marvel Legends figures. As such the joints also feel more durable to posing. Do note that the joints are not the rickety joints but they are tight for lots of proper posing.

I noted on both my red/blue and black Spideys that the left ankle joint seems to protrude more compared to the right ankle. However, this does not affect the posing of the figure a single bit. I am just trying to nitpick here.

Action Feature - ****
These 2 action figures has absolutely no automated action feature! The only wonderful feature is that both of them can be posed however you like it (or close to) and this is the ONLY action feature you ever need in a Spidey. Perfect score here.

Accessories - Red/Blue Spidey – 0 out of ****, Black Spidey – *
Coming from SIC, I was expecting more accessories. From other SIC figures, you will find loads of armour, weapons included with the figure and you have a single figure with close to 4 different armours! In this case, since it is a 2 figures pack, the amount of accessories would be less. But Bandai failed to live up to the expectation. For red/blue Spidey, there is no accessory at all, whereas for black Spidey, the alternate Venom mask is included. Quite a number of people who got this set do not care too much for the alternate Venom head, but it is still a nice addition. 

Value -  ***1/2
This is almost a full score for me because I manage to get it at my friendly local store for SGD65 (USD42). As this is a Japanese exclusive, the cost of getting this may be higher and if you are getting it at a much higher price then you may wish to knock off another point or two in this department.

It was brought to my attention that at more than USD20 a figure with next to none accessories this cannot be a high score. Whilst this is true, I was so impressed with the quality and poseability of the figure that I am actually willing to fork out USD20 for a Spidey figure of this quality. Yeah, that's the biased Spidey fan in me talking. However, it might just be an average score of 2 to 2.5 if you are looking for a value for money figure rather than a quality Spidey figure for money.

Overall - ***1/2
I must say I am pleasantly surprised at how much I like these 2 figures. Initially I bought this 2-pack for the sake of completeness and then I come to realise how much I will be missing if I had chosen not the purchase this. With the drought of good Spidey figures introduced recently, this 2-pack does certainly take the limelight. All in all, I really enjoyed posing and playing with these 2 figures very much! 

Score Recap:
Packaging – ***
Sculpt – ***1/2
Paint – ***
Articulation – ***1/2
Joints - ***
Action Feature - ****
Accessories – 0 and *
Value – ***1/2
Overall – ***1/2

Credits: Action pics are generously sponsored and wonderfully taken by Shaun Wong.

Figure from the collection of SpideyWeb and Shaun Wong.

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