Yamato Series 2 Batman
Batman, Riddler, Penguin, and Poison Ivy

Yamato has followed up their successful first wave of Batman figures with a second wave, including another Batman, The Riddler, Penguin and Poison Ivy. While your best bet for the first wave was to order from Japanese distributors, this second wave has been imported in better numbers by Diamond, so many comic shops and on-line retailers should have them in. They just hit last week, but I don't expect them to last long, even at the higher than average price point.

Speaking of higher retail, I paid $75 for the full set of four, but I have some recommendations below where they are as cheap as $62 for the set.

Yamato has had such a good reception with these figures, they are also releasing another series based on the artwork of Kia Asamiya. That set doesn't fit exactly with the style, although the scale is about the same. They'll have Batman of course, plus Joker, Catwoman and Two-Face in that assortment.

Packaging - **
These utilize a pretty standard card back and bubble. They're huge as well, due to the included display stands/dioramas. The artwork is alright, and I might like them a little better if I could read Japanese.

Sculpting - Penguin, Riddler ***1/2; Batman, Poison Ivy ***
In the tradition of other plastic statues, these figures rely heavily on sculpt and paint. Fortunately, the second series steps up the quality and design a bit over the first.

The Batman is sculpted in a similar style as the first, and about the same style, however, he's been given a second arm and chunk of cape to allow him to have two poses. You can have Batman with his arm extended, holding his cape wide, or with his arm bent, hand close to his face, in sort of a Dracula pose. Both look pretty good, and the way the arms and capes pop on and off works well.

Batman's scale seems to be a bit of an issue, more so this time than in the first wave. Perhaps it's not his scale being small as Penguin's and Riddler's being large, but he doesn't look quite as good next to those two figures.

The figures actually fit in pretty well with the Mattel line, although they are a tad small for the Hush line.  On the shelf together though, they fit in well enough across most of the other recent lines.

The Penguin and Riddler sculpts are my favorites, capturing a truly psychotic look for both. Even though the Riddler is a statue, by using his hat, cane and hand sculpts to their fullest advantage, you can get multiple looks.

The Penguin style and design is great, and this could easily become one of my favorite Penguin figures in my collection. The style is more Burgess Meredith than Danny Devito, and I like this slightly less cartoony and more realistic appearance.

Poison Ivy is the standard slinky hot chick, draped in leaves and foliage. Her pose is the most extreme, but works pretty well with the supplied accessories. The face is a little plain, but the detail work on the leafy top is great. Unlike the other figures in the link, her left foot actually has the peg in it, not in the base, which means she can't stand without using the base. On top of that, she doesn't fit particularly well on the base, and with all that monster hair, tends to lean backwards.  This leaning got worse over the couple days I had her up on the shelf.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint application is very clean across my set, much better than the first series. I'm not ecstatic about the wash used on Batman, but the work on the other three is great all around.

Many of the different colors are actually different pieces, so that means they were painted before assembly, or cast in that color.  That greatly reduces any tendency to have over spray or poor definition between the colors, and really improves the consistency across expansive colors like the Penguins white or Riddler's green.

While I'm not thrilled with the Batman wash, I do like the Penguin wash.  Remember the bluish wash used on Family Guy Peter and Brian?  Remember how I wasn't sure if I liked it or not?  Well, here it is on the Penguin's white suit, and I think I've made up my mind - I like it.  It brings out highlights in the sculpt that would be lost in a bright white plastic, and while I wasn't too sure about the dirty look it gave Peter and Brian, that appearance works perfectly here.

Articulation - Bupkis
There actually is some sort of articulation here, but not in the traditional sense. These are put together at the neck, shoulders, hips, and sometimes wrists, but these joints aren't really intended to turn. The pegs and holes can be turned, but they look right in only a few positions. You can get some to look pretty good in multiple positions though, like the Riddler's hands. While that works for the Riddler, it's fairly moot with the others.

The first series had the same type of construction, with unglued pieces, but had the tendency to fall apart very easily.  That's not the case here, and all the points of construction were pretty tight.

Accessories - ***1/2
Each figure comes with the diorama style display base, and two additional accessories.

The bases are great, and seem to be an improvement over the first series as well. All four involve at least a base and back drop which snap together. The Penguin's, Batman's and Poison Ivy's also include additional pieces which snap in - Penguin has a sewer pipe, Batman has a straight pipe across the front, and Ivy has two man eating plants. These are extras we didn't really see much of in the first set, and they really add to the quality of the bases.

Of the four bases, Ivy and Batman's are the most complex. They look terrific, and I particularly like the inclusion of the bat signal with Batman's. The Riddler's is the least complex, but might actually be my favorite. It's such a nifty design, using the puzzle piece appearance, that it looks great on the shelf.

The Penguin's is the least interesting, mostly because of the white paint used to appear like icy water. I don't mind the ice and snow on the bottom, but the 'water' that's running down out of the back looks odd done all in white, like paint flowing out of the tube.

Each character also comes with two additional accessories. Ivy comes with a small 'perfume' bottle, that she can hold in one hand, and a great chunk of ivy, that just goes to show how lame the piece we got with the Hush Ivy really was. They ivy is actually made from several pieces glued together, and can be posed around her in a number of ways.

The Penguin has his umbrella of course, and a small rubber ducky. The duck doesn't really fit in as well, since it doesn't go with the base, and he can't hold it.

Batman has the nifty additional arm and cape mentioned before, and I think this is a great idea. I'm surprised how well the cape pieces fit into the multiple pegs, because the pegs and holes are very tiny, and the smallest mistake in manufacturing would have caused issues. Mine fit perfectly though, and looked great in either mode.

The Riddler has his cane and hat. The cane can actually be posed in several ways with his left hand, and he can either wear the hat or hold it in his right hand. If you're going to do statues, giving buyers some choices in how they put these together is a great idea. 

Fun Factor - *1/2
These aren't designed to be toys, and they fall apart at the joints pretty easily, so they could frustrate most kids quickly. If you're looking for toys, stick with the Mattel versions.

Value - **
I paid almost twenty bucks each for these, and that's too much, even with the cool stands. They are a better value than much of the DC Direct stuff that can run as much as $18 each, but they are still at least $5 high.

However, if you can manage to pick them up for closer to $60 for the set, you can add quite a bit to this score.

Overall - Penguin, Riddler ***1/2; Batman, Poison Ivy ***
In general, I'm happier with this set than the first. It helps that I paid less, and it looks like we'll find deals to pay less for future series as well. I wasn't particularly happy with the goofy pose and look of Robin, and Harley was meh. This time all four are solid, and Riddler and Penguin really stand out for me. The designs work great, and I was very happy to add these to one of the Batman shelves.

I shot a couple photos with the Hush figures for scale. You'll notice that Ivy is smaller in this line than the Hush Ivy, but I thought that both the Penguin and Riddler fit in pretty well with the Batman Hush. Both seem a little large when compared to either Batman from Yamato.

Packaging - **
Sculpt - Penguin, Riddler ***1/2; Batman, Poison Ivy ***
Paint - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - *1/2
Value - **
Overall - Penguin, Riddler ***1/2; Batman, Poison Ivy ***

Where to Buy - 
I went the on-line route rather than a local comic shop, since the numbers on these are pretty limited:

- I picked them up through CornerStoreComics, where they have them listed at $75 for the set.

- Alter Ego Comics has a great price listed at just $62 for the full set!

- TIme and Space Toys has the series in stock for $75.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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