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Goemon, Ishikawa - the Movie
Hot Toys

Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys

   "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."

Jeff Parker jumps in tonight with a look at one of the Goemon figures from Hot Toys. Take it away, Jeff!

A big thank you again to Michael, for giving us all this little haven of toy and collectables joy!

Goemon will actually mean little or nothing to many in the West, but in Japan he is a folklore hero akin to Robin Hood in the UK, and like Robin Hood his conquests have become somewhat muddled through the constant retelling of his story. But in a very compact nutshell, this latest movie version of his affairs goes something like this:

In a quest to reduce the injustice and vast gap between the lifestyles of the rich and poor in 16th century Japan (1582 to be exact), Goemon sets about reclaiming some of the corrupt rich peoples ill gotten gains and distributing them amongst those who need them more.

One of the items he steals and then subsequently gives away to a street urchin is a small ornate box, but unbeknownst to Goemon it is a trinket with a greater importance than he could ever realise. So the ruthless Ninja- Saizo Kirigakure, played by Takao Osawa, is dispatched to retrieve the box… at any cost.

So, can Goemon intercept Saizo (with whom he shares a hidden history) to save the urchin, find out the boxes hidden secret and maybe even reignite the passions of his lost love Chacha along the way, and will he come to the sticky end the legend oft tells of… well, you’ll have to watch it to find out.

It’s obvious that as a ‘folk hero’ he was due a lavish retelling of his story and Kazuaki Kiriya was just the man for the job of director. His background was in pop video directing along with fashion photography, and he’d already given us Cassherne the hugely ambitious movie bringing the Manga and Anime to life, (I’d highly recommend checking it out, it’s definitely a case of style over substance, but oh what style).

So now you have a little background, will that be enough to make you want this figure, maybe the fact that you don’t feel a connection with the character might be enough to put you off. But that would be a shame, as Goemon Ishikawa is one of the nicest figures I have held in my hands!
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys

Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***1/2
A nice box, again utilizing the landscape format used on the recent Predator figures, this time however we don’t have the slip on sleeve, in stead it has the magnetic side panel that lifts and unwinds to show the figure through the window. The overall colour is very pale, with a feint pattern, like fabric brocade worked into the background. The front has a large headshot of the actor Y˘suke Eguchi, along side the movie logo and character name, the back has a brief synopsis alongside some shots of the figure and his accessories whilst the inside flap has the production credits. 

In side he lays in the usual vac formed tray, held in place by 5 twisties alongside his accessories.

So, a very nicely designed box, but so far pretty much all Hot Toys boxes are, and whilst this is strong, it isn’t their best!

Sculpting - ***1/2
I freely admit I’m not that familiar with Y˘suke Eguchi, either the actor or his back catalogue of movies, but having done the obligatory Google search I found quite a few pics, and this is most definitely him! Maybe Kojun has been a little flattering on Eguchi’s cheek-bones, however I haven’t seen Goemon yet, so perhaps the actor managed to turn himself into a lean mean ‘fightin’ machine for the production.

Here we have the actor in character, as the master thief Goemon Ishikawa, and he certainly looks heroic. There’s almost a bit of an Aragorn vibe coming off of him as he has that swarthy, gipsy, slightly dishevelled, not averse to sleeping rough look. But where as Aragorn was always so noble and upright, this guy has more of a devil may care roguish charm. So we have chiselled features with a determined look, there’s ‘almost’ the hint of a slight smirk on the left hand side of the mouth, but the over all expression is pretty serious. The hair is sculpted beautifully and Kojun has made every strand stand out, it’s a layered style that is worn collar length. The floppy fringe is stuck on as a separate piece, but the quality of the sculpting and subsequent moulding and manufacturing are fantastic. You’d be hard pressed to find a good customiser that could better it as a one off.

He also comes with six hands, the two relaxed ones are fitted to the figure in the box, but you also get a right sword grip that holds his metal sword perfectly, another left hand with a tight thumb and fore-finger grip that holds his pipe, shuriken, Kunai knife and even the parchments, and lastly a pair of fists, all are to good scale and observed very well.

Paint - ****
Absolutely perfect, I can find nothing to fault here at all. Lovely warm flesh tones are applied over a slightly translucent base plastic, the stubble is actually part of Kojun's masterful sculpt, but under JC’s paint direction the artists have picked it all out beautifully. The eyes are glossy, and all the details are crisp and well defined. The paint also carries on down his neck and chest with subtle airbrushed shadows to define his collarbone and throat.
The hair is left flat here, but as I said above, the sculpting is absolutely phenomenal, plenty of detail comes through from the way that light and shadow work across its surface.

This is a relatively simple job for Hot Toys when compared to some of their recent offerings … but that doesn’t stop it being any less impressive. As I said, absolutely perfect!

Articulation - ****
We’ve been over the True-Type so many times, there’s really very little to say, apart from the fact it poses like a dream.

This version has the solid neck like the Will Turner and James Dean figures, but you still get some great movement at the top of the neck to inject plenty of personality in your poses. The outfit doesn’t hamper his movements at all, so this is about as close to perfection as you can get in the world of 1/6th at this time, and even though his sword is solid metal all the joints are more than strong enough to hold it up in virtually any pose!

Outfit - ****
When it comes to 1/6th tailoring the name of Harue Creative has always been synonymous with top notch quality, they seem to pride themselves on sourcing the best scaled fabrics with amazing weaves and prints, so this project is just perfect for them.

He comes in split toed Ninja boots, these are made of a very soft silicone/rubber material which means absolutely none of the articulation is lost at the ankle, in fact he poses like he isn’t wearing boots at all. The fact they are a soft material hasn’t diminished the amount detail they carry though, as they still manage to show all the folds and creases of the real fabric Ninja boots they are sculpted to mimic. Next up are his brown linen trousers these are worn in a loose style, but fit well. On his top half he wears an ornate patterned tunic over which he has a red brocade waist coat with soft red suede collars, then over this he wears a second less substantial waistcoat, but although its more compact it still has a lot of detail, with a very unusual configuration. It has patterned straps, an ornate leather belt with a pleated and folded lapel and collar combo that has leather and fur panels. As I said it’s quite unusual in it’s construction and brings to mind some of the Jedi costumes that Dark Horse comics gave their ‘early’ ‘Knights Of The Old Republic’ in their expanded universe Star Wars stories. It certainly makes me realise I’d love to see Hot Toys and Harue tackle some of the Star Wars characters, this degree of detailing would be fantastic.

All of these garments fit the body perfectly, and the scaling of the material means it doesn’t bunch up, I did find after posing a few times I had to futz a bit to get everything laying right again, but that is only to be expected, a top class bit of tailoring all round.

Accessories - ****
Goemon comes with his-
“Tenka” sword (metal) and scabbard
Smoking pipe (of the design often mistaken for Opium)
Treasure Box
Map
Signature parchment with traditional calligraphy
Shuriken (Throwing star)
Kunai knife
Figure stand with nameplate

I think I’m right in saying this is the first time Hot Toys have done a metal sword, I remember that my old firefighter figure had a lot of metal accessories, but a metal sword is a first.

It has engravings down the blade and an ornate handle, this fits into the scabbard, which is cast in solid plastic but is sculpted and painted to mimic leather, it is bound with some real leather straps that attach it to the belt, this has a working buckle so you can adjust how loosely you want it worn. The only problem I did find was that the metal sword is so heavy, that when placed into the scabbard it tends to over-balance forwards, making it hard to pose him when his weapon is sheathed.

His smoking pipe is very thin and delicate, but the bowl fits well into his specially designed hand, this hand also does a good job of holding his throwing star and the pieces of paper he comes with. These documents are printed to look like antique parchments with ornate glyphs and Japanese characters painted onto them. His Kunai knife can be held in either the sword grip or the tight grip hand, depending on the pose you want to achieve, and although like all the other accessories it is made of plastic (apart from the sword) it is painted well, to mimic dark metal.

Next is the small blue trinket box, this seems to be a pivotal object in the story and has two small opening compartments… quite what it’s significance is I don’t know yet as I haven’t seen the movie, but my guess is the small printed map might play a big part in why it has ‘secret’ compartments.

Last is the obligatory figure stand, this ‘as always’ has the movie logo and character name printed onto it, but you’ll find the figure stands just fine without it.

Fun Factor - ****
This figure is very robust, in fact the only real delicate area is where the scabbard joins the belt, apart from that ol’ Goemon could give GI Joe a run for his money… but of course at $149.99 he wont have to.

I freely admit I love posing these things, and the soft fabric outfit coupled with those groovy boots makes this figure just wonderful for getting into any number of cool poses (if anyone out there reading this remembers Edwint, I’d love to see him let loose on this figure).

As I said above it makes me itch to see how Hot Toys would do some Jedi, and now we all know HT has the Marvel licence this material used on the foot-wear would make great boots for everyone from Spidey to Blade to give us the ability for totally kick ass super hero poses!

Value - ***1/2
When HT announced in their newsletter that they had the Goemon licence I seem to remember it said they were also investing in the movies production. I hope it pays off for them, as I only know of one person who has seen it so far on a trip to Japan, luckily he liked it a lot and it made him want to pick up the figures (Hi Maz!). So HT have got to try and make their money back on these, and it’s my guess that even if the movie bombed, these would still sell well. 

I have a feeling Saizo will be the most popular… everybody loves a black clad Ninja! But it’s testament to Hot Toys popularity, and also that people trust them to deliver, because all three figures from the movie have sold out on the Sideshow web site at $149.99, without the movie even being released in the US!

So not a full score in this category, but that metal sword and amazing head sculpt help drag it closer than many figures would get at this price point.

Overall - ***1/2
I toyed with a full score here, but $149.99 is a lot of money for a figure that doesn’t come packing a lot of accessories.
However he has an amazing Kojun head sculpt, JC’s paint is as good as ever, he comes with an outfit tailored by Harue creative, and to top it off he has a real metal sword… a couple of years ago a figure with that dream team involved would have probably cost you over $300… so to me it’s a bit of a steal!

Scoring Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Outfit - ****
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Sideshow did sell the complete set of three figures, but all three are sold out on pre-order, but you can still try the wait list.

Alternatively Michael’s sponsor Alter Ego Comics have him in stock for $144.99.

Or try eBay where I’m seeing him from $135 up to $170.

Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys
Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys

Goemon Movie action figure by Hot Toys


Figures from the collection of Jeff Parker

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