Saint Seiya

We have a new guest reviewer tonight, Raul, and he'll be talking about a couple of the Saint Seiya figures.  Take it away, Raul!

Saint Seiya (or the Knights of the Zodiac, as the series in know in Latin America & Europe) is one of the must beloved and successful animes series of all time, with literally hundreds of licensed products for sale. By far, the most sought after collectibles, after the original manga, have been the action figures produced by Bandai. The original toy line, which was released in Japan in the late eighties, and overseas in the nineties, is a classic, but the articulation & general look have not aged well. 

Bandai decided to relaunch the toy line in December 2003, renaming it Saint Seiya Myth Cloth, with completely redone figures & updated armors, in new deluxe sets. The new figures have been quite successful and the new toy line has become of the most sought after, and expensive, collector items for Saint Seiya fans, with prices for the Japanese version of the figures ranging from $45 to $85 and even more for some limited edition sets. 

So that’s a bit of background for anybody interested in the subject, which bring us to this review; Saint Seiya Myth Cloth Pegasus with 3rd Armor.

Packaging - ***1/2
Japanese toys usually come in beautifully designed cardboard boxes, and the Myth Cloth series have some of the best. They are decorated with Greek glyphs that give hints of the next release (see the end of the review for the complete story) and great pictures. The box opens up to show the figure, armor & all the extras like variant headgears. They make a great background for the figures too.
Although the look great, they are not sturdy and can get bruised very easily, and most collectors place HEAVY importance on the state of the packaging, so this is something to keep an eye out for. 

Sculpting - ****
When Bandai made the first figures, they had a few problems with the likeness of the Saints, which were OK but not that recognizable by themselves, the armor definitely helped to identify them. 
This new Seiya is the closest one yet to the manga & anime, with a much more expressive face than the previous attempt. 

This is the new Pegasus armor which debuts in the Hades Saga anime, and it look simply magnificent. The armor is made mostly out of metal, except for the hands & various head gears. 

Paint - ****
Since this figure is supposed to be always wearing the armor, the main points of interest are the face, hands and armor details. All of these are perfectly done, with no bleed on anywhere or splotches. 
The figure has no wash or shading effect anywhere, since Japanese prefer beauty & simplicity over realism; this figure is based on anime and looks like a perfect 3D representation of that. 

Articulation - ****
This is the first figure to come with the new G2 body created by Bandai.
Previous figures were a bit smaller and had a different crotch & upper body.
Like most Japanese redesigns, is more of a depuration and optimization of a previous model, rather than a radical departure, this allows different generations of figures to look good together (unlike the earlier Marvel Legends series, which look positively archaic next to the current offerings).

The new body has 36 points of articulation, including articulated neck, ball jointed shoulders & hips, double jointed elbows & knees. Hands and feet are removable too, for armor placement. The joint are quite sturdy, and can handle the extra weight of the metal armor. The body shares the idea of the DC Superheroes line where the articulation doesn’t conflict with the design; it allows a huge range of poses and looks damn good at it!

Accessories - ****
Seiya comes with his armor, different hands, the Pegasus armor stand, the miniature Athena armor statue from Hades Saga, and the previous armor’s & the Sagittarius tiaras, but adapted to fit the new head, for those which might like to reenact scenes from the series, like Seiya wearing the Sagittarius armor. This are great little touches that collectors love. 

Fun Factor - **
This is a tough one, these are not toys to play with; they are meant for posing on a shelf or exhibit box. Although you could try to play with them, the quantity of pieces of armor are easy to dislodge and lose. 

And if you are planning to give it to your kid, you are either very rich or very trusty…which bring us to the price.

Value - ****
So, this is a magnificently sculpted figure, marvelously articulated, beautifully designed & perfectly painted. It makes snickering relatives, who love to get on your case about your toy collection, think twice about calling it a toy….and it costs five or six times more than your average Marvel Legend. Yup, this baby will probably set you back $35 to $60, depending if it’s the Latin or Japanese HK version (like this one), and where you buy it. Since these are premium collector items, they include a premium price. Is it worth it? If you are a fan of the Anime & Manga, definitely. If you are a toy collector, you might be thinking they might be a bit too rich for your blood, but keep in mind what you get for your money, instead of buying that variant Wonderman. 

Things to Watch Out For:
As I previously mentioned, collectors pay HEAVY importance on the state of the packaging, so this is something to keep an eye out for. Also, the regional versions have exactly the same figures & contents, aside from the assembly manual, which is either in Japanese & Chinese for the Asian versions, or in French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish for the Latin versions. Which version you’re buying is easy to identify by the Saint Seiya logo on the upper corner of the box; the Latin versions say Knights of the Zodiac in their respective language. Serious collector usually look for the more expensive Asian versions.

There have been some reports on some of the earliest batches of the Pegasus figures (regardless of the area of the world where they were sold) that had an unsightly flaw; the red paint that was used to color the armbands in those early batches was too abrasive, and caused the surrounding arm area to gain a pinkish color. This was fixed in latter batches, and now in rare but known to happen. If your Pegasus is fine when you buy it, it will stay that way, the problem does not occur over time.

Overall - ****
What else can I say? If you like the anime, what are you waiting for?
I you are interested in Manga, action figures, or consider yourself a serious collector but hoped to not have to worry about quality issues in mass market toys, & can appreciate (and afford) it, go for it!
You won’t be disappointed. 

Oh, in case you are interested how one collector discovered the secret code where Bandai would offer hints on their next release check out this site, which is also the provider for the pics used. Sorry it’s in Spanish but it has links to English sites too.

Packaging: ***1/2
Sculpting: ****
Paint: ****
Articulation: ****
Accessories: ****
Fun Factor: **
Value: ****
Overall: ****

Where To Buy:
In Latin-American there are several sites to buy the Asian & Latin versions, but try to avoid eBay and brick & mortar stores, where you might end up paying even higher prices. This is one of the best and can ship them to the US too.


Figure from the collection of Raul Vito.

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