Microman Street Fighter
Sakura and Chun-Li

Regular guest reviewer Sean Teeter, our very own College Bum, is back tonight with a review of two new Microman figures - tell us all about them, Sean!

Iíve been keeping an eye on Takaraís Microman line for a few years now. After delivering some excellent Batman figures a while back, they managed to snag a few other interesting licenses. First they announced production on a Spider-Man figure, which unfortunately fell through. Then they snagged the Alien v. Predator line, which I have yet to pick up until I can find them at a reasonable price. Recently weíve gotten a set of Batman Begins figures and a pair of characters from the Street Fighter games.
I have to admit up front that while Iím a huge fan of fighting games, Street Fighterís not at the top of the list for me. Iím more of a DOA or MK kind of guy but that doesnít mean I didnít blow my fair share of quarters on the first couple of Street Fighter titles. Tonight I cover both figures released by Takara: Chun Li and Sakura. 

Packaging - ***
The packaging is serviceable and shows off the product well enough. The graphics are nicely laid out and the back shows off some nice poses. Not exactly collector friendly though.

Sculpt - **1/2
This really isnít a line one looks at for sculpting since the main attraction is the amount of articulation. Both of these figures are certainly serviceable, but not great. Sakura has a soft sculpted head, shoulders, necktie, skirt, sneaker-tops, and wrist bands on top of her body. The plastic body underneath the soft goods isnít very detailed, except for the sneaker sculpt. The soft goods are pretty easy to pop off in most cases Ėin fact the shoulder sleeves keep popping off quite easily.
The head sculpt is a tad generic detail-wise. In fact the face appears to be a bit androgynous in nature; that hair cut doesnít help much either. The long ends from Sakuraís headband run down to the bottom of her skirt. Since the hair hides the headband from the back, these streamers are plugged into a hole in the back of her noggin. It doesnít look that great.

Chun Liís outfit appears to have been captured pretty well here. The puffy shoulders, open skirt, spiked bracelets, and hair buns all look pretty decent. Once again the soft goods are pretty easy to separate here Ėthe shoulders come off without much effort, as does the head. Her boots are simple but look close to the source material. Liís bust size should please most of her male fan base. As with Sakura, the head sculpt is off, but at least we can tell itís supposed to be a girl . . . or at least a boy who can pull off drag pretty well.

Paint - Sakura: ***; Chun Li: **
The paint isnít intricate or anything, but generally well done. Most of the body colors are shot in plastic. Chun Liís leggings, boots, undies, as well as Sakuraís shirt and knickers are all molded. The blue, red, and yellow ops found on Sakuraís uniform are simple and clean. Her face ops are also clean if not a bit flat.
Chun Li is really hit and miss here. The metallic blue of her dress is really nice, but the gold highlights are really slapdash. In fact, her left shoulder is missing them completely on the top! Her face is fine Ėat least her make-up helps make her more female-looking than Sakura. 

Articulation - ***1/2
This is usually a four star category for these kinds of figures, but thereíre a few things holding these ladies back.
Both female fighters have 30 points: ball-joints abound at the neck, shoulders, upper & lower torso, and hips, while thereíre pivots and swivels found at the head, biceps, elbows, wrists, hands, thighs, knees, and ankles. The hips are limited a bit, but you can always reposition the legs at the thigh cuts to mimic good, high kicks. The soft goods shoulders tend to limit the arms, but I can live with it. Some of these joints appear to be way too loose, but Iíll cover that in the durability section.

Accessories - **
This is usually a well-rated category for the Microman line as Takara tends to pack each figure with several variant hands and weapons. Here not only do the accessories feel a little light, but thereíre some quality issues as well.

Each figure comes with a display base, a clear clamp for suspended poses, and seven pairs of hands including fists, open, karate chop, the first two fingers extended, loose open grip, and two regular grips with different swivel joints. The joints on a lot of these seem a bit fragile, but that might have to do more with the small scale of the hands as opposed to the actual construction.

Not all the hands seem to fit that well into the wrist sockets either. Some are so loose that they fall out if aiming downwards.

The bases are a nice touch Ėcertainly better than the standard clear stands found throughout the Microman line. The brick wall sculpt is nice enough, but the four huge holes in the back kind of look a little weird. These are for the clear clamp that can hold the figure in mid-air poses. The clamp set-up seems a little strange. The set comes with a regular clamp, a pronged clamp, the stick, and a small snap-in piece that doesnít seem to do anything. Chun Liís base is grey with black highlights in the cracks. Sakuraís is brown/yellow with very skimpy highlights in some of the cracks. 

I guess you could count parts of these ladies costumes as accessories if you really want to: Chun Liís spiked bracelets and puffy sleeves can be removed, so can Sakuraís skirt, sleeves, and wrist bands. Of course the figures donít look all that great with some of these items removed.

Durability/Quality - Sakura: **; Chun Li: * Ĺ 
Wow, what the hell happened here? First off, these characters pop apart quite easily at the joints. Iím not talking tug and an arm will let go, Iím saying flick an arm with your finger and watch it fly! Some of the hand pegs are also really loose. Sometimes the hands just fall out if the figuresí arms are aiming downwards. The soft rubber heads also fall off quite readily.

Chun Li takes an extra hit because of her lower legs. Not only is there an ugly gap in the seam on the front of her boots, but her ankle articulation is ridiculously weak. 

She can hold static poses all right, but putting her in almost any action pose will cause her to sag and fall over. Since Sakura doesnít have this problem, Iím hoping I just caught a bad figure and that they arenít all like this.

Value - **1/2
The lowest regular price for these girls seems to be about $9.99, but some online stores are asking up to $12 each. Because these are imports, they will run a tad high at most retailers. I think that the quality issues and lack of accessories chip away at the value a bit. I got all my Batman Micromen for under nine bucks and felt like I got an excellent deal. Of course I caught these two on sale for $7.50 each, so I donít feel as bad about picking them up. 

CornerStoreComics has them for $10.99 each, or $20.99 as a set. They also have preorders up for the exclusive red Chun Li at $8.99.

Iíve seen them go as low as six bucks on Ebay.

Overall - Sakura: ** Ĺ; Chun Li: **
I have to say I was kind of disappointed by these two figures. First off, I kind of question Takaraís decision to go after the Street Fighter franchise when SOTA has been kicking butt with their highly superior figures. Of course the appeal here lays in the combination of a smaller scale and high articulation. Unfortunately these figures seem to be kind of cheap compared to the other Micromen Iíve come across. The choice of figures also seems a bit weird. Chun Li is kind of a no-brainer since she was one of the first fightiní femmes in the gaming world, and has been a fan favorite for years. Sakura? If Takara was looking to produce a second female alongside of Li, why didnít they go with Cammy? I would have actually preferred a male companion figure for variety, like Ken or Guile Ėmaybe even an M. Bison. Both of these figures have already been released by SOTA as well ĖChun Li in the 1st series; Sakura in the 3rdóeach with numerous color variants. 

If youíre fans of the Street Fighter series I assume you already have the SOTA figures in your possession, or at least on a wish list. I canít really recommend these in addition unless youíre a complete-ist. Theyíre not horrible figures by any means, but they seem redundant and less exciting than the larger versions already on the market. 

Itís been the week of the micro figure for me! I also picked up the complete set of Dead or Alive trading figures by Takara and Kaiyodo (thereís a theme here . . .). I thought these ladies were much better Ėbe sure to check out my review on that sextet since I will undoubtedly use the Street Fighter gals as the basis for comparison. 

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - **1/2
Paint - Sakura: ***; Chun Li: **
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - **
Durability - Sakura: **; Chun Li: * Ĺ
Value - **1/2
Overall - Sakura: ** Ĺ; Chun Li: **

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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