Revoltech Fist of the North Star - Jagi

   "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."

One of the things I just don't cover well enough is Japanese action figures. Ridureyu is back tonight to help out, looking at one of the cool Revoltech releases - tell us all about it, R!

Doesn't it always suck to be the middle child?

In the ultraviolent postapocalyptic series Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken), Hokuto Shinken, literally "Divine Fist of the Big Dipper" is an unstoppably deadly martial art, known for using acupressure points to cause the target's body to destroy itself from the inside.  Because of its deadliness and power, it is traditionally handed down from father to son, producing only one successor at a time.  And yet for some reason, Ryuuken, the previous master, decided to adopt and train four kids at once before picking which one gets to be the "true" successor.  Smart move, dude.  It only took 109 episodes and a mountain of corpses to fix this mistake.  In order of importance, the brothers are:

Kenshiro: Youngest brother, true successor to the martial art, main hero of the series.
Raoh: Oldest brother, would-be conqueror of the world.
Toki: Second oldest and dying of radiation poison, Toki dedicated his life and art to healing others.
Jagi: The second-youngest brother, Jagi's Hokuto Shinken skills were a complete wash, so he dedicated his life to slandering his brothers, killing people, blowing stuff up, and chaining kids to cinderblocks out in the desert.

Jagi is not a very pleasant man.

In training, Jagi frequently relied on cheating and foreign objects to beat up on his younger brother - he was so far behind the older ones that he justified it with "Well, a younger brother can never surpass an older one!"  But when Kenshiro was chosen as the new successor, he went ballistic, and attacked his brother with a shotgun.  Ken had to nearly explode his head to make him stop, and this was the "merciful" option.  Jagi nailed his skull back together, took a demon mask, and promptly devoted his entire life to hurting his little brother.  Really, Jagi began the entire series - he slandered Ken to one of his friends, which kickstarted the big betrayal, seven scars, and plot for the rest of the show.  He later scarred his chest to match Ken's, and ran around committing atrocities under Kenshiro's name, often demanding that victims “Say his name” as Kenshiro just to make sure.  The next time they met, Ken was no longer very merciful.  RIP, Jagi.  We'll always remember your last words, "I win and you lose! Lord Jagi is the winn-AUUUGH!"

After his death, Jagi is mostly forgotten in the series.  The damage he did remains, but they don't even list him when talking about "The Three Brothers of Hokuto Shinken."  Recently, the character has gained kind of a renaissance, with appearances in all the new video games, some toys, and a side-story series all his own.

Revoltech (That's "Revol-Tech" as in "revolve," not "revolt") is a Japanese toy company owned by Kaiyodo that is known for their innovations in articulation, particularly the "revoltech" joint, a unique kind of ratcheting ball-and-socket combination.  Most of their toys are robots, although they have recently branched out into more humanoid figures, such as their Fist of the North Star "Revolution" line.  These toys have covered most major and minor characters of the series, even including a few exploding punks just for the fun of it.  Jagi was figure #3 in the line.

Packaging - ***1/2
Jagi's packaging is a large box with an interior tray, and it does an excellent job in protecting the figure.  He is not held in with twist ties or rubber bands, but is rather padded with some light plastic, like a ziploc bag.  The amount of excess material is not very environmentally-friendly, but it protects this figure like an armored safe.  A cardboard armored safe.

Sculpting - ****
Revoltech's rendition of the third brother is in a 6" scale, but a little small - Jagi isn't a big guy, so he might look odd next to your Marvel Legends or DC Universe figures - he's ripped, but skinny and somewhat short.  The sculpting is spot-on in this figure, matching his original manga appearance exactly, from the pouch on his belt to the wrinkles in his jacket.  His torso has his seven self-inflicted scars, which look appropriately sloppy.  His jacket is a separate piece, but is glued on, and couldn't be removed without taking off the arms, anyway.  It has appropriate texture and wrinkles, and looks sufficiently different from his pants, which are supposedly a different material.  The shoulderpads, gauntlets, and knee guards also look good, with the shoulder pads in particular having a nicely pocked, hammered metal look.  Jagi's iconic mask is also excellent - textured well, and even including a few nicks and pock marks where he had apparently taken a couple of hits in the past.  These aren't paint slop.

Under the helmet is just as important, and Revoltech got it right.  A little under half of Jagi's face is normal, that of an average-looking man.  The rest of it is a complete mess.  Jagi's heavily-scarred cranium is held together by a metal framework, nails, and a few little black wires.  You can practically feel the pain just looking at him, and honestly it's kind of impressive that he still has any hair left, but that's the way it was in the series.

Paint - ****
The figure's paint is excellent across the board, including very precise detailing on things rivets, the aforementioned black wires, the design on his belt buckle and gloves, and even a decent light wash on his musculature.  As the manga was black and white, there is some confusion over what colors should be in Jagi's costume.  Most colorizations give him green clothes and make his kneepads, faceplate, and gloves gold, whereas the anime series gave him dark blue clothes with red trim. The arcade game combined these, with blue clothes, red kneepads and gloves, and gold trim on the mask.  That's the color palette this figure chooses to use, and it works.  Colors are carefully proportioned, and the blue is muted to imply denim for his pants and jacket, although the jacket could be leather.  Metal pieces also look good, with particular attention given to his helmet.

Articulation - ****
The big feature of this figure is the articulation.  Revoltech joints are very useful, and really do offer a wide range of movement.  Their ratcheting system keeps them from becoming loose, and is also quite welcome.  However, they are eyesores.  A major reason why Revoltech usually makes robots is because it's much easier to forgive a visible ball joint.  With Jagi, they got immensely creative in hiding his revoltech joints, such as the dual knee ball joints which are hidden behind his kneepad, and Jagi's wrist joints are the only ones that you might really see.  Speaking of joints, Jagi is articulated all over the place.  The idea was to give him the same range of movement as a flexible human, and it shows - Even his shoulder pads can move a little bit!  His hips are swivel joints, but there are several sets of swivels in his upper legs, thus allowing him to take far more poses than a swivel usually allows.  His ankles have a complicated ball joint setup which might seem awkward at first, but turns out to be flexible and stable.  His torso is also well-articulated, and comes apart easily - that doesn't mean it breaks, but instead that it comes apart peacefully before it would break.  I have always supported this in a toy - it's far better if it bends or lightly comes apart rather than breaking.  The joints also seem durable, although I won't try to wear any down.  Surprisingly, none  of them were stuck in the package - not a single mishap with glue, paint, or plastic swelling!  This is incredibly rare these days, and I wish some US manufacturers would take notes.

It's hard to explain the amazing range of poses that this figure can take without actually showing them off.  But essentially, nearly everything he did in the series can be replicated by this figure.  He can jump, sit, brandish his shotgun, take off his helmet, hold his head, sit on a motorcycle (if you have one in this scale), or even do the iconic "Say My Name!" pose.  Jagi can also take all sorts of fancy martial arts poses, which is a good thing - in light of all the shotgunning and pyromania, it's easy to forget that Jagi is a surprisingly dangerous martial artist.  Kenshiro may have defeated him easily, but Jagi was more than a match for anybody else he faced.  And with this figure, you can do the Hokuto Rangeki, or his Nanto attack, or any number of generic fighty poses.

Accessories - **1/2
A major disappointment is how Revoltech skimped Jagi on accessories.  All figures in this series get alternate hands and a stand.  Some have alternate heads, most get weapons, and a few have costume pieces or props.  Rei's figure even has a random thug to kill!  Unfortunately, Jagi only comes with the bare minimum - a display base, four spare hands, his helmet, and his trusty shotgun.  The sawed-off shotgun is a necessity for any version of Jagi.  It's as much a part of him as his mask.  It looks a little small, but it was that way in the series, too.  It fits perfectly in one of his hands, and also in an included holster on his hip - the holster is very nice, and softer plastic so it won't scrape the paint off Jagi's shotgun.  The hands are as follows:  Two closed fists, two flat "chopping" hands, and one open set.  The right "open" hand is sculpted to hold his shotgun, whereas the left is a more general pose.  Jagi really needs a few more hands - perhaps a right hand similar to the open left one, or a pointing finger.  They are sufficient for nearly any pose, however, ranging from taunting to fighting to some of his iconic poses in the series.  The hands are easy to swap with no fear of breakage - simply pull it out along with the wrist joint, swap, and then plug it back in.
The display base consists of three parts - a V-shaped base with a single footpeg, a vertical stand, and a special revoltech joint that plugs into Jagi's waist.  The vertical parts won't fir very well when he stands, although you can pose him flying through the air in any number of poses.  The v-shaped base is quite good, although two footpegs would have helped even more with stability.  To be honest, Jagi needs some more weapons, especially at this price point.  He's famous for his shotgun, but he also used a lighter, gas cans, a pillar, throwing needles, an old spear, and some other things.  Heck, why not include his motorcycle or the "Lord Jagi" statue his henchmen made?  Or even the cinderblock he chained that poor kid to?  Anything to make the price point seem more reasonable and put Jagi in line with the other releases.

Value - **1/2
Jagi has a fairly large amount of merchandise already, ranging from a 12" statue to the old 6" Kaiyodo figure to several small, unposeable toys.  This figure clearly surpasses the old Kaiyodo one, and unless you have three digits to burn for the 12" figure (!!!!), it's the best one out there.  The price will be a problem - Revoltech figures are $30, standard.  You can find this one for as cheap as $28 or as much as $35, but it's still a nasty hole in your wallet.  The most expensive Fist of the North Star Revoltech figure is Raoh on his horse - both figures for $85, which is essentially two for the price of three.  $30 is a lot, although it isn't much more than, say, one of Mattel's new MOTU figures, or the secondary market on anything Marvel or DC.  For your money, you get a fantastic sculpt, flawless paint job, and incredible articulation.  Jagi's low number of accessories is a sore point, although what he has is very useful.

Fun Factor - ****
It's an excellent figure of a uniquely nasty villain, and looks good on display.  Just remember not to remind Jagi of his younger brother in any way at all.  That child I keep mentioning?  The one he tied to a cinderblock?  The kid was taking care of his older crippled brother, which drove Jagi into a long "YOUNGER BROTHERS ARE NEVER BETTER!" speech, and resulted in one dead kid.  Jagi is kind of a jerk.

I wouldn't necessarily say that this toy is for kids - although the joints are sturdy, too much rough play could conceivably break them, and there are a lot of joints. The subject matter is also fairly adult - Jagi is a surprisingly despicable person, even when compared to the other human monsters in an already-ultraviolent series.  However, he makes a great Mad Max-esque villain, and can fit in most 6" figure displays.

Overall- ***1/2
Overall, this is a great toy, and the definitive version of the character.  Its lack of accessories is a minor problem, but most of the things he could come with (A motorcycle, gas can, or cinderblock) can be found in other toylines with no problem.  Jagi is an excellent addition to any Fist of the North Star collection, and a pretty good figure in other varied displays.  Just remember to SAY HIS NAME!

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ridureyu.

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