Dragonball Z Goku

Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay

   "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."

Tonight's guest review is from YoNoSe, back with a look at a classic character - take it away, Yo!

Thanks, Michael, for letting me post another round of blah, blah, blah!

There’s nothing Hollywood likes better than a property that’s already made a ton of money. Unfortunately, interest doesn’t usually go much further than the brand name. It’s a little scary nowadays when your favorite comic/book/TV show is given the big screen treatment. You have your odd Star Trek or Spider-Man, but mostly we end up with Batman and Robin.

From the beginning there was little hope for Dragonball: Evolution. The source material contains everything from high-flying, magical kung fu to futuristic cities and vehicles, to casual nudity. We were never going to get a faithful Dragon Ball or Dragonball Z movie made on a conservative budget by an American studio.

Maybe it’s because I knew that going in or maybe I’m just getting too old to muster the fanboy venom that flows like a Digital River (get it?) on the Internet, but I don’t hate the movie. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have preferred the epic, effects laden blockbuster fans dreamed of. It’s just that after years and years of watching my favorite comics, TV shows and video games get adapted into cringe-worthy movies I was prepared to accept Dragonball: Evolution for its limited charms.

Among those charms was Justin Chatwin’s performance as Goku. Though the script assigns him a predictable load of garden variety teen angst Chatwin still manages to get some of Goku’s endearing goofiness onto the screen. He also does an admirable job of looking totally committed to some extremely awkward, and sometimes downright awful, dialogue.

Add to that the fact that this is almost definitely the only live-action version of Goku we’re ever going to get, Enterbay’s reputation for incredibly lifelike portraits, and a $60 merchandise credit at Bigbadtoystore, and this figure became an easy buy for me.

So now that I’ve rationalized my purchase, how’s the figure???
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay

Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay

Packaging - ***
Enterbay packaging is sturdy. You get one big old box containing two smaller boxes, containing, alternately, a plastic tray (for accessories) and a foam encasement (for the figure).

The graphics are nice. The picture of the figure exemplifies how Enterbay has made a name for themselves with human portraits – if it weren’t for the ridiculously styled hair (which I’ll get to in the Sculpting section) you might think this was a photograph of a living person.

The only other Enterbay figure I own is 24’s Jack Bauer and aside from the specific graphics this packaging is identical to Bauer’s with one notable exception: While both figures come sandwiched between two foam cutouts, Bauer was separated from the foam by a thin piece of tissue. With Goku, they’ve gone into heretofore-unexplored collectible territory with…a pencil case.

Not what I was expecting but it works! My first Bauer figure arrived with a nasty nose rub thanks to a rip in the tissue paper. Goku’s face paint was happily undisturbed.

Sculpting - ***1/2
This is a fantastic head sculpt! At first I wasn’t sure about the likeness. But after a closer look you can see they’ve captured the shape of the eyes, set of the mouth and furrowed brow of movie-Goku. Chatwin does not have the most distinguished face working today which makes it harder spot at this scale. I would say it’s on par with Enterbay’s other excellent work. It just doesn’t benefit from the identifiable grizzle of someone like Kiefer Sutherland.

The face is about as real as they come but the hair is another story.

The biggest problem is the design, and I can’t fault the sculptor for that. Goku’s trademark ‘do is an explosion of triangles. What works on paper seldom translates perfectly to reality and thus we are left with some wacky hair on movie-Goku.

The sculpt itself is quite intricate and thoroughly detailed. There are no tootsie rolls here. Close examination reveals every part and spike used to approximate the animated design.

No amount of detailing, however, can make this hairdo look real. The sheer mass and abnormal shape immediately register as fake to the eye. That’s actually appropriate since it looks weird in the film as well. The glossy paint doesn’t help, but that too is fairly accurate to the source material.

I’m not going to dock the sculpt (which, after all, is excellent) but since the design greatly effects the overall aesthetic of the figure it should be mentioned here. The sculptor is not responsible for the design but it is part of the product. If you are interested most in the “realism” of a figure this could be a huge turnoff.

Paint - ***
There’s a subtlety to the paint application that is rarely seen in this scale. Even meticulous customs don’t often achieve this level of realism. There are no hard lines on the face to remind you that you’re looking at a toy. The skin tone has several complimentary colors at play but it’s so skillful you might not notice it. The eyes are incredibly lifelike (though not perfectly centered). 
So why not a perfect score?

The real problem is the paint on the belt and wristbands. Not only do they look obviously like shiny plastic, but the paint itself feels tacky and in one small spot even rubbed off on the gi.  The paint seems like a quick fix to add some depth to the appearance. That’s hard to swallow at this price point.

Articulation - **
The underlying body is Enterbay’s RM-1. It’s the same as Bauer but, as EB’s web site notes, this iteration sports improved ankles. This is good news for me since my Bauer lilts from side to side almost as much as the real Kiefer.

Height-wise it’s taller than a Medicom but not quite as big as a Truetype, though Goku’s hair does throw off the comparison a bit.

Here’s my best guess at the breakdown of POAs (I wasn’t breaking the belt for the sake of peaking at Goku’s unmentionables): Ball jointed neck, shoulder, elbows, and wrists. The hips have a ball joint-type range of motion. The waist is cut and there is a mid-torso pin joint (this only seems to move forward). Knees are double jointed. Toes are also articulated, though the hard plastic boot doesn’t allow for any movement there.

Joints are tight and hold poses well. Articulation is nowhere near the top-of-the-line Hot Toys Truetype and I miss that body’s smooth movement in the joints. Enterbay uses a ratchet type joint in the hips – they seem to “click” into place every centimeter or so - making it more difficult to find the hallowed “sweet spot” for dynamic poses.

I do like the natural shape of the body. There are no inappropriately bulging muscles and generally the articulation is well hidden.
Then there are the elbows….

Yikes! Looking this figure over from top to bottom, you can’t help but notice the elbows. You have a fantastically realized human face on top of a realistically shaped human body and then you hit the most obvious set of elbow joints this side of Hasbro Hill. I’m not opposed to visible articulation, these are not statues, but these seem more bulbous and toy-like than necessary. Only now do I see how Jack Bauer’s long sleeves added to the realism of that piece.

Also notable about this body is the weight. You may appreciate it since it feels more substantial than most 1/6 bodies. Personally I prefer a lighter body. If this guy falls, he’s going down hard.

Accessories - **1/2
Goku comes with his stick, his four-star Dragonball, five hands, and a stand.

The stand isn’t much to look at but it’s a pleasant surprise. It’s leaps and bounds better than the stand that came with Jack Bauer. That one was plastic with a flimsy waist clamp. This one is 100% metal, with a wrought iron feel. The adjustable waist clamp is very tight and hinged to tilt backwards. Coupled with the adjustable height this allows for some great flying poses. The base even folds out to nearly double the size for more leverage. The sturdy materials and construction support the weight of the body easily and could seemingly hold such poses for a long time without fear of “wilting.”

The stick looks movie accurate though it lacks any texture. The little bit of paint present is neatly executed. It fits in the dedicated hand nicely.

Goku’s Dragonball is cast in translucent orange plastic. In the film, the stars float around inside the ball like a snow globe. Here the stars are flat, star-shaped cut outs. It’s a very small detail but they look a little too much like cookie cut outs. Passable, but I can’t help think there must be a better way.

There are five unique hands: two fists, one gripping right hand for holding the staff, a wide open left and a slightly less open left. Each is well crafted and very realistic. The grasping hand for Goku’s stick is just tight enough to get it in and out without worrying about paint wear but not so loose that it slides.

While that is a good assortment it is still fundamentally lacking. Goku’s signature attack, the Kamehameha, is prominently featured in the film. It involves placing one hand palm up and the other palm down above it to gather your ki into an energy ball. Pretty simple, and it would have been a perfect, iconic pose for the figure. Unfortunately there is no open palmed right hand. This is a major missed opportunity and even more annoying considering they doubled up on open left hands.

Outfit - **
The clothing varies greatly in both accuracy and quality. The upper half of the outfit is excellent. Goku’s orange gi really pops. The stitching is well done and matches the source material. Goku wears the symbol of Master Roshi on his chest and back and these are also duplicated nicely here. The symbols are glossy and feel thick. I’m guessing they were achieved using a high quality heat transfer.

The undershirt is equally nice and looks movie accurate. The visible folds are realistic, indicating a good material for this scale. In-depth examination of the undershirt is impossible due to the belt being glued together. This might be a negative if you’re looking to adjust or customize the figure but since I have no intention to remove any of the clothes it doesn’t detract at all.

Said belt and the wristbands are hard plastic. They are cast in black with a faint brown wash. I’d really prefer soft goods for these areas. The sculpt / paint combination doesn’t replicate cloth material very well and the result here is a little cheap looking.

Also in the “cheap looking plastic” category are the boots. There’s nothing to say about them other than being a simple sculpt cast in solid black, hard plastic. It’s impossible to say how accurate the boots are since they are usually covered by Goku’s pants in the film. That being the case, the figure’s pants should cover up these cheap looking booties, right?

The worst part of the outfit, by far, is the pants. Goku’s pants are clearly blue in the movie. They’re also very baggy and have a straight-leg cut all the way down to the floor, completely obscuring his feet.

The only similarity between this figure’s pants and the movie costume is that they are both baggy. These pants are black. They may appear dark blue due to lighting in some pictures but I assure you they are black. They are also fitted with elastic at the bottom of each leg. You know that pair of black sweatpants you keep around for painting? Goku is wearing those.

Thankfully they are so baggy that it is possible to pull down the excess material and approximate something like the movie look. Sort of. But still – this is such a huge departure from the source material, and such obvious corner cutting, that it almost eclipses the excellent work on the gi and undershirt from a scoring standpoint.

Of course, what really matters is how it looks all together. In this case the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The excellent work on the gi and shirt attract your attention, making it easy to overlook the funky, junky pants and boots.

Value - **
Your opinion will depend greatly on what you value in a figure. This is another beautiful head sculpt and half of a great outfit. The body is not the best on the market but very far from the worst. $130 + shipping feels a little hefty to me considering the quality of the pants, cheap looking boots, and plastic belt and wristbands.

Overall - **1/2
This figure is the ultimate mixed bag. For every attribute that exceeds expectations there is another that drags it back into mediocrity.

Taken on it’s own, I love the way it looks on my shelf displayed with my other Goku figures.

But it’s impossible not to compare with similarly priced 1/6 figures and, in that sense, even the great headsculpt isn’t enough to compete with the overall level of detail and accessories you get from many Hot Toys figures for about $20 more.

Hardcore DBZ fans with a tolerance for the cheesy movie will likely enjoy having this in their collections. Non-fans – save those ducats for the next Hot Toys figure.

Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay
Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay

Dragonball Z Goku action figure by Enterbay

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

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