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Tomopop Review: Megahouse's G.E.M. Aladdin

Jan 08 // Martin Siggers
Figure Name: G.E.M. 1/8th AladdinFigure Maker: MegahousePrice: ¥7,600Available at: HLJ Aladdin's box is simple and straightforward, but there are a couple of things I like about it. Firstly is that cool star-shaped front cut-out, replicating a recurring design from the show. It's a nice way to get a story motif in without plastering logos everywhere. The second thing I like is that this box is made of thick, tough cardboard - no flimsy packaging here, this one will survive any shipping trip (well, you'd hope). Aladdin's base is also a great bit of design. It's clear blue plastic, but embossed with the show's distinctive magic circle design, and with some simple golden text added. I'll again lament the need to put copyright notices on bases - especially on clear ones, they're just a horrible distraction. Still, this is an above average stand that nicely ties in with Aladdin's themed colour. So, what's he like out of the box? Well, for one thing he's surprisingly big for a 1/8 scale figure of an 8 year old boy, standing at 180mm tall. There's a reassuringly chunky, weighty feel to him as well, probably a byproduct of all the PVC used to make those vast baggy trousers. I've only owned one Megahouse figure before (their famous version of Lelouch Lamperouge) and while he's good, he's not great. Aladdin, however, shows me the company has come a long way since then. The plastic is lovely and soft to the touch stuff, and there's a real nice feel of quality and solidity, on a par with anything from Alter or Good Smile. A very encouraging first impression. This is a fantastic pose for Aladdin, and really conveys the energy that's an essential part of his character. The airplane arms and wide spread legs help sell his childish enthusiasm while the flapping jacket and sash and the flying braid show movement. I love the open mouthed grin on his face too - it's just great to see a character so happy.  One thing worth noting is that Aladdin's big waist sash is actually an entirely separate part from his harem pants and can be lifted off his waist independently. I'm not entirely sure why Megahouse have sculpted it this way, since it seems a little pointless. You can't take it off and you can't twist it round, and lifting it reveals more of his bare behind than you're probably comfortable with. Best let it be. Aladdin's huge braid is an essential part of what makes this figure work. Megahouse have exaggerated its length somewhat (unfurled it's easily taller than he is) but it's worth it for the swoopy, dramatic look it adds. The braid is a separate part which plugs in at the base of the head, and is hidden pretty well by Aladdin's turban and the angle of the plug. Naturally, it's extremely delicate, so be very careful when fitting it. Incidentally, no instructions are included in the box, so it took a tense few seconds to verify that yes, his head is removable. Popping it off makes attaching the braid that much easier. Aladdin's staff is so lovely that it deserves a paragraph of its own. I don't know what crazy painting technique Megahouse used to achieve the wood effect, but it's totally convincing and damn pretty to boot. It's a separate piece that Aladdin grips loosely in his hand, so it can be removed if you wish. Going so big and bulky on the trousers was a major risk, as there was the possibility that they'd turn out looking like big ugly lumps of plastic. Fortunately Megahouse dodged that bullet by doing their homework and molding enough flares and billows into the fabric. Good paintwork and shading accentuates the dips in the material while Aladdin's waist sash adds a bit of movement to break up the big expanse of material. The result is a show accurate look and a distinctive style for the figure. Like I said earlier, I love the face, which is simple but effective. Aladdin's recorder is a separate piece which you have to remove his head to pop round his neck. The recorder itself is beautifully detailed, but I'm a little disappointed by the cord, which is just a standard bit of black string looped twice around the recorder neck. It's pretty easy to dislodge with a hard tug and also doesn't match the pictures on the box, which show a gold cord. Nit-picky I know, but it does change the look of the figure somewhat. Aladdin's a pretty simple design, but where fine detail is required, like the wraps round his chest, Megahouse delivers with crisp, sharp painting. Aladdin also comes with an alternate hairpiece, depicting him sans turban. I actually like this look a bit more, as it makes him look even more boyish and youthful. Hair replacement works a lot like a figma - the fringe pops off, then the entire back segment of the head can be removed. Slight stiffness aside it's an easy procedure that only takes a few seconds. The only downside to this look is that it leaves him with a huge seam line all across his head. The turban is a pretty convincing way to hide where it joins, but when it's just hair to hair it's much more obvious. I had high hopes for Aladdin, but nevertheless it's been a while since a figure so surpassed my expectations. He's almost painfully adorable, beautifully made, lovingly painted and posed to perfection. He's also single handedly raised my expectations for figures from Megahouse - this is up there with the best of them. What a great way to kick off 2014!
Aladdin Review photo
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