For a series as long-running as Bleach has been, I've always been surprised there haven't been a ton more figures. That's especially the case when talking about the series' first antagonist, Sousuke Aizen. The Soul Reaper-turned-traitor is a favorite character of mine from the series, yet trying to hunt down a figure of him has left me disappointed.
At least that was the case until Bandai dropped a Figuarts Zero Aizen in my lap, going after his form once he emerges fused with his hogyoku. Is Aizen worth it, or should I have hoped to wait longer for something better? Hit the jump to check him out!
Figure name: Figuarts Zero Sousuke Aizen Hogyoku Fusion ver.
So here, we have our box. The outside is rather spectacular looking, featuring a heavily white and black motif with a shattered pattern, as if the box was hatching. That is, hatching like Aizen was out of his initial, chrysalis-like state once he had fused with his hogyoku. It honestly takes what would otherwise be a boring, plain box with a corner window and print oversetting part of the clear plastic, and turns it into something much more eye-catching ... though it is a bit large.
On the inside, there's the illustration the figure is based off of. Aizen with blonde hair is ... weird.
Out of the box and fully assembled, Aizen looks rather impressive at first glance. His pose is one of power, one hand forward, the other drawn back holding his zanpakuto. His hair and robes flow around him, as if being blown about by some unknown force or power. His eyes look sunken and dark, his suit of white taught against his slightly muscular frame. There's enough detail in certain parts to really draw your eye to those parts alone, like the fringes of his robes or his outstretched hand.
I must note at this point that he is very reflective in light, just as a heads up should you choose to display him somewhere well lit. It actually caused me to spend a lot more time shooting him than I expected.
From the other angles at a distance, Aizen looks very powerful and intimidating. He doesn't really have much of an active pose outside of his robes and hair blowing in the wind, but he's intended to give off a feeling of ultimate power, and I think the way he's sculpted, it sort of does that. You can also see the cross pattern on the chest of his outfit, which looks nice but not too fancy or anything.
Like the box, the base has a black and white shattered motif to it. It also has Aizen's name across the front of it in the bottom. The hexagonal shape looks nice and different from the normal round base. Aizen fits snugly on it, so no worries about him falling off.
The tattered edges of Aizen's wind-swept robes have this rough look to them, which looks good ... except some of the roughness is from the actual cut of the mold. Taken as a whole, it's not as smooth as it could have been presentation-wise, but it's not a bad look.
Unfortunately, Aizen is not without seams running down his arms and legs, as well as at his shoulders. I might joke that the blinding glare from how reflective his white clothing is will blind you to them, but up close, you can definitely see them. To say it's a tad bit disappointing is about right. It's not a deal killer, per se, but something that Bandai should have done a better job of masking.
Can you guess where his zanpakuto goes? It fits into his right hand, slotting in pretty easily, and stays there without much of a problem. It does add a bit of width to Aizen, though, so keep that in mind when displaying him. Or shooting him.
Aizen's long, blonde hair is probably going to be a point of contention. I know, the illustration has him blonde ... but come on, in the anime series and other artwork I've seen of him, his hair stayed brown. None the less, the wind-whipped look of his long flowing locks does look cool, and each of the strands has its own definition without paint slopping issues.
If you thought his hair as a bit controversial, the face sculpt may be even more so. Aizen's gaze has a distinct evil look to it, but only from a select few angles. In all other angles, it just doesn't look that great. I think it's because of the way his mouth is sculpted to have a slight sinister smile to it, but that's not visible from every angle, so it just looks off at times.
So how do I feel about the final version? To be honest ... underwhelmed. It's a serviceable figure and Bleach fans should be able to enjoy that someone has actually made a damn Aizen figure for once, but I can't walk away from this saying it's anything more than a bigger-scale, better sculpted prize figure. OR that's what it feels like to me. With Aizen, I love the pose but find disappointment with some of the details. It's a perfectly fine, middle-of-the-road figure, but maybe that was the goal all along considering his price.
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for sending along a review sample!]
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