If there was a show I've been meaning to get back into lately, it's Bleach. I had started reading the manga back when it first started being released in America, and made it through the first 20 books before I slacked off and have managed to completely forget what went on. Pretty much the same thing happened with the anime, so I've wanted to go back and check it out from the beginning again. Also, the fact that I love and adore Gin Ichimaru helps, but that's another story.
When I first saw Square Enix was releasing figures based on the series, I was pretty stoked and couldn't wait to see them in person. Now that I've got them, does my excitement remain? Hit the jump to check out the review, as well as the photos I had so much fun taking!
Figure Name: Play Arts Kai Ichigo, Rukia and Hitsugaya
We are greeted upon first glance with Square Enix's usual window box packaging, which is always my absolute favorite since I love seeing the figures before I open them up. The box itself is relatively boring, but there are at least a couple pictures per figure on the back and sides of the boxes.
As you can see, each figure comes with a few different accessories. Hitsugaya comes with his sword with a scabbard, a scabbard belt, and two interchangeable hands. Ichigo comes with a head with the Hollow mask, two interchangeable hands and his sword. Last but not least, Rukia comes with Kon, two interchangeable hands and two swords.
Now that that's out of the way, we can move on to the fun stuff! Bear with me, though; it's been ages since I'd watched the show, so my memory's a tad fuzzy.
Above, you can see a closer look at Hitsugaya's scabbard belt, sword and scabbard, and the two extra hands. Sadly, here's where the trouble starts. There were some size problems between the belt and the scabbard, so keep scrolling down to see what went on.
The scabbard belt is suppose to go around him, and the scabbard should fit inside the belt, being held snugly to keep it in place. Unfortunately, it was so snug that no matter what direction I turned it, or what end I tried, the scabbard didn't want to go in. I even looked at the instructions to make sure there wasn't something obvious that I missed. There wasn't. All I got for my efforts were some scratches on the end of the scabbard from the color rubbing off when I tried to put it on.
Luckily though, Hitsugaya looks cool enough without having to have the scabbard on. His figure looks fantastic detail-wise, even when standing right next to his manga counterpart. Though as you can see, he wasn't very thrilled to have himself staring right back at him, so things got a bit heated.
Although he's the smallest of the figures, only a teensy bit under Rukia, he measures around 7.75" tall. The figures are also pretty hefty in weight due to how thick the clothing is. The accessories, such as the sword, are much lighter weight which helps keep the weight balanced. None of the figures come with a stand, but this is already my favorite set just based on the fact that they stand relatively well on their own. I've had several issues with others in the past.
Up next is Rukia, who besides being awesome, has the coolest eyes ever. The expressions of all the characters look fantastic on these figures, and I like seeing them each have a bit of a badass feel to them. The folds in the clothing are a nice touch that look great, and I love how much more realistic it makes the figures look.
Rukia was a bit nicer upon seeing her face on the cover of the manga. You can see Kon in the bottom corner of the photo to get a bit of an idea of just how small he is in comparison to the actual figures. Kon stands only about 2" tall while Rukia stands close to the same size as Hitsugaya, which is around 7.75" tall. It's a nice surprise that despite the small size of her feet, the figure actually manages to stand pretty well balanced.
Yeah, so don't mind the fact that her belt looks a little wonky. That's all my fault considering I forgot to put the scabbard into the belt before snapping the photo. There's no problem here, move along! Other than my little faux pas, the rest of the figure looks great. The joints are a little bit odd in places, but all in all, I think it flows well.
One of the only glaring problems I had with Rukia is the massive seam in her hair. Usually seams don't bother me, but this one wasn't even attempted to be covered up, so it's a pretty obvious one. Her hair is one that would be much more difficult than the others, so I can see why it happened, but still, it's a tad bit distracting.
Last, but definitely not least, is my favorite of the three figures - Ichigo. I don't even know what it is specifically, but his outfit translates the very best to figure form in my opinion. I love all of the details in the folds, and especially with the wrap around his stomach.
I think the biggest problem with this figure is that now I want a jacket like Ichigo's ridiculously bad and will probably spend money on one. Other than that, I have no real gripes about it! The tattered look at the bottom turned out so cool in person, and I just love everything about this figure.
Ichigo is so awesome. Just look at that badassery exuding from his pores or ... PVC ... stuff. His hair looks especially cool in person, but is extremely pointy so I wouldn't exactly recommend grabbing him by the hair with any force. The reason I say that is ...
... changing his head proved to be a bit of a difficult task. While pulling the head off according to the directions, the peg that attaches the head to the neck stayed inside the neck and wouldn't come out. This wouldn't have been a big deal if the other peg had come out of the other head, but no, instead it resulted in a gigantic wrestling match involving pliers as a last result.
The fight was worth it, because not only does the Hollow Mask look freaking awesome on this figure, Ichigo with the mask on is one of my favorite character designs in the series. As you can see, they went the full nine making this head look extremely cool, and I'm especially glad the eyes are painted so nicely underneath. This would have been a total pain if it were only a mask instead of a full interchangeable head.
Please excuse me while I spaz out about how freaking awesome Hollow Ichigo is ... okay, done. Now if I get a Gin Ichimaru figure, my life will be complete! Anyway, he's obviously the biggest of the three figures and measures in around 9.5" tall. Although he weighs more than the other figures, he definitely stands up the best. If you were only to get one of the three figures, I would definitely push that option toward Ichigo. His ability for dynamic poses and amount of detail make him a must buy in my book.
As you can see, this is a set that's sure to thrill most Bleach fans, or even those who hadn't been into it in a while. Thanks to writing this review, I've gone back and started watching the anime again from the beginning and have once again gotten hooked. The figures cost US$42.99 each and can be bought from the Square Enix Shop. If you've got any Bleach fans in your family or circle of friends, now would be a great time to pick them up for a holiday gift! They definitely dragged me right back into my fandom of the series, that's for sure!
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