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Tomopop Review: figma Samus Aran

4:00 PM on 11.07.2012 // Chris Seto

Suited and booted

Kept you waiting, huh?

If you're like me, the original announcement of figures from Nintendo series caught you off-guard. It's more common now, since we're waiting on the release of Link from the Legend of Zelda and we've recently had announcements of the D-Arts Pokemon figures so it's easy to forget that, until recently, Nintendo were very protective of their characters and series mascots. Perhaps that's why they tried testing out the waters by releasing figures of a character who is, while well known, not as popular as others in their stables. That's when Samus Aran comes in. We've already reviewed the fixed pose Zero Suit Samus figure from Max Factory but now (after a bit of a delay) we're now looking at the other release from Metroid; figma Samus Aran!

Let's get it on!

Figure Name: Figma Samus Aran
Figure Maker: Max Factory
Retail Value: ¥3,600
Available at: Big Bad Toy Store | ToyWiz

Given that the whole metroid series revolves around one character who doesn't really change much in appearance throughout the game, it's perhaps no surprise that the release of figma Samus is a somewhat bare bones release, with almost everything in the box easily visible from the box window with space to spare! Samus herself actually comes off as rather large for a figma and she stands over almost all other releases.

On the back, we get an assortment of shots which detail the figure and some of the poses she is capable of.

As expected, Max Factory decided to go with the Varia Suit design, which is the closest thing the Metroid series has to an iconic design for its main character, being present in almost every game to feature our bounty hunter since Super Metroid (and you could make a convincing argument that it was also the suit in the first two Metroid games as well). I would have preferred the basic armour, but that may have been more difficult due to little details in the design, such as Samus' logo on her chest. It's also not quite as recognizable for people not familiar with the core series.

And here's her back. The red thruster pack actually pokes out quite a bit but you never notice it from the front because the shoulders are so broad, they mask the parts. Speaking of broad shoulders, I still have yet to figure out how Samus actually fits into this suit of hers! With the arms positioned where they are, she must have a ridiculously large chest with dainty hips to get the figure required for this armour to make sense!! One of those mysteries of the game ...

Back to the figma: there's plenty of give and movement in the joints to do a number of dynamic poses with little effort, especially where the hips and shoulders are involved. Also, as something inherited from Metroid: Other M (which is where the main design choices for this figma and the Zero Suit Samus come from), there's a really strong metallic gloss look to the whole thing. Personally, I'm not a fan, but I'm sure people out there will prefer the look just as others may agree with me.

The release also gives a very small number of interchangeable hands along with the closed fist which is on Samus as standard, including one very peculiar entry ...

One of the hands leaves an opening which one would expect to be used to hold some kind of accessory but there's nothing for this particular figma to hold onto. The larger hand size also means that many accessories from other figmas won't fit into it either, leaving this part as a bit of a lame duck. Unless there are plans to release a separate set of accessories, possibly Super Smash Bros. related, but that's all speculation at this point. It'll be interesting to see if figma Link uses the same size holes for his accessories.

Another accessory provided with the figma is an expanded barrel for her gun arm, which represents the missile launcher mode in the games. You simply pull the gun barrel tip off and replace it with the missile one. Pretty seamless and the parts stay in really well too!

The wide range of movement enabled by the joints allow you to recreate a variety of poses from the various powerups in the game, like the horizontal space jump here!

Or the pose which everyone probably remembers as the pose used for the poster for the first Iron Man film!

The remaining two accessories provided are for the gun. Effect parts for firing the gun in either a single shot ...

Or double shot configuration. Curiously, although you can also put the effect parts on the missile barrel, there's no extra part for firing a missile. A bit of a missed opportunity there ...

One last addition is a copy of the Morph Ball, arguably the most famous powerup in the metroid series. A small hole is placed around the indented area to allow you to connect the morph ball to a figma stand as seen above. It's not essential, as the ball will remain stationary on its own, but if you knock it, it will roll about. The base connection will prevent that. Having said that, I don't think many people will have the morph ball on display on its own anyway.

And finally, although it's not included with the figma, the baby Metroid which was provided with the Zero Suit Samus figure can be used with the figma. In fact, as I stated in the Zero Suit Samus review, the Metroid seems to fit the figma better, scale-wise at least.

For the most part, there are no real issues with figma Samus, although there is one thing which a little off-putting ...

In order to fit the huge shoulderpads and maintain a decent level of poseability, there are massive gaps between the arms and the main body. You can hide them pretty well if you're aware of them from the start but, on occasion, they really do show and it leaves it almost looking like the arms are detached from the body.

Overall, there's not much to say about this figma release. It does everything you would expect it to. Nothing more, nothing less. The dearth of accessories is a bit of a shame but not a dealbreaker. Metroid fans are sure to appreciate an easily obtained figure of the heroine from their beloved series and she comes easy to recommend.

Buyers won't find themselves short changed in the slightest, but at the same time I can't help but feel that Samus won't be on the top of the more casual buyers list. If you're not a fan of Metroid or a die-hard figma collector, there's not really anything in this package which will make it stand out from the plethora of other figmas out there or soon to be released. And remember, Metroid is nowhere near as popular as, say, The Legend of Zelda! However, if you belong in one of the groups above, then it's an easy sale!

Mission accomplished. See you next mission!!

Photo Gallery: (30 images)
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Chris Seto, Associate Editor
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Chris is one of the many tomopop writers. While often hibernating (even in the summer), this creature will often arise from his slumber to cover some of the more niche parts of the japanese figur... more   |   staff directory

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