I am a relatively recent convert to the cult of Gundam. Thanks to one of my buddies, I've experienced some of the best shows ever made. That said, I haven't completed my robotic education yet, as I've yet to watch Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and its subsequent sequel, Destiny. From what I've been told, it might not be an easy watch for me. Talk of uneven pacing and inconsistant characters worry me.
My other main problem are the character designs. Artist Hisashi Hirai has been criticized for giving all his characters the same face and, having seen some of his other works, I'd have to agree. So it's with a certain amount of amusement that I review Megahouse's G.E.M. Athrun Zala. Hit the jump to find out how I feel about the figure and see if it can elevate itself beyond the curse of Hirai Face.
Figure Name: G.E.M. Athrun Zala
As usual, here's the box. It's rather colorful, so you're not going to miss seeing this on a convention floor or an anime shop. You can see Athrun, a black/purple Haro and a disembodied face. Creepy.
Here's Athrun out of his prison. I like the strong, agressive stance he's got going on. He looks to be ready to issue a command. That, or he's telling somebody to stop. Why? I dunno, maybe in the name of love? I guess I'll find out when I sit down and watch SEED.
Here's his back. Nothing particularly fancy here, just the back of his rather dapper military uniform. You've got to love anime for the fancy uniforms these organizations wear. Fashion before folly and whatnot.
Let's get a bit closer. From here you can see the creases molded into Athrun's uniform. It gives a nice illusion of movement and makes the uniform look more lived in. You can also get a peek at the patches on his collar and chest. I'm also digging the cuff on his sleeve. Looks sharp and imposing.
Moving into a tighter shot, we get a better view of how Athrun's uniform flows. I really like the action inherent in the clothes. I'm also fond of how the hem flares out. That must of have been some arm thrust, to get all that fabric moving!
Here's Mr. Zala with the alternate face and his robotic buddy, Haro. To get the face on, you pop the head off the ball joint, remove the front hair peace and slide in the new expression. I'm, well, pretty unimpressed with the alternate face. All it does is slightly alter the angle of his mouth. I kind of like the stern look better.
You'll also notice that you can rotate Athrun's hand. It's a peg slotted into a hole within the wrist, so it's easy to move around. You might have some problems balancing the Haro, as the round guy likes to move around. Oh hey, there are two Haro's! The previous photo had the standard round Haro while the one above has the little guy with his flaps out and his mustache on. Is the 'stache inspired by One Piece's Whitebeard? The Turn A Gundam? Harvey Keitel? We'll never know.
Finally, here's Athrun's base. I like the unusual shape and the use of the transparent smokey grey plastic.
So what you have here is a well-made figure of a character whose design doesn't really appeal to me. I like how the uniform is molded and the design of the uniform proper looks great, but Athrun himself isn't anything special. However, fans of Gundam SEED should absolutely love this figure. Hell, maybe I'll change my mind after I go through the show. It just doesn't do anything for me without context.
[A big thank you goes out to Hobby Link Japan for providing Athrun for review!]
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