Without a doubt, the biggest merchandising surprise in the last couple of years is Tiger & Bunny. I don't think anybody figured that both men and women would flock to a show inspired by western super heroes, but lo and behold, everybody loves it. What's even more interesting is how that the most popular character is Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, the main character. He's a guy in his late-thirties, which is quite a bit older than your usual protagonist, yet everybody snaps up every bit of merch that's got his face on it. Believe me, there's a ton of it.
Shows that get this popular usually get a bunch of prize figures. Since they're on the cheaper end of the figure scale, companies can take risks and make obscure characters and/or different outfits for popular characters that usually wouldn't get any love. Then again, that lowered price usually means lower quality. However, just because a prize figure is cheap doesn't mean it's bad quality. The Master Stars Piece Kotetsu is definitely an example of a nice figure that's available for a lower price.
Figure Name: Master Stars Piece Kotetsu T. Kaburagi
Figure Maker: Banpresto
Retail Price: ¥2,000
Available at: HobbyLink Japan
Yep, that's certainly a box containing a figure. Unlike a lot of prize figures I've seen, Kotetsu is being held within a close box. There's no way you can see the build of the figure itself, which worried me at first. At least in my experience, if a company doesn't show you a figure, it's because something is bloody wrong with it. Whelp, enough of the cardboard prison, it's time to get Kotetsu out into the warm Miami air!
Huh. Another cardboard prison. Overly-cautious figure packers, or nefarious plot to hold back all of Kotetsu's potential sexiness? Considering the tube-like nature of the package, I'm leaning toward the later. However, I will not be denied. Release Kotetsu at once!
That's better. Am I the only one that finds it strange that he's been separated into half? Usually, he's either in one piece or in several, depending on the maker and the class of figure. It's a strange middle step. Either way, the real strange thing is the "base."
I say "base" in quotes because it doesn't do a particularly good job of keeping Mr. Kaburagi standing up. At best, it keeps him from immediately toppling over, but as you'll see later he can do a good job of keeping himself up. Since it started to get uncomfortably warm, I decided to take Kotetsu inside to finish things up. Let's go into the Cortes Studio.
Well well well! Color me impressed. While it won't beat Megahouse's version of Kotetsu, this is a nice representation of our intrepid hero. It does a great job of capturing his personality. Oh, and they got a nice smoldering look on the figure. It's as if he's saying "Ladies, ladies, one at a time please!"
The next several shots are highlighting Kotetsu's details. You'll notice that the seam at his waste has been covered by his vest. That's some good work by Banpresto. You'll also see that Kotetsu's arm connects at the watch, cleverly hiding another slot. While you're looking at that area, take note of the details on his hands and the wedding band on his finger. Most other prize figures wouldn't have captured stuff like that.
Here's a better look at Kotetsu's vest and face. Banpresto added stitching to the paint job on his arm. Yet another rare detail seen in prize figures. I'll also give Banpresto major props for the detail on his face. It's pretty damn close to what he looks like in all the still material. One of my big criticisms of prize figures is that there are usually some...liberties taken when adapting the faces of characters. Some times they don't even look like the people they're supposed to represent.
Oh my, did somebody leave these buns in the oven? Besides having a decently shaped butt, I love the creases on his pants and the belt line. My only problem? The obvious copyright mark and "Made in China" stamp on his right cheek. Did it really have to be there? It's one of the only downsides I have with the figure overall, but come on!
Here's a closer shot of Kotetsu's shoes as he's being slightly propped up by the base. As you can see, the base is made for him to slot into the mold, giving him a wider area to keep balance. Truth be told, he can stand just find without it, but will probably take a dive if a shelf is moved around. Anyway, the shoes look pretty damn good. Usually, feet/shoes/boots on prize figures are hunks of plastic that get little to no attention. Here, there's stitching, whether marks and shoe laces. A lot of love was put into molding Kotetsu, shown by the little details that have been included.
All in all, I think Banpresto's Master Stars Piece Kotetsu is a great buy for anybody that loves Tiger & Bunny. While he doesn't have the same material quality as a Kotobukiya, Megahouse or Good Smile figure, the figure itself looks great. It's got plenty of details that even more expensive figures might miss. At the retail price of ¥2,000, it's less than half of the larger static PVC figures. If you love Tiger & Bunny and either can't afford or get the G.E.M., you owe it to yourself to pick this up!
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing a review sample!]Photo Gallery: (17 images)
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