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Tomopop Review: Square Enix's Play Arts Kai Ryu

4:00 PM on 11.25.2011 // Brian Szabelski

Yesterday, we took a look at Square Enix's Play Arts Kai Chun-Li. Today, we get the second half of the Street Fighter Play Arts Kai line-up so far, Ryu.

To be honest ... I don't like Ryu as a character. Despite the fact that he's become something of a fighting game archetype, his story has really made him become a bit cliché. That, and Hadouken spam is hell for fighting games. While I may not like the character, that's not what the review's about. It's about whether or not his Play Arts Kai figure lives up to the hype from San Diego Comic Con and points earlier in time.

So how does Ryu check out? Hit the jump to find out!

Figure Name: Street Fighter IV Play Arts Kai Ryu
Figure Maker: Square Enix
Retail/List Price: US$54.95
Available at: Square Enix Shop

If you read our Chun-Li review from yesterday, then long story short, box is the same but with Ryu on it and in red. If not, the let me say again: it's basic, with one window in the front and one on top of the box and a design is reminiscent of the Street Fighter IV promotional art.

Of course, here's Ryu in his plastic prison out of the box. He's got an extra set of hands, extra face and a hadouken fireball with stand. Let's get him out of there!

Out of the package, Ryu is one big dude! He's in his usual white gi with the red headband and gloves and black belt. From the outset, the sculpt really looks impressive in one particular area: muscles. His arms just aren't big; they're well defined, to boot. He looks like he could punch apart a few cars (Street Fighter fans all get that reference).

That is one determined Ryu. Here, you can take a look at his default, determined face. A little tiny splotch of red paint up on his hair is the only real paint defect here. Otherwise, it looks pretty good. Likewise, the sculpt is a good likeness of Ryu as he appears in Street Fighter IV. As far as I know, he ALWAYS has this expression on his face.

Unlike Chun-Li, Ryu's chest joints are awfully visible. The tradeoff, though is that you get a nicely detailed gi and chest, including the ripped fabric up along the shoulders. I also like that there's a texture on the gi to make it look more like it's made of fabric.

There's a number of folds and creases present on both the gi top and bottom as well. They do make it look a bit like it's hanging off Ryu when it's only sculpted that way. His belt has a nice defined knot and looks like it does in the official illustrations and character models, too.

Ryu's gloves ... well, there's not a lot to them. They're the proper shade of red and feature the right logos on the wrist. The only problem, really, is that the wrist and hand parts of the gloves are separate pieces and the wrist parts fall off really easy when you switch out the hands.

Ryu's hair is sculpted as a ton of individual strands of hair, all layered upon one another and painted black. It achieves the result of actually looking like his hair in the game, though the paint does seem a bit thin on some of the hair tips.

Wanna know how much detail is in Ryu? They even sculpted out the veins in his feet.

But just how poseable is he? Once again, we turn to the old Tomopop Box Art Pose Challenge:

Here's his pretty basic, ready to fight pose. The joints here are not different than what you'd find on any other Play Arts Kai. Ryu is rather easy to manipulate and he holds his pose in place without any issues. You can also get a closer glimpse at some of the muscle definition they've put into the sculpt of his arms.

Sho-ryu-ken! Yes, getting Ryu into one of his more well-known poses isn't too hard, except for one thing ...

Yeah, the no stand thing again. Seriously, Square Enix, we've gotta fix this.

Finally, as part of the challenge, we get to see Ryu in the crouch he does before he unleashes a Hadouken upon an unsuspecting fighter. Again, this one's really easy to pull off, and it gives us a blatant reason to take a look at those extra accessories I mentioned earlier!

First, the shouting face. As you can see, it looks great! Getting Ryu's faces to switch is pretty easy (they kind of slide on and stay firmly in place), and the sculptwork here is top notch. Also, unlike Chun-Li, no rough paint lines to worry about. Yay!

His Hadouken-throwing hands are very cool. You can use them for either the charging up or throwing poses (though the throwing pose took me a lot longer to set up and I had to do it after I finished my shoot), and each of the fingers are individually sculpted with no flash stuck between them. That's one of the advantages of being a larger poseable figure, it seems, and Square Enix sure took advantage of it.

The actual hadouken fireball itself sits atop a stand like Chun-Li's kikouken did, and like the Kikouken, it's made from translucent PVC that gives it a plasma-like look in the light. Doesn't hurt, too, that the detail on the fireball looks pretty darn awesome!

So how did Ryu turn out? A bit better than Chun-Li, though the lack of a stand still kind of hurts him. The joints in some areas are more noticeable, but the overall paint job and sculptwork is superb. As with Chun-Li, do pick him up if you're a fan of the character or Street Fighter in general. You should be pretty well rewarded for your money.

[Thanks to Square Enix for supplying the review sample!]

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Brian Szabelski, Editor-in-Chief
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Brian Szabelski is Tomopop's Editor-in-Chief, stuck with an ever-growing collection of figures and toys. When he's not posting on Tomopop, he can usually be found working on any number of project... more   |   staff directory

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