Review Bandai Tamashii Nations Marvel Manga Realization Samurai Captain America

I review @TamashiiNations Marvel Manga Realization Samurai Captain America

Marvel has a history of importing its characters over to Japan. In the 1970’s, Spider-Man saw the most success, with a Japanese version of the character in both the comics and in live action shows (he even had a giant robot!) The 90’s saw the X-Men gaining popularity there, with the Japanese dub of the X-Men cartoon getting an all new opening sequence. The 2000s saw anime adaptations for several characters, including Blade, Wolverine and Ironman. Of course, there are the toys. Many Japanese companies have made action figures, statues and such for the Japanese market, with some of it being imported to the West.

Bandai, through its Tamashii Nations brand has been putting out Marvel products for a while. Similar to what it did with its Star Wars Movies Realization figures, Tamashii Nations have released figures of Marvel characters reimagined as samurai. Despite less of a connection with Japanese culture than Star Wars, these figures perfectly capture the essence of the characters while presenting them in a uniquely Japanese way. These Review is on Samurai Captain America.

The box features a picture of the figures included, with effects painted behind him. The box has mostly Japanese text, with the only English being the characters name on the box. The back has pictures of the character in various poses and showing off some accessories.

Standing at around 7 inches, the figure itself is very nice. The armour’s colour reflects the look of the original character. The helmet is mostly blue with some gold accents, with the wings and the “A” being in silver. He has a mouthpiece that covers where the face would be visible, to make it look like a samurai helmet.. The armour itself is mostly in metallic blue, it being sculpted similar to Captain America’s chainmail costume in the regular version. There is a silver star in the middle of his chest, which is removable and doubles as a throwing star. There is a waist piece that is used to mimic the stripes on his original costume, though on this one they are red and gold. He does have white on his arms around the elbow before being covered by red gloves and arm guards.. The armour extends below the waist, with some dull, dark purplish-blue pieces being underneath. Below that, he has dark blue pats on, matching the blue on the sleeves underneath his shoulder guards. The outfit is rounded off with red armoured boots.

The star on his chest is removeable
Sword and shield fit in his gripping hands. The shield can also plug into the forearm.
extra hands.

He does come with several accessories. Besides the closed fists that are attached, he has two more sets of hands, with one set being gripping hands for his weapons and one set being open hands. Being a Samurai, he comes with a katana, that has a star design in the handle, and a sheathe that attaches to the side. Being a Samurai Captain America, he also comes with a shield. The shield has a Japanese design to it, but reflects the source material with a silver ring near the edge and a blue circle with a star in the center. The figure can either hold the shield by the handle or it can plug into a hole in either arm. It can even be stored on his back.

Shield can plug into the back.

The articulation is good, and is much like the Onmitsu Shadowtrooper I reviewed in January. joints are easy to move but tight enough to stay in you desired position. The figure can stand well on his own and in more action oriented positions. The sword and shield fix in his hands well and the overall figure feels sturdy, which is often the case with import figures.

With Marvel Select Spider-Gwen and Avengers: Age of Ultron Black Widow.

Overall, this figure is really well done. He is a more visually appealing character than the Shadowtrooper, but that is due to the nature of the characters. He is one of several figures released over the past few years (including Iron Man, War Machine, Spider-Man and Deadpool), all or which look good. Having a patriotic American character such as Captain America done up to look like a samurai may seem a weird fit, but this figure works.

Bandai Tamashii Nations Samurai Captain America is available now from various online retailers and at some EB Games stores in Canada, Figure retails for $109.99 CAD. See stores/online for availability.

This Review is for entertainment purposes only. I have not received anything from Bandai, Lucasfilm, Disney, Marvel, EB Games, or any person or group for this review This item was purchased by me with my own funds. All opinions are mine and any pictures were taken by me for review purposes.

Review: Bandai Tamashii Nations Star Wars Movie Realization Onmitsu Shadowtrooper

Samurai? In MY Star Wars? It’s more likely than you think.

Star Wars is popular.  That goes without question; even after the prequal trilogy, Jar Jar Binks and even the divisiveness of The Last Jedi, the fandom is stll very strong.  A key point to the popularity of Star Wars has been, from the very beginning, the toys.  Beside a brief lapse from the late 1980’s to about 1994, Star Wars has always had toys on the shelves.  We rarely, however, see the toys produced for other regions of the globe, particularly Japan.  The popularity of Star Wars is so worldwide, Japanese companies also licensed out the brand to produced their own figures.  Usually they are action figures, just more detailed and intricate.  Sometimes they are Bishoujo statues of female characters from the Expanded Universe.  But sometimes, something uniquely Japanese is produced that still works so well.

Anyone with an interest in the history behind Star Wars knows that Lucas was partly influenced by Japanese culture and Cinema.  The Force had elements of Eastern mysticism, the Jedi had a samurai vibe, Darth Vader’s outfit evoked the stylized armour of Samurai lords and the movie itself was influenced by Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress.  So that is why combining the look for some of the character’s armours and reimagining them as samurai works so well.  That is the basis behind Bandai’s Tamashii Nations Movie Realization Star Wars figures.  This review will be looking at the Onmitsu Shadowtrooper.

“Onmitsu” is a Japanese term meaning spy.  The Shadowtrooper, in Star Wars canon, were specialized Stormtroopers assigned to the Imperial Intelligence for security and espionage.  This figure combine the two, giving us an all black samurai stormtrooper that would scout out ahead to identify threats.  The figure stand about 7 inches tall, made from a sturdy plastic.  The figure is black, with some white wash to accent the design in the helmet and armour.  The figure is well articulated,  with a wide range of motion at the head, shoulders and legs due to ball joints.  The elbows bend at more than 90 degrees  and  the knees are double jointed as well.  The ankles are movable up and down and left to right, but there is not much of an ankle pivot. Lastly, he is articulated at the wrist and can rotate and bend in and out at the joint.  The hands are removable (more on that later).  Overall, he has a good deal of posablity , though ankle pivot and a bicep swivel would improve it.

Whitewash brings out the design on the black plastic.

For accessories, he comes with spare hands, a sword with a sheath, throwing knives and a blaster.  Besides the hands that come on him in box (closed fists) he has several hands with each stile comes for the left and right.  He has hands for holding the pistol, with the finger on the trigger; a set of holding hands for the sword; a set of more open hands for holding the blaster at the barrel or even the sheath; and, a set of holding hands for the small throwing knives.  The sword, which I believe is a wakizashi, has a silver blade and guard, with a black hilt with a silver pommel.  The sheath is flat black with no distinguishing marks.  The blaster combines the look of the standard Imperial blaster with the look of a flintlock pistol, with a movable handle.  It is done in a gun metal grey and black paint scheme.  Finally, the throwing knives (kunai, if I am not mistaken) are  done in a slightly shiny black, with a purpleish handle.  Out of the accessories, the blaster is the best part.

The wakizashi can go into the sheath and the sheath can go on the belt.
The blaster is nicely done
Hands are interchangeable so the figure can hold different accessories

The figure is well designed and is sturdy.  Too often, import toys see so fragile, with them feeling that they would break even if you just change the accessories that you want to display them with.  Other times, the exchangeable hands tend to fall off easily and get lost.  With the Onmitsu Shadowtrooper, you don’t get that feeling.  The hands stay on the peg and you can turn them and put in accessories without it falling off.  You can pose this figure without fear of breaking it, unless you try to move a joint in a direction it was not meant to go and force it real hard.

You can fit in the accessories without the hands falling off.
The tighter gripping hand is meant for the kunai knives

Scale wise, if you have any of the Star Wars Black 6 inch scale figures, the Onmitsu Stormtrooper would tower over them.  Sure, Leia says that they are tall, but not that tall!  They are definitely bigger that some, if not all S.H. Figurarts figures, which are also made by Bandai.  IT would go good with other 7 inch figures, such as some of NECA’s s stuff like Aliens or even Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics.  For theme-wise, I’d place them with the Aliens.

The figure is large compared to those in the Black Series
Comparison with the S.H. Figurarts Injustice Harley Quinn, also by Bandai
Next to Mezco One:12 Suicide Squad Harley Quinn

This is a great albeit pricy figure.  This is the cheapest one, running at about $99 Canadian, with some online sites having it on sale for around $94.  Other figures in this line run about $110.00, with aftermarket prices higher for older figures.  They can be found at some comic game and hobby shops around the world.  In Canada, they are available at EB Games/EBX, with assortment and availability varying by store.

Who has the power?

I hope you enjoyed my review.  I hope to do more reviews on toys, games, movies and anime in the near future.

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Bandai, Lucasfilm, Disney, EB Games, or any person, group or the Empire for this review  This item was purchased by me with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any pictures were taken by me for review purposes.

PS Vita Review: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is a Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG) developed by Aquira and published by Bandai Namco.  It is based on the multi-media Sword Art Online franchise which includes light novels (short books for young adults), manga, two anime series and four video games, none of which are actually an online game.  Hollow Fragment is actually a remake of the third game, Infinity Movement, released for the PSP only in Japan, with additional dungeon, characters and a new area, the Hollow Area.

The Hollow Area is full of danger!
The Hollow Area is full of danger!

To understand the game you should know the Sword Art Online story.  In 2022 a Virtual Reality Game, SAO, set out invites for 6,000 players to beta test the game.  Your hero, Kirito, is one of them.  Once logged into the world of Aincrad, they discover they cannot log out.  The creator of the game announces that the only way they can return to the real world is to beat all 100 levels of the game and beat the boss.  If someone tries to pull them out from the outside, they will die.  If they die in the game, they die in real life.  Kirito gathers a group of friends to get to level 100, facing threats from in-game monsters and other players alike.

A typical town in SAO
A typical town in SAO

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment starts off with Kirito waking up in an area he does not recognize.  He remembers exploring a cavern in level 76,  but somehow he ended up here.  Running into another player, Philia, they team up to survive the area. They both discover the have a strange mark on their hand.  They explore the realm, called the Hollow Area by a mysterious voice, and complete a mission to rid an area of ogres and arrive at a sphere which lets Kirito return to level 76 where his friends await in town, including his in-game wife and fellow player, Asuna.

Philla is another player lost in the Hollow Area.
Philia is another player lost in the Hollow Area.

The game then starts properly, explaining what happened.  In a departure from the books and anime, Kirito faced off with the end boss Heathcliff (a knight, not the orange cartoon cat) for a change to end the game right then and there.  During the fight, the game glitches.  Kirito uses it to his advantage and as he is about to finish Heathcliff, he disappears.  Dismayed that they still cannot log off, Kirito and the other players move to the next level, where they find another town and discover they cannot go back down.  With a new area to explore and with old friends and new at his side, Kirito sets out to get to level 100, and explore the mysterious hollow area.

Asuna is very protective of Kirito, even though he tends to be a chick magnet
Asuna is very protective of Kirito, even though he tends to be a chick magnet

The gameplay and graphics are good, and use the PS Vita’s system well.  Since the game is supposed to be a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game, there are a lot of “Player Characters” to interact with throughout the game.  You can even pursue romance options with one of the many, many, MANY female characters that find Kirito irresistible, despite it being known that he is (in-game) married to Asuna.  You can romance her, too.

You can interact with your companions to increase your relationship.  Take it to the next level!
You can interact with your companions to increase your relationship. Take it to the next level!

When you go out into the wilds of Aincrad, the fighting is in real time, with you pressing one of the four face buttons for attack, defend dash or stun.  As your character is pretty high in level, so are the enemies.  You can either take jobs from the job board in town or proceed to Level 100, grinding your way through the levels.  You can earn gold to buy newer weapons and armour or find rare items in the filed.  Shops in town level up as you do so you can find the appropriate gear for you level.

You can encounter many smaller enemies...
You can encounter many smaller enemies…

...or large bosses.
…or large bosses.

I have mixed feeling from this game.  First of all, having no idea of what Sword art Online was, I was lost from the get go.  I thought it would be more like Ragnarok Odyssey and was disappointed there was limited customization for the main character (and he looks his default look during cinematics.)  The start of the game was pretty confusing for a newbie, starting with the area that you start in and all the girls, well other characters to, but mostly girls, swarm you when you return to town. Once the cinematic explaining what happened  previously and the events on level 75 does the game make sense.  They should have started with that, then moved into the Hollow area.

Some girls you meet are overly friendly.
Some girls you meet are overly friendly.

The overall gameplay is enough to keep you playing/Feeling like a MMORPG, you can manage your equipment in menus and combat is fast and furious.  Other characters can help which comes in handy on the bosses.  You can choose your companion in town, equip them for battle and have then accompany you through your quest.  You can even do social interaction with them to improve your relationship.  This leads us to the dating sim aspects.

Sinon (fading in on right )and Lizabeth  are loyal companions of Kirito and wouldn't mind being more.
Sinon (fading in on right )and Lizabeth are loyal companions of Kirito and wouldn’t mind being more.

Like many JRPGs there are dating sim aspects in the game.  For some reason, Kirito is really popular.  Maybe it is because he is the leader and everyone looks up to him.  Maybe it is because he took on Heathcliff and lived.  Maybe it is his devotion to Asuna that gets the girls hot. Maybe it is his tight black pants.  No matter what it is, all the girls want him, even though this is just a virtual form, and the real Kirito’s cheetos-encrusted body is wasting away in the real world.  All of his female friends seem to harbour a crush on Kirito despite his being with Asuna.  From Lizabeth the blacksmith to Sinon the strong, silent girl to Leafa, who is actually Kirito’s cousin, who he though was his sister.  That’s just a few.

Leafa (on left), who you thought was you sister but is actually your cousin, also wants a deeper relationship.  And if that wasn't creepy enough, so does Silica (right) .  How old is she?!?
Leafa (on left), who you thought was you sister but is actually your cousin, also wants a deeper relationship. And if that wasn’t creepy enough, so does Silica (right).   How old is she?!?

The translation is good, but the Japanese voice over remain.  Sometimes the translation seems off, and I am not sure if the double entendres were done on purpose or was just a bad translation.  All I know is the words coming and come were used a lot.

Yui (right) is an AI in the form of a pre-teen girl.  She is very protective of Asuna and Kirito's relationship and calls them Mama and Papa.
Yui (right) is an AI in the form of a pre-teen girl. She is very protective of Asuna and Kirito’s relationship and calls them Mama and Papa.

Overall, it is a decent, and deep game.  If the point of  the game was to draw more into Sword Art Universe, it worked on me.  I definitely want to watch a bit of the anime.  Despite the rough start the game gets interesting as you proceed.  I bought it on sale during the PS Vita anniversary sale so the price was right. If you are looking for a MMO like experience in a portable game like Ragnarok Odyssey, you might like this.  If you are a Sword Art Online fan, this is right up your alley.

You like menus?  It has got menus!
You like menus? It has got menus!

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is available digitally from the PS Store.  It is also PlayStation TV compatible.  Checks online for pricing

3/5

Philla is another player lost in the Hollow Area.
Philia is another player lost in the Hollow Area.

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