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McFarlane's 3D Animation from Japan Wave 2
Action Figures
McFarlane Toys
More figures, better mobility, and insane accessory assembly.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
McFarlane's 3D Animation from Japan Wave 2
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

The original line of McFarlane's 3D Animation From Japan action figures was nothing short of a collector's dream. Just seeing the detail of Tetsuo's grotesque arm, the accurate reproduction of Ryoko's hair, and the fine lines of Vash's clothing made me rabid for a time when i could get more. Well, that time has finally arrived, because the second line of figures are appearing in stores along with a new line of equally impressive Movie Maniacs figures.

The latest batch of 3D Animation figures features six new figures including Tenchi Masaki from Tenchi-Muyo!, Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, Naomi Armitage from Armitage III: Poly-Matrix, The Soultaker from the anime of the same name, and Clown Bike Gang Leader Joker and Lord Akira, which are both from the manga version of Akira. There is also a special boxed set featuring Kaneda riding on his motorcycle. As you might recall, the first line featured a standing Kaneda with a separate package featuring Kaneda's bike. All you could do with it was sit it behind Kaneda because none of the figures would move. Since Kaneda isn't a new figure, he won't be reviewed with this wave of figures.

Like with any good action figure, my view is that they aren't worth buying unless you take them out of the package and display them outside of their plastic cages. So, I bought the new assortment of figures and opened every last one of them so I could rearrange my room in an attempt at finding a space to display them. The first thing that hits you about these figures are the noxious fumes that you are assaulted with once you rip the plastic from the backboard. It's quite possibly the most intense plastic smell out there.

The backboards themselves each have a different design depending on the figure within. They have the anime's logo and a head shot of the figure, and below that is the name of the figure and a number of different angle shots of the prototype figure. The one thing that these pictures don't show is how most of the figures should be set up. Assembly is left up to a piece of paper that is included with each of the figures, but only Tenchi, Major Kusanagi, and Joker actually have assembly instructions.

Now on to the figures themselves. Naomi Armitage is from a series that hasn't gotten much play since it's time on the Sci-Fi Channel, but with a new story in the works featuring this character, there is no better time than the present for a revival. The actual figure is fairly cool to behold. Though she isn't as impressive visually as Major Kusanagi, she does come decked out in her lingerie-esque clothing and comes complete with sculpted wings attached to her back as well as a pair of real chain earrings. Her mobility is limited to her arms, legs, and head, though seeing as how she can only stand via her circular stand, there isn't a real need to be able to change her pose. Armitage comes with a pair of handcuffs, some sunglasses, and a gun. Now, I could figure out that Naomi should be holding her gun and that she should be wearing her sunglasses, but I was at a loss for what to do with the handcuffs she came with because they wouldn't open.

Tenchi Masaki comes dressed in his Juraian battle costume and is fairly posable. His ankles are jointed and allow his feet to bend back and forth. His hands, arms, legs, and head also have limited mobility which allow a bit of posability depending on the accessories attached. He comes packaged with two versions of his Juraian sword (the initial key form with beam drawn and the White Hawk Wings form) as well as a pair of White Hawk Wings. This one is a bit difficult to assemble without the help of directions. The stand that Tenchi comes with has a spot to put the White Hawk Wings on, but it looks quite silly to have Tenchi stand behind them, so I ended up turning him around. The wings also have a clip to put one of them on Tenchi's arm. The extra sword can be stored easily on Tenchi's back, though it doesn't actually go there.

As Tetsuo was the most visually stunning of the original set, so it is that Lord Akira is the one figure that is the best this time around. The main reason is the accurate reproduction of Lord Akira's throne from the manga. The simple chair stands on it's own and sports the unforgettable neon Akira sign along with car headlights, road blocks, pipes, and even a chair back sporting the number 28 made from what could have been a military door or plane wing. To top it off, Lord Akira has limited mobility in his elbows, knees, and legs so he can be made to stand, sit, or, if you want, lay on his throne. That's about it though.

Major Motoko Kusanagi is by far the most confusing figure to put together. Sure, there is an insert with directions for how to insert some of the pipes that she comes with, but the simple fact is that she comes with so many extras that they are just confusing to put together. I literally had to go online to to see how the professionals put the figure together. All frustration aside, the Major is one sweet looking figure. She is suspended in a trance-like state over a swirling portal with her skin ripped from her robotic body in chunks revealing patches of circuitry. This is truly a figure to put on display in a prominent place.

The Clown Bike Gang Leader, Joker, seems to take some notes from Spawn's Violator, because this is one seriously fat figure. I mean, his pants are sagging from the sheer fact that his gut is sporting a few extra tires. Yet, the one feature that this version of Joker is missing is the trademark tire-tread face markings that he appears with in the later portions of the Akira manga. What's messed up is Joker's pose, because it's in the ominous position that Kaneda appears in on the majority of the Akira posters from days gone by. There is one piece of info worth noting - instead of a chain, Joker comes equipped with a three-barrel gun ripped right from one of the sewer hovercrafts.

The Soultaker is an anime that I have to say I'm not very familiar with. The figure sports a pair of bat wings that shift up and down by a connected gear in the back of the figure. The Soultaker's face is protected by a plastic visor that is built into his helmet or head or whatever. The figure is absent of any accessories except for a huge black stand with the anime logo on it. The redeeming part of the collectible is the fact that it is fully jointed and can pivot or at least move virtually every joint.

This set goes to show you that things can only get better, so don't miss out on the chance to pick up your favorite figures. Just makes me wonder what could be in the next batch... maybe an Ayeka or Sasami figure... or how about a Lain figure... or better yet, an Ifurita figure! The possibilities are pretty much endless.

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