Saturday, January 7, 2017

Review - Nendoroid Kirby (Bootleg)

First appearing in 1992 on the classic Game Boy title Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby has grown to become one of Nintendo's biggest Video Game stars, with roughly 25 games under his (nonexistent) belt.

The pink puff ball's cutesy design has been a natural draw to marketing companies, making plenty of plush dolls and simplistic figurines. One such company, Nendoroid - known for higher end 'chibi' style Anime figures - finally made a modern action figure of Kirby in early 2016 (selling so well that it was almost immediately reissued).

Good sales go a long way, however, and - not unlike many foreign toy companies - Nendoroid has become a repeated victim of bootlegging. Kirby's no exception, with fakes being rampant across the net. A bootleg version will cost you anywhere from $10 to $30, and can be found very easily.

Sculpt - 5/5

Being little more than a basic sphere with a couple nubs, Kirby's not the most difficult character to translate into three dimensions. Naturally, Nendoroid has done a very nice job. The figure is perfectly round, with each hand and foot having a slight ovular shape to it to indicate which direction it's facing. Kirby's swappable faces are just as nice, and the accessories are even better; I especially like the fire cap (and it's respective fireball), with great detailing that still manages to look simplistic.

Bar the accessories, Kirby is covered in a soft, smooth gloss that feels a lot like how one would expect the buoyant character to feel. I'm honestly surprised that the bootleg retained this quality, which is a very nice touch on both Nendoroid and the bootlegger's ends. He's about 2.5" inches tall, minus any caps which make him a lot taller.

Articulation - 5/5

The articulation on this toy makes it very unique, and shows just how good a company Nendoroid is; rather than any invasive joints, Kirby's limbs are connected via tiny magnets to the ball-shaped body, giving him an essentially limitless range of articulation. You'd be hard pressed to find a better way to implement movement onto such an undetailed design.

The figure's base has two articulated arms, one which has three hinge joints and can rotate in it's base, and one which has only one hinge.

Accessories - 3/5

Kirby's a character possibly known best for his variety of props, and the figure reflects that. He comes with three swappable faces (angry, inhaling, and floating), a fire cap, a Link-esque cap, a fireball, a sword, the Star Rod, a base and two articulated support arms, and an extra hand designed to hold items. 

Though the quantity is nice, the quality isn't. The fire cap doesn't fit the head, the Rod and sword take a lot of force to fit into the hand, whose inner magnet is so weak that it cannot support either without careful balance, and the fireball and it's base do not work with one another, not even fitting into the base. The faces take a bit of force to disconnect, though I'm not quite sure if was an issue with the real figure or not.

Paint - 3.5/5

Kirby himself only consists of a few colors, and though the figure has covered them well enough, there are some issues. Though not bad upon first glance, there's a lot of slop in the very tiny mouths, and the eyes are applied too softly (making their blacks and whites too faint against the pink), and a little off-center on some faces. Other tampo paint is nice enough, but usually uneven.

Then there's the accessories, which are a bit mixed. The paint's dirty at worst, and mass-market quality at best. Most applications look nice enough, with correct colors and the such, but there's just enough slop and generally low-cost work to knock it down a bit. This is the easiest way to tell if your model is a bootleg.

Fun Factor - 4/5

Kirby is a lot of fun to pose and play with, thanks to his cool magnetic limbs and multiple faces. He's capable of many good poses, and is pretty hard to put down because of that. However, the fact so many accessories barely work kind of keeps the figure from being as varied as it could be. The authentic figure would probably get a 5/5, as I imagine the extras work much better.

Overall - 4/5

Though he may be a bootleg, Kirby really isn't that bad. Considering most vendors ask for reasonable prices, you get what you pay for; and, in areas like the pure abudance of bonuses and cool articulation, a lot more. While I support Nendoroid as a company, unless you're a purist of sorts, I don't see any major reasons to go with their $40+ price tag for only slightly better quality control.

There's many issues with the toy, but as a figure in and of itself, Kirby's great to play with. I wish more accessories worked properly and the paint was just a touch better, but considering I only shelled out $25 flat, I'm fairly happy with what I received. 

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