Today I have something rather different, imported mini figures from Dragon Ball. Now I'm sure that most people are already
at least somewhat familiar with it, or its sequel, Dragon Ball Z. And since opinions about them seem to be quite polarized,
you either love it or hate it, and I'm guessing those who hate it are not going to be reading this review, it stands to
reason that you are already a fan. However, it is worth noting that these are not traditional action figures. They are more
similar to baseball cards in terms of price and how they are sold, as inexpensive collectibles. The set seems to have a
total of eleven figures, ten regular one and a chase figure. The regular figures include two versions of Goku (blue gi and
orange gi with the nimbus cloud), Krillin, Chi-Chi, Bulma, Oolong, Yamcha, Master Roshi, Roshi as Jackie Chun and Pilaf.
The chase figure appears to be the dragon Shenron. (Or it could be a mail in offer, I can't really tell since I can't read
Packaging - 2/10Like most such figures, the Dragon Ball figures come in what's called blind box packaging. What that means is that each figure is packaged in the same type of box, with no indication of which figure it is. (Though it is worth noting that Goku 2, the one with the Nimbus cloud weighs significantly more than any of the others, making it quite easy to pick out solely by heft.) The individual boxes are lacking in graphics, just one photo each of the two versions of Goku, one on the front and another on the back. The rest of the box is largely occupied by the text, very little of which I understand. (I can make out the price on the front and the list of possible figures on the back.) The boxes are not very impressive, but they are not intended to be. They are intended to be opened immediately and tossed.
Sculpting - 7/10All of the figures share a single body sculpt. It works reasonably well for most of the characters. But the slightly rotund body is out of place for Chi-Chi and Bulma. But it is the head sculpts that are really important. And these are great. The likeness' are spot on. The only real complaint I have is the scale. I didn't expect the figures to be to scale. But by reducing all of the figures to the same height and giving them the same sized heads, you wind up with almost two distinct styles. The taller characters like Yamcha, Roshi and Bulma all have the distinctive 'super deformed' look: very large heads, hands and feet with a small body and tiny limbs. Meanwhile, the shorter characters like Goku, Krillin and Oolong remain reasonably close to their original proportions.
Paint - 9/10The paint work on these figures is excellent. And on figures that all use the same body, that is extremely important. The tiny details included such as the symbols on Goku's, Yamcha's and Pilaf's clothes to the individual boot laces on Yamcha are all immaculate. The paint work on the faces are no different. The only short coming is the lines where the hair and faces meet aren't always as neat as they could be.
Articulation - 3/10The figures have just five points of articulation: rotating hips and shoulders and a ball jointed neck. The shoulder and hip joints do allow a few degrees of lateral movement, but not enough to be considered true ball joints. The neck joints aren't much better. And figures like Yamcha and Bulma that have longer hair restrict the movement even further. But the biggest drawback is that the joints are quite prone to sticking and breaking. As small as the limb are, the pegs that connect them are not surprisingly, even small. They are also made of fairly soft plastic. That combination makes them prone to breaking if you don't use some caution, especially the first time you move them. Even then, I still snapped off half a dozen limbs. Oddly enough, certain figures seem more prone to the problem than others. I reduced the two Krillin figures to a pile of parts, even after using the freezer trick. (Fortunately a dab of super glue has them back in one piece. And I didn't even have to use a wish from the dragon.)
Accessories -Jackie Chun 0/10, Chi-Chi & Oolong 4/10, Goku (blue), Bulma, Pilaf & Krillin 6/10, Roshi, Goku (orange) & Yamcha 9/10Jackie Chun gets a big goose egg as the only figure that doesn't come with any accessories. Chi-Chi comes with a single dragon ball. Oolong comes with the pair of panties that the Eternal Dragon gave him. Unfortunately he can't wear them on his head as he did in the show. Goku 1 (blue gi) comes with a dragon ball, his power pole, the pack to strap it to his back and his tail which is removable. Bulma comes with two more dragon balls as does Pilaf. Krillin comes with a turtle shell to wear on his back. Roshi comes with the final dragon ball, his sunglasses, the same turtle shell as Krillin and his cane. Yamcha comes with Purar who has a removable tail and a clear plastic stand to make Purar 'float'. Finally there is Goku 2, who comes with the same power pole and storage pack, the nimbus cloud and a clear plastic stand to support the cloud. Jackie Chun gets a big goose egg as the only figure that doesn't come with any accessories. Chi-Chi comes with a single dragon ball. Oolong comes with the pair of panties that the Eternal Dragon gave him. Unfortunately he can't wear them on his head as he did in the show. Goku 1 (blue gi) comes with a dragon ball, his power pole, the pack to strap it to his back and his tail which is removable. Bulma comes with two more dragon balls as does Pilaf. Krillin comes with a turtle shell to wear on his back. Roshi comes with the final dragon ball, his sunglasses, the same turtle shell as Krillin and his cane. Yamcha comes with Purar who has a removable tail and a clear plastic stand to make Purar 'float'. Finally there is Goku 2, who comes with the same power pole and storage pack, the nimbus cloud and a clear plastic stand to support the cloud.
Generally I'm pretty happy with the accessories included. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't bother to give Goku the four star ball which hurt his score. (Unfortunately I forgot to keep track of who came with which ball after that point.) There are also a few extra accessories that could have been included such as a dragon radar for Bulma and Yamcha's sword. Had they include them and shifted a few of the dragon balls around to beef up characters like Jackie Chun. The nimbus cloud could use some improvement. Its weight makes it prone to tipping over. And the depression that is cast in the top that is designed to accommodate a seated figure doesn't hold the figure upright and in place and makes it very difficult to pose Goku standing which is how he often rides. One of the nicest touches in the accessory department is the inclusion of all seven dragon balls. The balls even have the individual stars painted on them. The stars are hard to see though as they are almost the same shade of orange as the transparent plastic of the balls themselves.
Value - 4/10The original retail price for these was 480 yen, or about $4.50. And that was if you didn't have to pay US import prices. Fortunately they have been out for quite some time, two years in fact. As a result I was able to order a box of twelve on clearance from Big Bad Toy Store for just $16 which was a great price. $2-$3 each seems like a fair price for these.
Happy Hunting:I order a box of these from Big Bad Toy Store. But they are now sold out. Action HQ has them available, but at a pricey $6 each. Unfortuneatly these are a few years old already, so tracking them down could prove to be fairly difficult.