A few weeks ago I picked up the first series of Dragon Ball trading figures from Unifive on clearance. But while I got a
pretty good deal, one of the dangers of buying clearance goodies is that you can lead to even more, full price purchases.
So now my $16 purchase has turned into $60 and I'm back with the second series. Where as the first ten figures focused
on the earliest episodes of the Dragon Ball series, through the end of the Tournament Saga, the second series fills in most
of the most important characters through the rest of the series. Once again there are ten figures: Adult Goku, damaged Goku,
Krillin, Grandpa Gohan, Tien Shinhan, Yajirobe, Mercenary Tao, King Piccolo, Kami and Piccolo. There are also three
additional characters who are included as accessories: Chiaotzu, Korin and Mr. Popo. Finally there is a chase figure which
is another version of Goku as he appeared at the start of the World Martial Arts Tournament in the Piccolo Jr Saga.
Packaging - 2/10The packaging for the second series of figures has remained largely unchanged in layout and design. But it sports a black background instead of the red from the first series. The images on the individual boxes have been updated with an illustration of Goku on the front and a photo of the damaged Goku figure on the back. Once again, these are packaged in blind box style packaging. That means there is no indication of which figure is in each box until they are opened. The individual figures and their boxes are then packaged in boxes with twelve figures each. These larger boxes would be the ones used on store shelves. It has photos of all of the regular figures. I hate blind box packaging. I want to know what I'm getting before I buy it. Since each display box seems to come with a complete set, it isn't all that necessary. But this isn't the type of packaging that is going to make you want to buy the product, and it is certainly not going to appeal to MIB/MOC collectors.
Sculpting - 7/10The second series of figures follows the same pattern as the first. Each figure uses the same body and limbs with a unique head sculpt. They actually sue the same body as the first series did with Mercenary Tao and Kami getting an added piece to form their toga and cape respectively. It works surprisingly well. But it is the head sculpts that make these figures. I am particularly impressed with the head sculpts of Kami and King Piccolo. Kami and King Piccolo are almost identical except for their expressions. The one thing that I am a bit put off by is Goku's head sculpt. Goku is available in both his young and adult forms, but it is almost impossible to tell the difference in the head sculpts.
Paint - 9/10When you have an entire series of figures that all use the same body, the paint work become more important than ever. Fortunately these don't fall short. As with the first series, the bodies in particular are impressive due to the extensive use of very slim lines, all of which are extremely clean. Take the symbols on some of the uniforms such as Goku, Krillin or Tao. They are only about an eighth of an inch in diameter or less, yet the symbols are drawn in detail. The paint on the heads is the one thing keeping them from getting a perfect ten. While they are still very well done, they aren't perfect. The hair lines in particular seem prone to some minor sloppiness. It isn't serious though.
Articulation - 4/10All of the figures have the same five points of articulation: hips, shoulders and neck. Technically, all five are ball joints. But the hips only offer the equivalent range of motion of a rotating joint. The arms are hair better, with a small amount of lateral movement. The neck joints have the greatest range of motion, but just how much varies from figure to figure depending on the head sculpt. It is also worth noting that the problems with breaking limbs of the first series seems to have been completely eliminated.
Accessories - Krillin 2/10, Damaged Goku 4/10, Yajirobe, Goku chase figure, Mercenary Tao, King Piccolo & Gohan 5/10, Piccolo 6/10, Tien 7/10, Adult Goku & Kami 8/10Here is the one area where there the figures really differ. Krillin is the weakest figure of the series with just one accessory, a dragon radar. I'm glad Unifive included one. But since Krillin was rarely involve with the search for the dragon balls, he seems like an odd choice of characters to have it. And as his sole accessory, it is pretty weak compared to the other figures. Damaged Goku comes with his power pole, pack and tail. All of which are identical to those from the first series. But he also has two new items: a clear stand and translucent yellow energy beam. Both are good ideas in theory, but fall flat in execution. While it has a handle, the energy beam is far to heavy for the figure to hold in any position other than leaning on the ground. The stand has similar problems. It is designed to plug into one of the two holes in the backs of the figures to suspend them in the air. But the slight downward bend at the top of the stand causes the figures to lean forward enough to make them unstable. Yajirobe comes with two accessories: his sword and the one star dragon ball as a necklace. Both accessories are good choices, but the fact that the dragon ball necklace doesn't match the dragon balls from the first series of figures is disappointing. Gohan has his bunny mask and a halo to remind everyone that he is still dead. The mask is held on by a rubber strap which keeps it snugly in place. Adult Goku comes with the usual power pole and holder as well as an unarticulated PVC figure of Kurin the cat. The chase figure is Goku from his arrival at the World's Martial Arts Tournament and his accessory is his umbrella from that scene. Tien Shinhan comes with the same stand that came with damaged Goku and has the same problems. But he also comes with a PVC figurine of Chiaotzu. Chiaotzu makes a great accessory, especially since he would look odd as a full sized figure. The one thing that I was disappointed in was that the Chiaotzu figurine can't be used with the stand. So the character that spends the most time floating around is relegated to the ground, a shame since he already comes with a stand. Mercenary Tao comes with his favorite mode of transportation, a section of pillar and a stand to put it on. It is a very nice idea and is far more stable than I would have expected, but still prone to having the figure fall off. Kami comes with his cane and a PVC of Mr. Popo. King Piccolo comes with yet another of the tipsy stands, an extra arm and the electric rice pot in which he was trapped by Mutaito. I'm not sure where the extra arm comes in. It looks like a dead arm, but I don't recall King Piccolo ever losing his arm. Finally there is Piccolo who comes with yet another of the clear stands and a mini Goku PVC. The stand is still tipsy. (You would think that if you were going to include an accessory with half of the figures in the wave, you would work the kinks out first.) But the mini Goku is a creative way to allow you to recreate the final fight when Piccolo grew to an enormous size.
Value - set 6/10, 3/10 eachThe original retail price of these was 480 yen, or about $5 each. And of course that was if you bought them for retail in Japan. You can probably expect to shell out even more here in the USA. Combine that with the fact that you don't know which figure you are getting, and finding a particular figure can get to be rather expensive. Fortunately there is usually a better price if you buy a box of twelve. I paid $40 for a box. Buying by the box also has an advantage in that it should insure that you receive a full set of the ten regular figures. (I don't know how rare or common the chase version of Goku is.) For under a little over $3.30 each, they're a much better deal.
Happy Hunting:Doing a quick Google search turned up several places that were selling these. I bought my set from ABC Toy 4 Me for $40 plus shipping.