A while back I reviewed the Rei Ayanami figure that was available in Japan as a promotional
item. Well the companion piece has since been released. This time it is the fiery German pilot of Eva unit #2, Asuka
Langley Sohryu. While there is certainly no shortage of products featuring the girls of Neon Genesis Evangelion including
figures, gashapon and statues, these are the only traditional action figures of the characters as they appeared in the show
which I've stumbled across. That fact alone was enough incentive for me to track down Asuka.
Packaging - 9/10Asuka comes packaged in a box very similar to Rei's. The figure and accessories are visible through the window one the front of the box with a clear plastic sheet over them identifying the figure and her title as the second child. The box has multiple photos of the figure in various poses against a plain white background for the front, top and bottom panels. The look is quite simple but works extremely well. The back panel has several more images of the figure in various poses as well as an photo of the figure with all of the accessories, but is largely dominated by the text. This is a great example of simplicity done right.
Sculpting - 7/10Before I go into any great detail about the figure, I should point out that I believe it is based upon the designs from the manga (printed comic) version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, not the anime show. I mention this because the figure is quite a bit different from her animated counterpart. The head has a rounder shape which reminds me slightly of a kewpie doll. And the hair is much thicker which hides much of the head. The body lacks the sleek, streamlined design of the anime character's body suit. Details such as the red sections which cover the shoulders and go down the arms which were part of the suit in the anime are raised on the figure like armor plating. The effect is particularly pronounced at the hips which look almost robotic to accommodate the articulation.
Paint - 9/10The paint work on the figure is excellent. All of the paint work is done without a single notable blemish and considerable detail. The decision to paint her chest orange is a bit strange and certainly doesn't match the anime. (I have no idea if it matches the design of the manga.)
Articulation - 5/10I was impressed with the amount of articulation that Rei's figure had and they managed to top that with Asuka. Unfortunately the drawbacks are magnified as well. Asuka has an impressive twenty one points of articulation.
Accessories - 8/10Asuka comes with quite a few accessories: a spare set of hands, a spear, a statue base and an extra skull. The extra hands are a fist for the right hand that can hold the spear and an open left hand. The spear is a nice addition, but sort of odd since the characters never fought in armed hand to hand combat that I know of. The base is truly impressive. The base is molded to resemble a cracking stone block. One of the religious symbols which shows up quite often in Neon Genesis Evangelion is sculpted into the sides of the block. The top have has what is apparently supposed to be an Eva skeleton partially embedded into the base. Not only is the whole thing sculpted with great detail, it is even articulated. The neck section of the skeleton has a ball joint where it attaches to the body and at the base of the skull. There are even two options for the skull. One has four eye sockets, apparently to resemble Asuka's Eva Unit 2. The spare skull has a single large eye socket like Rei's Eva Unit 00. Unlike Rei, Asuka doesn't come with a copy of the comic though.
Value - 2/10These figures aren't available at retail. I'm not sure how much they cost originally, but they seem to run around $50 on eBay. That is a lot of money for a four and a half inch figure. While this figure does have better accessories than the Rei figure, it hardly makes up for a figure that falls apart so easily. This is definitely a display only piece and a pricey one at that.
Happy Hunting:Since this was a promotional item and not available in the US, the secondary market is going to be your best, and probably only hope. They are quite common right now on eBay so if you are willing to wait, chances are good that you'll be able to find one at a decent price.
There are Microman versions of both Asuka and Rei coming out soon as well. They will likely be about the same size and have a similar level of articulation for a fraction of the price. The only problem is that they look like they will be in civilian attire rather than their plug suits.
HLJ has listings for them, priced at 1,300 yen each. But they don't have photos yet.
Action HQ has photos of both