In this day and age, the internet as all but eliminated surprises in the hobby of toy
collecting. Coverage of events like Toy Fair and the San Diago Comic Convention means that most
of the time, collectors have seen all of the products that companies have to offer long before
they ever hit shelves. Most of the time, but not always. Every so often a trip to aisle 7C
will still turn up an unexpected treasure. Today's review covers just such a product, two of them
For those who don't know, the Digi-Warriors line is Bandai's version of Gundam Mobile Suit In Action (MSIA) figures for the Digimon license. They are 4.5" to 5" figures of the characters from the various Digimon seasons. They are fully articulated versions of the characters, something that the rest of Bandai's Digimon products tended to lack. The strange thing is, this line has been dead for several years. The last new figures to see US release were the characters for the fourth season. The season four product saw limited release only. I believe Agunimon, Lobomon, Burninggreymon and Kendogarurumon were part of those final releases. But I don't recall ever seeing any figures for Loweemon or Kaiserleomon. So imagine my surprises when a recent trip to TRU turned up two new three packs of Digi-Warriors. Set one has three of the main characters from season four: Agunimon, Lobomon and Loweemon. Set two features the same three characters in their beast spirit forms: Burninggreymon, Kendogarurumon and Kaiserleomon. Perhaps if these do well there may be a chance to see the remaining three core characters in the future.
Packaging - 4/10The packaging of these figures makes me think that these are either a limited run or Bandai's way of testing the market to see if there is still an audience for Digimon product. The packaging isn't bad, but there are several areas that lead me to believe that Bandai put only a minimal amount of effort into it. The figures themselves are packaged in a clear plastic tray with the accessories, if any, packaged around them. There is a simple insert behind them with a printed circuit board pattern on it. The front of the box is primarily used for the window, around which is the Digimon logo, three photos of the figures preforming their action feature, and the name of the figures. The sides of the box shows some of the other Digimon figures that have been released at the same time as these sets. The tops and bottoms are left mostly blank, with just the logo and the figures names once again. It is the back of the box that leaves me dumbfounded. The back of each sets shows the three figures as well as their action features, but they show the figures for the other set! Agunimon, Lobomon and Loweemon are pictured on the back of the box for the other three and vice versa. There is absolutely nothing on the back about the figures that actually come in each box! Now, ordinarily I like to see companies include information about the other products in a line on the packaging, but not at the expense of showing off the product you are actually looking at.
Sculpting -8/10These are remarkably well done. Each and every figure is sculpted with all of the details from the cartoon. Admittedly, I've not seen much of the fourth season of Digimon, but if they are off model, I can't tell. The sculpts do have two drawbacks. The first is the buttons on some of the figures for the action features, specificly on Agunimon and Kaiserleomon. The other four figures either incorporate an existing feature of the character design to trigger the action feature (Burninggreymon and Kendogarurumon) or have an action feature that is entirely internal. (Lobomon and Loweemon) But both Kaiserleomon and Agunimon have additional buttons added to the figures to activate the action feature. For Agunimon, that was probably a necessity. But on Kaiserleomon there is a button like protrusion right in front of the button that Bandai added. And the funniest part of it is the fact that the protrusion they did not use is supposed to move in and out like a button in the first place! The other issue is scale. This has been a constant issue with the Digi-Warriors line and is one which is probably impossible to avoid. The humanoid characters in set one should be just slightly larger than a full grown human. Kaiserleomon and Kendogarurumon are more or less in scale with the humanoid figures. But Burninggreymon should be huge in comparision. I realize that that is not a realistic possibility, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Paint - 2/10This was certainly a half hearted effort on Bandai's part. In all fairness, the paint work that was done turned out well. And several of these figures due have a significant amount of paint work on them. Kaiserleomon in particular has dozens of fairly intricate paint applications. And they look great. The problem comes when you look at what wasn't painted. Kaiserleomon and Lobomon are passable as they are. Agunimon comes close. But on Burninggreymon, Kendogarurumon and Loweemon the missing paint applications stick out like a sore thumb. The figures have a real unfinished look to them. The problem becomes extremely clear when you compare the finished product to the prototype pictures on the back of the packaging. (I've included a few comparison images.) These figures are the best example I've ever seen of haw a little paint can make or break a figure, and in this case it breaks them.
Articulation - Set One 5/10, Set Two 3/10I know I described this line as the Digimon version of the MSIA line, and in many ways it is. But it is less of a sibling line than an inbred cousin to MSIA. Where the Gundam line has been refined and perfected over the course of over one hundred and fifty figures, the Digi-Warrior line has only had less than two dozen figures, including these six. Plus, it is much harder to incorporate joints into an organic design like these compared to the already mechanical design of a giant robot. The humanoid figures fair pretty well even by today's higher standards. Lobomon and Agunimon have eighteen and fifteen points of articulation each including ball jointed ankles, rotating shins just under the knees, hinged knees, rotating hips, rotating neck and shoulders and hinged elbows. Agunimon adds hinged fingers. Lobomon has rotating wrists, shoulders and waist. Loweemon comes up a bit shorter at ten points with hinged knees and elbows, ball jointed hips, and rotating neck, waist and shoulders. Burninggreymon is the best of set two with eighteen points of articulation: ball jointed ankles, rotating shins, hips, shoulders, wrists, neck and head, and hinged knees and wings. The shields on the forearms also rotate as part of the action feature. It's the cat figures that drag the set down. Kendogarurumon has rotating hips, hinged knees and ball jointed ankles for each leg for a total of twelve points. Kaiserleomon has eleven points of articulation with rotating hips, ball jointed ankles, rotating tail, extending neck and closing jaw. But overall, both cats are extremely stiff and lack many possibilities for posing.
Accessories - Set One 5/10, Set Two 0/10The set with Kendogarurumon, Kaiserleomon and Burninggreymon has no accessories at all. The other set has six. Lobomon has two cylindrical swords with silve hilts and yellow blades. Agunimon has two fireball projectiles. Loweemon has a shield shaped like an elephant head and a gold staff. None of the accessories are very exciting, but they are appropriate or even necessary for the characters.
Action Features - Set One 6/10, Set Two 4/10With the exception of Agunimon, the action features on these figures don't really add any value to the figures. Kaiserleomon's neck extends slightly and the jaw closes a tiny bit when the button on his back is pressed. Kendogarurumon's wings can be locked into a folded position along the body. When the tail is pressed down the wings pop out to the sides. Burninggreymon's shields on each forearm turn 180 degrees when the spike on either shoulder is pressed inward. Loweemon's right arm extends when his waist is turned. Lobomon's left shoulder and biceps rotate when the waist is turned. The effect is actually quite realistic. Last but not least, Agunimon has two fireball projectiles which can be plugged into the palm of each hand and can be fired by pressing the button on the forearm. Agunimon's action feature is the only one that couldn't be done just with the articulation the figure already has. Lobomon helps the score a little too since the action feature works well without having any major adverse effect on the figure.
Value - 5/10A few years ago, these figures would have scored quite well. By today's standards, they aren't nearly as impressive. Lines like MSIA or Marvel Legends have set a much higher standard for both sculpting and articulation. But at $16.99 each for the three packs, the individual figures work out to just $5.66 apiece. At that price, these are a reasonably good deal.
Happy Hunting:Check your local Toys R Us. Both of the TRU stores here in Madison WI received new Digimon product includeing these three packs. I don't know of any other store that still carries Digimon products so they are going to be your best bet. They are available from Amazon.com as well for $16.99 plus shipping.