Sweet Zombie Jesus, the future is here! Well, maybe not the future, but the first series of Toynami's Futurama figures are.
Toynami is not stranger to the Futurama license. They produced a series of Futurama
Imen based on the license several years ago. While they might not have been regular action figures, they did do a decent
job of providing most of the central cast, something that hasn't been done by many other companies. But now Toynami is back
and taking a crack at a line of more traditional Futurama action figures. The first series consists of Philip J Fry and Dr.
Zoidberg. That's a rather odd combination. But from the looks of things, Toynami already has plans in place to round out the
main crew with Leela and Bender and as well as Zapp Brannigan and Kif over the next two series. Plus, each of the six figures
comes with a piece of a Robot Devil figure. But if just two figures isn't
enough for you to start with, Toynami has also produced several variants of Zoidberg including his blue Universe-1 counterpart. Or if you
are impatient, you can also track down the Leela and Bender figures from the MAC Toys line since they are in the same scale.
Packaging - 3/10I'm not wild about the packaging design for these figures. Each one comes packaged in a box with a window on the front and top panel. The figures are clearly visible, but the accessories are mostly hidden under the cardboard along the side. The graphics consists of a college of images from the show. But the images are all in a faux retro style with muted and altered colors. For a license about the future, the retro image style seems out of place. The graphics seem rather poorly placed as well. They crammed so much onto the front panel along the side of the window that you can't even really tell what you are looking at. Meanwhile they plastered the Futurama logo along the side and top but cut off half of the letters. Then when you get to the back panel where they would actually have enough room to use all of those graphics, they left most of the area a dull grey. The size of the packaging also seems like a tremendous waste of space. Dr. Zoidberg is one of the larger figures that they are likely to ever produce and even he doesn't come close to filling the box. The only thing I do like about the packaging is the image they used for the top flap of Dr. Zoidberg box, the Doctor riding one of Fry's sperm.
Sculpting - 5/10I was pleasantly surprised to see that they keep the new figures in scale with the old ones. Then I realized that they aren't just the same scale, they reused the MAC Toys sculpt for Fry. They made a few minor changes to the head sculpt and a new set of hands. The head sculpt is a slight improvement, though it is hard to tell the difference. But the hands are now posed in a neutral position that can't hold any accessories. Zoidberg is a completely new sculpt of course. While they captured the look of the character quite well, the details aren't as well done as they should have been. The space between the mouth tendrils, claws and to a lesser extent the feet should be fairly well defined on a figure this large. But they tend to blur together into large lumps instead.
Paint - 6/10The paint work on all three figures turned out quite well. One stray mark on one of Fry's elbows is the only problem I had with any of the three. The paint applications are very simple with no attempts at washes or shadowing. But it works well with this license.
Articulation - Zoidberg 2/10 Fry 7/10Fry has an impressive sixteen points of articulation. That isn't a huge number of joints, but it does proved a decent range of motion for the figure while still blending into the sculpt well. Zoidberg on the other hand is a bit of a disappointment at just seven points of articulation. Those seven points include rotating joints at the neck, shoulders, wrists and ankles. The ankle joints serve no real purpose. Why they couldn't use the same hinge joint designs that MAC Toys employed on Fry is beyond me, though I suspect it was simply cheaper.
Accessories - Zoidberg 1/10, Fry 3/10The Toynami figures come up rather light when it comes to accessories. Zoidberg comes with a stethoscope and a piece of the Robot Devil build a figure. The stethoscope, while appropriate, is pretty worthless. It is too stiff to sit properly on the figure. And Zoidberg has no means of using it. He has no ears to put them in and his claws can't hold it. The Universe-1 version of Zoidberg also comes with the stethoscope but lacks the part of the Robot Devil. Fry is better since they recycled accessories from the original MAC Toy for it. They include a ray gun, a holophoner, a can of Slurm, a tin of Angry Norwegian Anchovies and his piece of the Robot Devil. The accessories are very nice looking. But the new hand sculpts mean that he can't hold any of them. As for the Robot Devil, the pieces we have gotten so far look promising. But since we are going to have to wait for three series of figures before we get all of the pieces, it will be a long wait before we get the complete figure. And if you already have the MAC figures, you end up having to buy another, inferior Fry figure just to get the parts to build the Robot Devil figure. In the end, we would have been better off if they just put out a Robot Devil figure. At the very least, since they went to the trouble of making a new set of hands for Fry and they were including parts of the Robot Devil why not include the arms with interchangeable hands?
Value - regular versions 5/10, exclusive Zoidberg 3/10Since these figures are sold to the specialty market exclusively, the price for them can vary quite a bit. You should be able to pick up the set for around $25. If you are buying the figures individually, the price is going to be closer to $15 each. That is also the price for the Universe-1 version of Zoidberg. Unfortunately, I've yet to hear anything about Universe-1 versions of any of the other figures which will make Universe-1 a very lonely place for Zoidberg.
Happy Hunting:The Futurama figures are available through most specialty retailers. I bought my set from ToyNK.com at thier booth at Wizard World Chicago. All three of the figures are available from thier web site, though you'll pay extra for Universe-1 Zoidberg. Big Bad Toy Store also has the regular figures available. If you do want the Toyfare exclusive version of Zoidberg, your best (i.e. cheapest) option is to order it from Wizard's web store. If you prefer a local option, your local comic shop may have them.