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Mikasa Ackerman

Attack on Titan
by yo go re

Remember when Hasbro's "Titans Return" Astrotrain was so bad that it made me go buy an expensive foreign import instead? Here we go again!

I'm not sure if we've ever reviewed the same character from two different companies in one month before, so this review may be historic in that regard. McFarlane Toys' Color Tops Mikasa was off-model, pre-posed, and generally disappointing. Fortunately, less than a week after reviewing her, we hit Singles' Day - 11/11.

Originally conceived as a celebration for unattached college men, Guanggun Jie has somehow morphed into the biggest shopping day in the world, making Black Friday look like a kid's lemonade stand - this year, Alibaba (China's answer to Amazon) posted $25 billion in sales on that day, twice as much as the US spent on the entire Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend last year. They were over the $1 billion mark two minutes after midnight, and the day's first purchase was delivered 11 minutes later. It's a whole big thing that we in the west are largely unaware of. Which is a shame, because just as Black Friday means doorbuster sales, so does Singles Day - I paid less for this figure shipped than I did for McToys' at TRU.

The sculpt on the Figma is not as detailed as it was on McFarlane's, because they have different goals: Todd's was trying to look like realistic clothing, while this one intends to copy the style of the animation. So yes, there are wrinkles on her white shirt and pale gray pants, but they're larger and smoother than before. Since this toy will have the option of a plain, calm pose, rather than a single mid-twist snapshot, her jacket and her scarf (both made from soft PVC rather than firm ABS) hang down instead of billowing to the side.

Like other Figmae, Mikasa comes with alternate faces; to swap them, you remove the front of her hair (which hangs jauntily in front of her face), then plug in your choice of three different looks: the neutral, emotionless look she's wearing in the package, a determined look with gritted teeth, and a gigantic angry yell that shows off her temper. All three of them look great, and definitely do a better job of duplicating the character's design than McFarlane Toys did.

The articulation is, as usual, outstanding. Many of Mikasa's joints are the usual Figma style, which take a cue from Revoltech by having a hinge joint with a swivel both above and below it. She moves at the toes, ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, neck and head. Everything looks good and moves well, as it should. I'll say once again how much I love that Japanese companies put lots of action photos on their packaging, because I personally suck at coming up with cool poses for my toys - I'm more about the "play" than the "display," you know? But you can do everything from an "at attention" salute to mid-battle attacks. And since so much of Attack on Titan's action takes place up in the air, the set includes a clear hexagonal base with an articulated arm to hold the figure aloft.

The accessories are even better than you'd expect. The expectation would be her omni-directional mobility gear, which, yes, she has: the gear itself is a separate piece that plugs into her back and her belt, meaning it can be removed so you can display her without it. This is already superior to Mcfarlane's. The boxes that hold her replacement swords hang on her hips, and the pegs that attach them to her legs are on balljoints, so they can swivel around a little bit to fine-tune the positioning. The tubes that connect the gear to the gas tanks and the swords are here as well.

But then Max Factory starts to pull ahead. The blades on the swords are removable, if you want Mikasa to be controlling her ODM gear without expecting a fight. The replacement blades held in the boxes aren't real pieces, and the removeable blades can't be stored in there, but that may have been too much to ask at this scale. To represent the grappling hooks launching from the hips, we get a pair of plastic lines capable of plugging in there, making it look like she's just fired them toward a target - there are even little puffs of smoke that clip around the gear, adding to the effect!

For times when the grapnels have already found their target, we get two strings. Each is about 17" long, and features tabs that will fit into the hip-holes on the ODM gear. The distal ends are clear plastic hooks, so you can hang Mikasa off something - if you just let her hang freely, she'll end up horizontal, so your best bet is to brace her feet against something, like she's pausing half way up a wall to survey her targets.

If you want to remove her scarf, you can - the set includes a replacement shirt collar to take its place. Or to make the figure look more dynamic, you can toss on her Survey Corps cape. The logo is printed on, same as on her jacket, but it's applied crisply. The cape is molded in a flowing, billowing pose, which serves to make any "airborne" poses you give the toy look more active. A clear plastic tab under the cape fits up against her back, allowing it to be held securely in place by the figure stand (or, if you don't intend to use it, by the short clear peg included in the set). Just be careful that it doesn't scrape the logo on her jacket.

Finally, you can pry a little cap off the back of the ODM gear and replace it with an exhasut cloud, a translucent plume of gas trailing behind the figure. Creator Hajime Isayama actually worked out how the ODM gear would work: compressed gas is used to fire the grapnels, and also to retract them; the gas is aimed at a circular fan, which spins and re-coils the cables, pulling the user up into the air. Thus, having a jet of air emerging from Mikasa's spine makes perfect sense. It even has a hole in the end so it can plug onto the display stand's arm and hold her aloft.

You get your choice of five pairs of hands: fists, relaxed, splayed, gripping, or triggering. They swap out via small balljoints, and the set includes an extra wrist joint in case you lose one. If you ordered this figure direct from the manufacturer when she was first available, you got a bit of rooftop display base - but since that was in 2014, I didn't get it. Luckily, a lot of the buildings in... Titanville(?) have tile roofs, so I already have something I can use.

Buying a Figma Mikasa Ackerman is, under normal circumstances, an expensive prospect - such is the price of importing things from Japan. But she comes closer to being worth her pricepoint than McFarlane Toys' version comes to being worth hers, if that makes sense. If all you want is any Mikasa to put on your shelf, then McToys' should be okay, but if you want the best toy of her, splurge on the Figma.

-- 11/25/17

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