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Big Hero 6: Fred

Funko Pop!
by yo go re

And so we take one more cautious step onto the slippery slope that is Funko POP! Vinyls.

Fanboy Fred comes off like a laid-back dude with no direction. But this sign-twirling, monster-loving, comicbook aficionado is sure to go places - when he's good and ready. For example, Fred doesn't hesitate to join "Big Hero 6," and he has a lot of ideas for his superhero skillset, too. His ferocious, fire-breathing alter ego comes complete with claws, integrated communications and a super bounce. But his sign-spinning may still come in handy.

As far as changes made between the comic and the movie versions of Big Hero 6, poor Fred has to be the biggest. Or not-biggest, as the case may be. In the books, he's a member of the oppressed indiginous Ainu people, and turns into a full-sized kaiju; in the movie, he's a white dude in a mascot suit. And he even lost part of his name, because instead of being "Fredzilla," he's just "Fred." Poor dude! It would be like DC rebooting Super Friends, and introducing a blonde fratboy who only answers to "Chief." And also he doesn't say a magic word or grow, he just sells juice in a pyramid scheme.

That's not to say Fred's new design is bad - it's not. This colorful little monster, with his dark blue body, light blue extremities, three large yellow eyes, and red accents, has it all over the comic's design of "Godzilla, but magenta." In a way, he looks like he takes some influence from Sky Deviler, of Kaiju Big Battel fame - the colors, the horns, and especially the mouth - it's circular, with a distinct "lip" ring and pointy white pale yellow teeth aimed toward the center.

Of course, this "mouth" isn't a real mouth on Fred's costume, it's just a port where the fire cannon that he wears strapped around his torso can poke out. That's why the black area is not just some kind of hole, but has a series of interlocking wedges, like the iris diaphram in a camera shutter.

Considering that the entire upper part of this toy - everything from the eyebrows on up - is a separate piece that's glued in place, it's a bit disappointing that Funko didn't make that a play feature: lift it off, and see Fred's head and shoulders underneath. If I were a better customizer, I'd get on that myself.

If you buy one of the real Bandai toys, you can get a Fred that fires projectiles out of his mouth. This toy doesn't do that, but he's not totally defenseless, thanks to his big black claws and the 12 spikes on his back. He even has a thagomizer! His skin has no texture to speak of, but there are various bumps and warts sculpted all around. There are also large wrinkles everywhere the suit would move - shoulders, hips, knees, base of the tail - but remember that it doesn't actually have any joints. It's a POP! Vinyl, not an action figure. If there were any question that Big Hero 6 is a Disney property, not Marvel one, Fred's not a bobblehead (as licensing restrictions require the Marvel POP!s to be).

The Fred figure in the normal Bandai line is okay, but the exaggerated proportions of the Funko POP! look better. The Big Hero 6 toys are less-than-impressive, but if you don't mind the lack of movement, you can at least have a Fredzilla to partner up with your Baymax.

-- 01/12/15

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