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Mikasa Ackerman

Attack on Titan
by yo go re

In Spain, she is your house.

After her parents were killed by slave traders, Mikasa Ackerman was taken in by Eren Jaeger and his family, becoming his adopted sister. After Eren motivates Mikasa to fight back, she becomes very protective of Eren, even following him into joining the military. Graduating at the top of the cadet class, Mikasa is soon referred to as a genius and prodigy, proving to be extremely helpful in the fight against the Titans.

McFarlane Toys made their first anime figures 17 years ago - McFarlane's 3D Animation From Japan was the official name of the line - and the product was typically crummy. Now they're trying again, under the Color Tops banner, and they're starting with one of the hottest shows around. [Yuri on Ice? --ed.] No. [Kemono Friends? --ed.] No! [Boku No Hero Academia? --ed.] No, shut up! Attack on Titan.

[...One Punch Man? --ed.]

Todd still doesn't credit his sculptors (because any time one of them gets even minorly famous they go somewhere else), but whoever did the work on Mikasa is great! She's wearing her Survey Corps uniform: tall black boots, light gray pants, a dark sash around the hips, a white shirt, and a short brown coat. The tiny wrinkles sculpted on the fabric are outstanding, hitting just the perfect balance point between "too many" and "too few." This really looks like clothing being pulled and wrinkled by the body beneath it. On her shoulders and back, the Scout Regiment's "Wings of Freedom" insignia is sculpted.

But that's the body; the head is a different story. Perhaps it's an attempt to copy the cartoon's artwork, but the head is comparatively smooth and undetailed, far from what you'd expect of McFarlane Toys. She has the large lock of hair that falls down between her eyes, but the face itself is oddly flat and featureless - that may be necessary for animation, but not for plastic.

The military's greatest weapon against the Titans is the omni-directional mobility gear, which is basically a gas-powered pulley system designed to huck the soldiers up to Titan-murderin' height: launch a wire, grapple something high, reel yourself in; murder! To support the weight of a human body, the ODM gear can't just be a belt or a backpack, it has to be rigged up with a complicated harness that goes all the way from the bottom of the wearer's feet to the top of their shoulders. That's great for realism, but it's murder on the toy's paint apps. Dark brown straps over pale clothing? That's a recipe for blatant mistakes, and sure enough, the edges are pretty sloppy. We can forgive it, since this is just a normal mass market release, but if you're a perfectionist, you'll want to either compare samples before you buy, or get ready to touch the paint up yourself.

ODM gear is more than just a harness, obviously; that just carries the weight. The actual gear gear is a piece of equipment worn on the small of the back, comprising a pair of winches that hold the spools of wire, and arms that reach around to the front of the waist to house the grappling hooks. Since the spools are gas-driven, the user has to wear bottles of compressed gas on their hips. The entire system is operated with a pair of handheld controls, which also serve as the hilts for the user's swords. Since the blades can wear out while fighting Titans, replacements are carried in boxes on the hips as well - those and the canisters are bundled together, supported by metal arms that attach to the gear between the two spools.

The swords and boxes are separate pieces, but they're permanently attached to the figure via black plastic tubes - no giving them to anyone else. Tabs on the boxes plug into the figure's legs and into the eyelets on the ODM gear. The blades on the swords appear to be backwards - they angle toward the wielder, rather than away - but that's accurate to the series' art. It's so odd, in fact, that even McToys' stock photos show Mikasa holding her swords the wrong way around! Her fingers are molded to use the double-triggers, but it's a tight fit.

While every other toy company in the world was learning how to make good articulation that didn't look like it came out of the '90s, Todd McFarlane was busy playing with his balls. [That joke never gets old, does it? --ed.] Mikasa isn't an immobile statue, but her useful joints don't blend into the sculpt, and the joints that do blend in aren't very useful. She has balljointed ankles, swivel/hinge knees, swivel joints for the thighs, swivel waist and wrists, swivel/hinge elbows and shoulders, and a balljointed head. The arms are the most useful for changing her pose, obviously, but the shoulders have big visible pins in them. And despite the seemingly good joints low in the legs, the way the upper legs work renders them pointless for much more than balance.

The figure also comes with a display base - it's 4¼" wide, ½" tall, and 1¾" deep, with a panel on the front that has the Attack on Titan logo on it. There's only one footpeg on the rough surface, so at least you can turn her a degree or two to the side if you feel like it. Woo.

This review got really down on Mikasa at the end there, but she honestly is better than you might expect from McFarlane. No, she's not as good as a toy from NECA, DST, Mezco, Hasbro, or even Mattel would have been, but getting this for $20 at Toys Я Us definitely beats paying import prices for a better one.

-- 11/05/17

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