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Monev the Gale

by yo go re

Robot! Robot! Biiiiig honkin' robot!

He is a gale; a barrage of bullets tearing into the heart of enemy territory, mowing down everything without mercy. A silhouette of weapons that craved a body of flesh were granted it. Those who witness him would have an eerie sense of surrealism and feel their doomed fate sinking into a bloody mist. Since childhood, he has possessed an exceptional physique and extraordinary abilities. Wagering on his potential, the organization bought him and trained him for over a decade to enhance his abilities for the sole purpose of making him a weapon. He wears all the most powerful firearms one human can possibly wear. His assault against his opponents is swift, violent, and complete. The smell of dripping oil and gun smoke as well as the sounds of metal creaking and a beast breathing... all melt into the darkness tonight.

[If you think that intro was long-winded, know this: I edited out about two thirds of the info printed on the back of the packaging. --ed.]

Monev here is from an anime series known as Trigun, which I've personally never seen. All the info I needed about Monev, however, could be gained by looking through the front of the package: it's a big, bad, highly detailed and articulated toy. What more could you want? Well, maybe a bit more detailed explanation than that.

We already reviewed the standard Monev figure, so today we're reviewing the variant "stealth" version, dubbed "Sub-Zero Attack." Seeing the toy, the first thing you'll notice is the size: a 12x10" clamshell package housing a massive hunk of plastic. Pick up the figure, and its weight is readily apparent. This is one seriously heavy toy; clobber your sister with this, and you'll be grounded for a month! Unfortunately, size and weight don't come cheap; Monev will "only" run you $30 (if you're lucky). But for a real action figure fan, he's worth it.

Monev was really designed for those who open their figures and play with them. Leave him sealed within that plastic tomb, and you'll never get your money's worth; sure, you'll be able to appreciate how he looks (in his goofy pose), but that's all. Open him, oh open him, and you'll be blown away!

Before you can fully appreciate your new treasure, you have some assembling to do. To create those two bullet chains that string from shoulder to wrist, Kaiyodo has given you 46 individual bullets, each about half an inch long. One more time: forty. Six. Individual. Bullets. Tucked away neatly at the bottom of the plastic tray, fortunately, are four wire coils designed to facilitate the creation of the armory belts. Careful, though; it's easy to miss the coils, and while it is possible to assemble the chains without them (I ended up stripping the plastic off the wire twist-ties that held him in the tray), the task is a lot less arduous with the proper pieces.

So you've got your arsenal in place, and you start to play around with this metal monstrosity, expecting to maybe find six points of articulation. See, you're used to the McFarlane style of action figures - a stunningly beautiful sculpt, but sod all in the way of movement. Ah, but now it's Monev's time to shine!

As you start trying things, seeing what will move and where, you'll find Monev's 35 points of movement. Again, thirty. Five. Points of movement. Your average Star Wars figure has six points of articulation. A nice DC Direct offering might have 11. Monev puts them all to shame. He can be posed with his arms raised in victory, squatting down over a kill, or anything in between. And in case your pose is a little too unsteady, Monev even comes with a base.

The ornate base is no more than four inches across, but comprises three pieces. Simulating the shattered a bullet-riddled cement of a battleground, the base has a few shell casings strewn about, and a massive machine gun crushed beneath Monev's heel (literally - when the figure's not on the base, the gun can be seen shattered on either side of his massive footprint). The variant has a small difference from the normal release: instead of the arrow reading "inn," it has the Previews logo.

All this dynamic poseability is made possible by the innovative design Kaiyodo used for this figure: rather than large molded pieces that just plug into one another, Monev is mostly hollow. However, he's assembled around an internal skeleton, which accounts for both his weight and the fact that he can hold his poses - no loose joints here. The only reported weak point is in his right ankle, so be careful when attaching him to the base.

The sculpt of this beast is no slouch, either. Originally designed by Yasuhiro Nightow, the figure was sculpted by Yamaguchi Katsuhisa, and a heck of a job it must have been! Every inch of his exaggerated musculature is covered with detail, be it tiny armored plates, miniature screws and bolts, or high tech support structures. Even in clear plastic, you can see all the impressive details! The paint job lives up to the high standard set by the rest of the figure, too; obviously it's not as intricate as the standard release, but every little rivet gets its own silver app outlined in black. Very nicely done, and it really suits the figure and the character.

The figure's body is actually clear, while the internal skeleton glows in the dark. Really, these pictures don't really do him justice; you have to see it in person to realize how cool the glowing skeleton is.

"Sub-Zero Attack" Monev has slightly modified color scheme, with striking black accents where the original had silver, and clear plastic where the original had shiny metallic red. This figure is based off an extremely popular Japanese variant, which had the same clear body and glowing skeleton as well as a repainted red mask. The North American version, a Diamond Comics exclusive, goes that figure one better - rather than simply a repainted mask, SZA Monev has an entirely new head sculpt. His mask isn't fully reomvable (half of it is a sculpted part of his head), but he comes with two different half-masks that plug onto his big silver dome. As you can see, this gives Monev three distinct looks, and also makes him a slightly better value than the original.

But just slightly.

So, is Monev worth the hefty price tag? Hopefully with the information we've given, you'll be able to decide that for yourself. In my eyes, if you're going to open him, then yes. If you're a MOC collector, then your money might be better spent elsewhere; this much playable engineering was not put into a display piece.

-- 11/01/02

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