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Professor Layton

by yo go re

One aside, Dr. Jones - you're not the only tenured archaeologist in town any more!

Professor Hershel Layton is the star of a videogame series all about doing other people's math homework for them. What, exactly, being a professor of archaeology (at Gressenheller University, in case you were wondering) has to do with solving minor brain-teasers has never been explained. At least if he were a professor of math or logic, it would make sense. Or if the games had him figuring out the safest way to mail an artifact from Constantiople to London, but no. It's all about arranging cans of paint in the fewest moves and whatnot.

While far from being an action hero, Professor Layton is still popular enough to warrant getting an action figure - and not just any action figure, a Revoltech. Because why wouldn't you want top-of-the-line poseability for a guy who stands around thinking?

Based in part on the concept of Sherlock Holmes, Prof. Layton is the perfect English gentleman. The game isn't set in the real world, but rather some pseudo-modern-day fantasy realm, which is why he just wears a dark brown coat over an orange shirt, rather than some ornate Victorian outfit. Actually, maybe that's black, rather than brown: the Professor Layton games have a sort of dreamy, golden, sepia-toned colorscheme (which is often shorthand for "England" in anime - since the UK is a much flatter country than Japan, sunlight looks different there), and in said colorscheme, it's entirely possible that black would appear brown.

The figure gets a lot of accessories, including interchangeable faces - one serious, one happy. To swap the heads, you first have to remove his hat (sacrilege!) and in the process, reveal that he's apparently ethnically half-goat. No wonder he never takes it off!

The claim to fame of Revoltech figures is their great articulation, and the Prof lives up to the standard. He moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, wrist, elbows, shoulders, and neck - and most of those are the swivel/hinge/swivel combos, so he has lots of movement. His head and hat are so large that they can make the neck floppy, and if you don't have his center of balance in the right spot he can fall right over - but the set includes a stand that plugs into his back, so you really don't have to worry much about that!

Layton has his choice of two left hands (relaxed, or holding) and five right hands (relaxed, holding a pen, holding a teacup, pointing gently, or pointing dramatically). They all have a hinge joint, and a swivel where they enter the arm. The "holding" left hand has a small hole by the thumb, matching the tiny, delicate peg on a few of the accessories.

What accessories, you ask? Why, his notebook and his saucer! They both have tiny little pegs that I'm afraid are going to snap off, but so far seem fine. The book has a real working hinge, so he can open it, and one of the right hands can realistically hold the included pen and take notes. Fun! The set includes a loose teacup to sit on the saucer, and as we said, one of the hands is also holding a teacup. Both cups have a bit of translucent reddish-brown plastic inside, to represent tea, and in an incredibly awesome move, the one in the hand is actually at a bit of an angle - he's drinking it! He's tipped the cup so he can drink it! Love that detail! The book is brown, with gold detailing on the front, and his china is white, with a darker gray fading in on the bottom.

But that's not all! Professor Layton is a gentleman; he does not just stand about swilling his tea, dear boy! So that he can enjoy his beverage in a refined manner, whilst working on his notes, he includes a table and chair from some outdoor cafe. They're ornate little pieces, and there's even a small section of brick street to put beneath them (that's also where the display stand plugs in).

Professor Layton may not be as memetic as Revoltech Woody, but he's got his fans. That's not why I got him, though. I got him because he's a good toy and came with a lot of cool accessories. And also because I haff tvelve metchsteek!

-- 13/25/13

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