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by Rustin Parr

Over the last decade I've become increasingly interested in the sort of lounge culture of the swinging '60s, particularly the tiki phenomenon. Thus, it was an easy sell for me when Toynami announced two San Diego Comic Con exclusive figures from a new line called "Tikitz." Based on a new brand from Sprite Animations, Tikitz is a toyline/web animation designed around Wish Spirits donning Masks with varied styles and backstories.

The yet-to-be-released line is comprised of five "characters" each with a name and apparent job to which their name cutely/lamely refers. This guy is named Gloo and according to the package, his "function" is "fixing things."

Gloo was carved by someone who was terrible with his hands - everything the carver made was so flimsy it would immediately crumble into dust. One day the carver managed to create two masks that fell apart, then accidentally patched them together into one new mask. Now the new mask can repair

Um... okay. It just sort of ends mid-sentence, doesn't it? That just raises more questions then it answers so we'll just move right along.

The line is a pretty novel idea, it uses a generic cute body (the Wish Spirit) then offers different Tiki masks which fit onto the omni-figure. That this line focuses on the masks and not the figures may allow it succeed where other attempts at Tiki lines have failed (Mezco's Tikimon, for instance). However, I will confess the figure, as a toy, is pretty underwhelming.

The figure is 1⅝" tall, to the top of the antenna, and has zero articulation, despite the head being a separate piece glued on to the body - a pet peeve of mine. If you're going to make an appendage a separate mold, then why not just make it a point of articulation? You already have a peg and a hole, just round them and save on glue. But whatever. The body and head are cast in an darkish gray, with sculptural raised eyes that are painted.

The figure was offered in two different color schemes, green and pink, limited to 1000 (but wasn't clear if it was 1000 each or in total) and cost $10. I was interested enough to buy both. The paint is pretty clean throughout. The eyes on the mask are a little rough in places, but so is the sculptural style of them, so I'm okay with it. It is strange, though, that the eyes are sculpted rough and more angular than the sleekness of the rest of the mask. It's an odd but subtle juxtaposition of styles but somehow works fine visually. The predominant color of the mask carries over to the figure's mouth and antenna-ball colors.

The package is neat, being a simple box with windows on the front and sides, but is designed to look like a piece of wood (with bark on the four sides and wood on the top, bottom and interior) all in that faux '60s art style. It also includes the most coveted of all SDCC exclusive demarcations - printed Comic-Con text and logo! Generally we just get a sticker, but this is much nicer and more special. However, beyond that, I have no idea what makes this figure exclusive to SDCC, other than the pink paint scheme, as what it is presented as "regular" Gloo looks identical to the green mask.

While not as exciting as many of the other exclusives there is something undeniably cool about these little guys. They have an Asian/indie feel, so it's kind of a bummer to see them coming from a bigger company and not on the indie aisles at the con. Which begs the question - why is nobody in urban vinyl doing something like this? It seems much cooler and with broader appeal than stylzed animals smoking, for example. Plus there is a tremendous amount of repaint possibilities. I'd definitely like to see a future Gloo come in "wood" colors, or even in the other colors of the rainbow. It just seems like there is a lot of fun potential when it comes to a collection of these, but we will have to wait and see what exactly Toynami plans to do with this line.

-- 10/15/10

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