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Trashcan & Weapons Drone

Astro Boy
by yo go re

When it comes to American comics, Jack Kirby is the guy most often held up as "The King," but the case could be made for Steve Ditko, John Romita, Joe Shuster, Bill Everett... lots of guys. In Japan, though, there's only one: Osamu Tezuka, the god of manga. His work defined the look of manga (and anime) for decades. He drew it first, and that's just the way it was drawn from then on. His most famous manga work began in 1951, and 12 years later, it became the world's first anime: Tetsuwan Atom, known to the west as Astro Boy.

Recently, a new CGI Astro Boy movie was released, and while it seems to have been a flop, there were of course no shortage of tie-in toys. Personally, I skipped the actual Astro Boys and his enemies, and went instead for the adorable oddball set - Trashcan & Weapons Drone.

Honestly, Weapons Drone had nothing to do with why I bought this. My first reaction upon seeing the trailer and spotting the robot dog was to hope he made it into toy form. Sure enough, Trashcan is part of the 3¾" scale assortment, so as soon as there was a sale on Astro Boy toys at TRU, he was mine.

Like a lot of sci-fi, Astro Boy divides its world in two: the rich folks live in the sky, while the poor people live on the ground. In this case it's a little more literal, as the "haves" actually live on a floating island. Anyway, the ground is littered with discarded robots and precious urchins, and the latter apparently spend their time picking through the former, accompanied by their pet garbage-disposing robot.

The original idea for Trashcan was indeed a little trash compacter that made stackable bricks of junk, but then of course WALL•E came out, and that had to be reworked - they even made their garbage look different. As seen in the film (and on the toy), Trashcan is a flip-top waste container that has undergone a most startling mutt-a-morphosis. His body is a canister with four legs - two itsy ones in the front, and a massive pair in the back. The lid has two small white eyes and a wide nose, plus a cute pair of ears rising out of the top. The eyes are set far from each other, adding to Trashcan's loveably derpy look.

Trashcan's head/mouth/lid can open, and that's the only point of articulation he has. Hell, it's the only PoA in the entire set. Why don't his legs move? Why can't his head turn? Even for a 1½" tall toy, this is lazy. Hey, at least he's cute when you flip his head up. He's meant to be brown and white, but has a nifty "dirty" paintwash that makes him look aged. There are a few stray globs of dark brown on the back of his head, but that may just be an error. Bonus points for the sculpted rivets and vent.

Since Trashcan by himself wouldn't be a very good value, he's paired with a Weapons Drone. Basically a ping pong ball with guns and an eyeball, the drone is just one of millions used to test the abilities of new killbots. Not much to say about this thing - it's even more of a glorified accessory than Trashcan is, with a less detailed sculpt and not even the benefit of a stand to pick it up off the floor. It's a single molded piece with a black app around the eye, and grey apps on the guns.

The Weapons Drone is lame, and Trashcan is only so-so, but at least Trashcan has the benefit of being ridiculously cute. It would have been tons better if there had been a set including Astro Boy and Trashcan together (and no Weapons Drone at all), but the toys are made by Jazwares, so you have a general idea of what (not) to expect from them. If you know going in that you're just buying a deskoration, not a toy, then Trashcan's fine. If you want him, wait until these inevitably hit clearance and pick one up.

-- 11/07/09

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