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Pacific Rim
by yo go re

The bad news? NECA still hasn't made an Onibaba figure. The good news? We're one step closer to that happening!

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Otachi is one of the two Category IV kaiju who came through the breach at the same time, attacking Hong Kong in a concentrated effort to hunt down Charlie from It's Always Sunny. Because apparently the aliens really needed the recipe for milksteak.

Looking at Otachi, it's amazing to think that the first two Kaiju in this series came in the same size packaging as the Jaegers - this girl's so big she not only comes in a specialized box, she has to be assembled after you open her! Granted, for $70 she'd better be big and complex. Or, as NECA refers to her, "ultra-deluxe." The important thing is, after almost half a dozen kaiju with the same body, it's nice to get some variety.

Pacific Rim's monsters are based on real animals, and Otachi is clearly a bat. Well, not this Otachi, because this is "Otachi (Land Version)" according to all the store listings, which suggests that there's an "Otachi (Sky Version)" coming down the pike; for now, her wings are tucked up permanently against the arms. She has a four-legged posture, setting her apart from all the two-legged kaiju we've had so far. Thick armor spikes cover her back, she has protective plates over her knees, and sharp spikes that stick off the back of the legs. And because NECA pays attention, the buzzsaw wounds on her chest are sculpted into the surface before being painted.

The head really looks like a bat, especially the two bony crests that stick up on the top - they end up looking like a bat's large nose. Yes, even though there are two small eyespots on each of them. The mouth is wicked, with sharp fangs and blue spittle smeared all over the lips. The eyes, like Guillermo del Toro said, have "a sort of evil intelligence" to them - this isn't just an animal, it's a creature that's thinking about how to destroy you.

No matter how scary a monster is, it will lose its impact once we see it enough times and get used to it. That's why so many of the kaiju have hidden secondary attacks: some part of it changes from what we thought we knew, and that makes it scary again. For instance, when Leatherback fires off his biological EMP. Or when Otachi reveals she has wings. Or when Otachi reveals her throat engorges to spit acid. Or when Otachi... well, Otachi's just got a lot of surprises, is the point. Her acid sac is puffed out, and the two halves of her lower jaw open independently. You can pull out her tongue, and replace it with a second piece that represents a jet of viscous acid spraying out. It sits a little high in the mouth, making it hard to swap easily, but it stays securely once it's in.

The monster we know as Otachi is actually an amalgam of several different monster designs, all created by Guy Davis - aka "the guy who took over BPRD when Mignola left." The most obvious one is "Bat Ears Brady" (named after a repeat character on the old X Minus One radio drama), but the throat comes from "King Toad," and a kaiju concept called "Meathead" donated its tail. Meathead's tail would have been able to break off and fight separately, and while Otachi's can't do that, it does have the creepy little centipede legs on the bottom and the three-part pincer on the tip.

And that brings us to the articulation. Oh, the articulation! Otachi moves at the wrists, elbows, shoulders, jaw (x2), head, neck, hips, knees, ankles, tail, tail, tail, tail, tail, tail, tail, and tail. Yes, we just listed the tail eight times, because that's how many joints it has: eight different balljoints in the tail, and that's before we even talk about the three claws at the end, which all open and close in unison! The only joints anywhere on the figure that aren't balljoints are the knees, and those are swivel/hinge joints, so the range of motion is mostly the same. Amazing!

All this would have been enough to make Otachi a worthwhile toy, but NECA gave us a little extra - really, a little extra. It's the kaiju fetus rent unceremoniously from Otachi's monstrous womb! It's about 2" long, moves at swivels in the neck and shoulders, and has its umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. The baby was designed with big eyes and a big head, so it looks kind of "cute," despite being wrinkled like a naked mole rat. The toy isn't translucent and iridescent, like we saw in the movie - it's pink underneath and blue on top, with yellow eyes, a bright blue mouth, and a row of dots down its back.

Otachi costs almost three times as much as of one of the normal Kaiju! Of course, those had the advantage of spreading their tooling costs out over multiple nearly-identical releases, while all Otachi has is her upcoming winged form. So while she doesn't look like she'd be worth $70, it doesn't feel like you're being ripped off once you've got her in hand and assembled. She's expensive, but she's fun.

-- 03/29/15

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