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by yo go re

Overwatch is known for its creative, original characters, like the hyper-intelligent ape, the dirty desert punks, and the big Russian with a bigger gun.

Name: Aleksandra Zaryanova
Age: 28
Occupation: Soldier
Affiliation: Russian Defense Forces

Oh, she goes by a diminutive of her last name? Good to know. Guess it was either that or "Sasha," and that is less distinctive. Her backstory is she grew up in a Siberian village that was on the front lines of the robot war for some reason. We can only assume the Omnics were programmed with Risk strategies and recognized the importance of Kamchatka. When the war ended, she began looking for a way out of the devastation. Her salvation was bodybuilding, of all things; she began lifting weights, and was soon one of the top competitors in the world. Just before the championships, however, the robots attacked again, so Aleksandra dropped out of the competition and joined the army to defend her people.

As a character, Zarya seems calculated specifically to piss off the dimwits who would later hate Abby in The Last of Us 2: not only is she big and muscular rather than small and frail (thus running counter to their limited idea of "femininity"), she's also got short-cropped hair that's dyed bright pink, and those reactionary crybabies hate anything Tumblr might like.

Her Blizzard codename may be "Potato," but Ivanna Drago here is big time cheesesteak. Even accounting for the heavy protective armor she wears on her shins and thighs, and for the baggy pants she has on, you can tell her legs are just massive, each one nearly as large as her torso. The breastplate has boob-cups, though not extremely exaggerated ones, and the ring around the collar makes it look like part of a spacesuit, like an airtight helmet is intended to link in there. She's got silver tech on her gloves, the Щит Технологии company logo on her chest, and a big 512 tattoo on her left shoulder - her weightlifting record. (And that's in kilograms, so it's even more impressive than it sounds.)

Big Sexy has as much articulation as the little matchstick girls: swivel/hinged ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, a balljointed chest and a hinged waist, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, and wrists, a hinged neck, and a balljointed head. The left wrist is hinged front-to-back, while the right is hinged side-to-side, to help her hold her weapon in the most realistic way possible.

Since she's basically a Rule 63 Heavy, Zarya's weapon is a minigun. Well, not a real minigun, but a futuristic Overwatch-y equivalent. It's also not very "mini." In-story, it was a vehicle-mounted weapon that she basically ripped off the hull herself, and no one else was able to carry it. It's grey and white, with a golden barrel and a translucent blue orb of energy in the middle. Getting the handles into the toy's hands is a struggle, because the fingers aren't open very far and, in the case of the side-grip, there's a gap between it and the body of the gun that means the plastic just wants to flex out of the way when you try to force it into her hand. The set also includes two closed fists, and a big blue energy beam that fits into the barrel of the gun.

Zarya may, at first glance, seem like a poor fan's version of Heavy's sister Zhanna (though less likely to end up nude and covered in honey), but it's still good to get at least one woman in this line who doesn't look like everyone else. She just sneaked out before the end of the line, both in this solo release and a GameStop-exclusive four-pack that also gave us our only D.Va (though not her mech suit, or I'd have bought it). The big stores had already given up on Overwatch, though, so "Market Six" was your only bet.

-- 10/10/20

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