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E. Honda

Street Fighter
by yo go re

Back in the good old days - 2004 or so - SOTA stated that their goal for the Street Fighter line was to produce every character who had ever appeared in any iteration of the game. Sadly, they didn't get that far, but they did manage to cover everyone who counts. At the end, there, it seemed like there would be a few "big guns" left out when the license ended, but SOTA sneaked them out, right at the end; and thus, we get E. Honda.

In the sumo wrestling circles of Japan, Edmond Honda is legendary. He is undefeated, having been trained by the best sumo wrestling coaches since birth. While his size prevents him from being a fast fighter, his incredible strength and endurance insures victory should he ever manage get close enough to grapple with his opponent. When Honda learns that the world doesn't think sumo wrestling to be a real sport, he immediately sets off to join the Street Fighter II tournament. It was Sodom who suggested that Honda take on the best fighters in the world to prove how great and powerful sumo wrestling is.

Real sumo wrestling involves very little projectile attacking or even flying butt-slams. On the other hand, though it's frowned upon as disrespectful, open-hand slapping (harite) is allowed by the rules. Go figure. Sumo began as pure wrestling: grappling opponents as a form of unarmed combat. Over time the goal of the match shifted to focus on throwing your opponent (much like judo) and then finally started to solidify into the sport we recognize today during the 16th century, when Oda Nobunaga held a tournament with over 1,500 wrestlers attending. Take that, Wrestlemania!

E. Honda is part of SOTA's ill-conceived "Street Fighter Revolutions" line, so technically he's in a larger scale than all the previous SFII figures, but since the character was already huge, it isn't really the flaw it could have been. Standing perfectly upright, the figure is an even 8" tall, but like Blanka, he's quite obviously intended to be posed in a squat - that takes about an inch off the total, so it's not perfect, but it does hide the gigantism a bit.

Our boy is well articulated, as were all SOTA's Street Fighters. He has a double-ball-and-socket neck, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, balljointed wrists, swivel waist, balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double hinged knees, and balljointed ankles. The joints all move well on my figure, thank goodness: the quality control for this series of figures seems to be even worse than Mattel's DC toys, with almost universal reports of broken, stuck, or otherwise inoperable articulation. I can't get his torso balljoints to function the way they should - the larger one that fits into the abdomen steadfastly refuses to move at all - and I don't want to snap the plastic rod by forcing it. Other than that, his neck is a bit loose, but that just means it's easy to swap the heads.

Yes, E. Honda has two heads and two sets of hands, just like many of the previous Street Fighter figures. One head has the mouth closed in a frown, while the other sees his lips parted, to show off his teeth. It's not quite a yell, just slightly open - maybe he's grunting as he attacks. Both heads have the same oichomage haircut, and red paint on the forehead and cheeks.

The sculpt is good, for the most part. The heads are great, the body is well detailed but still in keeping with the game's artwork. His striped kesho-mawashi is a solid piece, which limits how far up his legs can move; it would have been preferable to get a softgoods version - i.e., real cloth - but at least the sculpt is done well. In fact, everything is really nice, until you get to the hands.

Remember how we said T. Hawk's hands were the best, most realistic hands anyone had ever put on an action figure? These are sort of the stylistic flipside of that. They're blocky, choppy, and generally look unfinished. Thy're better than anything I could sculpt, make no mistake, but they honestly look like the sculptor just ran out of time. You look at the toy's chest, and you see a miniature chest; you look at his hands, and instead of seeing small hands, you see raw clay. It doesn't matter whether you're using the fists or the open palms, they both have the problems. There's a bit of this on his feet, as well, but you're more likely to pay attention to his upper body.

Edmond's paint is good, lacking the crazy scars and veins of fellow seriesmate Zangief, but he does have some subtle shadows painted on his skin, and all the details on his face are crisp. They even painted his thong red, to preserve his decency in those upskirt shots. Sadly, the overall look of the figure is marred by the large, uneven pins sticking out through all the hinge joints. They're not anything new on the Street Fighter toys, but they just seem blatantly out of place and poorly matched here.

E. Honda isn't an easy figure to find - none of the Street Fighter Revolutions toys are. So if you want this large sumo wrestler, better grab him the first time you see him. But definitely open him right away and make sure nothing's broken: you don't want any surprises after your receipt has expired. E. Honda is one of the more popular Street Fighters, so it's a good thing that we got him before the license switched over to NECA. There are too many problems with this toy (and with the final series in general) for us to recommend Honda unequivocably, but if you get one free from any major flaws, you'll find a good action figure.

Dhalsim | E. Honda | R. Mika | Zangief

-- 03/04/09

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