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by yo go re

For maximum effect, open this video in another window and let it play while you read today's review.

In the year of 200X, a super robot named Megaman was created. Dr. Light created Megaman to stop the evil desires of Dr. Wily. However, after his defeat, Dr. Wily created eight of his own robots to counter Megaman.

Introduced in 1987, Mega Man is the story of a robot who fights and kills other robots, then steals their powers. So basically, a cybernetic Highlander. To date there have been over 125 games in various series (Mega Man, Mega Man X, Legends, Battle Network, Zero, ZX, etc.), almost as many spin-offs and remakes as Street Fighter and Resident Evil combined. To say nothing of the Street Fighter X Mega Man game! Sadly, there's no Mega Man: Raccoon City game yet to complete the insanity trifecta.

This figure is part of Bandai's "D-Arts" line, which is a spinoff of SH Figuarts (just like MonsterArts is). The "D" stands for "digital," meaning D-Arts covers all the videogame licenses. And since this figure sprung from the same toymaking tradition as the Godzilla we just linked, you already have an idea of what to expect: an accurate sculpt and tons of articulation. Well, since Mega Man's always had a very sleek, simple design, there isn't much sculpt to worry about getting wrong, but the interiors of his joints are designed to look like flexible rubber seals, explaining how a metal robot could move.

The proportions of the toy seem dead-on. The central body is thin and mostly tubular, while the forearms and shins are much larger. Hell, his boots are thicker than his torso! If this figure ever falls over, it's your fault, not his. There are jet boosters in the bottoms of his feet, sculpted with thin radial lines around the metallic red "gem" in the center. There are similar bits over his ears, and in the end of his Mega Buster cannon. The cannon also gets a line of squares inset on the side - a power meter, perhaps?

Mega Man's helmet looks like a separate piece worn over his head, because honestly, that's what it is. The front half is removable, allowing you to swap between the figure's three alternate faces: he comes packaged wearing the "plain" face in the box, but also comes with a grimace (showing his teeth) and a yell (with the mouth fully open). The faces are held in place by two large plugs that stick into the back half of the head, and the front of the helmet has three small pegs that fit into the head and the face. It does a really nice job of coming together. The eyes are just painted on, but there are depressions on the face where they sit, and the shape is different on each of the faces, adding to the variety.

Fulfilling the mission statement of Figuarts and its spin-offs, Mega Man's articulation is quite good. He has joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. Most of those are swivel/hinge combos, but he has a lot of balljoints, as well. For instance, the shoulders have swivel/hinges where they go into the arms, and then a balljoint where they go into the body; that allows for more motion than either joint would accommodate alone,but it still keeps the figure looking good. The "accordian" detailing on the elbows and knees continues way into the figure, so the illusion isn't broken when you bend the limbs. Basically, he has enough articulation to pull off any game pose you'd want - jumping, sliding, shooting his cannon, anything.

The set comes with alternate hands, as well. There's a fist and an open hand for both arms, and a Mega Buster for each arm as well - can't have the detailing on the wrong side, after all! The wrists are balljoints, making it easy to swap the hands, and the arms trade out at the elbow. The tip of the Mega Buster pulls off and can be replaced with a different version. What's the difference? No red dot in the barrel. What does that accomplish? It allows you to plug in the translucent yellow energy effect. There are three linked blasts and a flare that goes right over the tip. This is a great job of making it look like he's fired his gun three times in quick succession and the blast is quickly travelling away from him. Plus, the middle zap is perfectly round inside, allowing you to choose how you position the others. Will it be three in a row, or three in a triangular formation? It's up to you!

Mega Man is only 4¼" tall, which is short by D-Arts standards. Pretty damn short for a $45 toy, too. And while the hands and guns and whatnot are nice, they don't make up for the price. Thankfully, that isn't all you get for your money. You also get Rush, Mega Man's faithful robot dog. Well, dog/jet/submarine/springboard. He has a lot of forms. This one only gets to be a dog, though - no extra pieces to turn him into anything else.

Also created by Dr. Light, Rush is Mega Man's robot dog who serves as a multi-purpose support unit. Not only can he be transformed into Rush Jet to allow Mega Man to fly, he also has the Rush Coil ability which helps Mega Man perform high jumps.

Rush is about 2¾" tall and 3" long, and moves nearly as well as his master. The head is a balljoint, the shoulders/hips are swivels, the four elbows are swivel/hinged, and the feet are balljointed. So's the tail! How cute! The sculpt on Rush is as accurate as it was on Mega Man, and he's painted all in pinks and reds to contrast with his big buddy's blue.

And as if that weren't enough (okay, it's not), the figure also comes with a Met. What's a Met? It's the little "hard hat guy" enemy that populates pretty much every level Mega Man has ever blasted his way through. It's probably the most iconic cannon fodder enemy Mega Man has, the equivalent of Mario's Goombas. There's not much to sculpt here - it's basically just feet, eyes and a hat - but the details are all present and everything's painted well. You can even remove the helmet! No, not so you can see the three bowling ball holes on the top of his head, but so yo can pretend the Met is in his defensive state, where he crouches down on the ground to become blaster-proof.

Bandai has made D-Arts figures based on the more complicated designs of Mega Man X, but this is the first version of the classic Blue Bomber. Apparently fans who bought the previous toys were disappointed by this one's small size, but for us, he's perfect - remember, Mega Man has always been a short little robot, almost the size of a child, and so this one will fit nicely into a 6" figure collection. It's an expensive buy, but the accessories and pack-ins really do their best to justify the price.

-- 02/21/13

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