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Zombie Lab
by yo go re

Mmmmmmaybe it's not a great idea to leave a guy named "Kobe" alone unsupervised with vulnerable young women? I mean, would you trust a bartender named "Cosby" or a swimming instructor named "Brock Turner"?

Like with Ashley and Olivia, the Zombie Lab story tells us quite clearly what Kobe was doing right when we meet him, but is really vague on what he was doing before. Planning to get into the supposed safety of Tower 101 via its connected restaurant, the girls head around the back, and Kobe just shows up to open the door for them, telling them there's a zombie in the kitchen. That's all well and good, but what was he doing there? Why was he hanging out by the kitchen door if there was a zombie inside? Was it his friend who was being eaten? Was he trying to escape through the back of the restaurant? That's what we're going to go with: Kobe and his friends (Derek, Pau, Andrew, and, uh, Metta) wanted to get into Tower 101, but made too much noise and drew zombies while they were trying to get into the restaurant via the front doors; a couple of them died there, but Kobe and at least one other got inside; they tried running out the back, but a zombie in the kitchen got the last survivor, and rather than help him, Kobe bolted for the door just as Ashley and Olivia walk up and provide him with a better plan.

The story also refers to him as "a man in a suit called Kobe" [what's the name of his other suit? --ed.] but that's not what the toy gives us. He's wearing a suit jacket, yes, but he's wearing it over a polo shirt and jeans. That's not a suit. That's, like, a boomer dad's idea of being "relaxed." He has his jeans rolled up to mid-shin heaight so they don't cover his boots at all, because he paid HK$2300 on those boots, and he's going to make sure people see them! The color of the plastic used for the arms is lighter than the color used for the PVC jacket, so the sleeves of the suit don't match its body. It'd look like a vest, if his shirt wasn't blue instead of brown.

We do get a new head for him, rather than a repaint. That's good! His haircut's pretty awful, though. He's got bangs, but they're plastered against his forehead in a way that makes him look gross and sweaty, which does make sense in the world: if we ragged on Marian for looking too put together, then it'd be hypocritical to go off on Kobe for looking too disheveled.

Vitruvian HACKS bodies mean Viturvian HACKS articulation, so Kobe moves with swivel/hinge ankles; double-hinge knees; balljointed hips; a balljointed torso; swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists; and a balljointed head and neck. All his joints work just fine, nothing stiff or broken. The fact that the bodies are modular just underscores the difference between the arms and the body - it looks like you swapped someone else's arms onto this toy for some reason.

Despite the fact that Chapter 5 of the Zombie Lab story (as included on the back of the art card) describes Kobe using a trash can lid as a shield, but the toy doesn't include one: instead, we are given a sledgehammer and a night stick, both things that make sense for destroying zombies, but neither of which are as unique as a trash can. The art on the card does look like toy, moreso than some other characters have - tan jacket, blue jeans, sledgehammer, bad haircut, all that. And since he's on some stairs, he's probabl on his way up the tower as we speak.

Kobe is totally the guy in a zombie movie who gets bitten but doesn't tell anybody, because he's super selfish. Not this Kobe, the basketball one. But sure, this one too. We haven't had that kind of character yet, but every zombie story needs one. The colors on this toy are super drab to begin with, and the fact that the arms don't quite match just draws attention to that.

-- 06/28/19

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