There are a few reliable old standbys when it comes to exclusives - you've got the unpainted test shot, the clear version, the one solid color version... anything to avoid paying for superfluous paint apps. Another member of this monochromatic brotherhood? The glow-in-the-dark figure, such as Organic Hobby's exclusive Eva Unit 01.
Piloted by Shinji Ikari, Unit 01 is the purple posterchild of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Originally a reaction to the light-hearted frivolity of Japan's existing giant robot shows, NGE spent as much time exploring the depths of its characters' psychoses as it did on big battles. Director Hideaki Anno had suffered from depression prior to starting the series, and infused it with his own experiences im psychology and dealing with his problem - which might be why it's such a downer to watch and stops making sense at the end.
Now, we've had Neon Genesis Evangelion toys before. Big ones, with tons of accessories and plenty of playability. Hell, eventually they even had Art Asylum designing packaging for them. Why would we need a new line? It would have to be a substantial improvement over the ones we had before, or what's the point? Well, no worries: it is.
Eva Unit 01 is the first of the new Revoltech figures. Yes, it's an unfortunate name, but it's supposed to be "revolutionary" rather than "revolting." Guess they should have thought that out better, but then it wouldn't have that authentic Engrish feel.
The figure is 5 1/4" tall, but his shoulder-wings add another half inch. The sculpt is very good, especially for this (comparatively) small figure. Eva Unit 01 has a noticably different design than the others, particularly the head and chest. The robot's got pecs, for instance, and its head has a horn and a frill, like a ceratopsid dinosaur - he's two horns short of being a triceratops.
The articulation is where this bad boy shines.
Well, there and "in the dark." The conncept of Revoltech is an innovative joint system that even out-performs Marvel Legends in terms of poseability. The old NGE figures were pretty crap when it came to movement - they all had these weird diagonal slashes rather than normal joints, so they didn't really move well. The new figure, though? Oh, baby!
The Revoltech joints are basically ratched balljoints,
the kind that Lego has used for its larger Bionicle figures for some time, now. You have a central ball with a long rod coming off the top and bottom. The movement of the piece itself acts as a hinge, while the rods inserted into the connecting bodyparts allow both sides to swivel. Eva Unit 01 moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders and both the top and bottom of the neck, and every single one of them is a balljoint (or has the same range of motion). The joints all hold up to play, and none of them are loose. This is a fun little figure. The guards on his ankles actually float around the joint, rather being attached to any part of the body. The little tabs that hold it there are flexible, but they seem very thin, and if anything breaks, it'll probably be one of those, first.
Like we said, this figure is a glow-in-the-dark version, which means no paint. How does glow-in-the-dark stuff work, anyway? In order to create light (which is what GitD stuff does), you need phosphors - particles that emit radiation when they're energized. Now, not the kind of radiation that will give you superpowers; we're talking plain old visible light. Avert your eyes! TVs, florescent lights and your computer monitor all contain phosphors, and they all react differently. Phosphors are categorized by the energy that charges them, the color of light they produce, and how long it lasts.
For GitD stuff,
you want something energized by normal ambient light and has a long persistance. The chemical of choice these days is strontium aluminate, which is about ten times as effective (and expensive) as zinc sulfide, the stuff they used before. Phosphors absorb the light energy, then re-release it at a much slower pace - thus the long glow-time. The figure's body is made from a different plastic than his joints: it's a noticably different color, even when he's not glowing. It probably has to do with making sure the plastic is sturdy enough, but it also serves to break up the outline of the figure.
The exclusive Eva was sold in a simple window box with some really eye-catching graphics. He's in a plastic tray, with an entire bag of accessories taped beneath. He's got his rifle and a sword right next to him, and a pistol and knife behind him. There are three extra pairs of hands and a second head, and the umbilical cable that plugs into the mecha's back to keep it running. The cord has a wire inside to make it bendy, for some reason. There's also an instruction sheet about removing the shoulder blades but it, like all the text on the figure's packaging, is in Japanese. No clue what it says, or why you'd want to remove the blades.
The choice to make a glow-in-the-dark Eva Unit 01
the SDCC06 exclusive is an interesting one, because it's a bit of a rehash: Kaiyodo released a similar figure in their larger line as an exclusive at Wizard World Chicago five years ago. That one was also a bit translucent, so they're not exactly the same, but the parallels still exist. Maybe it's like the thing with Vash the Stampede, where there's only one approved variant? Maybe it's because when we see the angel Adam in the show, he looks like a glowing white Eva 01? Who knows.
This Eva won't be alone for long. Kaiyodo and Organic Hobby plan to relase two Revoltech figures each month, and what they've shown so far looks good. It's a lot of giant robots to start with, but there's at least one human character on the way, and a prototype version of Optimus Prime has been spotted. The Revoltech line may have a dumb name, but it's giving us some cool toys. If they get to a character you like, give it a chance.
Is NGE the masterpiece of anime, or a boring, plodding snoozefest? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.