Thursday, September 21, 2017
Metroid Other M: Samus Aran (Figma)
Just in case you're not aware: A new Metroid game was just released! It's a remake of the old Gameboy game, Metroid II: The Return of Samus, though they're changing it up a bit and calling it Metroid: Samus Returns (I'm sure you can handle the massive name change). In the sprit of my ridiculous, dog-like excitement, I'm finally going to review the Figma Samus. Mission start!
I've had this figure for awhile (so long, in fact, that these in-package shots were taken with my old red camera that broke a few years back). I'm sure I had some crazy plans for it originally, but nowadays I gotta keep things simple. There is one advantage to reviewing her so late: There are now Metroids to pose her with! I wouldn't have had those, back when I bought this figure.
There is also a big drawback to reviewing her late, though: She may be obsolete, soon! Good Smile Company is making another Figma Samus, styled after Metroid Prime (which also looks closer to her Super Metroid design than this one), so you may want to go after that, instead of this one (especially since this one may be in the realm of the dreaded Aftermarket Prices).
So...no points awarded to me for laziness. She was actually on that couch for a good while. About time to take her off the shelf!
If you're not a big fan of Metroid, you might not see much difference in the Samus designs. This figure is based on her design in Metroid: Other M, which you might recognize from word of mouth as "Oh....that game." If you heard bad things, just know that it was all about the poor writing and story involved with the game. The gameplay was actually fun, and there were some DAMN fine boss fights (especially the secret final boss; if you play the game, make sure you shoot for that ending). I wouldn't hesitate to give it a play-through.
This design is how Samus' Varia Suit looks in Other M, denoted by the large, round shoulders. It's a little smoother and more streamlined than the classic Varia Suit, which has some crests along the shoulders in most of the other games (you can see that in the new figure). It almost feels like a mix of the Varia Suit and her normal suit, since the normal suit (minus upgrades) is mostly smooth, like this figure.
Interesting Side Note: The Vaira Suit is a mistranslation of "Barrier Suit", since the suit reduces overall damage and protects Samus from environmental hazards, like acid. In the first Metroid, the Vaira Suit turned Samus' armor a pinkish-purple color, but in the second game, on the Gameboy, they needed a physical change to show the Varia Suit, since the game was monochrome. That's where Samus first got the large round shoulders (and some extra armor on the legs) to show that the Varia Suit was active.
This is one of those figures that I knew I wanted - badly - but I was still wary of how they were going to articulate it. There were going to be a lot of awkward joints to cover, if they didn't want to break up the sculpt. The shoulders and hips would have caused the most problems, if it wasn't for the fantastic work of the sculptors. Turns out there was nothing to worry about!
It's hard to explain the articulation without popping it apart and showing it...which I'm not gona do. Just know that the range is much farther than you'd expect, when you first handle the figure. The arms are on at least three or four ball joints, but they don't end up in odd positions when you move them around. They move smoothly, and usually end up in a good pose with one motion (only having to reposition the shoulder armor a little with some poses). The bicep swivel appears to be on a ball joint, so you can get her arm across her chest for holding her gun, but the same ball joint also seems to serve (along with the shoulder ball) as the joint that allows the arm to move outward.
Bah! Too complicated to explain. It's awesome! The arms are absolutely perfect for this kind of large shoulder armor.
The legs are also impressive, since there's a lot going on there that I can't even see. I'm fairly certainly there's a few ball joints in the hips, which are only slightly hindered by the rubbery material that covers the joints. They seemed more hindered, until I gained the courage to really get some deep crouching poses, and it turns out she can perform them with no problem! The knees also bend in farther than 90 degrees, and the ankles can almost do a ballerina toe-point. Running poses are no problem (though they need help from the included stand; there's a small hole in the small of her back for this purpose).
Did I mention she's SHINY? 'Cause holy crap she's shiny! If you're wondering where the cash is going for this figure, I'll bet a lot of it went to that damn fancy paint job.
Her accessory spread is some of what you'd expect from a Figma, if you've bought any before. Most Figma figures have the little baggie and plastic "rack" that holds the extra hands. It's super useful! You've got a way to store all the accessories right out of the package (you can even take apart the stand and fit it in the baggie).
Samus comes with two different blasts: One with one shot, and one with two shots. She also has an alternate barrel for her gun, to show when she's using missiles.
...sadly, they gave us two choices of blasts, and yet no effect for shooting a missile. I thought that was an odd choice. Especially since the missile barrel also has the same hole in the end, for plugging in the blasts.
There's also her Morph Ball form! This is when Samus needs to get into tight spaces. She..."morphs" into a ball. The games never really explain how this is possible. She just does it, and you have to accept the fact that all her bones aren't broken.
The Morph Ball form sports the same fancy shine that the figure does, and it can roll! Because it's round! Yay, rolling! (My one year old wouldn't hesitate to point out that it's a "BALL!", because he's all about the spheres, yo).
There's also a hole in it to accept the stand, though I dunno what that would be for. Just in case you want some extreme Morph Ball action shots.
Samus comes with multiple hands, for all your handing needs. You got your standard fist, an open hand with splayed fingers, and another open hand with...not splayed fingers (that one looks like it's more for the two-handed arm cannon firing pose).
One of my favorite things I've noticed about Figma figures, is that they give you a hand for holding things, even if the figure doesn't come with anything to hold. Now Samus can hold stuff! They didn't need to do that - and most figures don't - but they did, and I appreciate it.
Finally, you got a thumbs up! Who doesn't like a good old positive thumbs up? Well...depends on where you see it. The thumbs up is common for Samus, but only as a "Hey...you tried" ending in most games. You take too long to finish, don't find all the items, blah blah blah, then Samus shows up in the end and just pops you the thumbs up. Nice average job, player!
If you've got World of Nintendo's Metroids, then you've got some great items to use with Samus. The big Metroid sorta works as the Baby Metroid from Super Metroid, and the smaller Metroids are, admittedly, a little small, compared to her. Still, you're not gona find a better Metroid, so just roll with it!
I say DAMN this figure is good! Before her, I hadn't bought many Figmas that weren't fiddly and felt like you were going to break something every time you moved it. Samus just WORKS. She's firing on all six cylinders. The joints all move smoothly, she's easy to pose, easy to stand, and every pose just ends up dynamic. She's everything I was hoping for in a Samus figure.
It's up to you if you want to hunt down this one or just skip it and move on to the new one that's coming out. If you do choose this one, then rest assured, you're getting a top-of-the-line figure that pulls out all the stops. It might even be worth a little aftermarket price gouging (though, not a ton). You'd be hard pressed to find a better Samus figure, in the collectible range - in fact, you won't find anything at all until the new one comes out! This is it! You can get the World of Nintendo version on the cheap, but for the big bucks, this is the only way to go, and damn folks: What a way to go!
On a final note: Go buy Metroid: Samus Returns. I'm cutting through it now, and it's already amazing. I'm considering liquefying it and injecting it directly to my veins. Maybe even my spinal column. I hear the spine is a good way to experience the video games.