Tuesday, April 3, 2018
66 Action: Dragon Ball Super
What a strange little series to kick off my first Dragonball toy review.
Not SHFiguarts, not the new Dragon Stars series, and not even retro reviews of old Irwin or Jakks DBZ toys! Nope, I'm gona do a review of the 66 Action series wave of Dragonball Super figures.
You might not know it from looking at the blog, but I'm a fan of Dragonball. Then again, you're not gona find many people my age that aren't. Or people younger than me. Or a little older than me. Even more so in either direction, if you're from Japan.
The reason I don't have much Dragonball representation on the blog (save for posts like these) is that they haven't had the greatest run of action figures, in the many years of it's existence. There have been a million collectables and "figures", but contrary to the theme of the show, the "figures" have been lacking the "action." Japan, surprisingly, produced the highest amount of collectable non-action figures with the early Super Battle Collection (I'm sure you'll recognize them in some form or another, since they were distributed all over the place officially and as bootlegs). Even when they started making figures in the US, companies like Irwin would make some admittedly nice looking figures, but they lacked a ton of articulation points to really get them in poses from the show. Jakks would eventually add more articulation, but the sculpts varied wildly from "Hey, not bad" to "Who are these characters?!"
Cut to the last few years and the likes of the SHFiguarts series and the new Dragon Stars series and...well, to be honest, they still make some confusing choices for articulation. The strangest parts is with SHFiguarts, where they had been making figures from all sorts of series and using great articulation schemes...
...and then throwing those articulation schemes out the window and reinventing the wheel with Dragonball, making the need for some of the recent remakes, redoing the hips and other major joints that never worked the way they were supposed to. Dragon Stars, sadly, follows in the footsteps of SHFiguarts before they started doing remakes, so the Dragon Stars series is using old, annoying hips joints that have already been fazed out everywhere else.
SO! Where does that leave us? Strangely enough, we can look to the niche toylines to provide some basic abilities that a Dragonball toy should have. Smaller series like Shodo, and what weren't looking at today: 66 Action.
66 Action, like SHFiguarts, covers a range of different series (Kamen Rider, Ultraman, etc). It's what you call a "Shokugan", or a small toy paired with candy or gum sold on convenience store shelves. Shokugan can range anywhere from collectable cards, to tiny model kits, to full-on toys like the 66 Action series. Most of the time, though, there's one thing tying all Shokugan together: They're small!
66 Action figures are around 2.5 inches. From the bottom you can see SHFiguarts Vegeta, then Shodo Vegeta on his arm (around G.I. Joe size) and then 66 Action Vegeta on his arm.
If you are already familiar with the series, then you can see that they line up with other 66 Action figures like Kamen Rider Black.
The particular series we're looking at is from the current Dragonball TV series, Dragonball Super. There was a series of 66 Action figures with basic Dragonball Z figures, but it was awhile back and they have far improved them since then.
For instance: There's the first 66 Action versions on the left, and the current ones on the right. They've improved the proportions - which, is a little funny to say, since they're obviously proportioned cartoonishly (super deformed) with big heads - and tweaked the articulation slightly to make it work better overall. One big change is the cut in the chest area allowing the arms to cross over the chest.
The end result, weirdly enough, is that they can take some poses that even overly articulated and more expensive figures cannot.
It's amazing how hard it is to find a figure that can do Goku's signature Kamehameha, but this one manages to pull it off! The cuts in the chest make all the difference that sometimes even extra shoulder joints can't allow for.
They also give you the hands for the job! Each figure comes with a stand (you can slot the back of the foot into the curved part in front) that also holds the multiple hands they have. Most of them are standard fists, open hands, and fingers-curled hands, but some have extras depending on if they hold something, like with Trunks.
Trunks comes with his trademark sword, though it doesn't fit in the sheath, so there's a full sword and a second sword, minus most of the blade, so you can plug that into the sheath (the sheath is non-removable).
As you can see by Trunks' angry stance; these figures have a ton of personality. They're a nice alternative to the expensive figures, since they don't take up too much space, are generally cheap, but can still pull off the menacing glare and poses you'd want from a Dragonball figure.
The last guy is Goku Black, in his Super Saiyan Rose form. He looks properly smug, and one hand sports his Time Ring.
Various kinds of lighting can really bring out the real "bastard" look he's got going on with the face sculpt.
I had already been impressed with the 66 Action series, and the Dragonball figures are no exception. They're generally about ten bucks or less (depending on where you find them) so they're a nice, cheap way to get a Dragonball fix and still get to pose and play. They can even stand a mild beating from kids, though I wouldn't suggest them for anyone who's at risk of chewing on these little guys. Goes without saying that these are a choking hazard!
I got these figures at Toys R Us originally, so check the poor dying toy chain while you can to see if they randomly get any more in. Otherwise, they're not hard to find all over the internet with a little search.