Beast Saga Action Figures
Item No.: BS-24 Manufacturer:Takara-Tomy Includes:Sword, shield, 2 dice, trading card Action Feature:Dice launch out of stomach Retail:525 yen (or about $7) Availability: October 2012 Other: Also translated as Kanigaru
A lot can happen in 8 years. Beast Saga came and went, bootlegs got made, multiple figures got cancelled, and Kannigal (for reasons I don't know) didn't ship when I ordered it - so I had to track it down elsewhere. Despite its release at a time when Battle Beasts kids would be adults with kids of their own, it just didn't click. The figures are bigger, have a more complex game, and come with more gear. They also cost more and never made it out to the USA, and I hope that might still change. After all, I assume toy companies would be happy to see a line like this where you could probably find a way to quickly release them in the USA with minimal modifications given everything going on in the world.
The boxing kangaroo is some weird symbol that has stuck around for ages, especially in the 1980s with Battle Beasts and the old Atari game Kangaroo. It hasn't really come up much since then, but you can see the iconography on the figure with big, gloved fists. Another kangaroo feature integrated into the armor is a hint of a pouch, even though it looks more like a codpiece and serves no functional purpose.
With just 4 points of articulation and the dice launcher, Takara-Tomy went out of their way to give the furry creature's head some personality. It almost looks realistic, with marvelous brown textured plastic and bright blue armor with orange and yellow highlights. The roughly 3-inch figure is sturdy, but you can pop off his articulated limbs with sufficient force. The same is true with the dice launcher in his chest, it can be removed with the right kind of pressure.
It's kind of a shame that this line didn't continue, just because it has so much potential. When a new animal is discovered in the forest, at sea, or in the fossil record, this format would lend itself well to making a cool action toy for the kids who love to learn about this kind of thing. I never did figure out how the game element works, but I do have a shelf filled with these figures I can't dream about letting go. With rocket-like protrusions on the back and a hunched-over neck, it's just so charming and scaled with so many other figure lines like Imaginext, the current incarnations of Super Hero Adventures and Galactic Heroes, and most of the Glyos universe. It would've been a wonderful fit here in the USA, although perhaps the dice launcher would have to go - being a projectile small enough to swallow and all.
If you stumble on these weirdos at a comic shop someday, or at a toy show in the future, get some if the price is right. Kannigal is also available in a clear "Burst" color, which may be more your speed. Had Lionel PlayWorld survived, this would have been a fabulous mascot toy for the defunct toy store. Beast Saga was short-lived with a significant number of recolors, so if you want to collect something small in its entirety these make a good sport for you. I wish they would make a few more - but the odd anthropomorphic animal man in Imaginext has scratched my itch a few times over the last six or seven years.
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