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Gatchaman Takara, 2003

Gatchaman Review Capsule
In 2003, Takara relaunched Microman not as toys, but as hyper-articulated collectible action figures. Instead of being limited to the usual chrome-head heroes, they also produced blank figures for customizing as well as some based on licensed characters, like Gatchaman from Battle of the Planets and whatnot. Based on the same design as other new Microman figures, it's highly posable and a nicely made piece for a price of roughly $6-$10.

Introduction

With so much Battle of the Planets merchandise on the market, one might ask "geez, why make more?" Obviously, Takara didn't hear you when they decided to release Gatchaman.

While based on a mold for other toys, you'd never know it. Gatchaman has some newly sculpted parts to flesh him out, so the end product is actually a really slick toy.

With nearly 30 points of articulation and a bundle of accessories, what's not to love at this low price point?

Figure

While fans of the classic anime will enjoy this, I've never seen it, so I can't exactly go on about it. The toy, however, is well done enough so that any person with the ability to spot a good toy should enjoy it.

One look at this figure and you can tell that it's going to rival pretty much every toy in your collection in terms of articulation. There are ball-jointed feet, hands that are changed out at the wrists, and a fairly unique series of pieces that give the shoulders a range of motion you never, ever see on a figure of this size. Gatchaman and the Microman toys on which he is based are roughly the same size as small G.I. Joe figures and are surprisingly compatible with their vehicles.

Overall, the figure's sculpt is on the flat side. Basically, it's a fairly muscular little man without a lot of texture except on the lower waist piece, better known to you and me as the crotch. The new belt was added in, as was a tab to connect a holster for one of his weapons. You might also notice a bracelet on his wrist, which is removable and gives the figure a slightly more distinctive look.

The figure also has fairly unique soles of his feet, which at this time serve no obvious purpose. There aren't any Microman figures that I have seen that would make use of these connection points, but they're here just the same for aspiring customizers or for future expansion.

The other completely new component of the figure is the head. For its size, it's nicely painted and seems to be made of quality stuff. The visor is a nice touch, and while it does seem a little thin it really doesn't seem possible to have done it any other way and have it still look decent. The expression is a little bland, but at this scale, it works just fine.

The cape is in three pieces, with tabs and slots holding it together fairly well. It can be a little tricky getting it together, but the end result looks fairly stunning. Upon initial observations, it seemed this was a soft plastic or vinyl cape, but it turns out the end result is fairly stiff.

The last image in the row above shows that the figure has some text written on the cape. As we're not students of Asian languages, we can only guess what it says. And we're going with "Sup, Dawg."

Accessories & Gimmicks

This figure includes a dozen interchanegable hands, a sword, and two birdlike weapons.

The hands are a great extra, but given his numerous accessories you probably won't have too much use for all of them. It's great to have so many options available, though, and these will definitely help out with posing him for any scenario. The same hand molds were used with the other Microman figures from this series.

The sword and other weapons were made from a good, hard plastic and have a great attention paid to the decoration. The detail work and glossy finish on these items is spot-on, and it seems they really put the extra R&D expense into making the figure look good since most of the mold was already finished.

There's a lot here, which means there's also a lot to lose. As such, be sure to be careful because replacement hands have yet to be announced.

Packaging

Like the 2003 Microman Microforce style figures, Gatchaman was packaged in a clear plastic tube with a cardboard insert. The accessories are in plastic bags taped to the inside of the cardboard, and the result is an efficient, sturdy package. The downside is that it isn't easy to open and it is very likely the packaging will be destroyed while opening it up.

While this isn't packaging that really makes a good keepsake or storage unit, it is quite attractive and ranks highly against most modern toy boxes.

Fin

Are you a sucker for small, super-posable, cheap Japanese toys? Than this is a toy for you. The range of motion and accessories make this a pretty great figure for the money, and even for more money, it's still pretty slick.

While not an integral part of a complete collection of any sort, really, it's a nice standalone piece and well worth snagging if you have a few extra dollars or see it at a convention.

Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample purchased from Smalljoes.com for $7.99 in February, 2004
Reviewed on February 12, 2004.

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