Granted these guys aren't widely available in these parts (I'm even certain that many of you have never even heard of them before now), but these things truly do put all other 3 3/4" figure lines (and even a lot of the larger scale lines) to serious shame!
Known as Microman in Japan, this line has been around since at least the early seventies and had previously been imported to the U.S. as the much revered Micronauts.
Here's a list of what I feel really makes these something special:
- with ball-jointed neck, unique (and highly effective) double ball-jointed shoulders (these figures, even at such a small scale, can shrug, cross their arms to touch opposite shoulders, and even hold swords double-handed out in front of them! pics to follow), cut-joint biceps, double-jointed elbows, cut-jointed wrists, pivoting hands, ball-jointed upper torsos and waists, ball-jointed hips, cut-joint thighs, double-jointed knees, cut-joint lower legs, and ankle joints of the style seen on Toybiz's Marvel Legends figures - all on a 3 3/4" figure!!!
- all the figures in the line come with no fewer than EIGHT complete pairs of interchangeable hands - each in a different pose!!!
- they're all made of rigid, solid, and yet still very durable plastic
- though only one has been imported to the states thus far, the line actually includes several licensed and quite popular anime characters
- a literal handful of accessories are included with each figure - all fully appropriate, all fully compatible with the figure
- each figure comes in more or less completely collector friendly and easy to store (being a clear plastic tube, no more than 4 1/2" tall and 2 1/4" wide) packaging
- most of the pieces on each figure can be easily popped off and interchanged with the other figures
- most of the figures in the line include plenty of vac-metallized pieces
- the paint ops are at least on par with anything put out by Hasbro or Mattel
...and all of this in an IMPORTED figure (read - import taxes included!) that retails for $4.95!!!
You'd think that a figure that small with THAT MUCH articulation would have some major issues with gaps and loose joints, but that's honestly not the case at all. In fact, the figure I own (Jason from G-Force/Battle of the Planets/Gatchaman in Japan) I had posed swinging his sword while standing on one foot atop my dresser for nearly a week before I took him down to mess around with. There literally is not a pose that a human being is capable of that this figure can not copy and hold indefinitely. I have even used the figure as a very useful artists model to aid in drawing human figures.
Compare that with any figure ever offered by Hasbro, and it's easy to see why I say these put all others to shame. Imagine what it would be like if we were to get Star Wars figures (or G.I.Joe anyone?) from Hasbro with the same 30 plus points of articulation, half a dozen accessories each, in collector friendly packaging, all for less than five bucks before tax! Now, more than ever, do I wonder how these other companies manage to justify the lack of articulation, accessories, and especially the prices on their own products.
Currently being imported to the U.S. (sorry to my european friends, but I have no info regarding their availablility elsewhere) through Diamond Comic Distributors, and should be readily available (or at least available for order through Diamond Previews magazine) at your local comic store. Hopefully, with the success of this first wave of imported figures (Force Commander, Gunner, Ninja, Spy, and Gatchaman Jason) more will become available. Even more hopeful - with the excellent Palisades company currently holding the license for Micronauts figures and supposedly gearing up for a brand new version of said line, perhaps they will choose to import, or at least emulate this latest Microman line! I honestly CANNOT recommend these figures more. At five bucks a-piece, how can you afford to not buy 'em?