Special articles, columns and features exclusive to the MDb.
True 3D: Volume 4
A photo review of the Samus Aran Figma by MaxFactory!
Text and Photos by Infinity's End
Distributor: Good Smile Company
Height: approx. 6 inches/15cm
SRP: ¥2,820 (~$36.00), sells for $113.00 or more through resellers
Japan only, or your local import shop. Also available via Amazon, eBay, or Yahoo! Japan Auctions
Purchased from Amiami via preorder in January, 2012. Currently sold out at numerous importers.
Before even opening it, you will notice right off the bat that the figure is reasonably small. The packaging for the Samus figma is pretty standard to figures like this. Looking at the back, it seems like the marketing department really tried to choose the best poses which match Samus's character the best. After all, this is a product marketed directly to Metroid fans. Once you open her up, there was a small plastic sheet laid underneath of Samus legs that you could tug on which pops Samus out of her packaging. I have been collecting American figures for years, and never have I ever experienced something so simple, yet so well thought out as this. It was a really nice gesture, and I assume that MaxFactory does this to all their figures. The packaging also comes with a small ziplock Figma bag to keep all of your extra accessories, and the figure too if you want. This is another really nice gesture, likely for Japanese collectors that perhaps have hundreds of these figures. There is also a cut-out "Di:Stage" skin (for those who own this optional accessory) which is rather plain and just contains the Other M logo. One more thing of note is a foil Nintendo sticker placed to the left of the "Figma" logo on the front, which lets you know that it is an officially-licensed Nintendo product.
The Figure: Accessories
Samus comes with the following accessories:
- Five (5) interchangeable hands: closed fist, gripping fist, thumbs up hand, relaxed hand, and spread fingers
- Morphing Ball
- Posing Stand with Base
- Cannon tip for beams, Cannon tip for Missiles
- Two Beam "Shots": a single beam and a double beam
While these are all great, in hindsight, their selection is slightly disappointing. First off, the beam shots are a translucent pink color. While they no doubt look cool attached to the figure, Samus does not shoot anything even close to resembling what these shots look like in the game. Second, she comes with the extra Missile hatch tip, however there isn't a "Missile shot" accessory. Instead of the "double-beam" one, they could have easily used the Missile here. It would have been really awesome to have Samus shooting a Missile or better yet, a Super Missile, but instead they chose to give her these rather weak looking beam shots. Third, the hand pose selections could have used a bit more thought. While she does come with five different ones, likely you'll only be using two or three. The "gripping" fist one has absolutely no use, as she does not come with any other accessory which you could place in her left hand. There are many other hand gestures that could have been used in place of this one, but overall, these are very minor gripes. In regards to the posing stand, while it took a few moments to shove the peg into the hole in her back, I was eventually posing Samus around with ease. On the downside, the base of the stand is just made with a light plastic, and sometimes, depending on the pose, does not serve as enough weight to support Samus's top-heavy body. Don't think you can get her into some kind of gravity-defying, Space Jumping, Screw Attack pose, because it's just not going to happen. The Morphing Ball is also nice to have, and looks exactly like it should, but honestly a miniature Metroid would have also been nice to have (Read all about that in True 3D Vol. 5.).
The Figure: Samus Aran
As you can see, Samus is fully-realized in her most recent design from Other M. She has many points of articulation, and her shoulderpads are moveable separately from her upper arms. These points allow for extremely expressive poses. The fact that you can't see her face also makes you pay more attention to the pose she is in, which really enhances this figure's strengths. The torso is made up of two parts connected with a ball joint, and can be completely rotated around 360° without any stopping points. You can really tell that they tried their hardest to make Samus's painfully restrictive and disproportional suited body as nimble and flexible as it could possibly be. While posing with it, I found her legs pop out of their ball joints quite easily, but fortunately they also pop back in easily as well. Her hinged toes in the feet are also very welcomed for posing. Each interchangeable hand is on a hinge-pin as well for extra detail like when you want her hand to lay on top of her arm cannon. The figure is just a pleasure to pose and play with. Thank you, MaxFactory, for taking on such a challenging, stiff character such as Samus and giving this figure so much flexible movement. (Note: the Metroid in these images is the one that comes with the 1/8 Zero Suit Samus figure; covered in True 3D Vol. 5 coming soon!)
Looking past the missed accessory opportunities, this is, without a doubt, the Samus figure we have been waiting 25 years for. There is nothing better. The Samus Aran figma is the first truly poseable action figure ever given to the character and should already be a part of your collection if you consider yourself a hardcore fan of the series. The 2003 JoyRide figure is so pathetic in comparison that it shouldn't even be remembered as the "first" Samus figure and comes off as nothing but a half-assed, almost insulting attempt at trying to realize Samus in toy form. When I first heard about the announcement of this figure, I can't express to you my excitement, and it's truly lived up to all those expectations. It has been so painful over the years to see how much love The Legend of Zelda series, Mario series, or Pokemon series receives in regards to good, high-quality merchadise, whereas Metroid usually gets shafted in this regard (the overpriced First4Figures statues nonwithstanding). It is just such an amazing figure and something that was begging to be made. It's simply a brilliant piece of craftsmanship, made by what is likely one of the best action figure manufacturers in Japan. The attention to detail made on every inch of the figure shines through in its amazing metallic paint splendor. If there is ONE Samus figure that you should own in your collection, it is absolutely this one. Buy it now before it's too late! --Infinity's End
Also be sure to read True 3D Vol. 5, covering the Zero Suit Samus PVC statue by MaxFactory!
* NOTE: This image is my own personal mod of the Joyride Figure, to make up for its lack of everything.
Special thanks to Prescilla Currier for letting me borrow her camera!