Sunday, September 25, 2011

Charapro: Atsushi Onita "Evil Ways" Figure Review

Ohayou gozaimasu! It's time once again to review another pro-wrestling figure from Japan! Today, I'll examine a toy based on a wrestler whose career is surrounded by praises and controversy.

Atsushi Onita figure
Atsushi Onita is one of the most despised wrestlers in New Japan Pro Wrestling for a reason. I'll explain his controversy later, but first we must cover this wrestler's background. Onita founded his own pro-wrestling promotion in 1988 called, "Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling," or FMW for short. His character is inspired by the movie "Major League." He is credited for introducing death-match style matches to Japan based on matches he has seen in Puerto Rico. Don't worry folks people don't die in death matches, but these bouts can be dangerous. A death-match is a regular pro-wrestling match that adds some extra stipulations for fear factor and thrill. A death-match could include a random combination of barbed wire ropes, explosions outside the ring, thumbtacks, fire etc. This style has inspired other promotions to adapt these matches also. Onita developed a cult-following because his fans viewed him as a poor wrestler who is willing to bleed and fight for his own beliefs. He retired again in 1995 (first in 1985 from AJPW), then returned to wrestle again a few years later.

In 1999, Onita invaded New Japan Pro Wrestling to introduce death match style elements in his matches. NJPW and AJPW were the 2 biggest, most popular pro-wrestling companies in Japan. Both companies and their wrestlers disliked death matches so much that they called it "garbage wrestling," because it was so different from traditional wrestling. Death matches were considered the "wrong way" and Onita respond, "A wrong way? Fine! But if you take the wrong way away from me, what would remain?!" So basically, what you have is a "bad guy" wrestler with a career that doesn't appeal to a huge amount of employees or fans in NJPW. That my friends, is what folks call in this industry a "natural heel."

A natural heel is a guy that is instantly and unanimously despised by the crowd based on his background. Just like when Brock Lesner, a former pro-wrestler, debuted in UFC. UFC fans immediately bashed Brock because of his previous work. Other heels that debuted had to achieve that level in a course of several days by doing something that could really rile up the crowd. Since, NJPW fans usually share the same views and opinions of the company, they booed the heck out of Onita. They even threw garbage at him every time he walked to the ring, which is something I've never seen from the Japanese crowd. Of course, Onita doesn't care cause he's so bad a**! I personally appreciate both traditional and death match elements, so it's hard for me to dislike the guy.

There was one good thing that came out of Onita's 15 month stint in NJPW, his very own action figure!

I must say this sculpt in overall impressive. I mean his ring attire is simple, but there are so many great details on this toy to point out. Starting with the head; there's a lit cigarette in his mouth and a bandage on his left cheek. The leather jacket has silver painted buttons and zippers, dangling straps, side pockets, and gold, Japanese words on the back.

The figure also show a tear in his white shirt, knee pads and knee brace, and black and white Brett Hart style boots. My favorite part on this toy is the jeans. There is a quote "EVIL WAYS" outlined in silver surrounded by barbed wire and a snake on his left thigh. The most noticeable detail of this figure is Onita's hands.

His right hand flips the bird because that's how Onita acknowledged the crowd when they threw garbage at him. His left hand is slightly opened like he's gonna hold something. He's panhandling, "Change?! Ya got change?!" What is missing from this figure is his folded chair accessory that fits in Onita's left hand. The problem is the chair does not come with this figure. You can get the accessory by buying the Great Nita figure (Onita's alter ego) complete with his multiple weapons and Onita's chair in a blister pack. That really sucks!

For articulation: the left arm rotates vertically 360 degrees, right arm cannot rotate all the way because the jacket strap is in the way, and the waist can rotate 360 degrees. My complaint about this figure is his stance is not very stable; he's very wobbly on his feet (as seen in this blooper pic).

Onita falls down too easily; the paint on his right arm, jacket straps, and the bottom of his boots chipped off after a few accidents. If you buy this guy loose like I did, or remove him out of the blister pack I suggest you make him lean on something. It'll save you the heartache.

For size comparison, Onita stands more in scale with Charapro's Kokushi Muso than Hasbro's Macho Man. That makes sense because Onita and Kokushi are made from the same company.

If you think Onita is cool like I do, you'll like this figure. I'd still recommend this toy, but only if you know the shortcomings of the design. The worst thing that could happen to you is when Onita falls off your display shelf. My figure fell about 5 times since I bought him.

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