Tuesday, November 22, 2011

X-Plus: Kairyu (Manda) Figure Review

X-Plus Kairyu (Manda)
I finally came across the existence of X-Plus figures over a year ago. The first X-Plus figure I've seen online was Manda and at that moment I decided to buy him one day. With some luck and patience I was able to buy this version: Kairyu (also known as Manda) Monochrome Exclusive from the Ultra Q series!

Bandai figures is one of, if not the most popular company that manufactures Godzilla and other kaiju toys. However, after much research I am convinced that there are other companies that can make kaiju toys just as good, if not better than Bandai. Of course, I am not saying that all X-Plus figures are better, but there are some that deserves some attention. In fact, I favor all toy manufacturers that are able to create figures with fantastic appeal. Manda is one of them!

Origin Of Kairyu:  Kairyu (meaning "dragon" in Japanese) was played by Manda (from "Atragon") in the first Ultra Series, "Ultra Q." Ultra Q was a live action/monster series that catered to Toho's traditional sci-fi/horror genre. The series was produced by Eiji Tsuburaya, who is mostly known for producing popular shows and movies starring Ultraman and Godzilla. Ultra Q is about continuing characters that investigate strange events involving monsters, ghosts, and other unnatural activities. Manda starred in Episode 6 titled, "Grow! Turtle." I haven't seen the show nor can I translate this episode because I cannot understand Japanese. However, I can report my research. This episode follows a boy who rides a huge turtle (not Gamera) that flies in the skies, where he meets a girl named, Otohime on some cloud kingdom. This girl has powers that could make things appear and disappear in an instant. One of the things Otohime demonstrated was her ability to turn the rocket ship she rode on into Manda um I mean "Kairyu!" Unfortunately, Manda had a short cameo.

The Figure:  This figure is an event exclusive, monochrome version (black/white). Kairyu seems to be painted in the way he looked behind black and white TV (Ultra Q was broad casted in black & white). Kairyu was sold without any cardboard backing (just mine) and half of the twist ties were missing, which probably meant this figure was loose then repackaged again. I usually keep my collections sealed, but since this package has already been opened, I didn't mind taking Kairyu out to look at again for a short moment. X-Plus managed to create a figure that far exceeded my expectation. All of the distinct features of a serpent was captured into this work of art. Kairyu's body curls like an 'S' shape as the tail turns sideways.

He stands around 5 inches long and 1 foot long. Most of the body parts are made of solid plastic. However, there are also parts that are made of softer, flexible plastic such as the whiskers, horns, and legs. The best feature is Kairyu's head. Not only are his eyes painted like a snake, but there are also layers of wrinkles on Kairyu's tongue and palate. The rows of teeth and barbs around Kairyu's nose are pretty sharp, but those things will never prick you. The horns are really cool too and I can't help but notice the similarities between Manda's facial features with Hesei King Ghidorah.

Otohime:  Otohime is included with Kairyu as an accessory. She also seems to resemble her black and white TV colored version.

She is made from a different type of hard plastic. There is a peg in Otohime's bottom that allows her to securely sit on Kairyu's back.

Articulation:  Unfortunately, Kairyu does not have any point of articulation. Otohime on the other had, has 3 points of articulation: arms can rotate at the shoulder and her head rotates sideways.

Size Comparison:  Kairyu is shorter than Godzilla '91 and Kiryu, but he is longer in length.

The scale looks pretty good with Kairyu by himself, but when you add Otohime with him the ratio is way off!

Final Thoughts:  What this figure (Kairyu) lacks is articulation, which may be a problem with some collectors. However, I accepted that minor flaw very quickly. Many fans still wonder why Bandai has never completed a standard release of Manda. If the company did make their version of Manda based on "Atragon," would that product be as good, if not better than X-Plus? We wouldn't know the answer until Bandai decides to make one, if that day ever comes. I'm too skeptic to answer this question because X-Plus usually offers figures with finer details. Don't believe me? Look for X-Plus Biollante on google, then compare her with Bandai's version. Kairyu has an outstanding design and if/when someone has this figure, he will always grab a person's attention. Kairyu is a perfect figure to display!

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