I have been a fan of Square Enix’s Play Arts Kai line for some time, but with price creep pushing single figures to the $100 range and more, I’ve curtailed my purchases somewhat. I may have to go hog wild on some of their newest reveals though. Most notably, Square Enix expanded their DC license to include Batman v Superman, revealing four figures – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Bats in his armored suit. While I’ve been particularly disappointed by what some licensees (ahem Mattel) have produced, these are the first to really pique my interest.
While Street Fighter has seemingly gone to the wayside, they’ve continued with their mainstays. DC continues with more Arkham and variant figures. The newer Marvel variants add Black Widow and Captain America. And there’s Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, and Halo, to name a few more.
A tweet from game designer Hideo Kojima has set off a minor storm on Twitter among gamers. Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear Solid, posted pics of the upcoming Play Arts Kai Quiet, due for release on May 15, revealing that a supervisor of the action figure’s production, presumably from Square Enix, has stated the figure’s breasts will be made of soft material that allows them to be “pushed and lifted.”
Square Enix has broadened their non-video game licenses to include the Marvel Universe, by virtue of their Play Arts Kai Variants line. Variants reimagine characters with hyper-stylized designs. With their DC, Square Enix used Variants to extend their DC lines beyond the movie and Arkham lines they already had in place. Marvel Variants, in contrast, allows Square Enix to skirt the edges of existing comic book or movie licenses that may belong to other licensees.
The Marvel Variants line begins with Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor, and Square Enix also teased an upcoming Venom in silhouette. With prices creeping up, the DC Variants are now in the $95 and up range from $60 – 70 a couple of years ago. If Marvel comes in at these prices, what’s your interest in the new line?
If you’re trying to recover from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the ongoing Cyber Week, then Entertainment Earth isn’t making it easy. They’ve got a limitless supply of daily deals, and today’s Entertainment Earth Daily Deal is for Robocop, classic and… well, not so classic. EE has two Play Arts Kai figures by Square Enix. They’ve got the classic Robocop, and while the remake may not have captured the same magic as the original, the new Robocop suit makes for a cool figure. I’ve not been buying as many Play Arts Kai figures this year, since the prices have kept going up – but at 40% off today, I’d buy that for a dollar fifty-four dollars!
It’s always a joy for me to visit the Square Enix booth at events like SDCC – they’ve always got a slew of their Play Arts Kai figures from their video games, DC, and movie licenses. Most of the usual suspects were there – notably, DC Variant figures continue to see heavy activity (sadly, my picture the most interesting of them, the Harley Quinn, was blurry).
Some licenses are seeing a slow-down, at least in terms of display space. I saw only one Halo figure, while Street Fighter and Rorschach from Watchmen was a no-show, despite the fact that it hasn’t hit production yet. The Square Enix rep couldn’t definitively explain Rorschach’s absence, but it may be as simple as a lack of display space. However, with no other Watchmen figures on display, I wonder if that DC sub-license has stalled.