Although I lived in Japan for a couple of years, I wasn’t introduced to the Dragon Ball Z anime until I was living back in the States. Even then, a typical episode featured a lot of build-up, but little payoff. The show could drag a fight over six or more episodes – 20 minutes of intent stares, grunting, and posing, followed by a couple minutes of frenetic action, and then, BAM, to be continued.
I didn’t become a crazy fan until my wife picked me up a copy of the manga. I knew then that one day I’d be spending insane amounts of money on something like a 12-inch scaled Goku (Son Gokou, in Japan) from Medicom.
Before I get any further into this, let me make it clear that this is the most I’ve ever spent on any single action figure. I’m your run of the mill, plunk down $10 for a toy that can fit in my pocket kind of guy. In the US, this figure is imported by Sideshow Toys and retails for $149.99. I happened to run across a great deal online, where I could pick up two figures (I got Piccolo too) for what it’d cost to buy one. I was hooked.
For that kind of money, I’m sure you’re wondering what you get. In addition to the figure, you get three extra sets of hands, and a clear plastic stand. That may not seem like a lot, but with just those few accessories, you can get Goku into every iconic pose, with the exception of his teleportation pose. And the figure itself would have been worth it without anything else.
Goku has better movement than anything else I’ve ever seen in this scale, including Marvel Legends Icons. I think that’s enabled by having actual cloth garments that hide some pretty funky articulation. The neck and head are one assembly covered by a flexible plastic “skin” that allows a decent range of motion without breaking up the sculpt. As nice as that is, it’s my least favorite part of the figure – because of how it’s constructed, the head “bounces back” in the direction from which it came, making poses where you want the head rotated or cocked in an extreme fashion more difficult to get set up. But really, that’s a pretty minor thing.
Every other point of articulation has incredible range. You can get the hands positioned in just about as many ways as you can move your own. The elbows and knees can be bent almost straight back, and the ankles can support very wide stances. The torso can bend front to back and side to side, allowing nice contrapposto poses. Even his belt can be posed – it contains a thin flexible wire that lets you position it blowing back in the aftermath of some errant energy blast.
Overall, I am wishing I didn’t like this thing as much as I do. Now that I’ve broken the seal, so to speak, I’m sure it’d be a lot better on the household budget if I didn’t want to buy a whole mess of these figures.