Review by siningy
Chogokin Jibanyan was provided by HobbyLink Japan
While relatively unknown in the US, Yokai Watch is a cultural phenomenon in Japan. With over 245 million games sold, Level-5’s mega franchise is well on its way to topple the Pokemon Empire and will finally be available in the US next year. Yokai Watch is an RPG featuring a collecting element where Yokai are recruited after defeating them. Similar to how Pikachu is the most recognizable Pokemon, Jibanyan is a Pretty class Cat Yokai that acts the mascot to the series.
Like the Chogokin Hello Kitty, Jibanyan is released part of the regular Chogokin line and packaged in a similarly compact box. The plastic tray holds the Yokai Watch stand and fixed posed arms while Jibanyan is housed in styrofoam tray like a true Chogokin.
The stand is actually my favorite part of the entire set and it’s really neat how creative Bandai was in designing it. There is a simple translucent blue stand you rest Jinbanyan’s tail on and is necessary for him to stand up but also included is a Yokai Watch which can also be converted into a stand. As a standalone, the Yokai watch features Jibanyan’s Yokai Metal which is literally a solid metal Pog slammer. The medal can be inserted into the Yokai Watch and the watch over can be set to a close or open position. Unfortunately the cover is not hinged, and must be removed and reattached to change positions. With the cover open, you can put the translucent stand on top to make a fancier looking display stand for Jibanyan. His other accessories are a water bottle that I don’t know the significance of and two sets of fixed posed arms that don’t really offer anything the articulated arms can’t do.
The simple animated look of Jinbanyan is accurately recreated in Chogokin form, though lacking in articulation. The arms are on a ball joint and have elbow articulation but no Iron Man poses for you. Both tails are also articulated via peg joints but it would have been nice if these were ball jointed instead. The head can also rotate and tilting it up will open Jibanyan’s mouth. Living up to the Chogokin name, the entire lower body is metal and gives the figure a good amount of heft.
Jibanyan features three sets of eyes; normal, angry, and happy. The eyes can be changed by pulling a knob on the back of his head and rotating. It’s a neat gimmick, but the knob protrudes out the pack of the head and kind of takes away from the aesthetic. It would have been nice if they could hide the gimmick similar to how it’s done on the Chogokin Hello Kitty.
Jibanyan’s other gimmick is that his torso will turn when tail section is rotated. It’s easy for the mechanism to get unaligned so the body isn’t facing forward when the tail is at the neutral position, but it’s just as easy to realign it but holding the tail while turning the body.
Jibanyan himself is pretty fun to play with, but I feel like the tail gimmick actually makes him a bit more cumbersome than it should be. The stand is my favorite part and adds some value to what you are getting. As a toy, I think the Hello Kitty is superior, but Jibanyan is still a good choice, especially for anyone who may be interested in the series.
It seems many older collectors have been less receptive of the more unconventional releases such as Jinbanyan, Hello Kitty and upcoming Miku x Rody, but they are really solid Chogokin toys. Similar to THE Chogokin, newer Chogokin like Jibanyan are just solid chunky toys with limited articulation but still fun to play with. Bandai can only release so many Chogokins of classic Super Robots, but these newer Chogokin are a great way to attract younger and more diverse audiences. If you want a nice chunky metal toy, Chogokin Jibanyan is currently on sale for a great price at HobbyLink Japan.
|Posted 27 July, 2015 - 02:45 by siningy|