S.O.G MAX Otoha Karas 乙羽鴉
Having only finished watching this amazing anime series, I now understand why this figure is so sought after. Only 1 month or so after its release, it was sold out EVERYWHERE! So let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about!!
Karas (鴉) is a six-part original animation series produced by ‘Tatsunoko Production’ to commemorate its 40th anniversary of anime production. Karas was first televised in Japan from 2005, through to 2007 as a pay-per-view program before being released onto DVDs.
The story takes place in a fictional version of Shinjuku (新宿区), in Tokyo where humans and yōkai (Japanese for pirits) co-exist. In each city there is an appointed agent or guardian also know as KARAS.
Over time as the world progresses, humans slowly forgot about the existence of yōkai and stopped believing that they are real so are no longer able to see them. Because of this, Eko Houshunin (鳳春院 廻向) the main antagonist and former Karas of the area seek to teach the humans a lesson for forgetting about yōkais by taking over the area.
Yousuke Otoha, a former Yakuza (Japanese mafia) becomes the new Karas of Shinjuku, and as the guardian of the area, he must stop Eko and his corrupt plans. For the rest of the story, I don’t want to spoil it for those that have not seen it so go get yourself a copy – it’s definitely worth watching!!
Name: Otoha Karas 乙羽鴉
Manufacturer: Max Factory
Line: S.O.G Soul of Guys
Sculptor: Kenji Ando
Material: PVC, ABS
Release: Aug 2009
Original Price: ¥11,800 (approx. $155AUD / $135USD)
Secondary Market Price: $214USD – $250USD
Height: 185mm / 7.28inches
When this guy arrived, I was surprised at the size of the box as it was much bigger than I thought, see comparison with Guyver packaging. However, I wasn’t surprised at the quality of the packaging as Max Factory has not failed to deliver in this department so far. There were some nice graphics all around the box very much in keeping with the anime feel. Great pictures of the figure at the back in action as well as good clear warning and general information about the toy and company (although all in Japanese as this was made for the Japanese market). To me, the best thing about the packaging was the fact that it was very easy to take the figure out of the box (no twisty wires etc) and in the process still preserved the packaging for serious collectors!
On the accessories front, this guy is pretty well equipped. Firstly he comes with his katana (Japanese sword) that has a working sheath which can be clipped to his back. The katana also comes in the expanded form as seen in the anime which when backlit has a nice red glow in the center section. The shrunken version of the sheath is also supplied, although it sits a bit loose on my figure. There is also an extra chest piece with bigger cut outs to fully utilize the awesome shoulder articulation which I’ll get to a bit further down. The Hiei Zangetsu head for when he uses his katana in the expanded form is included as well as 3 extra sets of hands. A nice big display stand was provided although I have not taken it out of the box (as Karas stands fine on his own) so no pictures of this unfortunately!
When you see something sculpted by Kenji Ando, you know it’s going to be very special indeed. He is responsible for the design and sculpt of Bandai’s S.I.C figure line and has done an awesome job on this Karas figure. Much like the Bio-boosted Guyver figures, Karas’ body has been covered with flexible materials which looks great and keeps the figure super articulated. Whichever direction you look at him from, he is simply stunning.
Of all the 7inch figures in my collection, this would top them all in terms of articulation – yes even the SIC figures can’t keep up with this guy. Double jointed knees, elbows AND shoulders with most other joints on balls, Karas can be comfortably placed in any position that you and I can do, including crossing his legs! The only restriction I can see here is that the head doesn’t tilt back very far due to the design of the back of his head, but that’s about it so onto some poses!
There’s quite a bit of paint applied on this figure, with some very subtle highlights, shading and weathering which all add up to a very good looking figure. There’s a “KARAS”(鴉) name badge finely printed on his chest which is very nice, and the rest, just take a look at the photos and judge for yourselves.
I really love the head detail here, if you look closely you can see the head of a crow, it looks a bit scary but cool at the same time. I also really like the look of the eyes on the Hiei Zangetsu head, it has a nice blood red colour and really shines under certain lighting.
This is the double shoulder joint that I was talking about earlier, as you can see, the joints go further into the chest than most figures and really allows Karas to have maximum arm movement, hence the need for the extra chest piece.
All throughout this review, I didn’t mention the price (except for the top info section) because I really wanted to review the figure for what it is and not to be biased because of how much it costs. As you can see, and I think you’ll all agree with me, this is one very well designed action figure, and I would go as far as calling it a piece of art – a well articulated fun piece of art!
But, at some point you’ve got to come back to reality and this is when you have to start considering the price. At a RRP of ¥11,800, this ain’t cheap, but it still managed to sell out everywhere within the first month or two, and now late comers will have to consider an absurd secondary market price for this figure.
I think this will become a very valuable collector’s item in the near future, especially if there are no plans for re-releases. Depending on how you look at it, it could be a great investment, or a very expensive purchase.
Just a bit of extra info, the Limited Edition Karas Regeneration Ver. RRP at ¥12,000 have sold for around ¥36,000/ $460AUD/ $400USD on auctions, which is 3 times their initial price! Good luck if you’re in the market for one, I think I’ll stick with my regular version:)
Thanks for reading my toy review!