Ninja Senshi Tobikage 飛影
Here’s another obscure toy based on an old anime from the 1980’s, I was immediately intrigued by it and it brought back many old memories that I thought I had long ago lost.
Tobikage (飛影) is a small robotic ninja from the anime “Ninja Senshi Tobikage” (忍者戦士飛影) which aired from late 1985 to mid 1986 in Japan. The anime takes place in the 23rd century, a time when Earthlings have colonized both the Moon and Mars. The Martian colony is a harsh environment run by the military dictator Hazzard Pascha, where most of the settlers are convicts.
The story follows a 16 year old Joe Maya on Mars, who dreams of returning to Earth. Joe and his two best friends, Mike and Renny later turn out to have the unusual power to control three ninja machine robots (Black Lion 黒獅子, Pheonix Thunderhawk 鳳雷鷹, Burst Dragon 爆竜) which they found in a crashed alien spaceship – the Ellshanc. Here they also meet the young alien Princess Romina of Rudorio, her attendant Schaffe and the young general Yllbora Saro.
Being able to control and operate these three ninja machines, inevitably their lives become entangled with the Rudorio aliens. They agree to travel with them to protect the princess and the Ellshanc from the Zaboom army (another alien race who wished to become the master of the universe) during the long Journey to Earth.
Where Tobikage fits into the story, he is a mysterious ninja robot that would appear out of nowhere to aid Joe and his friends in battle whenever they are in strife. Tobikage is able to combine with each of the three ninja machines to form a more powerful beast. Tobikage is very formidable, incredibly fast and is later found that it comes out from a secret chamber within the Ellshanc.
Name: Tobikage 忍者戦士飛影
Manufacturer: GigaBrain ギガブレイン
Line: Real Action Robot 005
Material: ABS, PVC, POM
Release: Jan 2004
Original Price: ¥3,675 (approx. $47AUD / $39USD)
Secondary Market Price: ¥4,000 – ¥10,000
Height: 130mm / 5.11inches
Packaging is pretty simple, but effective. The figure is packed in a good sized box with a large display window, safely tucked between the plastic liners. Nice graphics throughout with good images of the figure on the back showing all parts included and poses possible with the figure.
Tobikage comes with two swords, a rifle that doubles as the sheath for one of the swords and two extra pairs of hands with one spare open hand for holding weapons. Not a lot for a toy at this price point to be honest, a display stand would have helped!.
GigaBrain’s design of this character is much more exaggerated, and dynamic. Just look at the shoulder pads on this figure compared to the anime design, the shoulder pads are much larger with sharper lines and the same can be said for most other parts. I have to say, I like this over the anime version. Sculptural design looks great, unfortunately that does not translate to good articulation.
Articulation is not that great on this figure, perhaps I’m getting too used to the Revoltechs and the Figmas? I often determine whether or not a figure has good articulation based on how well the legs are articulated. The knees can bend all the way back which actually allows Tobikage to be able to kneel, the down side here is that the waist is quite restrictive which means there isn’t a large range of poses from the waist down. However, from the waist up, it’s actually not too bad. There is a waist joint as well as a chest joint, allowing the upper body to turn and “roll”. But honestly, which ever position you place him in he will look quite good.
For a figure of this size I have to say the paint work is quite good, unless you are using a macro lens and zooming right up to the figure (which I am). With the naked eye at a normal viewing distance you won’t really be able to notice any problems with the paint work. But, I am doing a review here so I’m going to be picky and zoom right up and show you guys some of the not so good paint work I found on my figure.
This is a pretty straight forward figure, not that many features here, although I thought it was quite cool that the rifle actually doubles as a sheath for the sword. There are also nice details in the sculpture that I’d like to highlight here.
I was also surprised at the actual size of the figure when I first got it, here is a picture of Tobikage in comparison to the Revoltech Gurren Lagann figure. As you can see, its quite a small figure.
This is a nicely designed figure of a classic character and is worth collecting if you are into obscure toys or Tobikage in particular. It has been discontinued for some time, and as GigaBrain isn’t a large company, I can’t imagine there to be a lot of these around so the secondary market price will always be high. Even when new, the price was high for a toy of this size, so this one is really for the fans of this anime, or die-hard toy collectors.
Sneak peak at the very limited metallic version to be reviewed soon!
Thanks for reading my toy review!