*REVIEW* 1000Toys – JOUMON KUGUTU ENZI


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INTRO

I don’t always know how to start a toy review. When that happens, I’ll stare at my screen for half a hour and type nothing before giving up for the day… or just completely procrastinate by telling myself, “I’ll get to this tomorrow”.

It could be because I’m not super familiar with the related franchise so I’m hesitant to sound like an idiot in front of savvy fans and readers. Or sometimes, I’m very familiar with the franchise but am not a huge fan of it… making reviewing the related toy somewhat a chore, whether the toy rocks or not (cough, Bayformers). Other times, the review is for something that I know from the onset that I’m going to have a lot of “cons” to discuss and I just hate putting that negative toy energy out into the world… deserved or not.

But for a 1000toys figure.. it’s quite the opposite. It always takes me a few to start a review because the words “Wow, everyone should have this” play over and over in my mind. Anything after that is met with a bad case of writer’s block.

Sure, they’ve had a few (in my opinion) less than perfectly executed figures… to this day I still don’t love how they handle their soft goods… but the 1000toys gang is one of the bravest, boldest toy company’s out there and every new release and idea they take on brings with it a massive tidal wave of excitement.

They have a knack for working in the shadows.. releasing relatively obscure figures and characters while the rest of the toy world latches onto the latest DC/Marvel/Movie franchise. Even what is probably the most renown worldwide characters in their line up.. GI Joe’s Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.. are not hardly recognizable because 1000toys went all, “1000toys” on them, giving them some familiar notes, but heavily stylizing them in their own unique way.

And they build all this on one of the most cutting-edge engineered 1/6th scale bodies available today.

1000toys figures are freaky. They’re awesome. They’re eye catching… They’re incredibly well made.. and the figure I’m reviewing today threatens to be the very peak of all of those things combined.

Sculpted by well known Japanese sculptor, Takayuki Takeya… Joumon Kugutu is 1000toys biggest risk so far… and possibly their biggest accomplishment.

(This sample was sent to me for review, the pre-order for this figure as well as the variant colorway, Bokkoku starts February 24th (JPN) at 11:00am – click here for more info)

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BOX

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The box design to gives off a mysterious, mystic vibe. Like you’re about to open up something ancient.. possibly sealed for your own good.

It features a weathered, yellowed parchment looking print all over the top and sides with some very faint, symmetrical design patterns in the background that look to be Takeya’s own design work. There’s a bolder print of the face/skull of the Joumon Kugutu with some printed English words and kanji across the middle. On the bottom is a faux seal with more text on it.

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It looks nice enough from a distance, but I was a little surprised because up close, the print itself looks grainy.. not in an aged or intentionally weathered sort of way… but in a printed at 70 DPI instead of 300 DPI sort of way.

Regardless, the box is usually, ultimately the least interesting aspect of a collectible and that’s sure to hold true here.

FEELING IT

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eds note – ( I’m reviewing Enzi and there’s a variant colorway called Bokkoku, but note that most observations other than color scheme would be shared between both)

It’s impossible not to take Enzi out of the box and not immediately be wow’d.  He’s got so much going on in his sculpt. I looked him over for a solid 5 min before even getting into trying to pose him. Takeya’s sculpting is next level and his work here creates a character that is both visually inviting and almost frightening to behold.

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There’s a great video that 1000toys put together showing him sculpting the figure. It’s very cool to watch him work and see the development process. The link is below so check it out when you have some time!

The level of detail continues throughout the body sculpt, front to back… your eyes can’t help darting from point of interest to point of interest. Even the joints have lines and areas of detailing on them. One area where you might have a strong preference is whether or not to display him with his clear mask on or off. As it’s held in place by friction (no pegs or holes to mess up the sculpt) it’s very simple to switch it up whenever you fancy.

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The red color scheme of Enzi (specifically) looks like red jade.. reminiscent of the sort of decorations and statues you might see see in a Japanese museum or expensive restaurant. The paint is such that there’s even a subtle faux effect of sub surface scattering.. that’s completely artificial but incredibly convincing and beautifully rendered.

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He also feels surprisingly heavy. I think my Hot Toys BvS Batman has a similar heft to him, but that’s with layers of clothing, rubber, a fat suit, etc… there’s so much thickness and depth to the sculpt here, it naturally brings with it extra weight.

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For those who care about this sort of thing, Enzi is a little taller than 1000toys standard figures. Here’s a quick shot of him up against a couple synthetic humans.. both 1/6 and 1/12 scale.

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Enzi comes with  several alternate hands to mix and match. Each extra hand comes with a small peg shoved into it. I honestly don’t know what they’re for. I assumed at first they were replacement wrist pegs in case you snap one off while posing him but, they’re not. The only thing I can think of is that they’re to help keep the holes in the hands from warping over time… to make it easier to swap out the hands as you please without risking damaging the wrist peg in the process.

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As for weapons.. I’m left to assume that Enzi IS the weapon. He comes with a ball/sphere that sports similar sculpting patterns that cover his body. Whether or not it’s really a “weapon” or not, I can’t say.

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There are a couple of longer pegs that connect between the palm of his open hand and the sphere. It kinda gives it a floating look.. but it’d made more sense if the peg was translucent for that hovering effect as the dark plastic peg is very noticeable. The sphere is cool.. unique.. but I think I’d have honestly preferred a more traditional weapon like a sword or spear to pose him with. Posing him with the sphere had me regularly whispering to myself , “KOBE!” while unintentionally posing him like Jordon. I just can’t un-see a basketball, now.

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It wouldn’t be 1000toys if it didn’t take articulation seriously. Thankfully, they designed Enzi to take very good advantage of their in-house developed core body. I’d planned to do a video showing off the range, but just in case life happens and I don’t get to that, I’ll explain and show it off best I can here.

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For the most part, Enzi can move as well as a synthetic human figure. To toss a percentage at it, I’d say he has use of about 80% of the full range of motion a “naked” synthetic human figure would have. He even has the almost standard, opening and closing jaw.

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It’s very impressive when you consider the excessive sculpted mass and filigree that overlaps so much of his body and joints. Here’s a side by side with the synthetic human figure in some extreme poses… Enzi can almost get there in each one. (Sorry some of these comparison pictures turned out blurry for some reason, my camera has been acting up)

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The main areas of limitation are at his shoulders and hips, where he has shoulder pads. While the range is less than the synthetic human’s… I had no issue getting whatever pose I wanted out of it as they rocker out of the way to allow for extended movement. It worked great most of the time.

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The hips, or really, the buttocks are sculpted in such a way that there is no flexibility to push the legs backwards. The top of the back of his thighs are physically blocked by the bottom of his.. uh.. bottom. I didn’t find it to be a big deal either, but I was a little surprised at the  rigid lack of flexibility there.

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The top of his thighs also have an extended bit of filigree on the sides that jut up and over his hips. There’s an interesting blend of material going on there that’s quite flexible.. so it really doesn’t get in his way too much.

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Like any good 1000toy figure… you can pose Enzi balanced on one foot. His joints hold pretty well, given how much heavier he is than previous figures… but leaving him posed like that for more than a couple minutes, he did eventually topple over. Gravity, my old nemesis.

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The last thing to cover is the LED lighting feature. It’s a pretty simple setup. First remove the clear plastic mask, if it’s not off already, then pop the dome of his head off. Inside is a small, exposed circuit board with an on/off switch. Two tiny watch batteries power the whole thing.

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Click the switch on, put the dome back together by lining up the slots and you’ve got creepy, yellow glowing eyes.

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It’s a really interesting effect actually because when the lights are off, you really can’t tell that his “eyes” glow at all.. they’re painted gold and not at all transparent in appearance.

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FIN

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It’s been awhile since I received a figure that, before I could even get it out of the box, I found myself saying out loud, “wow, this looks amazing”. 1000toys and the brilliant, Takayuki Takeya have created something truly unique and special here.

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To it’s benefit and perhaps commercially, it’s determent.. this figure doesn’t fit into any going trend in the toy world. It’s not a license or spin-off of a popular super hero film or tv show.. it’s not based off a well known 80’s franchise or in anyway relying on nostalgia for survival. It’s not zombies or video game mecha-whatever…  It’s completely unique. It’s 1000toys own cool thing. It’s also a big risk for a toy company to undertake… one I hope ends in huge rewards for them.

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Searching around the webs, I didn’t see a ton of extra information on the Joumon Kugutu outside from the little bit posted on 1000Toys Facebook page. So, I asked the 1000toys guys a couple questions to help fill in a few blanks. I was told that they planned to create a series of characters that cover various eras of Japan.. something they’d like to continue after this release. Enzie is obviously the first character, starting in the Jomon era with more characters planned to run through to current day, or Heisei.

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That said, since Enzie took a full two years to develop, they’re not sure when the second character will actually be ready to go. (However, when it does.. I was told that it will possibly be a Buddha-type figure!)

In my opinion, this is the most impressive thing 1000toys has done yet. From the design, to the sculpt, to the paint, to the engineering and articulation. It’s honestly all, top-notch.

If you can’t at least appreciate the remarkable sculpt, then I don’t know what more I can say to convince you about anything.. ever.

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It’s really up to you guys as to whether what you see here is your thing or not, but I do hope I’ve help convince you at least a little just how cool this figure is and how great it’d be in your collection.  Being completely open here, it’s for 100% selfish reasons. I just know that the only way we get more figures like this is if fans put their hard earned money down and honestly… I WANT MORE FIGURES LIKE THIS TO GET MADE AND BE ON MY SHELF!

And truthfully, you probably do too.

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PROS:

  • Incredibly inspired and original
  • An amazing sculpt by the remarkable sculptor, Takayuki Takeya
  • Articulation is fantastic, with minimum impediment via sculptural elements
  • Figure feels very solid and well made
  • Wonderfully convincing paint
  • Good variety and number of alternate hands to help change up his look and pose 


CONS:

  • Use for sphere weapon/accessory is limited (LEBRON!)
  • We may have to wait another 2 years for a follow up figure 😦32647892430_91d6a579d8_o

Thank you to Yuta, Uchibayashi and the rest of the good folks at 1000toys for sending this sample over to us to review. This is a phenomenally well done figure and you guys should be very proud of what you’ve achieved! Please follow them on their facebook page and check out their website to keep tabs on when Kugutu goes on sale (Feb 24) and future products from 1000toys!

As always, thanks for stopping by and checking out Rad Toy Reivew. Remember that both Enzie and Bokkoku go on sale Feb 24 (Japan time), I hope you guys snatch him up so quickly that it makes a grown man scream.

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