One of the few quibbles that I have for being a collector of 1:6th Samurai historical figures is that there's a dearth of products to choose from. This is more so apparent when your favourite historical Samurai doesnít have a figure. Such is my lament for a long time with Miyamoto Musashi, arguably the most famous and influential samurai. Well, technically, heís more knows as a swordsman, but you get my point.
He started early in his career at an early age when he was first trained by his father Munisai, also an accomplished and famed swordsman at that time, and then by his uncle at the tender age of 7. At 13, when the rest of us were just fussing over pimples and pubic hair, Musashi has already defeated, and killed, his first opponent Arima Kihei, a young and cocky travelling swordsman. He went on travelling and duelling afterwards, and at age 15 he participated in a major war (Toyotomi vs. Tokugawa in 1600). Unfortunately, he bet on the wrong side (Toyotomi lost) and was forced to go into hiding for a while. AT 15! Man, what were we doing at that age?
Miyamoto says: you pu$$y.
He came back to the scene 5-6 years later and had a string of victorious duels, most notable against Yoshioka School, which he single-handedly destroyed. However, his most famous duel is against Sasaki Kojirō, of which this figure is based.
He was the founder of the Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū or Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship (that will enable you to grow another pair of testicles once mastered) and the author of The Book of Five Rings, a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.
When Crazy Owners announced their Musashi figure in their Historical line, I was elated. Crazy Owners is one of the few bang-for-the-buck companies in 1:6th, and one of only two whom I know focuses on historical figures (the other being DiD). When they showed their promo pics of the figure, I almost got a proverbial boner. I though, hereís the figure that Iíve been waiting for! I preordered it immediately via a local distributor (Neverland) and waited. I was supposed to get one this July, but thanks to our countryís ever reliable Customs, I just got one this August. So, is the figure worth my boner?
Itís very apparent that Crazy Owners is striving hard to become a top player in the industry, and their new packaging epitomizes that strive. This is a complete departure from their earlier packaging.
The front depicts a photoshopped image of the figure inside (this is important later), and one of the sides depict one of the most famous ancient art piece that depicts Musashi.
The box, then, opens from the side flap supposedly held together by a magnet, revealing additional Japanese artwork, as well as a biography of Musashi. The figure itsels if protected by a thick sheet of foam at the top, and all over the figure. Remove the sheet, and youíll see that the accessories are held securely in place without aid, except for the wooden oar, which is secured by scotch tape.
In all, this is the most elegant packaging Crazy Owners have ever done. Now, as you may know, I not the type of person who cares so much about the box, but given what Crazy Owners is trying to do here, I might as well provide a couple of very glaring criticisms.
You noticed that I used the word supposedly when I talked about the magnets. Thatís because I initially thought that nothing is keeping it securely closed. The top sheet of foam is too thick (or at least in mine) and the magnets too weak that the flap cannot be closed properly. That meant that my flap just kept opening. I only found out about the magnet when I removed the sheet and closed the box. This means that it could be easy to lose the top sheet on transport, and that means that your figure loses much of its protection. Iím not sure if the same is true for all other packaging, or if I just lucked out. If not, I hope Crazy Owners addresses this in their current run.
Having been pampered by Crazy Ownerís Shinobi line, I found it awkward that they released a figure with so few accessories. Then again, this is a 30 year old Musashi we are talking about, so except for a few missing necessary accessories, itís still all good.
First, we get his daisho, which is standard in samurai. Both are made of metal, with the colour schemes particularly apt. However, while the wakizashi is excellent, the katana that came with mine is rife with QC problems.
Effiní QC issues!
First, the blade that came with mine are kinda bent near the hilt. Also, the hilt that came with mine has a crack! Furthermore, when I looked at the blade further, it has some scratches and chips. When I saw these, my initial reaction was ďFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU--!Ē I can forgive the latter, as I can think of these as duel damages or something, but the first two were really disappointing. Even the gold paint near the hilt was very sloppy on one side. This is unfortunate, especially because Crazy Owners made some truly remarkable accessories in the past. My Shinobi figures didnít have any similar problems before and itís kinda annoying that Iíll encounter these problems in a very anticipated figure.
The other accessory he came with is the wooden oar that he carved to a weapon on the way to his duel with Kojiro. It looks well done, and even some green paint had been added to simulate moss/mold growth. Unfortunately, they made a booboo by adding gloss paint over it. Seriously! WTF, Musashi applied varnish on his custom weapon? Look past that, however, and youíll see that the oar isnít too shabby. And the gloss is easily remedied by dullcoat.
So, whatís missing? Aside from the quality control in their swords, I wish Crazy Owners included a couple of bokken as accessories. Contrary to popular belief, most duels at that time used the booken instead of real swords, well unless both parties agreed to fighting to the death. And, yes, this means that majority of duels arenít to the death. Regardless, itís also said that Musashi almost always uses bokken in duels, even if his opponent would use real katanas. Itís one of his ways of screwing them over. In effect, its omission is lamentable, but Iíll live.
Sculpt and Articulation
The most eye-catching aspect of Crazy Ownerís latest attempt, though, is the head sculpt. This, along with the packaging, is absolutely different from their previous offerings. Itís clear that theyíre trying to improve with their sculpts, and for the most part, it shows. Of course, itís quite clear that the HS, along with the clothing is inspired by the famous manga based on Musashiís life, only made more awesome by adding fictional elements: Vagabond.
The head sculpt looks a lot like what the manga version would look in real life...
... Which, in conclusion, looks a lot like Hiroyuki Sanada, who first for international acclaim by portraying the bada$$ mofo Ujio in The Last Samurai.
Sanada: I want me some samurai!
In fact, you could actually just make this an Ujio bash, since even his clothes fit the reference photo above! Speaking of the clothes, Crazy Owners show how well they do in this regard. While still being based on the manga, itís done very well, everything right down to the tabi gives you a feel of historical authenticity with the figure (at least in terms of clothing of 17th c Japan in general).
One of the well-known stances of Niten Ichi-ryū. Either that or Musashi stretching after waking up.
Articulation is excellent, especially now that theyíre using a BBi G3 clone body that has an excellent amount of articulation. You would be able to make some really good poses for Miyamoto. However, the lightness of the body, coupled with the tabi, makes the figure harder to make him stand on his own.
Welcome to our initiation.
Took me quite a while to make him stand in some of the more dynamic poses, sometimes cursing along the way. Once youíre able to balance him, however, heís able to maintain the posture for a fair amount of time. Iíd recommend using a stand, though, if you want the figure to maintain those dynamic poses.
Bukake!!!!! I honestly donít know what that means, but it sounds like a great battle cry.
However, there are a couple of caveats with the figureís sculpt. First, while the figureís head sculpt is excellent, the paint applications donít do it justice. The paint used is kind of glossy and lacks shading and detail youíd expect from real-life sculpts. Granted, itís still unjust to compare the paint apps to high-end figures. However, since Crazy Owners seem to be trying to head into that direction, itís good to point these out.
My neck hurts!
Still keeping with the head, itís apparent that Crazy Owners intended to have a head sculpt to have a separate neck. However, it seems that they failed to consider the sculpt has a longer hair, so they added a short neck to the sculpt. Unfortunately, it still needed a long neck connector and the end result is kind of awkward to look at. Crazy Owners also know that they effed up on this one since they photoshopped the neck in the box's art to hide this malady. Look again.
I wouldíve preferred that the head came with a long neck and then used a short neck connector, similar to what Hot Toys do with their head sculpts that use their standard bodies. As it stands, this oversight completely takes away realism from the sculpt. Eerily, Musashi dies of thoracic cancer. Hmm, weird coincidence, though.
Another thing I fail to understand is why Crazy Owners keep using right hands with an obvious trigger finger in their more recent figures, especially since they already had an almost perfect sword-grasping hand back when they were called Ignite.
One of the few redeeming factors in Igniteís Swordsman sculpt, and Crazy Owners isnít using it! Crazy!
Granted, itís a better grip with the swords compared to their brown and white shinobisí gripping hands, but still, itís still obviously intended to hold a gun.
Screw niten'ichi, I have the gun!
My name is Miyamoto. Musashi Miyamoto.
Itís not the Miyamoto Musashi figure that Iíve always dreamed of, but itís good enough to tide me over until either Crazy Owners improve further, or a higher-end company creates their own version (Iím looking at YOU DiD!). Thereís another company, AUMUS, whoís showed their own version of Musashi and would be due out wither this month or September. The difference with their version is that theirs is based completely on the Vagabond manga (including the head sculpt), but comes with much more accessories and a diorama base at an only slightly higher cost.
Donít get me wrong, though, despite the flaws, I still like the figure not only because itís the only figure that represents the historical Musashi, but also that the figure isnít too shabby given its price. Itís also remarkable for Crazy Owner to try reaching for high-end quality status, and I support them for doing that. However, itís apparent with this figure that they still have a long way to go. Butí Iíll be with them in that journey.
Predatorís verdict: Iíll hunt this figure solely based on who it represents!