Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Kirin (Kaiyodo Takeyashiki Jizai Okimono)

Kirin-Face

If myths, legends, and religion are my bread and butter, then monsters are my bread with olive oil.  And when you combine them both?  A feast!  And that’s what we have here.  Rather than a mini-figure, this is a full-sized, fully-articulated, 6″ scale monster out of Eastern legend.

Kirin

First up, “Kirin” is technically incorrect.  This creature is the Qilin of Chinese mythology, known as a “Kirin” in Japan because of Japanese linguistic limitations.  They are functionally identical, so although Kirin is absolutely right in Japan, even its wikipedia entry will send you to Qilin.  The Qilin is a holy beast, often compared to a dragon or unicorn.  It combines aspects of a horse, deer, dragon, and even fish, it is often also wreathed in flames.  Although the Qilin usually appears at the death of a good ruler or wise sage, its appearance is also a good omen of luck – the creature is holy, and even its mere presence is a blessing.  It also protects the innocent and judges the wicked, and you can actually find it all over Asia.  In China it’s the Qilin, in japan it’s the Kirin, in Korea it’s the Girin, and in Thailand it’s the Gilen.  It’s a pan-Asian legend, and equally as significant wherever you can find it.  Some have theorized that it is based on the giraffe, though this view is somewhat questionable.

Kirin-GoofFace

Although it doesn’t specifically say so, this is technically a Revoltech figure – it uses the signature ball-joints found in that line, as well as its easily-modified nature.  The Takeyashiki Jizai Okimono sub-line also includes various deities, demons, and even a traditional dragon.

Kirin-Packaged01

PACKAGING: ****

Instead of a simple Revoltech box, the Kirin comes in something special.  Yes, it is essentially a box – note the fantastic picture on the front.

Kirin-Packaged02

I had to include one of the back, too.  Great posing ideas!

Kirin-Packaged03

But here’s the fun part!  The package opens up like a book (held shut by velcro), with artwork, a looka t the figure (utterly protected in plastic), and a ton of great info!  It’s a display piece, it really is, and this box has more than enough padding to keep the Kirin intact.

Kirin-Stand

SCULPT: ****

Sometimes toys are designed to look like art come to life, other times they are meant to be realistic.  Somehow, this one manages both.  You can see the Chinese artistic influence all over, whether it’s in the fish scales, its face, its hair, or even the fire-wings on its shoulders (those red things are fire.  its stylized art).  But at the same time, it looks like a living, breathing creature.  With a toy like this, you can actually visualize the Kirin in all its majesty.

Kirin-RearUp

So basically, it’s a work of art.  This is a toy you could set on a shelf and show off very easily – in fact, if you get the bronze statue paint variant, most people will just mistake it for “ordinary” art and let it go.  But seriously, the figure looks incredible in-hand.

Kirin-EyesLeft

PAINT: ****

The Kirin is painted in the types of colors one would see in traditional artwork, and it is flawless.  Every tiny detail is here, and there is no slop that I can see.  It also comes in a few paint variants, such as a bronze statue color scheme – and yes, even those variants are fantastic.  Really, the Kirin’s paint job makes it look more like a work of art than a toy.

Kirin-HeadOn

ARTICULATION: ****

The Kirin’s articulation can’t really be quantified joint-for-joint, because… well, it’s incredible.  It’s got Revoltech ball joints for everything, from its actual limbs to its hair or the fire-wings on its shoulders.  Its nec is a series of segments wrapped around an internal jointed framework.  It can stand, run, gallop, rear, sit, kick, trot, canter, or do pretty much anything that a living creature can attempt. And the joints are ratcheted, which should minimize loose joint syndrome.  Really, this figure’s articulation has to be felt in-hand to be believed.

Kirin-Pieces

As with all Revoltech figures, you can disassemble the Kirin to see how those joints work.  And not just that, but it’s meant to come apart at the base of the neck in order to plug the torso of another figure in – you cancreate a multi-armed centaur warrior god if you have some of the other Buddhist deities to play with!

Kirin-Sit

So, how good is the Kirin’s articulation?  Well, you can manipulate its eyes!  You can make it crosseyed, walleyed, looking left, looking right, up down, or pretty much anything you can think of – and that’s amazingly rae in toys.  Astounding!  People, THE EYES MOVE.

Kirin-Stylus

ACCESSORIES: **1/2

The Kirin comes with a few spare neck joints (for the figure combination mentione), as well as a stylus.  This stylus is rather important as it allows you to manipulate the figure’s eyes.

Kirin-EyeAdjustment

To manipulate the Kirin’s eyes, place the stylus into the indent in each eye, and then gently adjust the eyeball.  Be careful not to scratch anything, but after a few shifts, the eyes should be loosened enough to move.

Kirin-Base

The Kirin’s base is also unique, as it can be modified – you can move all four foot pegs around among nine various positions, allowing you to stand the figure in many different ways.  It’s hexagonal with gold trim, looking vaguely like it belongs underneath some Chinese art.

Kirin-Kick

VALUE: ***

This figure will cost you about $50-$6o.  And it’s rare to feel this way, but the price sees appropriate for the level of detail and articulation.  Soewhat cheap, in fact, as a similarly-sized MonsterArts figure would be about $100.

Kirin-Roar

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

This figure has some fragility issues, especially in its small, pointy bits.  Don’t roughhouse with it, and it may even be best to keep its package around for storage or travel.

Kirin-Rider

WHERE TO BUY:

Amazon tends to have all the variants of this figure on sale, as well as others in the line.

Kirin-Turn

OVERALL: ****

This is one of the best monster toys I have ever seen – I was going to say best mythological or Chinese mythological figure, but that’s a shallow pool.  This Qilin-er, Kirin- looks both lifelike and like Chinese art turned 3D, is sculpted and painted fantastically, and has some of the best articulation imaginable.  The only drawback is its fragility, though this is something you see often in Japanese figures.  As long as you are a little careful with your holy dragon-deer-horse-fish-unicorn, you have one of the best Revoltech toys I’ve ever seen, and a fantastic piece of East Asian mythology.

 

Kirin-Qilin

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