You know, it’s a really weird thing that there haven’t been very many Nintendo-based toys in the United States. Until pretty reently, there weren’t really any – I remember a few small pre-posed dioramas in the ’80s, but that was about it. In the last few years, Jakks Pacific has been picking up the slack with a veritable assault of modern and classic video gamey goodness. 5″ figures, 3″ figures, tall vinyl toys, tiny building sets, stuff from the 8-bit era, modern stuff, everything in-between…. but the distribution is crazy and random. So, rather than a full-on review of one of the 5″ figures (I’ve been looking for that Samus Aran for a while), let’s take a look at a few of the smaller ones! The smaller figures range in height from 2″ to about 3″ tall. They often contain articulation, though it is minimal and have an impressive variety (though 99% of the time, the only figure you’ll find on the shelf is Diddy Kong). So, let’s take a look!
Mario, 8-Bit style. This is not the only 8-bit figure in the line – there are ones for Donkey Kong and Link, as well as paint variations of this for Luigi and modern-colors Mario – and thus, it represents a mildly different format than other figures. It’s got no articulation, for obvious reasons. But the sculpting does beat other 8-bit toys – most of them paint pixel patterns on a flat surface, whereas this one is fully sculpted.
But then you see the back. It’s a flat, blank, black surface that provides convenient space for copyright info. This is fairly odd, and looks cheap, almost like a refrigerator magnet. Shouldn’t they have mirrored the front? Or maybe this was a valuable cost-cutting measure, it’s hard to tell. But aside from that weird effect, it’s a pretty good figure – chunky and solid, too, and although it would benefit from sculpting on both sides, it’s great as-is.
And then we have Deku Link. So, here’s what I meant about character selection – Majora’s Mask came out in the late ’90s, as a sequel to a far more famous N64 game (and coming before another really famous Gamecube game). It’s a masterpiece, but fairly obscure as far as Legend of Zelda titles go. And these next two figures come from it! At one part of the game, Link is turned into a Deku Scrub – a plant critter. He later gains the ability to shift back and forth, and that’s what this figure represents.
Unlike Mario, this one’s got some basic articulation – swivel joints on the head and shoulders. It gives him a few options for holding the flower scupted in his hand, as well as a couple of soulful looks made possible by angling the head around.
You know, it’a an interesting thought. Deku Link wears a loincloth. So he’s… got wood? I’M SORRY, I’M SORRY, THAT WAS BAD PLEASE DON’T HURT ME.
And the next one is the most visually striking of the group, the Skull Kid from Majora’s Mask! It’s actually Majora – or rather, Majora possessing the Skull kid through his mask. As this is essentially the main villain of the game, it’s a testament to its obscurity that mot people need this one explained to them.
Majora features bright colors on a really unique design, wih the intentional clash between woodsy fantasy critter and tribal mask intentional. Of course, he’s only articulated in the head and shoulders, and only one pose matches his official artwork, but the figure does look good even when adjusted.
He’s certainly taller than Deku Link and 8-Bit Mario, but that makes him proportional. These figures are comparatively small, but they keep kind of a loose scale with one another, or at least between sub-lines. Mini Donkey Kong won’t be all that huge.
Well, this line could use a little more Metroid, but that’s just me – but aside from my personal tastes, it’s really great to see these types of figures showing up on shelves after all this tie. The materials are sturdy, the sculpting and paint work is excellent, and really the only flaw is the oddly-blank back half of the 8-bit figures.