TOY-REVIEW: HIKARI Transformers Optimus Prime Metallic Vinyl by Funko
I’ve had my “Hikari”-cherry taken not long ago, thanks to the ever generous Benny Kline at Tenacious Toys, where I have the opportunity to review a TRANSFORMERS OPTIMUS PRIME Metallic Vinyl figure (*Available to purchase here for US$19.95), which I am featuring in this blogpost right now!
Scroll down for images (which has as well been uploaded HERE on Facebook) and some of my personal impressions.
MY TAKEAWAY: This 9-inch tall figure would make a great gift for fans and collectors of G1 Transformers / Optimus Prime (for which this design is based off of), who do not mind their Autobot in stylized form - which in this instance is what I term the “Novelty”-form (more “bobblehead” than “Super-Deformed”), with a decent price point that does not scream *I bought it last minute at this mall* (even if you did :p).
The figure is very nicely housed in a window-display box by Funko (they started out housed in clear tube-styled packaging), which features a splendid mix of matt and spot glossy printing, with a sticker indicting it’s “Limited Edition” status - which further emphasize the ”perceived collectibility value” of the figure.
Frankly you cannot fault the quality of the mass market packaging, because it is simply top notch, right down to the hag-tag, and decent efforts have been made in design and quality of make - for a mass market product, IMHO.
Another “plus” (for my personal tastes, anyways), is the lack of wire-ties, with the plastic tray housing the figure within snuggly.
But of course beyond the box, folks might be more interested to know about THE FIGURE itself, and whether it justifies the nearly-$20 tag, and of it’s “quality”.
“Hikari” is a relatively new product line from Funko (Announced in 2014), which professes to present “Japanese vinyl“ (which folks in the toy-know “recognise” as “sofubi” - a hand pulled premium and hence “expensive” vinyl product), when in fact - as indicated very clearly in smaller print on the hang-tag attached to the figure - this is a-“Inspired by Japanese vinyl”-product, designed in the USA and Made In China. This “Funko Premium Quality” product is powered by MINDstyle, with Transformers officially licensed from Hasbro.
Funko is a known brand catering to the masses, with media-themed licensed releases, in an economical price-point with their Suggested Retail Price half of Hikari’s basic $20 (FYI: There are Hikari items priced higher too, depending on license).
The figure here is utilitarian, featuring three points of articulation - at the neck and both arm/shoulder joints. The design is what I personally call “Novelty”-design. While regular Funko’s Pop!Vinyls can be termed “Super Deformed” (AKA Bigger head, smaller body sized nearly equal to the head), Hikari’s, and much like their Wacky Wobbly designs - while still feature a bigger head, but nevertheless seem more “caricature” than “SD”.
For Optimus Prime specific, the angular nature of the “Robot”-styled body somehow “works” to defray the bobble-head novelty aesthetic. The sculpted details in the head as well provides an interesting “depth” to the figure’s aesthetics, that belies the simplicity of the overall sculpt. To be fair, this is based off the “Generation One” Transformer / Autobot design, and is wholly unlike the “Michael Bay” Autobots we see in the feature films!
So really, on the purely “retro”-level, this works pretty well as an option for hardcore Transformers / Optimus Prime collectors who do not mind their Autobot in stylized form.
What I’d like to commend though, is the paint application. Funko has utilised the “fade spray” concept that does not necessarily adhere to the angular edges of the sculpt - something folks have always had an issue with Pop!Vinyl paint-apps not being crisp nor clean enough - but with the “fade”, it goes around that issue, to provide that look much favoured by (art toy / sofubi) customisers these days, and especially with the metallic color effect, gives it that sheen of beauty that catches folks’ eyes and collecting pleasure, perhaps?
That said, the metallic shade and paint app is what might make the difference between the visual value between media-related products unleashed in their Hikari-catalog, otherwise it is just another vinyl piece not that different from Funko’s Pop!Vinyls, sculpted form aside, IMHO.
I personally enjoyed the figure’s size in hand, and am thankful for Benny at Tenacious Toys for the opportunity to review and own my first Hikari! Otherwise I would have not even considered purchasing this off the shelves, as the price-point does not cater to the design I personally like (I actually prefer Pop!Vinyls form more LOL but abhor the bobble-head :p), and without the doubt, the “subject matter”.
But if you show me a Battlestar Galactica Cylon in Hikari? I would jump at it, and score TWO figures! LOL (*But only if they came with their handheld blasters though… :p).
In closing, it is of your own personal preference your choice of purchase, as I doubt if there are any “aftermarket value” to be wary of (*NOT that I know any better as I am not a long time collector of Hikari), as much as the “limited edition” numbers are stated.
*Purchase your HIKARI METALLIC OPRIMUS PRIME vinyl on tenacioustoys.com US$19.95!