If you've collected 1/18th toys for awhile, they you know what a sausage fest it is. Both Star Wars (which pioneered the scale) and GI Joe are boys lines and the consensus among toy manufacturers is that boys don't want to play with girls. You would have thought 250,000 years of evidence to the contrary would have been enough to convince them otherwise.
Realistically, this may have been true when the lines were conceptualized; back in the days of the USA vs. whatever-bad-guy's-currently-available, boys were concious of not looking like pansies. But today, when more and more kids would rather play video games than role play with action figures, the toy companies need to realize there's been a paradigm shift. More than ever, the collector's market is becoming more prominent.
If you dig deep enough in any collector's closet, you'll find that closely guarded "hot girl collection". Sure if a collector is married or in a long-term relationship, that collection may have fallen victim to some "compromising", but at one point or another, it was there. Us collectors WANT female figures in our lines. We want to see that Baroness standing next to Destro, or Teela next to He-Man. We want our Princess Leia in the Gold Bikini.
Sadly, we don't see this happen a lot. We're lucky if we get 1 female figure in a line. Often times, even if a character is a big figure in the series, she still doesn't make the draft. Look at Scarlett in the Sigma 6 line. Big in the cartoon series but we had to wait through something like 10 waves of repaints and retools before we heard news that she was coming out. We got all excited, and then they cancelled the line.
Say it with me. "Fuck You, Hasbro".
So, back to my point. The 1/18 scale is woefully lacking in the female characters. Which is one of the reasons that I've been looking for this particular set for over 2 years now. I finally found a "pre-owned" one from another collector who was streamlining (Thanks, man!) for p700. One of the figures was slightly damaged, hence the relatively cheap price, but it's nothing a little glue won't fix.
The Dead Or Alive set consists of 6 articulated figures; Kasumi (Blue), Kasumi (White), Ayane (Purple), Ayane (White), Hitomi, and Lei Fang. They're about 4" tall, so they're perfectly in scale with Joes or Star Wars figures. This of course means girl ninjas to kick Snake Eye's butt.
The girls are sculpted in the typical japanalicious way. Colored hair, heart shaped faces, huge eyes, tiny
noses and mouths, big breasts, slim waists, round hips and butts, and long legs. If you've played the video game that these are based on, then you know one of the draws is that these are typical extensions of various male fantasies. They look very pretty and great next to other toys. They've even got transluscent hair so that they photograph better.
One of the big features of the earlier installments of the game was that you could turn the "gainaxing" (look it up) of the female characters on or off, depending on how pervy you were willing to admit you were. I'm a particulary pervy person so I always had it on. This year's Ninja Gaiden went one further and gave us the ability to control the movement using the game pad. How's that for progress?
Articulation is really nice on these, especially considering they are trading figures. You've got movement at the nape of the neck, where the neck meets the chest, the shoulder, an arm swivel, a diagonal swivel for an elbow, a wrist swivel, a slanted swivel waist, V-cut hips, thigh cuts, hinge knees, and rocker ankles. All told, that's 19 points of articulation. The two Ayanes have 22 since they've got 3 more joints for they're huge yellow bows. When you compare that to the 13 or 14 that today's joes have, that's amazing.
Note that I said most of them are swivels, including their elbows. That's because these toys are so tiny and
delicate, that adding hinges wouldn't be advisable.Though angled swivels don't work so well in bigger scales, here they do their job nicely. paired with the various other swivels allows one to have the flexibility needed here. They are actually a very nice balance between sculpt and joint work, though the plastic they are made of can become brittle.
That really becomes a problem when you try and switch out the hands with the other sets, which each figure comes with. They are all a very tight fit and don't come out very easily. You need to pull very hard to get them out and the post that connects them can snap just like that. This is a problem since you can not easily glue
it back. The parts are too tiny, with too small a surface area to have any kind of strength once broken.
Other than the extra hands, each also comes with a few other things. Kasumi has her short sword, Ayane her bow. Hitomi also has this circular impact effect thing that is supposed to go around her foot I guess. Lei Fang gets nada. They all do come with a plain, rectangular black stand. Unfortunately, it only fits them. It comes with a post and a twist tie that act as away you can display them kicking in the air. Low-tech, but effective.
You'd be lucky to find these figures out there at the local specialty shops. Even if you did, they're trading figures, so they come in a blind box. This means that the box is identical for all figures and there is no
indication of what's inside. This is a stupid way of doing things, especially since Japanese companies who do this usually pack in crappy figures with the good ones. Thankfully, there isn't a bad one in the bunch here.
Though I do favor Hitomi and Lei-Fang for their regular civilian clothes, each of th figures looks great.
At less than p1000 for the set, this was a great bargain. Current prices on sites like www.toywiz.com are about $30 USD, not including shipping or the insane customs fees we have here in the Philippines. I imagine it's
even more on eBay if you're lucky enough to find a set.