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First Look – Play Arts Kai Arkham Asylum Robin

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Released alongside the Arkham Asylum Dark Knight Returns Skin Batman is Play Arts’ take on the Arkham Asylum Robin, Batman’s faithful sidekick who makes a brief appearance in the main game. Robin has seen so many different interpretations over the decades, but I think I’d have to rate this take on the character as one of my personal favorites. This Robin is Tim Drake, who I have the least personal connection to since I wasn’t really reading Batman comics during his tenure as Robin. What makes this version of Robin interesting is that this clearly isn’t a little kid who fights at Batman’s side, but more of an adult character who employs his own methods and agenda while maintaining ties to Batman. My take could be totally off base, but that’s the impression I got from the game and what I think when I look at this figure. And while his wave-mate had his share of problems, Robin here is a much better figure with very few drawbacks. What makes him such a good figure? Keep reading to find out!

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Once again, an awesome-looking window box. One more for the growing pile!

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His description establishes him as Batman’s “mastermind” sidekick, and emphasizes Tim Drake’s aptitude in the detective profession.

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Now this is a handsome figure. There’s a lot of detail to the sculpt, but it’s not too much like the DKR Batman. It’s much cleaner and the paint applications give the sculpt so much depth. It really is striking. The only criticism I have of the sculpt is the way the hood rests on his head — it makes his head look rather… long. It almost makes him look like a Conehead from Saturday Night Live. The way the hood frames his face is perfect, so it’s just that upper portion that looks odd. Fortunately, because of the dark color of the hood, my eyes are drawn to the brighter colors of his torso and inner cape, so it’s easy to not dwell on, and possibly even ignore, the hood. The color scheme works in its favor. Additionally, I am happy the color of his elbow joints actually match the rest of his arms. Again, a much better execution than the DKR Batman’s arms.

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I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with the cape. It hangs off his back and shoulders in two parts, but I can’t tell whether or not it’s supposed to be a two-part cape, or if it’s just the unfortunate way the sculpt makes it look. It kind of looks like he’s wearing something over his shoulders and the cape emerges from beneath that. It’s not a big deal since I don’t expect to be admiring him from the back very often, but I do wish the cape’s sculpt weren’t broken up so dramatically. Other than that, it looks great. The purple and blue highlights show off and compliment the sculpt nicely.

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Like Batman, the portion of the cape that drapes around his shoulders does limit his arms’ range of motion. And in Robin’s case this is unfortunate because his shoulder joints are much more sturdy than DKR Batman’s. I can move them and pose him with no fear of the joints breaking. He feels sturdy, like he could actually hold up to some more aggressive play, unlike DKR Batman. That alone makes him feel like a more justifiable purchase.

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For accessories, he comes with a staff and a second set of swappable hands, giving him two fists and two somewhat open hands with which he can wield the staff.

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Back to the hood for a second — believe it or not, the hood is not removable. He has fully sculpted and painted hair beneath the hood, but it’s got a death-grip on his head. With some force, you probably could remove it if you really wanted to, but I’m going to leave mine be for fear of ruining it. But, man… it really feels like it should come off and it seems as though it would have been a simple choice to fit him with that option. It would have given him a bit more versatility in terms of display options, so I am a bit disappointed it’s fastened on there.

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Since his cape is so short, he can actually be put in poses beyond simple standing poses. He has those characteristic Play Arts knees that look downright weird in the wrong pose, but they’re effective and they can be manipulated without fear of their breaking.

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He has a decent amount of movement in his hips, but the pelvis piece does hold his legs bask despite its being made of a softer plastic. It’s still possible to get him in a variety of poses, though.

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I’m a big fan of the way these two look together, and it’s ironic — of he two, Robin was the purchase I expected to regret, but after having them both in hand, Robin is the purchase I’m most satisfied with.  He’s sturdy, he has a great sculpt, and he’s fun to pick up and play around with, which, to me, are all the hallmarks of a good action figure. And of all the Robin figures we’ve received from Mattel, DCC, etc., this is first one I have genuinely liked. I’m very happy to have him on my shelves.

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If you’re interested in these two, but want to limit your purchase to just one, I would definitely recommend Robin over the DKR Batman. He seems to be better value for the money. US stores should be getting him in early April, but I got mine from amiami.com for about $60 shipped.  But, like DKR Batman, it may be better to just wait for the US shops to get him because shipping from overseas could take a while.

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