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Play Arts Kai Review – Arkham Asylum Joker

I didn’t get to go to San Diego CominCon last year, which is always a huge bummer. As pictures from all over the Con started coming in I couldn’t contain my excitement. DC Classics sub figures, Marvel Legends was back! Some new Masters of the Universe Classics, looking all awesome. But when pictures of the Play Arts Kai Joker and Batman showed up I was in love. Texts were sent, more pictures were requested. Theft from the display was contemplated. In a joking way, of course. Of course. But I knew Joker was going to find his way to my grubby hands eventually.
 I only have two Plays Arts Kai figures. Ezio Auditore Da Firenze from Assassin’s Creed  and Sneaking Suit Snake from Metal Gear Solid. Both are fantastic in every aspect. Some people don’t like the scale, with the figures clocking in at about 9-10 inches, but I think of my video game character shelf as a mish mash anyway. Although with Drake from Uncharted and God of War Kratos on the horizon, Square Enix seems to have my game shelf on lock down. Pricey, yeah. But still cheaper than Hot Toys. That’s what I tell the wife anyway.

Packaging is nice. It serves it’s purpose. It keeps other people’s hands off my figure. It protects the figure until I say it’s time to go free. Nothing fancy. I do like the blue and black contrast against the green inner tray. It draws your eye to the middle. Still, personally, I look at it for 5 seconds and off it comes. To the trash!

The back shows pictures that we’ve been seeming since the announcement of his release. Very nice pictures, and it gives me ideas on how to pose him once he makes it to the shelf. Kinda makes me anxious to get Batman. So again, mission accomplished, packaging. You’ve done your duty. Rest well soldier. It’s off to the big trash heap in the sky.

First off, I was a bit worried about the sculpt. The pictures from SDCC blew my mind, but some early samples linked in the forum made me a bit tense. In those pictures it looked like the back of Joker’s head was missing. Not the hair, the hair was there, but it was just a flat plane vertically behind the ears. I’m happy to say that it’s not the case on the final product. Maybe a case of bad angle or something? Who knows, I’m just glad it wasn’t the case.

Otherwise, the sculpt is great. I keep going back to the dead flower on the lapel. Just a little thing, but for some reason I am fixated on it. The suit textures are great. Even the knee patch stitching follows through as the knee bends.

The paint is fantastic, but I can’t help thing it’s not as good as Ezio and Snake. And I guess that follows the style of the those games compared to Arkham Asylum. Whereas Snake and Ezio’s paints, mostly in the face, have a realism to them, Joker’s face comes off a little….animated. The eyes are softer, not as detailed. The skintone is accurate but the gray shading is a bit willy nilly. But seriously, at the end of the day we’re talking about a guy who’s skin is bleached an unrealistic white, so I can’t really fault the paint for following the source material.

Paint on the body are dirty, with nice shading. Dark purples in the folds and creases, right where they should be. I can’t say they are as detailed as the prototype, but really, when does that actually ever happen? I also think the overall color pallete has been muted compared to the prototype seen at SDCC, but that’s just going off pictures. Since I didn’t see it in person. ::sniff::

Scale. This is the biggest thing I see being talked about when it comes to Play Arts Kai. Basically, you never know what you’re going to get. And Joker is no exception. Basically, I was expecting something close to Snake and Ezio. Didn’t happen. He comes in at full inch below Snake at 8 and 5/8 inches, with even the body proportions being smaller. I mean, gander at the head sizes. Looking at the pic you almost think that Joker is standing in the background instead of right beside Snake.

But at the end of the day I’m okay with this. I don’t mix and match properties. The only this would be a problem for me is if he doesn’t fit scale-wise with next week’s AA Batman. That would be terrible. A tragedy. Catastrophic. A damn shame.

I love me!

Articulation is where Joker really shines. Especially in the arms. Now, before I run down all the points, know that he doesn’t have an upper torso joint even though it looks like he does. The cut across the chest is actually when the jacket is attached. I don’t know why the jacket couldn’t be a completely separate piece. Instead, the upper shirt is a part of the jacket piece, a complete overlay piece over the hard torso, which includes the lower yellow shirt. I know that’s confusing, but just know, don’t go ripping on the upper torso thinking there is a cut there. There isn’t.

Behold in amazement my photoshop skills….

  1.  Ball neck. Fairly reasonable movement. He can tilt side to side, up and down, turn left to right. A ball.
  2. Swivel in the lower neck. Kind of not needed, but it’s neat to see his adam’s apple turn slightly and then stop when you turn his head.
  3. The shoulder is a ball that plugs into hinge assembly. Think Spider-Man Classics Daredevil but instead of swinging up, this swings forward. The shoulder easily pops in and out, but still holds poses and the weight of his arms. Nifty.
  4. Cut swivel in the bicep. Now on mine this point was stuck. Hard. I almost thought it was two pieces just glued together.They finally broke loose after I fiddled with it for a while, thinking if they came apart I could just glue it back together.
  5. Ball elbow. Those of you with Play Arts Kai figures knows what’s up here. You can get some slight rotation at the top and bottom of the ball, but it’s not really needed. In the numbered pic Joker’s right arms shows the range of movement.
  6. Swivel above the cuff. I didn’t even know this was here until I was mostly done with the pictures. You can tell because in the majority of them Joker’s right cuff is turned up instead of hanging down.
  7. Ball at the wrist. Again, basic Play Arts Kai point. The up and down is slightly hindered by the cuffs.
  8. Ball waist. Great range of movement, the torso goes forward, back, side to side, and everywhere in bet
    ween. A ball.
  9. Ball hips. The crotch has a soft rubbery overlay to allow a lot of hip movement.
  10. Double knees. This is kinda cool because like I said above the texture above and below the knee is transferred across the inner knee piece. These also get a great range of movement.
  11. Honestly….I can’t tell you what’s going on at the ankles. From what I can tell it’s a ball like the wrists and elbows, but I can’t get a lot of movement out of them. The shoes fit tightly up into the pants. I can get a little side to side, a little up and down. Just enough to keep him from falling over.

Accessories are pretty cool. He comes with two extra hands, a righty to hold his gun and a lefty in a fist. Then he comes with a gun and some chattering teeth. All he’s missing is his x-ray specs! But that’s okay, glasses rarely work out well.

The chattering teeth have a hinge to open and close them, and the wind-up key turns. Changing out the hands are a little scary because of the tiny pegs but I haven’t had much problem so far.

Overall, I’m ecstatic to have him. I don’t know how many hours my son and I put into Arkham Asylum, and to have a plastic representation of that is just icing on the cake for me. Sure, there may be a couple of faults (scale for some, ankles) but I can overlook those. He’s the Joker. He’s a great toy. What more can an easy to please guy like me ask for?

6 thoughts on “Play Arts Kai Review – Arkham Asylum Joker

  1. Oh, I know the box is resealable, but man do I not have space for both figures and boxes. So out it goes. In the off chance I do ever move again, Grodd forbid, I can just toss him in the bins with all the rest of my toys.

    Still haven’t gotten Batman. For some reason he never popped up on my online comic shop, the same place I got Joker, and Bats has never hit Amazon for a price I like. Just weird. Like he came out but didn’t. At least in my neck of the woods.

  2. I agree with amazing_syd… I keep ALL my Japanese packaging. What if you move out of your house? How will you safely transport your figures?! I have a closet full of boxes, actually. They’re really nice and I feel like as soon as I throw them out, I’ll need them. Anyway, I really dug the review. I picked up the Batman the other day, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this Joker.

  3. hey robo, great review, but after reading how you’ve thrown out the packaging, i had to just skip down and ask, why?

    japanese import figure companies make the packaging specifically to be resealable and storage friendly. thats part of the appeal, at least for me.

    i understand if its personal preference, but i just thought i’d mention that in case you were unfamiliar with the concept.

  4. I enjoyed reading your review – almost want to get the figure! 🙂 I hope to see your take on Batman as well 🙂

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