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Good Smile Company: figma Pokémon Red

Can you believe that Pokémon is turning 20 years old in the US this year? While the franchise is a couple of years older in its native Japan, it is hard to believe that we have been attempting to “catch ‘em all” for two solid decades. So, while it seems strange to say it, Pokémon can definitely be considered “old school” in terms of gaming franchises and the oldest OG to be a part of the old school is Red, the original Pokémon trainer from the gaming franchise.

If you are a casual Poké fan, you might not even know Red is actually a completely different character from the more famous cartoon (and sometimes game) counterpart, Ash Ketchum. Well, he is, and all that time you spent playing the classic Pokémon games, you were playing as Red. Now, granted, he is the prototype for the Ash character, so it is all good, and since Bandai took care of Ash in the S.H. Figuarts line last summer, I am pleased that figma went old school and decided to produce Red. Granted, I am more drawn to the cartoon characters because I feel like I am more familiar with them, but Red crosses off that “know your roots” requirement, and is the case with most of Good Smile’s offerings, he makes for a really nice figma release.

If you are familiar with the figma execution, you know it built around clean sculpting and smooth articulation. I am oftentimes a mark for S.H. Figuarts, but for the most part, figma matches Bandai at every turn, and some of the best figures in my collection are figma releases. Red continues that set tradition, and while one the surface it might sound dismissive, Red is a pretty typical figma. For those who know, though, that is very complimentary because right off the bat, it positions Red as one of the better figures you are sure to add to your collection.

So, in that typical fashion, Red has a very crisp sculpt, and to my eyes, it is very accurate.This is based on the more classic look for Red (he has, of course, been updated over the past 20 years), and you see the Gameboy character design ringing through, even though this is lifted right from control art. Red is very skinny through the torso, but his baggy jeans help to give him a low center of gravity. Additionally, his head is slightly disproportionately large, so it recalls an “anime” or game sprite form. His frame fills out better with the included backpack on, so I am pretty sure that will be part of my permanent display, but he still looks good without it. The figure has a lot of soft and rounded spits, like in the aforementioned jeans, but he also has sharper edges, like in the sculpt of his hair. Overall, the sculpt and form is very balanced, and most most important of all, it is true and accurate to the character.

Red’s articulation scheme is definitely on par with most figmas as well, and that puts him right in the super-articulated range. figma joints generally have a great range of motion, and that is true here, but it is especially appreciated in the elbows, shoulders, and wrists. The shoulders actually drop down to allow more range, and you can cross Red’s arms in front of his chest pretty easily. What always stands out to me with figma joints, though, is the smooth and fluid movement they have while remaining strong. It don’t know how to really express it, but it is the posing equivalent of spreading softened butter. Yeah, that sounds weird, but the range and fluidity in Red is just great, so you should not be disappointed.

For accessories, Red come with the usual figma display stand, plastic bag, swappable face plate, a ton of different hands, his backpack, a Poke ball, and, of course, his three main Pokémon: Squirtle, Charmander, and Bulbasaur. The last three are the highlights, and while the Bandai Ash only had Pikachu, Red harkens back to the OG versions of the Pokemon game with the three main species. These are all “slug” figures, meaning there is no articulation, but the sculpt and paint work is nice on all, so I am glad to have them. The backpack is required addition, but it is nice that they made it removable for the option, even thought I think the figure looks a lot better wearing it. I know that swappable hands are old hat for figma, but I have call out the Pokeball grip hand because it works so well without and pegs or notches. Red is able to grip and firmly hold it with no worry of dropping, and it was all done in the sculpt, so it is very nice.

I did not think I needed to build the cartoon and game Pokémon universes, but now that I have Red, I am glad I did. Like I said, I am more attached to Ash as a character, but I think as a figure Red edges Ash, and is one of the nicer video game figures I own. This means that I will be building out another section of my display because Mizuki/Selene is up next in April and I will have to get her. So, yeah, Red is recommended, so get him HERE while you can.

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