Takara Beast Saga (Battle Beasts) Kingdom of the Sea action figure review
You remember Battle Beasts, those miniature, brightly colored, animals in tech armor produced in 1987? They were a hit with kids and now collectors alike. Finding the vintage ones has been tough (and expensive) but Takara has brought them back with "Beast Saga". This is not to be confused with Diamond Select's "Battle Beasts" which only uses the name and has no ties to the originals, using humans in its storyline. Beast Saga is Battle Beasts redux and available through import only right now.
The factions remain the same, Land, Sea, and Air. This set contains three sea-faring creatures in the form of a shark, piranha, and coelacanth (a living armored fossil fish). Each stands a diminutive two and a half inches tall and resembles the animal in an anthropomorphic design. The sculpts for these are beautiful, every scale, tooth, and knight-like armor bit done in soft pvc but very sharply cut. The Coelacanth's armor looks like it was built from a submarine with little torpedo ports on it.
Paint work is not what you'd expect at first glance, the different colored arms/feet of the characters are actually plastic color and glued on to the armor. That which is painted however is very cleaning done like the facial details and airbrushed faded fin colors. How they were able to do that in such a small scale baffles me.
Articulation is only four points, the shoulders and hips. But considering the old Battle Beasts only had moving arms I suppose this is an upgrade. The main feature of these is the shooting dice in the chest that has replaced the rubsigns of old. The square design will strike a familair chord with collectors and the back plunger has an angled 'light piping' allowing the main symbol to glow, a nice touch. Different battling dice are included but everything is in Japanese so I was at a loss as to how the game is actually played.
The dice-shooting feature works well and once the back plunger is depressed it's not as obtrusive, just a blackish/blank square as if its rubsign wasn't active. Each Battle Beast comes with two signature accessories, a weapon and shield that can be held in either hand. They're sharply detailed but very soft plastic, softer than the figure itself and bend easy.
So what's the verdict on these little guys? Battle Beasts enthusiasts rejoice! These are great recreations of the originals and feature excellent designs. They're small enough to work with in scale other mini-figs (Such as Glyos or Minimates) and are pocketable fun. At eight bucks each they are a little expensive but you have to figure they're imported from Japan and you always pay more for that. Out sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has a whole slew of them and blind bagged figures that are cheaper with the chance of secret characters. So if you love Battle Beasts these are the closest thing we have to the originals in a new format, snag some and learn to read Japanese...so you can play the game!