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Toybox Review: Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Mandalorian - Mexinter.net

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Title : Toybox Review: Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Mandalorian - Mexinter.net
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Toybox Review: Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Mandalorian - Mexinter.net

Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Mandalorian 01

Release Date: April 2021
RRP: $100

Given the clear inspiration it takes from Japanese stories such as Lone Wolf and Cub, The Mandalorian is the perfect candidate for representation in Bandai Tamashii Nations Meisho Movie Realization line. Previous releases Boba Fett and Jango Fett prove that the Mandalorian armour lends itself particularly well to line's reimagining of classic Star Wars characters as feudal era samurai, and the popularity of The Mandalorian would make the figure an almost sure-fire seller. But while it's extremely pleasing to see the release of the Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Mandalorian figure, the circumstances of its release are some of the strangest Bandai have done in a while. The figure was produced as a Tamashii web exclusive, but only made available via the US version of the web store. Whether this means Japan have their own plans for a Movie Realization Mandalorian in the future (maybe based on the full Beskar armour version of the suit?) is unknown, but right now the Japanese Tamashii Nations website doesn't even acknowledge this figure's existence on its Meisho Movie Realization page. But despite these strange origins, Bandai certainly haven't skimped on the extremely high quality the line has shown in the past.

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The Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Mandalorian comes in packaging that's identical the rest of the line - right down to all the Japanese text that would adorn the box if it were being released in Japan. The top half/lid of the box features a shadowy image of the Mandalorian with pistol draw, along with the Star Wars, Movie Realization and various Bandai Tamashii Nations logos. The top corner sports the standard Tamashii web store logo, but makes no reference to it only being available via the US version only. On the spines you'll find the name of the figure on one side and a close-up image of the figure on the other, and then on the underside the usual array of stock images that show off the figure in various poses along with its accessory count. Open it up and as well as finding the iconic "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." tagline on the inside lid, the figure and accessories are neatly stored on a moulded black plastic tray. 

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On first glance it's easy to assume that the Ronin Mandalorian is just mostly a repaint of Boba/Jango Fett with a few new parts thrown in, but on closer inspection you'll quickly see that there was a fair bit of extensive remoulding that went on with this release. While the bare bones of the body are largely the same (as they are with most Movie Realization figures to be honest), but nearly all of the armour has actually been redone to match (or rather reimagine) the actual Mandalorian suit. Even the torso armour has been remoulded to sport that hexagon shape in the centre. Up close, the only bits of armour that are immediately identifiable as being the same are the shoulder pads and waist section. The big new additions to the figure include a brand new head sculpt that offers a slightly different take on the iconic Mandalorian helmet, the ammo sash around the torso and of course the soft goods cape. This is the first Meisho Movie Realization figure to feature soft goods and it really does make a huge difference - the material is a textured cloth very similar to that used on the S.H. Figuarts version, with a tattered bottom to give it that suitably worn look. Interestingly despite coming out a considerable time after both seasons of The Mandalorian the figure is still based on the original appearance armour seen in the first three episodes (or more accurately the first 10 minutes of the first episode, as the right shoulder pad is changed after that). Perhaps controversially I've always preferred this armour since it has a little more colour and identity to it than the all-silver Beskar look, but regardless of opinion this was absolutely the right choice to use as the basis for the Movie Realization figure. Not only do the colours just suit the whole samurai aesthetic of the line a whole lot more, but the variety of light and dark pieces are much better for bringing out different bits of detailing. You wouldn't get that gorgeous tan and teal shoulder pad with the Beskar version, nor would all the scarring on the chest plate stand out anywherein near as much. A samurai version of the Mandalorian sells itself so Bandai could have easily taken the easy route on this one, but all the changes they've made to make it uniquely Mandalorian make it all the better.

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The way the Amban phase-pulse blaster fits onto the back of the Mandalorian has been a point of contention on a couple of different figures now. The Black Series involves perfectly lining up the port on both the back and the strap and is then an incredibly tight fit (almost certainly leading to paint wear, especially on the Carbonised version of the figure), while the S.H. Figuarts edition is an awkward mess of parts-swapping and threading ports through a hole in the back of the cape. The Movie Realization simplifies the whole process by just making it a single cylindrical port on the back of the figure that the accessory can plug straight into. As a result it's not entirely screen accurate as the strap isn't involved (not that you can see it from the back) and the cape drapes over the blaster instead of under it, but since it's a redesign the figure definitely gets away with it. Although the instructions suggest pulling the cape to one side before attaching the blaster, this isn't quite as seamless as it makes out. The cape does awkwardly drape over the blaster a bit, but you can fiddle around and tuck it in a bit to alleviate it thanks to the soft goods used on the release.

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Articulation isn't something these figures can boast about in the same way as S.H. Figuarts given the elaborate designs and sheer bulk of them, but they're still very much loaded with joints in the same way. If you've previously picked up any other figure in the line you'll be more than familiar with this as they're all largely built the same, but altogether the Mandalorian features;
- Ball jointed head, neck, inner shoulders, shoulder pads, torso, waist and hips
- Swivel hinge outer shoulders, wrists and ankles
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Bicep swivels
Naturally the sheer amount of padding and armour going on in the upper legs does limit the hip situation somewhat, you can still get some great poses out of this figure and the use of a soft goods cape really makes a difference when it comes to freeing up the top half of the figure and giving it a much easier time balancing when it comes to weight. The shoulder pads are unwieldy but certainly not impossible to work with, as Bandai have been careful to design these figures knowing that the need to be able to hold and pose with their weapons properly. One of the biggest charms about the Movie Realization line in general though is just admiring how sturdy everything is. All these joints work exactly the same as they do on Figuarts and the like, but it's without any of that anxiety about fragility.

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The Ronin Mandalorian comes packaged with eight additional hands, a wakizashi blade (samurai short sword), scabbard, IB-94 blaster pistol and of course the Amban phase-pulse blaster. The wakizashi is identical in sculpt to the one included with most figures in the Meisho Movie Realization line, this time featuring a black hilt and brown scabbard that can affix to the connector on the left-hand side of the figure. Both blasters have been redesigned to fit the feudal Japan sci-fi aesthetic of the line and look absolutely brilliant - gorgeously detailed and still recognisable as each weapon despite the design changes. The combination of the black paint wash each accessory has and the rivet detailing really helps give the illusion of them being constructed from worn metal. When not in use the pistol neatly stores in the holster on the figure's right hand side, and as previously mentioned the phase-pulse blaster plugs directly into its back. The hand selection doesn't really offer anything new to the line as a whole but gives you plenty to work with when it comes to posing, mostly consisting of various gripping hands to ensure each of the accessories can be held properly. Getting the figure to hold the phase-pulse blaster right up with the scope near the helmet takes a fiddling to get perfect, but is absolutely doable. 

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While I'll never quite understand why this is a US-only release of all things, the Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Mandalorian is another incredible release from this extremely imaginative toy line. Given the exclusivity of the figure and the fact it's based on the pre-Beskar look Bandai could have easily half-assed it by keeping it largely the same as the Fetts, but the extensive remoulding, new head sculpt and soft goods cape really give the Mandalorian a unique identity of his own despite the shared parts. The original appearance costume was the perfect choice to bring out all the unique flair and detail the Movie Realization line has to offer, and the newly sculpted accessories just bring it all home as another slam dunk for Bandai. The Meisho Movie Realization line sadly seems to be winding down in recent years (still waiting on that IG-88 Bandai), but I'm glad at the very least they managed to get this one out one way or another.



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