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March 19, 2004

Reflected Darkness

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 9:32 pm

Here’s a brief look on the latest SOCs from Bandai – the darker-than-night GX-21 Eva-03, and the shinier-than-thou GX-22 Eva-04. Weapons, accessories and articulation… nothing really new here. If you’ve bought any of the previous SOC Evas, you’ll already be very familiar with the remarkable detail and diecast construction that went into these toys. For me, however, it took the release of this deliciously diabolic duo to finally loosen my purse-strings.

Why wait so long? Well, the biggest reason was my dislike of the way the first four Evas were colored. Bandai’s choice of a dark metallic purple for the Eva-01 just didn’t work for me. Eva-02’s dull tomato red was the real deal-killer though, because I had high hopes for a fiery crimson on my favorite Evangelion. So although the blue on Eva-00 kai was quite pleasing, it was too little, too late. It just wasn’t worth buying 3 (or four) semi-pricey toys meant to be shown together when in my heart, I deeply disliked the looks of two of them. Many others weren’t bothered by this issue at all and have happily collected the entire series to date. Don’t forget to check out Tim and Matt’s fantastic Rumble from July ’03!

But enough of my color woes… From the first publicity shots of these two bad boys in the hobby mags, I was moved to reconsider getting into the world of SOC Evas after all. Being essentially tragic enemy proxies in the mind warping Neon Genesis Evangelion show, they exuded a dark appeal quite apart from the first three giant biomecha. The aggressively feral look of Eva-03 will always bring to mind the episode in which the poor pilot was trapped in the ‘possessed’ robot.

More enigmatically, the silvery Eva-04 wasn’t even seen on screen… only as a mushroom cloud from a satellite photo after it self-destructed and took its entire NERV base in the US with it. Few art references exist for this ‘Jibaku’ (as the Japanese call it) Eva, so I don’t know if its hands should really be a blue-gray (as seen on the box photo), or an Eva-01’s purple shade, as the real contents reveal them to be. They seemed strange at first sight, but I’ve already grown used to them.

Some other fans had hoped Bandai would include an extra set of lengthened arms for the black Eva-03, but it was not to be. Nonetheless, I find the subtle metallic finish on this dark Angel to be very well done – good enough for me to display it without any other weapons or accessories except the special piece for the ‘Angel-goo’d pilot capsule’. Attitude – that’s all this baby needs!

Even better, the more expensive Eva-04 (6500 yen to the usual 5500 yen) is almost entirely finished in high reflective chrome. It wouldn’t look out of place next to the gorgeous ‘Training Colors’ SOC Getter Set (more in the Modern Toy Porn section, courtesy of Tim Brisko!). And although its head sports a less shiny silver tone, it’s not as obvious as Getter-1’s due to its sleeker shape and smaller size. From head to gleaming toe, this is truly a work of toy art! And if you look closely, there’s not even a hint of the occasional ‘split shins‘ problem found on some of the earlier SOC Evas. Kudos, Bandai!

Both are great, great toys. In a day when more and more robot toy collectors actually prefer safe, chip-resistant molded plastic to the beauty of cold hard metal, I am glad Bandai made the effort to produce two such stunningly gorgeous examples of the best that modern diecast can offer… May The Art never die! I leave you with one last image of each toy… to savor, and reflect upon.

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