Earlier I posted my impressions of the just-released Bandai One Piece Akainu Figuarts Zero Battle Ver. figure, but the Red Dog isn’t coming alone! Hot on his heels, it’s the Blue Pheasant himself, Aokiji Kuzan! But while the Battle Version Akainu Sakazuki figure surprised me with its high quality, the final production version of the FiguartsZero Aokiji Kuzan Battle Ver. figure ends up feeling a little bit mediocre in comparison…
In a weird turn of events, my opinions on the FiguartsZERO Aokiji and Akainu Battle Version figures have flip-flopped. When we saw photos of the two figurines for the first time, I thought that the Akainu Sakazuki Battle Ver. figure was horrendous, but had some optimism about the Aokiji Kuzan Battle Version figurine. Now that I’ve seen good photos of both figures, however, it’s the opposite–the Battle Ver Akainu figure is very impressive, while the Battle Version Aokiji One Piece figure is fairly uninspired.
As with the Admiral Akainu Figuarts Zero figure, the pose of the Aokiji Kuzan figure is the primary thing that bugs me about this action figure. Aokiji’s huge flowing cape seems more cumbersome and distracting than anything else, which is a shame since it’s also the main reason that the figure is so expensive (both in base cost and in price to import from overseas).
I actually think I would like this figure a lot more if Bandai had found a way to finagle it such that Aokiji either wasn’t wearing the admiral’s jacket at all, or it wasn’t being windswept out so far behind Admiral Aokiji. It doesn’t look awful, but it’s still not really to my liking the way that Bandai executed the jacket.
Again, just like with the Akainu figure, the saving grace of this One Piece FiguartsZero figure is the quality of the head sculpt, paint, and effects pieces. Aokiji’s laziness and irritation at having to fight are clearly etched upon his face, and I outright love the sections of Aokiji’s body that are transmuting into ice, just like in the One Piece manga and anime. Whoever at Bandai came up with the idea of having Aokiji’s torso and leg turning into ice on the figure is a genius, as that’s easily my favorite feature of this figure.
The ice effects pieces on Aokiji are molded in varying shades of translucent plastic, as you’d expect. They’re not the same level of visual impressiveness as Akainu’s flames and smoke are, but they do like pretty nice (and ice is a lot harder to capture in plastic than fire is).
The Battle Version Aokiji Kuzan Figuarts Zero action figure is still available for pre-order with free shipping from Amazon, which ends up being the best overall price for the figure. The Bandai One Piece Figuarts Zero Aokiji Kuzan Battle Ver. figure has just been released in Asia, and will arrive in the U.S. and other countries around the start of December. I pre-ordered both Akainu and Aokiji now, so I’ll post my in-hand impressions and reviews of each figure when they arrive next month.