S.H.Figuarts Mario by Bandai (Available From HobbyLink Japan – HLJ.com)
Bandai have always had a close relationship to Nintendo, both are very much toy companies of a sort after all. So when Bandai announced the world’s first action figure of probably the world’s most loved Italian plumber there was obviously much rejoicing. Bandai also opted to go down the minimalist route for this toy as well, focusing on being true to the simplicity seen in Mario’s various games. As such, in addition to the figure of Mario there are also two play sets (Set A and Set B). These allow people to create a mini-level from the early games. As you’d expect from Bandai though, this is a really nicely engineered and sculpted toy.
Mario started life originally as “Jumpman” back in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. It wasn’t until later that he received the name Mario and the spurious background of being an Italian plumber. Spurious in the sense that he could have been anything and this is very much testament to Nintendo’s philosophy on game design; mechanics first, context later. The mechanics being that Mario could jump onto and off platforms, this in turn helped to create the platforming genre that we all know and love.
Over the years, Mario has graced many games. From the brilliant platformers that made his name to the likes of games such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Our favourites are some of the newer iterations though, such as Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. That said, the likes of Super Mario Land is still probably one of the most focused and tightly designed games ever made.
So when Bandai said that they’d be doing an action figure of such an iconic gaming character we were pretty pumped for that. We first saw it the recent Wonder Festival and then at the Tamashii Nations event. It was a small but very clean little figure with a surprising array of poses. Especially as the additional playsets allowed you to create your own mini levels too.
The boxing is pretty simple standard Bandai toy fare, so nothing overly interesting. The toy is pretty simple too, so the instructions are very straightforward.
We’ll go into more detail on the toy in the next part. See you then!