For many fans, Batman: the Animated Series is the gold standard. Featuring excellent writing and the larger-than-life character aesthetics of Bruce Timm, the show proved that the Dark Knight could be serious without being sullen, and has had an influence on many interpretations of the Batman since.
Kotobukiya’s Batman Animated ARTFX+ statue is one of the latest additions to their 1/10 scale ARTFX line, and it is aimed squarely at those of us with an enduring soft spot for the greatest cartoon of all time. Featuring interchangeable parts, a stylish Bat-symbol base, sculpting that would make Bruce Timm proud, and a perfect at-the-ready pose, this 7.5″ beauty is a sure temptation for anyone that loves the series. But is it a temptation worth indulging? Read on to find out.
Box admiration and removal
While you would surely not spend fifty bucks for a pretty box, it doesn’t hurt to have good-looking packaging. There’s nothing remarkable about this one, but it has the Animated Series title in the appropriate font, as well as some buildings that look reasonably close to the show’s Gotham aesthetic, so at the very least, it meets my expectations. For what it’s worth, I still haven’t thrown the box away.
The inner packaging is delightfully simple. The two-piece plastic enclosure is easily removed, and the statue’s parts—while securely in place with the two pieces joined—come out with little effort once the enclosure’s halves have been separated. If you’re used to wrestling plastic figures out, worrying that you’ll snap a limb before you ever get to stand them up (I have kids), then you will find this lack of resistance refreshing.
Let’s see what we’ve got
Once you’re over the shock of seeing Batman headless and missing an arm, you can take inventory of everything that’s included. The information sheet breaks it down for you fairly well, but here you go:
- A super-sweet yellow oval Bat logo stand, with mounting pegs and a removable lid. Contrary to some of the marketing language, the figure and stand are not magnetic, which is a departure from other statues in the ARTFX line. Under the lid, you’ll find compartments for storing whichever parts are not in use at any given time. Sweet!
- Three heads with varying eyes: normal, glare, and disappointed. The disappointed look is a great example of how expressive the BtAS Batman was in-costume, as well as Koto’s excellent reproduction of that expressiveness.
- Four faces with varying expressions: smile, grimace, normal, and shouting. Like the heads, these are all wonderfully reminiscent of the show.
- Three right forearms with varying posture/accessories: grappling gun, Batarang, and thumbs up. The grappling gun can also be removed from the hand that holds it.
The various interchangeable pieces all seem solidly made, and it’s easy to switch them without feeling like they’re going to break. The faces are a bit snug, and I needed fingernail help to pull them out once installed, but it still took only a matter of seconds to remove one and slip in another.
How does it look?
You can judge yourself from the pictures, or if you’ve seen one at your local comic shop, but overall, I love the way this thing looks—it’s straight out of the television series, and I can’t help but smile when I look at it on my desk.
The interchangeable parts are a nice feature, and I can see myself switching out a few of the heads and faces, but the statue’s pose makes some of the parts irrelevant, save perhaps for laughs. While I love the disappointed head’s faithfulness to the show, I don’t think it really works with the pose, regardless of which face and forearm you go with. And speaking of those forearms, they present a similar problem: the grappling gun is a great reproduction, but it hardly seems like the tool that Bats would have in his hand given his stance. Your own opinion of the usefulness of these parts may vary, and they don’t negatively impact me (since I don’t have to use them), but if you feel the same as I do, these particular extras are essentially valueless.
There is one legitimate drawback to the interchangeable heads, though: there’s an obvious separation between the cowl and the cape, whereas in the series, these two parts are connected, and there shouldn’t be any discernible boundary between them. I don’t consider this a huge problem, but you should be aware in case it matters more to you.
I didn’t see the stand in any of Koto’s marketing for this statue, and I think that’s a missed opportunity. It caught my eye as soon as I took the packaging out of the box, and I absolutely love seeing Bats on it. It’s painted plastic, so I’m not saying it’s a piece of master craftsmanship; but it’s the perfect base for this figure, and now that I see it, I can’t imagine not having it. And that brings up a more important point about the base—Batman can stand up without it, but he will be leaning on one of the bottom points of his cape, and his left foot will be balanced on the heel instead of the ball.
As I mentioned earlier, the stand also has an inner chamber for storing the extra parts, and it is simply-but-thoughtfully designed. There are dividers forming individual compartments so that each part has its place, making it easy to quickly pop the top and find whatever you’re look for.
Animated Bats and his older brother
Should you buy this? If you’re a fan of Batman: the Animated Series, I can’t imagine you not liking it. It’s big enough that you can appreciate the detail, but small enough to fit on a corner of your desk. And at about fifty bucks on the open market, it’s on the low end of the pricing spectrum. That makes sense, since it’s mass-produced and made of PVC and ABS; but even considering the low-cost materials, the sculpt and finish look great and I have no complaints. This is a wonderful addition to my collection, and I suspect you’ll feel the same about yours.
The Batman Animated ARTFX+ statue is available for purchase on the Kotobukiya US site at https://www.kotous.com/ and retails for $49.99 (direct product link: https://www.kotous.com/retailstore/dc-comics-batman-animated-artfx-statue.html).
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