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Jun
01

Mama Mia!

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Mario. The man needs no introduction, and apparently no last name, contrary to what a certain beer commercial may tell you; Mario is the most interesting man in the world! He has touched all our lives at one point or another, in one form or another, and as hard as it may be to believe, after 30+ crazy years, he is finally an articulated action figure!

I remember one particular winter when I was a wee lad, we were living in a basement, I distinctly remember the wood paneling and carpet, but really not much else. I remember passing by my parent’s room, the door was ajar just enough for me to peak in and see something I wold never forget. What I saw that day on my parents bed… was a new Nintendo Entertainment System waiting to be wrapped.
The rest is history, this was our first video game console, though many came after none compared. Nothing will ever replace the countless hours of fun and frustration, the cheering brought on from reaching a new castle and the angry yelling at the stupid DuckHunt dog! Ah memories. Mario. Nintendo. Jumping with the control in hand… oh man.

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What comes to mind when I say the words Mario and Soda? If its a small can of crazy-good flavored Mario soda then your childhood was awesome and I salute you!! My cousin would take my brother and I out for picnics at the park and we had these sodas. So good. Well, probably really bad for you etc etc but the memories! Do they still have these anywhere? Are they worth anything? Probably not… but the sentimental value is through the roof!!

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I don’t want to be an adult anymore! I wanna go back!!

But enough about my memories and junk, I’m sure you have your own, and I bet they are great! In the case they weren’t, I am sorry, lets never talk about it again.
Mario! Such a rich history! From his weird beginnings as a carpenter rescuing his best girl Pauline from Donkey Kong to a stereotypical Italian plumber that is also an athlete, Doctor, artist, archaeologist, racecar driver, blah blah blah…
Mario was created by Shigeru Miyamoto while developing DonkeyKong in an attempt to make a best-selling game to take on the likes of Pac-Man… when he was unable to secure the rights for Popeye (weird I know) back in 1981. One thing led to another and the weird pix-elated man that was known as Jumpman, at one point known as Mr.Video, became the face of what would be the biggest video-game franchises in history. Really you should check the Wikipedia entry to get the 411, its pretty cool.

Aww man Mario is a dick!

Aww man Mario is a dick!

Looking back at Mario’s evolution from a pix-elated block man to the highly rendered, catch-phrase yelling character he is now; makes me feel pretty gosh darned old, but also very lucky to have known the character for so long. Kids nowadays just won’t know the magical feeling of seeing a beloved character gain dimensions.
As nice as the shortlist of Mario changes is, he has been through a lot more! Kudos to Kaycircle for the graphic.
Ah the frog suit. So good. Do you remember all these Marios?

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One Mario incarnation that is missing from the above image, and I feel is necessary to mention because it ties into the primary purpose of this article here, is the 1993 blockbuster; Super Mario Bros. The Movie!
The film features Mario, played by the late Bob Hoskins and Luigi (John Leguizamo), 2 NY plumbers that wind up on a crazy adventure in an alternate universe populated by dinosaurs and weird tech… yea.

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Movie wasn’t so great, but there were action figures made!! So my question is; do these not count as articulation Mario action figures? Well, I guess not really since the movie isn’t really about the Mario we wanted to see. Maybe we should ask Brett Martin of Colorado! This man owns the world record for the most videogame merch! 8,030 pieces!

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Speaking of fans, Mario has many, which of course means there are a bajillion amazing pieces of fanart out there. I could not decide on just one to post so just follow this link to some really good ones!

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Alright lets get to the main course. January 2014 Bandai/Bluefin Tamashii Nation tease fans with an image of a yellow block with a ‘?’. Couple days later the announcement is made; S.H. Figuarts is producing a Mario figure. Nerdgasms can be heard from space.
The figure will be released alongside two playsets to maximise the funs!

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Here is the bad pic I posted on IG when I got them a few days ago. Package is what we have come to expect from SH Figuarts, nice open window, collector-friendly packaging. First thought: “Hmmm he’s bigger than I had expected!”

Okay,okay, without further ado… lets a go! Out of the box we get Mario, standing at just under 5″! A yellow ‘?’ block, a gold coin with a clear plastic stand thing, and a mushroom.

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More images of the figure itself! Good looking guy, nice solid feel, great colours, no issues here with the sculpt or design. Stands easily enough, well balanced (hassle to stand on this fake grass though). His face is pretty goofy looking but I suppose that’s what he is supposed to look like. Right away I noticed a weird latch on his back, at this point I am not sure what it is, surely the answer will reveal itself later.

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Piece on his back pops off with some effort… gawd if I lose it I will be soooo mad. Hrmm maybe he gets a jetpack later?

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Though Figuarts is usually very good when it comes to articulation I didn’t really know what to expect due to his short and stout design. With that in mind I think they did a pretty good job with giving him decent mobility but in the end I find his range of movement lacking. Here are a few shots to show him moving around.
We are looking at single-jointed elbows and knees, very limited hips and shoulders, ball joint for feet/ankle… and a wrist swivel.  No torso/wasit articulation at all which is very disappointing! How hard would it be to incorporate a waist swivel?? Head is on a nice ball/hinge joint but movement is very limited due to how massive it is, which is a shame. 3rd picture from left shows you how high his arms go and how wide his legs open. Jumping-jacks are definitely not his thing. But he can sit!

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Some more weird poses to show the range. Mario is no Spider-Man, so really its not a huge deal if he can’t do any flying dragonkicks… although after typing I realize how much I want him to have that option. I think its fair to say that he has all the articulation that he had in the games up until the Super Nintendo. N64 Mario and beyond, is a whole ‘nother story.

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Although limited the joints work nicely in regards to the overall aesthetics. I don’t really know how to describe them, heres a closer look at them. Hrmmm up close I’m seeing a couple scuffs and issues w seams… may need to clean those up with.

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The obligatory comparison shot! He is of course shorter than most figures in the 6″ scale. Totally understandable, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If anything he can afford to be a bit smaller, but then we run into further articulation issues so I will say no more on the subject. In pic we have the Mammoth Ranger from SH Figuarts, Link by Figma and Spider-Man by Hasbro; of course Mario here looks weird as heck due to his cartoony-ness, but this is what happens when worlds collide.

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As mentioned earlier two sets of accessories/props were released alongside Mario, sold separately. Known only as Set A and B; the sets feature more Mario elements for some great diorama possibilities. Personally I’m really digging this option, though my wallet is terrified because who knows how far they will go with this system!

SH Figuarts Mario Set A brings us a gold coin with 2 stands of different heights, a goomba (heehe), 2 brick blocks, 1 ‘?’ block, plastic, a clear plastic stand w green base in order to raise the bricks into the sky. Last, but not least we get an articulated stand/arm for Mario which plugs intooooooo a new blue piece for his back!

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Aww man I was hoping it was a magical clear surfboard! He has one in a game right?

Put all the pieces together and you get something like this. Of course if you wanted to you do can a bit more, but only so much is possible with just these pieces. Unfortunately he can’t actually go directly under the ‘?’ block. Bah!

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On to Set B. Of the two sets (same price) I would say that this one is my favorite. In this set we get a gold coin with 2 stands, another goomba (yes! more! more!), a turtle shell sans turtle, a tall pipe, a short pipe, and an extra set of hands!  The tall pipe is shallow, but the top comes off, whereas the short pipe is one piece but deep so that he can stand in it… which is neat.

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Along with these neat things we get these little plastic pegs, which are apparently used to allow Mario to pickup the shell; there are holes in his new hands and the shell itself. Excellent.

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Ahhh look! He is totally holding that shell! Swapping the hands was a bit of a pain, the open hands can really only be positioned this way, so we lose some wrist mobility here. Bummer.

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“Here is that shell you ordered Sir”

If you are getting the Mario figure its just logical to buy both sets, that’s all there is to it.  Mario himself is nicely priced, you would expect to pay more for an import, so you may as well go big and do it up right. Its math! Speaking of math, Mario+A+B= Super fun!

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As fun as the playset pieces are they aren’t necessarily necessary. At the end of the day all you need is Mario and someone to get bounced on. Now if only I can get my hands on some more Mario baddies and maybe some Ninja Turtles.

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“Lets A-Go!”

Maybe with more time and actual planning I can make Smash Bros a reality. haha such a sad attempt, but you get the idea…

We are at the end of our journey. It was long and painful but we have made it.
I am mostly happy with the figure. I would really have liked more articulation and maybe an extra head/face! I’m feeling very limited due to the constant goofy look. An angry or hurt face would have made all the difference, some eye movements like Revoltech has on their ToyStory figures would be phenomenal! All things considered I am pleased with my purchase and look  forward to trying to push the limits of what can be done with him as a playable character. Need to build some serious dioramas. Marvel vs Capcom vs Nintendo?!
3.5/5. Its a bit harsh I know but I just had really high expectations. GAME OVER?mariorating

Here iss a cool Mario+Mercedes commercial that recently popped up on my Facebook.
*We are in no way associated with Mercedes*

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