SAGA WHALE (DONWHALE)
I’ve got another self-bought Christmas present to review today. I know Christmas was a while ago now but it’ll take me a while to get through all of these as I was a very good boy in 2012 and so I spoiled myself accordingly. I bought myself a little something from every corner of the toy collecting spectrum. Lots of Joes and Transformers, some Marvel, some Masters of the Universe and a brand new set of Beast Saga figures. The Beast Sagas were the self-bought present that I was most looking forward to unwrapping on Christmas morning.
As regular readers know by now Beast Saga is a new action figure line that rolled out in September 2012. Every month since new figures have been released. These little guys are presently only available in Japan which sucks because it means I have to pay import prices for them. Each one of these figures is $8. Now that actually isn’t horrible when compared to the $12 to $16 I’m paying for Marvel Universe figures. The problem comes when you factor in the shipping which bumps up the individual price to about $13 per figure. It sucks but I love these little guys so I can deal with. What will annoy me to no end is if they eventually end up imported by an American toy company and end up for sale in my local Walmart for $5 a pop. With a cartoon coming out in Japan soon it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Beast Saga‘s popularity grows and the figures start showing up in America. If that happens I would expect to see the figures repackaged and sold in 2 packs for $10 to $12 dollars.
So at this point the individual figures have been sold for $8 and the 3 packs, of which there have been 3, have sold for $24..makes sense. What didn’t make sense to me is why the 6 figure set released in November was $60. I would’ve expected a 6 pack to sell for $48 or god forbid less. You’d think they’d knock a dollar or two off when selling us multiple figures, not tacking on more. It reminds me of a deal my local Dairy Queen used to advertise. They had a value menu featuring multiple items and the “deals” were 1 item for $2, 2 for $4 and 3 for $6. Maybe I’m nuts but those don’t sound like “deals” to me.
So anyway I didn’t pre-order the Beast Saga 6 pack (or DX Starter Set as it’s being called online) because I wanted to know what I was paying for. Was there more to this set that I wasn’t seeing or was it simply 6 figures with weapons and trading cards? Another problem with buying toys only available in Japan is that it’s very hard to find any information about them written in English. Nowhere on the mighty internet could I find a comprehensive listing of what was included in this DX Starter Set. And then BigBadToyStore, the site where I’ve purchased all my Beast Saga figures up to this point sold out of the damn things. I went into a toy panic thinking I might’ve missed my chance to pick up the set so I dashed over to a competitor site and pre-ordered it. If I had to pay $10 a figure plus shipping for some unknown reason then so be it, there was no way I was gonna miss out on this set. Why? Because it had a whale in it.
The original Battle Beasts line of the 80s never had a whale and it seemed one of the series’ largest omissions, no pun intended. They had a shark and a porpoise and few other fish so why not a whale? Well Takara has finally righted that wrong and has provided us with not one but two armored whales in this very set. There’s a Killer Whale and then there’s this guy who I’ve dubbed Saga Whale. I’ve seen him referred to as Donwhale on other sites and he appears to be modeled after a Blue Whale.
This figure is awesome. He’s got a large head with a big baleen smile and ribbed chin. The upper head is gray, the baleen is yellow and the chin is white so it looks very good. I’m so glad they didn’t cheap out here and paint the head all one color as they would have back in the Battle Beast days. He’s got round black eyes on each side of his head and then he appears to have armor on his eyebrows and blowhole. I’m not sure why you’d armor your eyebrows but protecting your blowhole is never a bad idea. The body armor is a nice aquatic blue which looks good against the gray skin. Saga Whale has a nautical theme throughout his design. He has boat turbine shoulder pads and surfboards acting as side armor which is something we’ve never seen before.
He’s got fins all over him and he even has a little armored whale tail on the back. His staff and shield both also feature the whale tail motif. If you can get past the scale being out of whack and the fact that he has arms and legs then I’d say this is a damn near perfect whale figure. The DX Starter Set also included the killer whale, a parrot, an owl, a wolf and a ridiculous panther. This set also came with extra trading cards so I guess that was what was supposed to justify the higher price. The set over all isn’t a complete hit but this figure is. 9 out of 10.