SAGA DILLO (ALJARO)
This little fella arrived in my last shipment from BigBadToyStore which contained my Wave 2 Retaliation figures and what I hope isn’t my final wave of Beast Saga figures. It’s been months now since I’ve heard anything regarding the future of this toy line. Collecting a toy line which is only available in Japan can be a frustrating venture. Information that I can actually read is very hard to come by. When this toy line launched last fall it seemed as though Takara was backing it in a big way. There was a comic and cartoon announced as well as multiple waves of figures. Well I haven’t heard any news on the anime or the manga in ages and the pre-orders of the figures dried up months ago. I ordered all of the figures in advance from BBTS and they were slowly doled out over the course of 8 months or so. But this armadillo was in the final batch of announced figures. I even inquired with one of the guys from BBTS whether they had the inside scoop on any upcoming figures and they told me that they hadn’t heard anything.
I really hope this isn’t my final Beast Saga purchase but I’m all for a hiatus. My wallet has taken a beating these past few months from all of the various toy lines I’ve been collecting. I just wish I knew whether the line was over or slowing down or maybe gearing up to flood my collection with another 30 figures.
But enough about that, let’s get to the review shall we. This here is an armadillo who I’ve dubbed Saga-Dillo. I’ve always been fascinated by armadillos. As a kid I often cited them as my favorite animal. Which might seem weird considering we don’t have armadillos in Canada and that I’ve probably only ever seen one or two of them in real life. But I guess it’s no different than a kid saying he likes giraffes or zebras. I just always thought armadillos were the perfect blend of cute and cool looking. They look like they would make adorable house pets and yet they can roll into an armored ball. It’s like a house cat crossed with a turtle, which is awesome. I don’t know if I’d feel the same about them if I lived in an area where they actually lived. Maybe they’re pests, I don’t really know. Texans seem to have no issue running over them. In movies armadillos always seem to be the go-to road kill animal. In my neck of the woods it’s all raccoons and porcupines who litter the sides of the highways. I don’t actually drive so I’ve never run over anything but if I were a normal adult with a driver’s license and I ran over something I think I would be extra mortified if I ran over an armadillo. I’ve actually considered purchasing a stuffed armadillo before but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the whole taxidermy thing.
Now you’d think that the original Battle Beast armadillo, released in the second wave of BB figures in the late 80s, might have been one of my favorites considering my fondness of these little creatures but he wasn’t. I liked the figure just fine but he seemed to lack personality. His solid yellow eyes and lack of any sort of facial expression left him seeming blank. The purple armor looked good against his brown hide but I think a darker purple might have been better. Armored Armadillo ( or Battle Armadillo as I called him ) fought on the good side during my childhood beast wars but he was one of the guys who flew under the radar at playtime, rarely doing anything of note.
When it comes to this new Beast Saga figure I think the designers took the old version into consideration. The fact that this guy is also wearing purple may be a coincidence but anytime I see similarities like that between the new and vintage lines I assume they must have been intentional. This guy is fair amount lighter in color than his predecessor, both in his armor and his hide. Like the original I think this figure would have benefitted from some darker colors. This guy’s washed out palette gives him a rather drab overall appearance. The orange highlights are the only thing that save this figure from being completely lost amongst the other brighter figures.
The color choices are about the only thing similar between the old figure and the new. This guy has a far more unique sculpt and I think it’s great. He has a hunched posture with his head sitting low. The plated armor on his neck and back looks awesome. His skinny arms have a ribbed tube look about them which is quite different than any of the other BS figures. The coolest part of the sculpt is the massive round shield-like armor on his outer arms. It gives the impression that this guy can easily fold up into a steel ball like a Baku-gon or whatever those things are that my nephews are always playing with. I can imagine this guy surrounded by enemies on a battlefield somewhere, realizing he’s out numbered, and simply rolling himself up into an impenetrable metal ball and rolling himself out of there, deflecting bullets and breaking toes along the way.
The face sculpt has far more personality than the Battle Beast version had. This guy is a little cuter than I’d like him to be but that seems like a tough thing to call a fault. He’s got little solid-black eyes, a playful smirk, and an adorable little snout. As for weapons he comes with a pretty standard looking sword and shield combo. All-in-all this is a great figure, one of the better ones in the line in my opinion. With some better paint choices I think this guy might have been a contender for my top 10 list for 2013. 8 out of 10.
I scored the clear version of this figure in one of the blind packs I ordered. It looks okay but the translucency doesn’t really add anything to the figure. The colors are still bland, just even more so on this version.