SAGA KANGAROO (KANNIGAL)
Yesterday was a bitter sweet day. I had a small package arrive from Japan which contained a small armored kangaroo. The kangaroo, that I have named Saga Kangaroo (Saga Roo to his friends), is officially named Kannigal. At least I think he is. Roo is part of Takara’s Beast Saga toyline which was only released in Japan. Because it was only released in Japan all of the text on the package and all of the text on the official BS website is written in Japanese. As a resident of Nova Scotia, Canada I’ve never had much reason to learn how to read Japanese. Therefore, all the information I collect on BS figures, including the character’s names, comes from third party sources which may be less than reliable.
I was super excited about Beast Saga when Takara first unveiled it. One of my favorite 80s toylines was Takara’s Battle Beasts. While the Beast Saga figures aren’t a direct continuation of the 80s line they serve as an excellent homage/update. The two lines share many qualities but the BS figures are slightly bigger and bulkier and they feature more detailed sculpts. Beast Saga is to Battle Beasts what modern Masters of the Universe figures are to their retro counterparts or what modern G.I. Joes are to their Real American Hero predecessors.
Takara released 4 waves of Beast Saga figures in quick succession beginning in the fall of 2012. As each wave was announced I promptly pre-ordered the figures from BigBadToyStore, one of the few North American retailers importing the line. Over the course of about 6 months 38 of the 39 unique figures I ordered, along with a handful of the blind boxed clear variants, arrived in the mail. But for some reason one pre-order wasn’t filled. The kangaroo sat in my pre-order shopping cart for months before I finally got an email from BBTS stating that they wouldn’t be stocking the item and so my pre-order was cancelled.
I assumed the figure was cancelled altogether. By that time it seemed clear that the line was doomed. There hadn’t been news of any new product for months. I was disappointed to see the line end so quickly but it was especially frustrating to be robbed of the final figure. I decided to check ebay to see if any of the kangaroos had made it to market, perhaps in Japan at least, before the plug was pulled on the toyline. I found a lot of listings for unpainted prototypes and sellers were asking upwards of $30 for it. I was tempted to pick one up but opted to bide my time in hopes that I would eventually find a fully painted one at a reasonable price.
Which I finally did a few weeks ago. A Japanese seller was selling this figure for about ten bucks, and the shipping was free. I placed my order and now here he is, the final Beast Saga figure: Saga Kangaroo.
I really like this toy. I’d say it probably ranks somewhere in my top 10 favorite BS figures. The Battle Beast kangaroo (Battle Kangaroo) did not rank so highly amongst my vintage BB figures. He was kind of a middle of the pack guy. I don’t recall giving him much of a personality when I played with him when I was a kid. He was just one of the rank and file troops on Battle Rhino’s team of good guys.
Like the 80s version Saga Roo has blue armor, though Roo’s is a darker shade. But unlike the original his fur is brown instead of gray. I’m honestly not sure what color real kangaroos are, I think the ones I’ve seen in real life were more gray than brown, but I’m betting they come in a variety of colors (They do, I checked. They also come in red). I think I prefer the brown fur over the gray; it’s of greater contrast to the blue armor.
The sculpt on this figure is top-notch. His face is quite realistic and I like that he has a slight hunch; the posture seems apt for a kangaroo. Where the sculpt really shines is in the details and placement of the armor. He’s got two big steel clenched gloved fists which resemble boxing gloves. Most BB and BS figures either have armored legs and bare feet or a full armored boot. This guy has bare ankles and armored shoes. They remind me of those weird toe sneakers that runners wear. It makes me imagine this guy as athletic and agile. Lastly, he has a pouch in the front of his armor as every good kangaroo should. Now I realize the presence of a pouch would mean he’s actually a “she” but since the pouch is on the armor and we can’t see the actually underbelly I feel we can’t definitively identify his/her gender one way or the other. Perhaps in my Beast Saga Universe I’ll just imagine Roo as an Androgynous type, like Lancer from Robotech.
It’s sad knowing that, in all likelihood, this is to be my last Beast Saga purchase. But it’s a good figure to go out on and I’m glad to finally have him. It took me 20+ years to finish my childhood Battle Beast collection (Pugnacious Penguin was the last one I needed to acquire) and I feared this figure might elude me for many years as well. Luckily that wasn’t the case. 9 out of 10.