To live a good life, one must often ask the question “why?” Yet there are some cases in which the question would be better off unasked. “Why is he holding six swords in between his fingers?” “Why is a feudal Japanese warlord spouting bad Engrish like a broken faucet?” “Why does his horse have handlebars and exhaust pipes sticking out of them?” When it comes to Sengoku Basara’s portrayal of the famed Japanese tactician Date Masamune (nicknamed dokuganryū or “One-Eyed Dragon”) from the 17th century, sense and reason are far, far removed from the sphere of relevancy.
For better or for worse, this scene will forever remain as the most memorable moment in the Sengoku Basara anime.
As the companion to the Sanada Yukimura Revoltech figure I reviewed a few weeks ago, this limited white version of the Date Masamune Revoltech is similar to its rival both in their good overall quality, as well the presence of a couple of significant faults. On with the review!
Like the real Date Masamune in history, this Sengoku Basara toy dons the iconic crescent moon helmet and eyepatch. The similarity ends there, however, as this Date carries around no less than six swords on his person and wears a stylish jacket rather than a full suit of armour.
This particular version of the figure deviates from the original blue colour scheme in favour of white, black and gold. In my opinion, This alternate white colour scheme works much better than Sanada Yukimura because of the strong contrast between black and white distributed evenly across the outfit. The white colour of his jacket also makes him look like a Japanese bike gang member, which is actually pretty appropriate, given how his horse looks.
If you look closely, you’ll notice a nifty lightning motif in Date’s design. In addition to the maelstrom-like crest on his back, Date’s belt buckle, decorations on his armguards, the tail of his coat, as well as the edges of his swords are all lightning shaped.
The black armour Date wears is painted in glossy black with brass studs on his helmet and shoulders and gold on his forearms and shins. While the brass details look spot-on, the gold bands on his shin armour are a little messy upon closer inspection.
The white coat Date Wears is lined with gold. With the exception of the coat tails, the lining is painted with acceptable neatness. Note the folds and wrinkles of Date’s clothing, as they add a lot to the various action poses the figure is capable of. Like Sanada Yukimura, Date’s coat collars are made of a soft but durable material that does not impeded arm articulation.
One other detail that deserves attention is the chain mail on Date’s upper arms and chest. Despite the size of the figure, the miniscule rings on the mail are painted clearly in metallic gray. The chain mail parts look great even under close scrutiny, which is very impressive, to say the least.
First off, there are 6 sword hilts that can be attached to the scabbards. They are great alternatives to actual sheathed swords, which would be pretty unreasonable to ask of a small-sized toy.
Then there’s the large sword. While all six of Date’s swords are technically supposed to be the same size, the size of this particular sword is exaggerated for stylistic purposes. The hilt is long enough to be held by both hands, though getting the arms into an accommodating position is pretty difficult. Nevertheless, it looks great and poses well, so no complaints here!
In addition, there are 4 regular sized swords. These are meant to be combined in pairs to form a double-ended blade weapon with an extended handle. They are around 3/4th the size of the large sword.
Finally, the signature “Wolverine claws” are fixed onto a pair of hands. Each blade is around the same size as the smaller swords. Because they are pre-attached to the hands, there is no worry about the grip of Date’s knuckles. The hands are articulated at the wrist so that you can tilt them up and down on a single axis in addition to the swivel action of the pegs. These bad boys look as great as they are ridiculous, and they are very ridiculous.
All 11(!) swords are admirably detailed. The gold parts of the hilts are sometimes a little messy, but that really is a trivial fault considering their size and numbers. The hilt guards are shaped like the insignia on Date’s back, and the lower parts half of the blade edges are sharpened in a lightning-like jagged pattern. As focal points of the figure, these swords do not disappoint.
In addition to the “claw hands” mentioned above, Date comes with a pair of sword-gripping hands and a pair of open hands, both pairs being articulated at the wrist. The former can be tilted side to side, enabling the hands to point the sword forward, among other things. The latter can be tilted up and down much like the claw hands and looks like they’re ready to draw out a sword upon command. All of the hands have gold lining running across the back of the hand and along the fingers.
At last, we arrive at the last item on the accessories list – the faces. Unfortunately, like the Sanada Yukimura, the faces of Date Masamune fail to be on par with the rest of the figure. Date’s faces are very small, very narrow, and lacking in expression. The regular face looks plain and uninspired, and the grinning face looks more like a grimace than anything else. When you are a young and wild warlord of the Sengoku era, you gotta look the part, and sadly, the Revoltech Date just doesn’t look all that menacing for a guy toting six swords around. Thankfully, eyepatches are the easy way to make anyone look badass, and the presences of Date’s signature eyepatch on both faces definitely helps his image significantly.
Oh, of course there are the display stands, which includes the ever-nifty effect base to support standing poses. These, along with the Revoltech container and Revolchip are now standard for Yamaguchi Revoltech figures.
The neck contains a double revolve joint, and the chest can be tucked in to allow the figure to tilt its neck forward. However, despite the three points of articulation given to the neck, Date faces a notable posture problem – he always looks like he’s slouching! Having Date hold up his head up high is an impossible task, and looks like a skulker a lot of the times – not very leader-like at all. This problem is the result of the high collar behind Date’s hand and the bulkiness of his helmet. Sculptor Yamaguchi tried to alleviate the problem by adding articulation to the outer rim of the helmet, allowing it to be tucked inwards when needed. Sadly, this measure was not enough.
Like Sanada Yukimura, Date’s hips consist of two swivel joints. Unlike Sanada, Date’s hips are more restricted in terms of its range of movement due to the obstructions from the hard coat tail. This is not a big problem, though, as Date still has a decent amount of freedom to move his legs.
The triple scabbards on either side of Date’s hips are attached via double revolver joints, which mean they can be easily positioned to avoid being obstructive.
The knee articulation is facilitated by large double revolver joints that are capable of a vast movement range. The shoulders, waist and elbows and ankles contain regular revolver joints, which means they are durable, and reliable, if a little too stiff at times.
The culmination of all this is a very articulate toy. The Sengoku Basara games and anime featured some very over-the-top action, and this Revoltech figure does a great job of living up to Date’s name. Barring some of the more extreme examples such as squatting, your imagination is the only limit when it comes to the posing possibilities of this toy. My limited time and creativity cannot hope to capture the complete scope of this toy’s capacities for fun, but I hope you can get the gist of it from the examples I give here. Best of all, this guy is very durable and will stand up to a lot of punishment, as long as you don’t go out of your way to break the swords and the helmet crest.
The faults regarding the neck and faces aside, I was pretty shocked to find the Sengoku Basara Revoltechs in the bargain bins of online stores. First Otacute, now HLJ has joined in the price-slashing, offering a 40% discount from the original retail price of 2286 yen. Sure, they may have their problems, but at the end of the day, the Revoltech Date Masamune is a great toy. It’s well-made, very articulated, and full of attitude. I suppose male figures just don’t have that crucial edge of sex appeal when pitted against the hordes of bishoujo figures out there. After all, a contest between this and this is hardly fair. Still, if you feel like adding some testosterone into your collection, the Revoltech Date Masamune is a great choice, especially at the current bargain prices.
Tonne of accessories
Very articulated and full of attitude
Highly detailed, especially the chain armour and the weapons
Faces are lacklustre