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Review: Revoltech Danbo (“Very Well Done” Edition)

Here at Hobby Hovel, we’re no strangers to over-reviewed figures.  Between the Good Smile Company Miku, Saber Lily and Dead Master, a lot has been said on figures that virtually everyone has seen and read about already. But I doubt any of those figures have received anywhere close to the amount of internet love as the Revoltech Danbo. In fact, this is undoubtedly the most unnecessary review on this site – I bet I can review a loaf of white bread and that would still be more informative than this. But oh well, since I haven’t had any other new toys arrive lately, I’m flat out of choices, so Danbo it is!

Also known as Danboard and Cardbo, Danbo originates from the manga Yotsuba&!, the brainchild of Kiyohiko Azuma of Azumanga Daioh fame. Faster than a jumbo jet and capable of launching deadly warheads, Danbo is a powerful battle robot that runs on money – that’s the story Miura and Ena told Yotsuba, at least (it’s actually just their school project).

But in all honesty, Danbo’s backstory really doesn’t matter much, because bitches love the little cardboard robot regardless of whether they know of its hilarious antics or not. One look at the photo pool of virtually any toy-related group on Flickr would reveal the extent of this infatuation. With its simple design, Danbo seems to have also found a fanbase amongst hipsters. So what is it that makes this toy the sweetheart of manga geeks, toy collectors and hipsters alike? Hit the jump to find out!

Despite being just a blocky cardboard man, the Revoltech Danbo is suprisingly detailed. The cardboard edges has are lined with dark brown, and the switch on Danbo’s head and the coin slot on its chest are both flawlessly painted. More impressive is the shading on the flat surfaces. Darker tones are applied subtly around the edges to give the figure a slightly more realistic look – something I did not expect out of a Revoltech figure.

Danbo may look tiny and adorable in photos, but in reality it’s actually a sizable hunk of plastic. Measuring in at 13cm tall and 7cm wide, it easily makes other Revoltechs and Figmas its bitches. Furthermore, despite the considerable size of Danbo’s head, the toy is actually not top-heavy at all, thanks to the mostly hollow construction of the head. This means that Danbo is very stable standing on its feet without the help of the display base, which is just a circular disk with a short pig on it.

As Danbo does not have any hands, there are no hand-held accessories to speak of. The two accessories that comes with the toy are Muria’s head and the display base. Muria’s face is wearing a slightly bewildered expression, and the sight of a little girl stuck in a silly cardboard robot costume is all kinds of adorable.

The most interesting feature of the toy is undoubtedly the light-up eyes.  True to the manga, the Revoltech Danbo has a little switch on the right side of its face.  Flip it, and radiant light beams forth form Danbo’s eye-holes! The lights run on 2 LR44 batteries which are included with the toy and are easily replaced should you need to.

By the way, the only difference between this “Very Well Done” version of the Revoltech Danbo and the original is the little stamp on the back of Danbo’s head on on top of the display base. This comes from a later manga in which Danbo appears, this time with a congratulatory stamp from Muria and Ena’s teacher for job well-done. Kaiyodo didn’t even bother redesign the packaging, as a little sticker is all that sets this from the original. But while I would’ve liked a different expression on Muria’s head for this version, I certainly don’t blame Kaiyodo for not reinventing the wheel. No point in fixing something that ain’t broke, right?

Articulation

Alright, I know that articulation is boring to write and even more boring to read, so I thought I would mix things up this week with some video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIWNHssJO4s

Final Say

So, the Revoltech Danbo may not be the most flexible of toys. There is little room for creativity, and I can’t imagine any outrageous funny poses out of this toy. However, to dwell on the articulation on this little cardboard man would be like complaining about the number of seats on a Ferrari – missing the point completely. Rather, the defining element of the Revoltech Danbo its simple yet potent charm. It takes you back to a time when you didn’t need expensive gadgets or mind-altering chemicals to have fun – rather, all you needed was the magic of imagination. And unlike moe fetishes points like cat ears, thigh-highs or reverse-trap, it does not take a hardened anime geek to see the charm in the Danbo.

Furthermore, this thing is obscenely photogenic. While I found it hard to make Danbo interact with its surroundings due to rudimentary articulation, it can fit into contexts that no bishoujo/mecha action can. Whether it’s around the house or beside some shrubbery, Danbo just works. In fact, I enjoyed shooting Danbo so much that I decided to make it a permanent resident in my camera bag. I know there are way too many Danbo photos on the internet, but after giving it a try myself, I really can’t blame them.

In the end, no matter who you are, the Revoltech Danbo would probably appeal to you in some way. Part of it is because we’ve all been kids at one point in our lives, and part of it is the charm of its simple shapes.  This toy (both this version and the original version) has seen a few waves of re-releases recently, and even if it’s sold out at the big online retailers, it shouldn’t be too hard to get ahold of(at least compared to before). If you can find it around the retail price of 2100 yen, there’s little reason not to grab one – hell, grab two while you’re at it, because I think I’d make a fantastic gift to just about anyone.

Pros

  • As cute as a basket of kittens
  • Insanely photogenic
  • Light-up eyes!
  • Surprisingly large

Cons

  • Clicky revolver joints sometimes makes posing slightly frustrating

There’ll be no Double H this week as I’m still bleeding in the mouth after my wisdom tooth extraction. It will resume next week with a WonFes extravaganza – look forward to it!

27 replies on “Review: Revoltech Danbo (“Very Well Done” Edition)”

Wow, looks like you really love your Danbo! I got the original one a few months ago and while it’s cute, the lack of flexibility frustrates me a bit and I don’t seem to get the inspiration to take cute photos of it like you and so many other photographers.

By the way, damn you for tipping me off to the new Danbo story updates! I had to go search for the chapters I’ve missed since I last updated myself with Yotsuba and there went my Saturday afternoon.

I know what you mean, dude. Danbo really forced me to go out of my comfort zone, as it just didn’t make sense to shoot it in front of a plain black backdrop. Its crappy articulation really made me think about the things around the subject as opposed to the subject itself. At first I really didn’t know where to even begin to look for the shots, but eventually I did get into the grove of things. If anything, it was a neat little challenge and a good change of pace, especially for a one-trick pony like me. ^^;

Haha, you’re welcome! What did you think of Danbo’s return? Muria and Ena must have the patience of Saints, LOL.

Actually, I didn’t realize that Danbo was in the ever mysterious OUTDOORS? Whoah. Then again, you could kind of say the same about Nendos with their limited articulation. Now I’m getting ideas…

I LOVED IT! I wish the Revoltechs could fold up like it did in the comic. I kinda wanted the chapter to go on a little longer and see what Danbo would do to those kids in the playground too.

WTFBBQ, you and Ash BOTH giving me lip about my voice! I’ll have you know I had to talk with a busted mouth for that video! BITCHES DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE SOFT GENTLENESS OF MY VOICE! (Self confidence -20).

I guess I’m just no good without my better half!

Maybe you shouldn’t try to do talky videos when your mouth is the Fountain of Pain…?

You’re slipping, man!  But seriously, one of the biggest problems with people that do talking videos on the internet, other than all the other problems, is that they talk bad.  Don’t start slacking, because next thing you know, you’ll be mumbling your way through entire podcasts, speaking some strange language that might be a mix of English, Chinese, Japanese, and Canadian!

The things I do for the blog — I brave my bleeding gums to being people the good stuff! But yeah, i’ll be sure to refrain from blurting out any demonic tongues in the future. Talking to yourself is weird, I tell you!

I recognize that doujin… ehem I mean…

I had seen many Danbo pictures in the past but I never noticed the shading until you pointed it out. Very nice. I was also oblivious to the fact that it came with a Miura head and that the eyes lit up. All of that paired with the fact that I’m a big Yotsuba& fan is really making me want a Danbo.

Oh the possibilities!

Haha, I’m glad to have informed at least someone! I suppose because people like to shoot Danbo outdoors so much, the light-up eyes aren’t as relevant as they might be otherwise. Still I love how they can give the harmless-looking Danbo a slightly menacing look. Also, it makes for a cute little night light!

Dohohoho, I’m glad someone recognized that doujin. If it were up to me, those doujins ought to be canon, hehehe.

Danbo, Danbo, Danbo how I wanted one a few years back, kinda bugs me it’s so popular makes me think there isn’t any pictures left to take of it. Still really cool figure, I myself wanted the Amazon version but that’s even more expensive and harder to get a hold than the regular Danbo.

Also, that doujinshi, yes I concur totally canon, heck I was just exposed to the possibility that it could have been Azuma himself who drew it.

Haha, I like to entertain that thought as well. More mangaka needs to draw H-doujins of their own works. I’m look at you To Love-Ru, HotD, Nana to Karou, Kodomo no Jikan, Ichigo Mashimaro–oh wait…

Haha, Danbo thinks outside of the box.  Really nice pictures, he does seem to look cool in any surrounding.  The light up eyes are what makes me really like him though, and the fact that just about anyone’s head can go on him.  Cool little accompanying video. 

Danbo does indeed look cool in any surrounding — in fact, I was considering taking photos of Danbo lying on a pile of garbage just to prove that point! If it wasn’t for the smell, I would’ve done it too, but alas, I like Danbo too much to have the stench of rotten eggs stuck on it.

I’m glad you liked the silly video — thanks! =)

Danbo is really a funny and cute figure, I really like the cardbox design ^-^
The light feature seems to be awesome, someone said to me that it would a pain to change the batteries, but I guess that isn’t true.
Btw whats the name of your bag? I think I’d like buy it ^^

I hope your mouth gets well soon ^_^, wisdom tooth extractions is horrible especially the taste of blood 🙁

Yeah, batteries is a breeze — all you have to do open a little plastic cover on the underside of Danbo’s head, no screws or additional tools required. =)

The bag is a hand-down from my father, so I’m not sure exactly what the name is, but it looks like the Lowepro Rezo 160 AW. I don’t go outside with my camera too often, but it serves its purpose pretty well.

Thanks dude! My mouth is healing up pretty well, though I’m still scared to using the left side of my mouth to eat. The dentist really went to town with my mouth during the operation, and I actually had to get stitches at the end =/. He said it would take 2 months to completely heal, but it’ll be good enough for practical uses for within a week. I hope he’s right, because I’m sick of having to nibble on all my food ^^;

Those lit up eyes are cool, it looks so innocent without them, but the moment those lights are on… hoho…. infinite possibilities of evil molesting of loli and other dirty stuff XD

Hope you can eat with your left side of your mouth soon! I’ve yet to take out mine sometime this year, it’s a pain in the butt every time when the tooth decides it’s time to push out a little bit more, whenever it does that, I get a fever.

It’s funny that you mentioned loli, because there was an Ena volume of that H-doujinshi series. It would make more sense for Muria to peek at that, but in the end I thought showing something like that might be a little too much for some people, haha. But yes, glowing eyes = super exploitable. =)

Ouch, wisdom tooth-induced fevers?? I hope you get that sorted out soon, and hopefully with less bleeding and other unpleasantries! ^^

If there are people who are too addicted with Danbo, then I’m one of them 😀 I can’t even remember when was the first time I do a photoshoot with Danbo. Simple and photogenic!

It is my belief that Danbo is the bacon of photography — it goes well with anything and everything!

(Sorry for the late reply, btw — the notification email slipped my notice >.<)

Everytime I see this thing I have an urge to slam my fist down on it and flatten the cardboard.  It’s like bubble wrap, you’re ever so tempted to pop all the bubbles.  I can’t believe a cardboard figure is so popular, but I do like the light up eyes, they make for interesting photos in the dark. 
I also didn’t realize it came with a head “underneath” the cardboard box, that’s kinda interesting.  Maybe I should’ve picked one up when it was on sale last time.  D’oh!  =(

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