TMMN Reviews: Bandai D-Arts Vile Figure (Warning: Image-Heavy)

It's been a while since we've reviewed a Mega Man figure here on The Mega Man Network, but I've recently managed to rectify that with the acquisition of our very own Vile figure from Bandai's D-Arts line, courtesy of Bluefin and Tamashii Nations. And in advance, I would just like to apologize for the less-than-stellar photography; if I get another shot at doing this, I hope to employ a good lamp and perhaps even a better camera. The purple one's packaging comes with an interesting hybrid of Eastern and Western features; as you can see in the picture at right, he is marked as "VAVA," his Japanese name, complete with other markings which reveal his place of origin. Open it up, and you get the actual Western box, complete with Mega Man X branding and the villainous tag by which so many of us better know him as.

But don't be fooled; though the packaging is indeed in English, open it up and pull out the instructions and-- surprise! --the instructions are still in Japanese.

Fortunately, you probably aren't going to need the instructions-- save for maybe one part, which we'll get to later. Unlike the Kotobukiya figures based on the Classic series, or even Bandai's own "Mega Armor" and "Ironbuster" series from many years ago, these are not model kits; instead, they're billed as "action figures," though they may not necessarily deliver everything you would expect from such a term.

However, this does mean that-- in a manner of speaking-- there is no assembly required. Open the box, remove the top of the plastic tray cover, pop out the figure, and you have one bad Mav, ready to go. That is, if all you want from Vile is some bare-knuckle brawling. Otherwise, you'll also want to free his vast assortment of accessories.

Comes with all you see here.

Vile stands at 130mm/5.1' (according to Gundam Planet), and is primarily a medium-to-deep grape purple color, which seems to draw from the darker shading of his official Maverick Hunter X artwork. And though this figure takes several cues from his appearance in that game, there is a throwback to his original design by way of the Maverick "Sigma" insignia on his helmet. So much like its packaging, this figure is a bit of a hybrid in itself.

From the front, the main secondary color is black, which cover his upper arms, upper legs, and groin area, as well as the visor of his helmet. These are accented by a gold trim and a sort of pearly-white color on his hands, feet, ribs, and helmet, with a green belt line, silver elbow and knee joints, and some red details taking care of the rest.

In addition, the bottoms of his feet feature some nice molded detail (unlike most previous figures, including the old Bandai sets) and some transparent red sections which catch the light nicely. Even though these details are probably the least-likely to be seen on the figure, they are still a nice touch.

On the back, an extra color comes in to play with Vile's blue backpack. It's a medium blue which seems to fall between the two main "Mega Man" blues (though I don't have a D-Arts X figure here to directly compare), and is further highlighted with more red and gold detailing. His attachable signature shoulder cannon(s) are a gunmetal grey with transparent red lens and detailing in green and gold.

As you will see in the pictures featured throughout this review, the articulation on this figure is quite stunning, especially compared to just about any Mega Man or Rockman series to come before it (with the possible exception of Kotobukiya's; again, don't have one handy for a direct comparison). Normally, I would even give a count of how many points of articulation there are here, but there are just so many, I'm afraid I'd miss some.

In addition, the figure uses something you don't see much-- if ever-- in figures produced in the West: Double ball-joints. For example, instead of the one you might normally find on a shoulder to allow it to rotate and swing in and out, the entire shoulder itself can move here, providing for a much more realistic range of motion.

To give you an idea, suppose you wanted to have a figure reaching across their torso, clutching at their side. Most figures wouldn't be able to reach properly, but this one could do it. And these types of joints are all over the place: head and neck, shoulders, legs, waist, wrist, and probably other places more difficult to tell (i.e. ankles, which are up inside the boot). Just about the only thing without articulation would be the fingers, for which there are different hands to achieve different poses.

Even the ammo belt is articulated-- all of it:

Every single last bullet features its own hinge.

Moving on, as you can see in the picture above, Vile comes with oodles of accessories and interchangeable parts, the most popular of which has to be his glass of bourbon:

I'm not going to lie to you: I don't drink, but this has to be the most fun accessory of just about any figure I've ever owned, as you'll soon see.

To give you an idea of the figure's size, here he is surrounded by figures from numerous other Mega Man and Rockman lines:

Here, we have the 10-inch Axl figure from Jazwares, the six-inch Jazwares Zero figure from Mega Man Zero, the Jazwares "Retro Roto" Proto Man, Mega Man from Toy Biz's Marvel vs. Capcom line, Mega Man from Bandai's animated Mega Man toy line, X in a Robot Ride Armor and Zero from Bandai's Rockman X3 "Mega Armor" series, and Alia from Yamato's Rockman X8 line of blind-packed figures. Hopefully one or more of these will give you some idea of how big the figure stands alongside whatever you may have.

Hmm, that's a lot of good guys. It looks like our boy Vile is in trouble; what's he to do?

Well, lucky for him, he comes with plenty of weaponry! Better still, if it's not in use, you can plug the holes on his backpack where the shoulder cannons go with additional pegs, as seen here:

Once those are removed and the extra pieces are attached, you can arm Vile to the teeth-- a one-Reploid army!

As you can see, one of those pieces includes a strange replacement leg based on his odd leg-based artillery. Unfortunately, the way the leg pegs into the waist is rather difficult to do, as the connection point is further down in the leg:

In fact, I could not get the assembly to come apart right at all to properly attach it. As a result, I just sort of propped him on his weapon leg up there. The rest of it involves disassembling the lower part of Vile's leg, moving the upper gold frame to the weapon, and plugging the rest back in where the knee would normally connect.

Anyway, with Vile fully loaded up, he's pretty awesome, and for the most part better than any line to come before it (again, save for maybe Kotobukiya, which I cannot qualify here):

As you can see, you can get some great poses and shots in from this figure. There is, however, a bit of a downside.

I mentioned earlier that this is considered an "action figure," rather than a model kit. Unfortunately, while this may be true, the fact is that Vile-- and presumably the other D-Arts figures, are not meant for the heavier play one might expect from a Transformers figure, a G.I. Joe, or even Jazwares or Mattel's own Mega Man lines.

As noted, there are a lot of pieces to work with here, and in addition to the articulation of the shoulder cannons and the ammo belt (which only feeds to one of them at a time), there is are extra pentagonal blue pieces which plug into the sides of Vile's backpack to mount the shoulder cannons on. These don't stay in place very well as you try to move and pose the figure; once you strike the pose, it looks terrific, but until you get it there, expect a lot of one part or another from that assembly to come off. Thankfully, the rest of the figure holds together pretty well, with tight joints and most of the other pieces holding firm.

In addition, Bandai went the extra mile on this one with weapons detail. If you had the old "Mega Armor" figures, you might remember that some had weapons which could be plugged into holes in X or Zero's respective Busters. Vile has a similar effect here, which can plug into either shoulder cannon or his knee-blaster. But check this out:

As you can see in the accessory pic near the top of this review, each armament has two interchangeable barrel tips: One which shows the ruby-red "lens" of the weapon, as often seen in the promotional art, and a second tip for holding the burst. It's actually a shame there is only one burst to share across all three blasters, as having Vile opening up with all three at once would be a very striking visual.

Now that X has been taken care of, you might be wondering the same thing as Vile...

"Hmm... do you think I could fit in this thing?"

Well, the answer is... not especially well:

"This... is not how I envisioned the fruits of my moment of triumph."

That isn't to say it can't be done with a little bit of work, but if Vile gets into trouble, he won't have a leg to stand on:

"Ya-hoooooo! Now I can use the drive-thru!"

Suffice to say, you'll probably want to hope that the D-Arts Ride Armor is greenlit. For the rarity of the original and what it would cost to get it, it will likely be the better, more impressive deal.

It might also help him out a bit when he tries to pick up ladies, too:

So, would I recommend the D-Arts Mega Man X Vile action figure? That mostly depends on what your intentions are.

If you're someone who likes to actually play with their toys, or were even considering this as a gift for someone who does, you may want to reconsider. It might have only been my figure, but the shoulder cannon assembly just comes apart way too easily, and in the hands of someone younger, the pieces would likely be prone to getting lost. In addition, while other parts-- such as the shoulder armor, specifically-- hold on much better, they too would no doubt succumb to any sort of play rougher than posing the figure.

That said, as more of a "collector's item," this figure is great. Posing with some of the accessories can take a bit of work, but you can see the results for yourself above. If you're a fan of Mega Man X and like to display, or even take pictures of your figures, then it's hard not to recommend Vile to help balance out the two X and Zero figures already available.

Vile is available now at a suggested retail price of $49.99, and less at Amazon. A sample for this review was provided to us by Bluefin.