TMMN Reviews: Bandai D-Arts Bass Figure w/Treble (Warning: Image-Heavy)

The third in our line of Bandai D-Arts reviews (following Mega Man & Rush and Vile) is none other than the Blue Bomber's robotic rival, Bass, who is accompanied by his faithful robotic support wolf, Treble.

Here, you can see his box placed alongside Mega Man's. Note that it is a considerable degree wider, thanks in no small part to the greater mass Treble possesses over Rush. Of course, Bass is no slouch here, either.

As always, Bandai has designed the packaging to sport numerous pictures of the featured character(s) striking a number of iconic poses from their numerous appearances over the years. Also similar to Mega Man & Rush, but unlike Vile, an image of the included figures is featured on the front of the packaging. This unfortunately leads to Treble being concealed more by his own visage than Rush was, so if you were thinking of displaying this in its window packaging, that's a potential downside.

Out of the box, he looks good, and the joints are all solid. His articulation is pretty much a match for what we saw in Mega Man, from his wrists to his elbows, shoulders, pelvis, waist, neck, thighs, knees, and ankles, along with a few others in-between. This includes some of the sliding parts used to further enhance his posablilty without compromising his resemblance to the key art we've seen from Capcom over the years.

Interestingly enough, though, Bass lacks the sort of "coil" look at the elbows and knees that Mega Man possessed. Looking at the picture on the right, you can see that Bass sports the same detailed undersides on his feet, with a ruby-like translucent plastic that is shared across his earpieces (not shown) and the barrel of his Bass Buster.

Our figure looked great coming out of the packaging, with no apparent flaws or paint mishaps visible anywhere that we could see. (Edit: As Megafan pointed out in the comments, these pictures reveal where our eyes betrayed us regarding a few small blemishes here and there. We'll just say that we didn't see anything particularly glaring or noticeable until the figure was viewed through high-resolution photographs.)

One thing we did find rather alarming at first was how the shoulder armor seemed to droop a little, as seen in the image at left. After playing around with it a little, however, we found that they do that when his arms are slid down to a lower point at the shoulders. Move them to a more at-attention, confident stance, and they look much more pronounced. In a way, it's kind of cool; they're sort of like mood-armor, drooping if he looks down or defeated, and raised if he looks confident or triumphant.

To give a better idea of his overall range of motion, here he is with each joint bent back a bit, giving him a cool sort of The Matrix-like dodging pose. You can see how far his toes point, his knees bend, his torso flexes, and so on.

As with Mega Man and other figures in the line (not counting Vile), some of the accessories included with Bass are two other faces you can swap out with the one used in the package. Interestingly, the process of swapping them out is a bit more involved here. First, as seen in the left image, you must remove the top part of Bass's helmet, including the crests, jewel, and dome. Then, more similar to the others, you can remove the front from what's left of the helmet, as seen in the pic at right. From there, you just pull the face out and plug another one in!

A word of advice: Look beneath his helm at your own risk; he doesn't seem particularly fond of people doing that.

On the subject of accessories, Bass comes with fewer than were used to seeing-- likely due to the inclusion of Treble, but we'll get to that in a moment. Two arms, three total faces (calm, grimacing, and angry side-glance), and five total hands (left and right fists, left and right open, and one left-handed finger pose) are the bulk of what you have here.

He also features two Bass Busters, which connect to the squarish peg at his elbow, popping on and off rather easily. Unfortunately, he does not come with any Buster shots of his own to mimic the firepower he's displayed in the games, nor are there any extra pieces for the Busters to allow you to employ shots from another figure. This may not bother some, but it comes down to whether or not you like to display your figures engaging in active firefights.

For those wondering, here is a comparison shot of Bass next to Mega Man. As you can see, they're both thrilled to be here. Bass is a little taller, even without taking the fins of his helmet into account, but still isn't quite as tall as Vile, or presumably other Mega Man X series figures from the D-Arts line.

Well, that peace didn't last long. As you can see, even without Buster shots for Bass, you can still get some good poses of the two fighting, even if some might seem a little one-sided.

As Pixel Dan would say, "it's comparison time!" At left, we've rounded up every Bass figure we have-- which unfortunately does not include Bandai's original Rockman 8 "Ironbuster" model kit, but does include a smaller sample from a Rockman 7 figurine set. Joining him is Remote Mine Bass from Jazwares' six-inch line, Bass from Mattel's MegaMan NT Warrior line, and another six-inch Bass (regular version) from Jazwares who is still in-package, which is where he's staying, especially after Nightshade Zero's knees disintegrated.

At right, all three posable Bass figures take aim with their respective weapons.

Of course, what would Bass be without Treble? Unfortunately, as toys go, that is an answer we've had to deal with for far too long, but no more!

Truth be told, for some, this package might be worth getting for Treble alone, as his presence amongst all the different figure, model kit, and other toy lines based on Mega Man has been practically nonexistent-- and that's being generous, under the assumption there actually is one that we can't think of.  Rush usually gets about roughly one toy per line, sure; Treble, not so much, whether his master is present or not.

The craftsmanship here is superb, as the scupt seems perfect from every angle. And while Bass features a light plastic sheen, most of his colors are rather flat, keeping a consistency among other toys in the line.

For Treble, on the other hand, they've gone all out, painting his purple parts with a metallic paint which really highlights his every curve and detail, and just looks overall gorgeous. Most of the other parts employ a similar flat tone as Bass and others, but the overall appearance here is of a robot wolf who just seems majestic in his first (?) plastic outing.

However, he isn't quite perfect. One thing that is clear is that the same amount of tooling did not go into Treble as it did Bass, and perhaps not even Rush. As you can see above, there wasn't any detailing put into the bottom of his paws, though truth be told, we're not even sure he would (we've only seen the underside in Ariga's Mega Man Megamix work, which doesn't strictly adhere to Capcom's designs). One would think he might have the same fixture on the bottom of his feet as most every other robot in the series, including Rush, but without much to go on, it's a nitpick at best.

Less nitpicky, on the other hand, is the general lack of articulation here. The neck has a little bit of wiggle room, but is hampered by the large frill around his head.  

More troubling might be the legs and tail. On our sample of the figure, they did not move; if there is articulation in any of those points, it was stuck enough that we were worried that it would break if we tried much harder to move them. Plus, without finding any images of the figure which indicated that any of those parts can move, we figured it best not to push our luck. (If you have found that these parts move, let us know and we'll add a correction here.) 

(Edit: As Sean points out in the comments, Treble's legs do indeed move; it just takes a bit of working in order for them to do so.) 

That said, he is an incredibly sturdy piece-- we imagine someone would really have to be trying in order to do some serious damage to it. Just be sure not to throw it at anyone, lest you leave a wolf-shaped dent in their forehead!

As we have no other Trebles to compared to, here he is with his robodog rival, Rush.

Overall, though Treble may basically be a small statue, he's still a really nice statue.  Throw in the fact that pretty much every other version of Bass has had to make do without his canine companion, and it's a little hard to be too upset, as you're still getting a really stellar pairing in this package. Bass and Treble, just as they should be.

We'll cross our fingers that Treble will get another chance at plastic glory, but for now, this should satisfy most fans, particularly those looking to keep their figures on display.

Bass is a really hard figure to get just right, given his unique design and shape, but Bandai's D-Arts engineers have nailed the character perfectly here, creating what may be the best plastic rendition of the character to date. Likewise, Treble makes a really solid companion accessory, though it's a shame that it came at the expense of the included firepower standard that the line has set for itself. Maybe we'll get lucky and see a Super Bass down the line with compatible accessories.

Fans of Bass may have had their itch for the character scratched by another interpretation, but it's the fans of Bass and Treble as an inseparable duo who really win with this package.

Bass and Treble are available now at a suggested retail price of $43.99, and less at Amazon. A sample for this review was provided to us by Bluefin.