Long name aside, Takara’s Microman series is a long-running toy line of which its history has some relation to other, more familiar action figure lines. In the 2000’s, before the introduction of Revoltech, Figma, SH Figuarts or even newer Souchaku Henshin series, Microman was probably considered the de facto standard for highly-articulated action figures. Sadly, it has since been overtaken by these toy lines which offer comparable poseability, licensed characters and superior (or more consistent) quality.
This was one of the Microman figures I bought online. Those familiar with the Microman line would notice that in this particular series, the packaging is compact compared to previous series which had packaging with double the volume. They came with extravagant accessories and armour pieces which were frequently molded in chrome. This series instead comes with an almost entirely chrome base figure with several plain plastic armour parts and simple weapon accessories.
Unlike the many photos on a typical SH Figuarts package, Takara is humble when it comes to showcasing the toy, with only a few photos.
These are the package contents. Magnemicroman Icurus comes with 5 pairs of extra hands mounted on a clear holder. Take that, Bandai! As with most Microman series, he comes packaged with a simple display base. You can just barely see the word “Microman” embossed on the base.
Other packaging staples include a pamphlet (or what Takara calls an Infomercial booklet). Microman toys usually do not come with manuals.
Let’s move to the actual toy proper.
This series came in 2005 and as its name suggests, has magnetic joints as its main attraction. 6 figures were released and were named after characters in Greek mythology. I am not sure how this particular Icurus is related to Icarus in any way, but that’s not the point.
Deviating from the already successful male human figure template, this series introduces artificial cyborgs with magnets and balls in their joints. I think just mentioning this gimmick already suggests how insane the figure articulation is.
The figure splits into pieces and are held together by small neodymium magnet pieces inside the torso and waist. The smaller ball bearings are permanently fixed onto the limbs. The smaller bearings are 8mm in diameter while the central one is 11mm. I placed them so far apart because the central bearing would keep on snapping into the torso before I took the picture.
The head sits on a peg and ball joint and can be easily removed. There is a clear part inside the head which gives the eyes a light piping feature that works really great as most of the top of the head is clear. The shoulder joints are actually double ball joints. The arms and wrists rotate along their axis, with double elbow joints. The hands are made of soft plastic and have a hinge at the wrist.
This is what the bearing does to the shoulder. You can see the white double ball joint in the right shoulder.
I don’t think I need to say more about the articulation. Just look at this pose. I don’t think any of the other figures/models in my room can do this.
Even more superior hip articulation than an SH Figuarts figure.
Unfortunately, front-back range is limited to around 100 degrees only.
A demonstration of the leg joints in action. Double knee joints, ankle swivel joint and a ball joint in each foot.
This is Icurus equipped with his armour and weapons. With all the armour, he looks less like a cheap-looking toy and more like a plastic-looking toy. I think the arm-mounted weapons are called Boost Claws. The armour pieces are actually grayer than what the photos depict.
While the magnetic ball joints sound awesome, they are a double-edged sword, especially when it comes to the hip joints. Because the stiffness of the joint depends on the strength of the magnet, the hip joints are not strong enough to stay in a fixed position. If the legs are spread beyond a certain angle, the figure flops.
The display base is magnetic and there is a small magnet in each foot.
Icurus does a Rider Kick with ease. The other 2 are my other Microman figures which happen to be female, the bad guys and come from different series. The one in the foreground is the oldest (2004) while the one in the background uses a new female base body from 2006.
Size comparison with Figma Kagamin.
Like most of Takara’s other older toys, Microman figures have awesome gimmicks in theory, but the actual toys somewhat disappoint the average toy collector mostly due to inconsistent quality, as well as the brilliant ideas turning out not so brilliant in real life. The chrome parts usually have ugly sprue marks on them. Joint stiffness varies from tight to absolutely floppy. While this particular toy feels sturdy, most Microman figures may not be so. While none of my figures have suffered any damage currently, I still hold my breath when I touch them, because they are very floppy and fragile. It’s not new to me as when I was younger, I used to collect Choro-Q cars which looked like Tamiya Mini 4WD cars but were powered by pull-back motors, not to mention being much smaller. They had tiny rollers, different motors, pistol grip launchers; some series came with add-on parts for suspension and huge tyres or even moving on water and many other cool gimmicks which never lasted because the parts were too small and fragile. I guess that’s why the Microman line somewhat died off when other toy companies launched their assault in the articulated figure market.