Microman is Super Human 8 cm tall. He come to the Earth, chasing the Acroyer. Now save the Eath from the Acroyer! Use a table as a base!
We're back with a new review and - for once - it's not a Marvel Universe figure!
Click through as we take a look at 1999's Microman Magne Power Magne Odin.
Before the review proper, I want to take a moment to explain a little more about the Microman line. If you're familiar with the toys, feel free to skip ahead, but if not, then read on...
Microman began in the early 70s as a spin-off from the Henshin Cyborg line of 12'' dolls. The toy line focused on highly-poseable 10cm-tall figures and their combine-able vehicles, which could be taken apart and re-assembled to create new vehicles, bases and even robots, thanks to a standardised 5mm socket system. The line was a huge success in Japan and a few years later was adapted for Western audiences as The Micronauts.
After seven years, the Microman line was rebooted with ''New Microman'' - a line that lasted for four years and that featured a range of robots that were eventually modified and adapted to become the Transformers range of toys. As a result of the success of the Transformers, Takara decided to shelf the Microman line until 1999, at which point they released a range of replica original toys and a new range, the Magne Power Micromen.
There were a few problems with the toys: firstly, they were smaller than the original Micromen by a good 2cm (a later plot in their animated show explained they were descended from the Hoodmen, a line of Micromen that were also shorter than the core figures) and - worst of all - the figures lacked the detail, articulation and poseability that exemplified their chrome-domed forefathers.
Sadly, the figures weren't very-well received and poor sales lead to the range being again shelved until 2003's limited run of Microforce figures revitalised the line.
Now you've completed Microman 101, let's look at the subject of the review: Microman Magne Power 005 Magne Odin.
Magne Power Micromen use the same standard packaging across the range. There are five figures in the core group (of which, Odin is the fifth) and the only difference in the packaging is the numbering at the top right (Micro Odin's designation is 005, as seen here). However, the packaging itself is attractive enough, with a nice ''3D effect'' of having a human hand ''holding'' the toy on the card (Micromen are actually to scale, so the ''real'' Micro Odin stands at 8cm.)
The rear of the pack shows Mange Arthur (the Magne Power Micromen's leader) in a variety of combat poses and demonstrates the Magne Power of the range (more on that below) along with some previews of other toys in the range.
Okay, so the packaging is no work of art and it's not something you'd want to hang on your wall, but at the same time, it has its own charm. It's eye-catching, busy and covered with (what I assume are) expressive, excited exclamations about the toy's cool abilities, which I actually quite like, as it's a nice change from some minimalist ''cool'' or stuffy bit of collectable chic.
I also like that the packaging can be resealed - simply split the tape holding the card and blister-pack together and you can slide it open without damaging the pack.
Magne Odin is the fifth member of the Magne Power Microman team. They all share some core-features and their bodies are simply recolours of a standard cast. However, each team-member has his own unique colour-design and head sculpt. Odin's helmet design is based upon a big cat, which although it's a departure from the usual Microman humanoid head, is a pretty cool design and the use of unique heads gives each Magne Force Microman his own look and character.
Cast in a combination of solid-black, orange and smoke-coloured, semi-transparent plastic (with a few gold and chrome details) Magne Odin is an eye-catching figure with a sleek design that echoes the 70s-stylings of the original Micromen but adds a more modern take. It's certainly a good-looking toy and has enough of the Microman about it to mark its origins. The line retained the 5mm back port, meaning the new figures could be used with the older vehicles and playsets, which is certainly a plus.
The figure is certainly a nice homage to the original Micromen, with just enough of their styling to tie-into the line but without simply being a rehash.
There are, however, a few problems. Firstly, all Magne Power Micromen feature a ''gun-glove''-style weapon on their left hand. The visual design of the weapon is very cool - it looks powerful and sleek, with enough of a mechanical design to make it clearly a tool or weapon (rather than part of the Microman's body.) The big problem though is the lack of articulation. The weapon-arm can only be moved at the shoulder and lacks any form of elbow joint. Given that the original Micromen were incredibly poseable, it seems an odd decision to hamper their poseability.
There's also a lack of articulation at the waist/torso. This figure is crying-out for such a joint, as being able to twist at the waist opens-up a lot of poses and the lack of this joint makes the figure feel stiff and given that the shins/feet are cast as a solid-piece, it further reduces the range of poses and dynamic stances the figure can be placed in.
The Magne Power Micromen are also a whole two centimetres shorter than the original figures and Odin's head appears a little squashed. Whilst his head-to-body ratio may be more anatomically correct than the earlier Micromen, it just doesn't look right.
The reason behind the changes is obvious: by shortening the figure, reducing the number of joints (and therefore parts needed) it cut Takara's expenses. But that's not to say the figure is made of a low-grade plastic or feels particularly cheap: the actual production-quality is very good and despite these design flaws, Magne Odin is actually a very cool toy.
For starters, the figure is very tactile. It feels as if it's designed to be played with and - although it's by no means Glyos-tough - it feels as if it could withstand a good play-session with a fat-fingered kid. What's also nice is it doesn't feel cheap or brittle. The plastic is of a high-grade and nowhere do you feel corners have been cut in the actual production.
Secondly, even with the missing joints and articulation, it's still a very poseable figure and stands-up well against, say, a Marvel Universe or GI Joe figure. The figure bends and poses without any problems and the joints feel sturdy without being stiff or ''cracking'' when you bend them.
And coolest of all, the Magne Power figures feature - as the name implies - magnets. Tiny magnets in the figure's feet, left hand and chest allow for some very cool play and pose options.
As you can see here, the magnets are strong enough to support the figure's weight and - if you think about it from a child's perspective - open-up a wide-range of playing options with the toy: he can scale the fridge door, swing from the ceiling fan, stand on the door handle and so much more. It's a very cool idea that's well-executed and it certainly adds that special something to the toy.
Magne Odin comes with a full-colour ''Catarog'' of the new line, showing a variety of upcoming and currently-available toys. It's a shame he doesn't come with a metal stand, as that would have been a nice addition to showcase the Magne Power concept but I understand that Takara were trying to keep costs down.
Initially the negatives behind the line (the shorter height, the restricted articulation, the new design) put me off the Magne Powers Micromen and I felt they weren't ''of'' the Microman line enough for me to want to collect them. But having now held the figure, examined it and posed it, I have to say my passion for Microman collecting has been re-ignited. These toys are exciting, new (to me, anyway) and fun.
Okay, so it's not some top-end, ultra-poseable collectable figurine. But that's the point: Takara's goal was to engage the collector and the kid with this line. The new figures capture the coolness of the originals but at the same time, combined it with the accessibility of a modern toy. Sadly, I gather the figures didn't appeal to either market enough to warrant an extended run (they were only produced for a 2-year period) but I certainly applaud Takara for trying to bridge the gap and produce a commercially-viable but detailed figure in the tradition of the original Micromen. In my eyes they succeeded and - given now that demand for these figures is pretty high - I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way.
Magne Odin may be the first of the Magne Power Micromen I've bought but certainly won't be the last.