Monday, May 7, 2012

REVIEW: Marvel's The Avengers Chibis

Produced by Bulls I Toy | Released April 2012

With Marvel's The Avengers doing big numbers at the box office (at last count the movie had grossed over $600 million world-wide) it comes as no surprise to see an assortment of tie-in action figures, collectibles, mugs, toothbrushes, underwear, Lego kits, role-play toys, drinks and colonic cleansing kits hitting the shelves. And now there's another tie-in to add to that roster in the form of the Marvel's The Avengers Chibi blind-bag figures.

Marvel's The Avengers Chibis
I have to admit I'm not familiar with Bulls I Toy. I'm also not sure whether they've launched other ''Chibi'' figures or if it's a brand they're looking to follow-up with other licensed brands. But when I saw these blind-bagged, three-figure packs at Target I decided to lay-down my $3 (plus change) to see just what, exactly, a Marvel's The Avengers Chibi was...

The Marvel's The Avengers Chibis come in fairly generic foil bags. If you've ever seen a baseball card or similar blind-bagged toy you'll know what to expect. Interestingly the Chibis themselves only occupy about a tenth of the pack size, which doesn't make for a particularly good-value-for-money feeling. The rear of the pack features a visual checklist of all twelve Avengers Chibis. There's no indication as to whether there are rare or chase figures.

Ripping open the packaging reveals the three Chibi figures within. My pack featured Hawkeye, Black Widow and Agent Coulson.

Sculpt and Design
Anybody familiar with the term ''Chibi'' will know what to expect with these figures in terms of their look and design. For those who don't speak Otaku, Chibi is a Japanese word meaning ''small person'' that's come to characterize a specific type of design or character, typically characterized by childlike proportions, oversized eyes and a generally ''cute'' look. Think Muppet Babies or Muggs and you'll get the idea.

The sculpt work is actually pretty good. It's a credit to the Bulls I Toy team that although I didn't score any of the Avengers' ''big hitters'' it's immediately obvious just who each figure is meant to represent and there are some nice little ''prop details'' that help sell each individual piece - Coulson, for example, has his walkie talkie/cell phone and (in a move that seems really bizarre for such a ''cute'' figure) a pistol. And of course, Hawkeye is posed with his bow. Beyond that though there's not a massive amount of surface detail on each. Which kind of works, as they're supposed to be ''cartoon-y'' versions of the characters (rather than lifelike, ultra-detailed collectibles) but fans expecting some kind of movie-accurate toys should look elsewhere.

The Chibis are also somewhat thin and flat when viewed side-on. Again it's a minor quibble but personally I'd have preferred to see a more rounded look, as the thinness of each tends to make them feel a little cheap, as if this was more of a cost-cutting decision than one of aesthetics. It also makes them rather difficult to stand at times - especially Agent Coulson, who I found very difficult to get to remain upright.

As you've probably figured out, the Avengers Chibis are not articulated.

The color work is pretty strong, overall, with each figure using a combination of regular paint app and tampo transfers for their facial and costume details. Although they're not massively intricate apps, they're very clean, especially for figures that are less than an inch tall.


Final Thoughts
The Avengers Chibi toys themselves are - on the whole - pretty good. The characters are instantly recognizable, the tampo/paint apps are very clean, the twelve-figure line-up means the odds of repeat figures aren't bad and the overall impression of each is pretty cool.

The only real negative in my mind is that I'm not a fan of the packaging. Using only a tenth of the bag really makes the figures feel cheap, something that could have been remedied by taking a page from the Gogo's Crazy Bones/Squinkies playbook and including a fold-out collector sheet, stickers or a trading card, as this would have not only filled-up some of that dead space but also improved the perceived value of the pack as a whole.

Still, if you're a fan of Gogo's Crazy Bones-style blind-bag toys or you like The Avengers then you'll probably dig these figures. Sure, they're by no means ''must-have'' collectibles but at the same time, you get three pretty cool figures for a Dollar a piece. Go figure.

Reasonably cool minifigures, let down by weak packaging.

Final Score: B

Image Gallery


  1. At least the minor characters r included! Hasbro...

    1. Not only that but you can also see exactly who is who!

  2. Ron R. picked up a few of these and i ran across some myself recently but resisted the urge to buy them....for now.

    1. Cool - I'll go read his comments. And I bought them more because I was curious than anything else.

  3. Thank you for the nice review. My studio, Little Wonder Studio, designed, prototyped and produced these for our friends Bulls I Toy.
    We are working on ALOT more series of Chibis for them, and will definitely take all your notes to consideration. :)
    Julian at Little Wonder Studio

    1. Thanks for popping by, Julian!

      Yeah, much as I liked the figures, the packaging did - to be honest - devalue them somewhat. As I say, the addition of a trading card or even fold-out collector sheet would dispel that problem immediately (although I'm not sure whether that's a Bulls I Toy or Little Wonder decision.)

      And I'll look forward to seeing what else you guys come up with!

  4. Loved the review :-) very fair and constructive. We're working on making the chibis rounder just like you suggested for the new line. Also, the packaging suggestion will be taken into consideration. The fear was that the figures would rub together too much and chip the paint if the packaging was too small. You make a very valid point and I wanted to thank you for your review!

    1. No problems - I hope the feedback is helpful!


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