Figures of Mario have been around for nearly as long as Mario himself, but for one reason or another these figures have always had very limited – if any – articulation. Enter Bandai. When it was announced last year that they obtained the license to produce figures of Mario and his friends in their long lived and much loved super-articulated SH Figuarts line articulation junkies and Nintendo nerds the world over rejoiced. So far they’ve released Mario and Luigi and have announced Yoshi, in addition to several accessory packs comprised of various pipes, blocks, piranha plants, koopas and goombas. Today’s subject: Super Mario.
The artist formerly known as Jumpman comes to us in a compact and colorful (heavy on the yellow) collector friendly window box housing himself and his accessories, consisting of a mushroom, question mark block and gold coin along with a stand for the coin to keep it upright, the way the ubiquitous collectibles are always presented in the games. The coin has a super shiny and consistent, almost mirrored finish, the paint and sculpting on the mushroom and block are executed flawlessly and they are perfectly in scale with Mario.
Which brings us to the figure itself. Mario comes in at about 4” tall, looking perfect alongside other 1/12th scale figures. The diminutive Plumber is amazingly sculpted, with probably the best internal scale I’ve ever seen on a Mario collectible. Seam lines are sculpted into his overalls just as they are in the recent games, as are the heels of his shoes and the lines on the back of his gloves. Mario comes sporting two fists, again, perfectly scaled with the rest of his body. The face is where the sculpting really shines though, with his sideburns, moustache and eyebrows all perfectly separated from his face, and even the “M” icon on his hat etched in. He really does look like he jumped right out of the screen.
The paint can’t quite keep up with the sculpting but it isn’t enough to sink the whole ship. The yellow buttons on Mario’s overalls are a little sloppy and there’s a rough finish on one of his shoes. My copy also has an odd stray mark on his teeth, but again, it’s not enough to diminish the overall effect. His skin tone is perfectly consistent and his gloves are brilliantly white. The primary reds and blues are super bright and pop from across the room, and the gloss finish on his shoes looks great against the matte blue of his pants. A great job overall.
When it comes to a Figuarts, the main attraction is the articulation, and this is where Mario shines brightest. Joints are hidden everywhere in his tiny frame and for the most part they work flawlessly with one another. Highlights include the balljoint hidden under his huge head and his hip joints that are built into the piping of his overalls. For the first time ever, this is a Mario toy that can run, jump, slide, punch, kick and do anything else he can in the games.
Shortcomings? He isn’t perfect but he’s close. A yellow cape or a set of Raccoon ears and a tail? I’m sure that’s coming, as are the inevitable repaints to create fire, ice, metal and invincible Mario. A stand would’ve been nice (Our pictures use the one that came with the Figma Samus) but those are available in the accessory packs and also with Luigi, bumping his price up just a tad above his brother’s. Mario here can be had for $20 or less from most vendors and that’s a steal for this brilliant of a piece of action figure engineering. If you have any interest whatsoever in Action Figures or Nintendo don’t think twice about this one.