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ONE PIECE Bandai figures
Hong Kong edition!

Type: retail action figure    
By: Bandai Hongkong, price unknown

Out Now.
This isn't so much a review, but more of an informative article. it seems that Bandai Japan's ONE PIECE line of figures have been drastically repackaged for the Hong Kong market by the Hong Kong arm of the company. While it isn't an extraordinary practice (they've been doing this for Gundam products for years), the two editions usually sport similar packaging. It isn't the case here, which makes it so noteworthy.

On the right is a picture of the two versions. I bought the only two figures I didn't get the Jpanese Edition of: Zoro version 2 (aka Alabaster version), and Ace. So I'm comparing it to my Alabster Luffy. As you can see, the whole giant-card design is gone, replaced by a much more space efficient (though generic) blister card format.

Also gone is the poster that made up part of the backing card in the Japanese edition. However, I think the art on the Hongkong version is much more attractive. It's got an oasis like quality that's colourful and eye-catching, while still complementing the figure.

Some more pics of the new card:

The back reads:

Which is a rough translation of the introductory narration to the One Piece animated series.

Originally, this English on the packaging is what threw me off. I thought these may be some kind of bootlegs. But the quality was very high, and I realised that it said "Bandai" on the card. Perhaps they were American versions that were being repackaged for the launch of the show in the USA? Well, nice theory, but the bottom of the card tells another story.

So much for that. It looks like Hong Kong is getting it's own versions and that's all it is.

On to the figures themselves. I saw that all the figures Bandai had made so far were re-packaged this way. That's 2 Luffys, 2 Zoros, Sanji, Ace, and Ussop/Chopper.

To make up for the loss of the original poster, they've thrown in some kind of generic character bio poster fold-out thing. It's double-sided, and provides a pretty good introduction to the crew members of the Going Merry (that's the main pirate ship of the One Piece series).

The figures seem to have retained most, if not all of the accessories Bandai originally issued them with. Like I said, I only bought 2, so I can't verify how complete every figure is.

Zoro comes complete with everything I think he should have, which is an insane amount of stuff. Enough to dress him up as regular Zoro, Bounty Hunter Zoro and the arabesque Alabaster version.

He seems as sturdy as my other One Piece figures, too. With excellent paint apps that match the Japanese versions. So it doesn't look like they cut any corners on this Hong Kong run.

Ace, however, is slightly disappointing. The original figure already doesn't come with much, but for this version they dropped his clip-on flame effect. I really don't know why. They piled a huge amount of stuff on Zoro and Luffy but they missed out on giving Ace his one crummy accessory. And it's no mistake; there's no space on the bubble for it.

Overall, it looks like we're getting cheaper versions of the original One Piece figures. How much they actually are in Hong Kong, I don't know yet. I got them at approximately US$10 each, which is a deal considering the Japanese versions had a retail price of about 1680 to 1780 yen.

I'm crossing my fingers that we might see an expansion on Bandai's original selection, if these do well. Where's my Miss All Sunday figure, dammit??

View more pics in the Gallery (will divert to Yahoo photos in this window)

31 Aug 2003