Hey, everybody! It’s DrunkWooky here back with another Action Figure Review! Today we’re taking a look at Wave 1 of the brand new Dragon Ball Evolve 5.5″ figure line. This wave includes Super Saiyan Broly, Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Vegeta, and Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Goku. Each figure retails for around $13.99 each and sets are now available from the following fine retailers:
Individual figures are available from Amazon:
There is no doubt that the Dragon Ball franchise is a classic anime juggernaut with millions of fans around the world. Those fans insatiably search out merchandise and manufacturers have a hard time keeping up with demand and many fans have a hard time keeping up with price. SH Figuarts Dragon Ball figures run the gamut from $35 to $99 and many figures sell out at pre-order. Bandai America’s 6″ Dragon Stars line runs from $21 to $24 depending on where you get it.
This new 5.5″ Dragon Ball Evolve line seems to sit right below both of those at around $13.99. For that price, you lose a little detail and a little articulation, but get a fully functional, fully poseable Dragon Ball figure of your favorite character. It’s a trade-off for sure. There are positives to this line and drawbacks definitely. But overall, I left this review with a positive experience from each of the figures. There are a lot of negative aspects you’ll see me forgive below that I otherwise wouldn’t on higher priced figures. If you’re wondering why that is, it’s because of the price point. These cost barely more than an unarticulated Funko Pop and you get over 11 points of articulation on each. Not a bad deal in my book. So, for fans who are budget conscious, read on!
Use the handy-dandy headings below to navigate my wordiness.
The packaging is nothing special, just straight forward blister packs with a bubble and cardbacking. This packaging is not collector friendly at all as you’ll have to pull the bubble off the cardback. The bubble is three pieces of plastic, one below the figure, one over, and the outer bubble. This amount of light diffusion through the plastic doesn’t do the look of the figures any favors on the shelf and it’s hard to squint out the details from outside the packaging. The graphics on the cardbacks are ok, if a little busy. Unfortunately, they have a Family Dollar vibe to the package. However, most people won’t be buying these to keep mint on card. These are for ripping out and posing!
Dragon Ball has a very stylized art direction and all the characters are bright, vibrant, colorful and immediately recognizable. Because of that, a lot of detail could be dropped in this line and everybody would still know who they were looking at. Each figure is insanely muscular (just like the source material) and the sculpt gives off a fantastical representation of these ridiculous mounds of strength. The ever-important Saiyan hair is all well-defined if a little less detailed than other higher end lines. To top it off, some small details were included while others were left out. Among those included are Broly’s chest scar, the flocking on his kilt, Goku’s excess belt fabric, and the ridges of Vegeta’s body armor. In general, tons of detail for under a Jackson bill!
The sculpt on each figure is ever so slightly more simplistic than its Dragon Stars counterpart. On Broly, you’re not getting the detailed indents in his shoes, far less separation of the individual tufts of hair and a little less detail in his kilt (I’m going with kilt here).
Again, with Vegeta, you lose some of the same detail as Broly from the Dragon Stars or SH Figuarts lines, in particular not as much depth and distinction on the lines of his body armor.
With Goku, there’s usually a line down the center of his boot that is absent here.
You’ll also notice that the faces all look a little hollow when viewed from the side. All the range of motion we’ll discuss down in the “Articulation” section comes from the amount of space allowed for the single ball joint at the back of the head. So that intrudes on the sculpt slightly. There’s this gaping gap on each figure where the chin meets the neck.
If you’re looking for shading, shadows, small details, and the like, this is not the line for you. Having said that, the paint that is here is clean, crisp, and bold. Bandai has basically taken the main color for each element of the figure and done one bold coat of that color over that piece. Where you get detail is in the most important place, the face. Each figure has straight, crisp, and detailed eyes, eyebrows and a small amount of paint applied to the inner mouth of Broly. Broly has a small face scar which is a nice touch of paint, but you’ll notice his sculpted chest scar has no paint application.
The green and blue Saiyan hair gets some depth and detail from the metallic paint used that plays with the light. They got a lot of mileage out of the hair sculpt and metallic paint without resorting to shading.
Each figure has a single ball joint at the neck, a double-ball jointed shoulder, bisected upper arm, single swivel elbow, a swivel peg at the wrist, ab crunch, 360 degree swivel waist, double ball jointed hip, single-swivel knee, and a ball and swivel ankle. Basically, these figures are a hybrid between the articulation you get on Dragon Stars and a five point of articulation figure. What you expect from Dragon Stars that you won’t get here is a second joint at the base of the neck, a second swivel joint at the elbow, and a second swivel joint at the knee.
All the joints are slightly looser than you’d expect on the upper tier lines as well. Broly’s left shoulder kept poppin off, but it was a snap to put back on. I forgave this misstep that I wouldn’t allow on a more expensive figure because of the price.
If you’re looking to achieve all your basic Saiyan moves, plus a little more, these figures deliver. I mean, look at the deep stances Goku and Vegeta are pulling off above! Goku can pull his clawed fingers together for his signature Kamehameha blast and you can get these figures to all sell a convincing “power up” stance even if they can’t really cock their heads back.
There are none. It would be nice if Goku had fists to switch out and if Vegeta and Broly had some sort of grappling alternate hands instead of fists, but at the price, what do you expect?
Again, these are running under $20. Hell, under $15! So, that’s some solid sculpt, paint, articulation, and value! No, you aren’t getting accessories like extra hands, Dragon Balls, and things like that, but you are saving quite a pretty penny. Playing around with these figures, they pulled off everything I asked them too and I really didn’t get frustrated with them at any point.
At around the price of a Funko Pop, these are a recommended buy for me! For now, I’ll leave you with the order links and a classic head swap! DrunkWooky out!