This HENGE figure is the one true transformer
At first, buying a transforming mecha toy seems awesome. Two (or more) awesome figures for the price of one! But the truth of the matter is that most transforming toys end up as a disappointment, often hobbled by concessions to reality and the laws of physics. Damn you, physics!
More often than not transforming a figure requires pulling off and replacing one part or another, and the toys that DO transform without too much fiddling are barely articulated, usually incapable of posing the way they do in their respective anime and films. Even in-fiction transformations involve part-swapping. The "canon" explanation of a Macross variable fighter actually includes the fighter's "legs" floating freely for a fraction of a second, kept in place by magical "OverTechnology." That's just sad.
Toomo Yamaji of HENGE seems to have made no such compromise, though, as his nameless debut figure (its product code is "h010101") punched off my jaw and dropped it on the floor. This thing transforms without a single part-swap or disconnection. I'm not too familiar with the world of toys and figures (relying mostly on our friends at Tomopop), but I'm confident that that's not a thing that happens too often.
The actual forms are quite different, to boot. One mode looks like a flying wing bomber, and the humanoid form reminds me of Xenogears mashed up with some RahXephon and Gundam SEED. Unfortunately awesomeness comes at a price, and this sculpture goes for more than a thousand dollars. If you're an unbelievably rich nerd, however, it's a small price to pay for a geeky anime-inspired figure that you can actually show off in public.
Hit the gallery for pictures, the HENGE website to drain away your Christmas cash, and the jump for a video of the transformation sequence.
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