Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dante's Inferno: Dante Alighieri Figure Review

When I first heard "Dante's Inferno" was going to be made into a video-game based upon something that I barely recall reading sometime in either high-school or college, I was highly skeptical.  Once those teaser trailers and movie clips of the game-play and story came out, I was partially won over (damn you Visceral!).  I've viewed upcoming video game releases with a "wait-and-see" approach to save myself loads of money.  However, when I heard that NECA would be releasing a "pre-order bonus/exclusive" of a Dante action figure (that would never be sold in the U.S.) with the game, I willingly opened my wallet...

Flavor Text*:

"Dante returns home from the wars to find that his beloved Beatrice has been murdered, and her soul pulled down into Hell by a dark force.  He gives chase, and vows to get her back.  he wields Death's soul-reaping scythe, and commands holy powers of the cross, given to him by Beatrice."

The Good:

  • Dante is loaded with articulation (17 points of articulation to be exact): ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-hinged elbows, ball-hinged wrists, ab-crunch joint, swivel hips, ball-jointed thighs, swivel upper thighs, ball-hinged knees, and ball-hinged ankles.
  • Dante also comes with several accessories: 1x additional (tighter-grip) right-hand, 1x holy cross, 1x detachable scythe, and 1x "spine" of scythe.
  • You can tell how much love and labor went into this figure.  The details of Dante's armor, bloody stitch-work, and even the inclusion of the "shredded" cloth (sculpt) wrapped all over his arms and wrists (actual cloth material) make this an exceptionally video-game accurate figure.
  • The "holster" which houses the holy cross accessory is attached to Dante's right hip, and it actually works pretty well.  It takes a little bit of patience to pull the straps out.  But once you get it out, it's very easy to insert and remove the cross accessory.
  • I'm glad that NECA removed their licensing information from the soles of Dante's feet and instead placed them on the "inside" of his torn "skirt".  You can see the continuation of the leather straps wrapped over the chain mail around his feet without any interruption.
  • I really like the inclusion of Dante's "holster" on his naked back which can hold his deadly scythe without trouble (you'll need to remove the top portion that has the blade from the "stem" portion in order to fit the entire scythe in the "holster").
  • While the material used for the top bladed portion of Dante's scythe feels like cheap plastic, the design mechanic (being able to move the blade itself) is pretty impressive.  I had a slightly hard time moving the blade so it would stick out a little further, but it works.

The Bad:
  • The "ab-crunch" joint doesn't really work.  If I try to have him bend forward, the ab-crunch literally springs him back to his upright standing position.  And the "ab-crunch" joint is designed in such a way that Dante can't even bend backwards.  Can someone remind me why Dante even has an "ab-crunch" joint?  EDIT: I finally got the "ab-crunch" joint to partially work, and it stays in place.  However, I'm still disappointed that it only moves a tiny bit.
  • Although the paint application is MUCH improved from all of NECA's previous figures, there are paint splatters (and dots) here and there.  But the ever-so-slightly annoying part are the joints.  For example, if you look at Dante's elbow, you'll notice that the front part of the joint is applied with flesh-colored paint.  However, if you look in the back, the joint is colored bright orange.  Whoops!
  • If you examine Dante's "armpits" (where the joints are), you'll notice under the left arm that flesh-color paint has been applied with a little red smeared on it (most likely from Dante's bloody stitching job).  However, something horrifying awaits you under Dante's right arm.  Apparently, Dante forgot to shave under his right armpit, because the black or brown smears all over the joint look kind of "hairy".
  • Due to the shape of the scythe's handle (the "spine" portion), I had a hard time placing it (aka shoving it) into Dante's pre-posed grip.  I really don't like shoving accessories into a figure's hand(s) because it may warp the grip over time, making the pre-posed grip pretty much useless.
  • While Dante's left knee joint is given slightly more leeway, his right knee joint lacks that mobility.  You can do better than that, NECA.

The Ugly:

  • There's absolutely nothing ugly here, folks.

Additional Notes:

  • This figure is a "pre-order exclusive" which you can receive by ordering through Blockbuster and Gamestop (this is the only way to get this limited item for those of you living in the U.S.).  Rather than coming packaged in your typical clamshell, Dante comes poly-bagged.  But don't worry, the accessories will more than likely arrive unmolested due to an additional piece of plastic molded to fit the "detachable" scythe and additional right-hand accessories.
  • Although I don't have a problem with Dante's facial sculpt, it would've been nice if he were given an "angry/battle-cry" face.  When you think about it, the calm but slightly grim face looks a bit ridiculous when he's about to brutalize some demons in the heat of battle.
  • I would've loved to seen an alternative Dante figure sculpted in his "Crusades" uniform and armor prior to his descent into Hell.
  • The "spine" portion of the scythe is actually made of bendable material.

As I mentioned earlier, this only came as a "pre-order exclusive" from either Blockbuster or Gamestop, so there isn't a price for this figure.  If I had to guess, I would say this type of figure would go around for at least $19.99 or so.  If you live in the United States, the only version of Dante you'll get is the poly-bagged one.  The ones in clamshell packaging* can be found overseas.


I've got to hand it to NECA.  They've really done an amazing job with this figure.  The level of detail, the character-appropriate accessories, and fairly large amount of articulation make this figure a MUST-HAVE.  As expected, there are relatively few minor paint applications, but nothing too serious enough to detract the overall value of the figure.  These babies are being sold on eBay like hotcakes.  Better get yours before they're all sold out! 

Score (out of five):