The Cowboy Bebop Play Arts Kai line includes Spike Spiegel, the show’s hero, along with his arch nemesis Vicious. Due to the higher price of Square’s figures, so far I’ve only picked up Spike, but he is absolutely worth every penny. From the sculpting to the paint apps to the amazing articulation packed into this figure, Spike is just too cool– I spent over an hour posing him just to see what he could do before I even started setting up for pictures!
Spike is in scale with the other Play Arts Kai figures, standing approximately 9″ tall. Square Enix always includes some very intricate and well-planned articulation in their figures, so it’s no surprise that the bounty hunter is loaded with moving parts, many of which are masked by the soft vinyl overlay of his jacket and pants. Spike features a great double ball joint neck, two ab crunches in his torso, ball shoulders and hips, ball elbows, double joint knees, ball wrists and ankle rockers, so there’s lots of incredibly useful articulation with this guy, and the vinyl jacket is amazing at covering up much of it.
This figure is not only well articulated, but he looks great– the sculptors at Square Enix really nailed Spike’s signature look, and the resulting figure appears as though he just stepped off the screen of an episode of the series. From the folds and bunches of his rumpled jacket to his amazing new portrait, everything about this figure is completely accurate to the Cowboy Bebop protagonist as he appears on the screen and in print. Just as much attention is paid to the paint apps of the figure, who is covered with some amazingly subtle washes that enhance the fantastic sculpt. The monochromatic look of Spike’s blue suit is broken up nicely between the yellow shirt, cuffed sleeves, and especially the wise choice to use high gloss finish paint on the figure’s boots, to give a patent leather effect. There’s a depth of realism in Spike’s face and clothing thanks to the barely noticable shading, and yes– the bounty hunter is rocking a green tint in his hair, the same as his small-screen counterpart.
Like many Play Arts Kai, Spike includes a few swappable parts. The figure comes packed with two fisted hands, ready to go hand-to-hand with his latest bounty. The fists can be easily switched out for one of three alternate hands– two are open in a relaxed state, while the third is posed to hold Spike’s pistol, also included here. Spike can hold his gun very well (I love alternate gun-holding hands, because they can usually be sculpted much more naturally, without having to worry about how it would look without the gun), and the open hands are great for posing Spike in mid-roundhouse kick, like the opening credits, or standing casually.
Play Arts Kai aren’t for everyone, especially at their considerable price point. However, Spike Spiegel absolutely feels worth the price tag, and this really is the definitive action figure of the Cowboy Bebop hero. The sculpt and paint apps are amazingly accurate and loaded with style, and Spike’s long, lanky frame really lends itself to the Play Arts Kai articulation pattern, making it very easy to capture the bounty hunter in a variety of great poses. It seems odd that Square Enix chose to release Vicious as their second figure– while the villain is very important to the overall series, he’s more about presence than physical appearance. I would have been much more excited to see Faye or Jet alongside Spike… that being said, I’m hoping the strong sales of Spike and Vicious mean we’ll be seeing more of the Bebop crew before long.