SDCC10 Exclusive Bandai's Neon Genesis Evangelion EVA-01 TEST TYPE Night Combat Ver.
The ultimate stealth robot has arrived to battle the Angels...
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Lots of companies have exclusives at San Diego Comic-Con, and some are naturally cooler than others. Bandai has always had interesting items, but their presence this year at the Bluefin booth was pretty extraordinary. In addition to several other items like the truly unique Injection Machine model kit was the star of the show, the exclusive Robot Spirits Neon Genesis Evangelion EVA-01 TEST TYPE Night Combat Version from Bandai's Tamashii Nations collector's brand!
Bandai's Robot Spirits line is pushing the envelope when it comes to intricate sculpts and heightened articulation on robot figures from anime, manga, and video game properties. Couple that with the insane popularity of Neon Genesis Evangelion and you've got a hit on your hands. For those of you who may be unaware, Evangelion tells the story of a post-apocalyptic Earth in which young pilots operate giant robots known as Evangelions to stop a flow of invading monsters called Angels. The Evangelions (or "Evas") are massive humanoid cyborgs with tremendous speed, agility, and destructive potential through the use of a wide range of weapons. There have been many Eva toys in the past, but this exclusive figure is something special.
The EVA-01 TEST TYPE Night Combat Version comes packaged in a variant of the box used for the regular version of the robot. It's a very stylish box, dominated by a wide window showing off the figure and its many accessories. The graphics and logos are super crisp, with photographs of the figure in various poses. The front panel has a broad green stripe (the original was red) with the name of the line, while below the figure is its name in English and Japanese as well as logos for Gainax (the studio that made Evangelion), Bandai, and SDCC. The back of the box has two more photos of the robot along with a bunch of text that’s only in Japanese. Now let's break all that open and see what’s inside!
Essentially a repaint of the standard EVA-01 figure, the Night Combat Version utilizes translucent parts and differing paint applications that make it a whole new toy. Standing just over 6 ¼ inches tall, the Eva is a perfect rendition of the robot from the anime series thanks to advanced scanning and sculpting techniques. Tall and lanky, the Eva has thin limbs and overlapping armor plating on its torso that culminates in tall shoulder fins.
The 01's sculpt is incredibly detailed, with the subtle mixture of technological and organic elements that make the robots so interesting. All of the seams and joints are well defined, as are the armor sections including the slightly open panels on its chest. Much of the Evangelion's character comes from its head design. The Eva-01's face is long and narrow, ending in spikes on the chin and forehead. If you look closely you can see all of the intricate head design elements like the closed mouth, sunken in eye sockets, and the cheek piece that wraps around the back of its head.
What really sets this figure apart is its coloration. Designed to represent the Eva fighting at night in the 2009 release Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, it is no longer the bright purple and green that most fans are accustomed to seeing. Instead, many of the parts on the body and head are molded from translucent smoked purple plastic, and the paint used on top of that are bright fluorescent green and dark yellow, all of which combine to make the robot a night combat master that you'll never see coming. The translucent parts are clear enough to be visually striking, yet dark enough with the smoky effect that the Eva doesn’t look cheap. Especially with good backlighting, the colors really pop.
The figures in Bandai's Robot Spirits line are what you might call "super articulated." While they may not have named their own joint system, the Evas full of ball joints from head to toe in addition to some really innovative joints like hinged toes and multiple joints in the torso and neck. Put it all together and the Night Combat Eva can achieve just about any pose you can imagine, and look good doing it!
Like the standard release before it, the Night Combat EVA-01 comes with a ton of accessories. In the box the robot has "knife-edge" hands great for martial arts poses. Then there are multiple interchangeable hands in fists, grasping positions, and different open-handed poses. The open fist hands come in handy when equipping the robot with the included dual progressive knives and dual "pallet guns" rifles.
For power, the robot comes with the standard Evangelion umbilical cord that plugs into its back. Finally, there's a very cool alternate head representing the Eva going into "Berserk" mode with its mouth open in a primal scream!
Considering the quality of this figure and the high cost of import toys on a regular basis, it's pretty amazing that the Night Combat Version was offered at Comic-Con for only $35. Then again, it was limited to only 600 pieces so if you wanted one you had to act fast. Evangelion collectors would do well to track this guy down, and if you're not collecting the Robot Spirits line you're missing out!
Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Review sample courtesy of Bandai