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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    HALO: REACH Play Arts Kai Series 1

    Noble Team's Jun, Emile and Noble Six: A league all their own.

    Square Enix's Halo:Reach Play Arts Kai Series 1 is IN-STOCK now at Square Enix's Online Store and They are available for pre-order and shipping soon at and

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    As a die-hard Halo fan, I was bowled over by the news at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 that Square Enix would be releasing Halo: Reach action figures. The unveiling came as a shock on many levels. For starters, McFarlane Toys owns the license here in the States, so word of Halo product from another toy company (foreign or domestic) came as quite a surprise. Secondly, it's Square Enix, a company pretty well-known for producing characters from Japanese video games (including their own), such as Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid. Halo, produced by Bungie, is about as American as apple pie. Lastly, it meant passionate Halo collectors would be receiving a series of hyper-articulated, super detailed 9 INCH TALL action figures, better known as Play Arts Kai.

    Size Comparison: Left - McFarlane Emile, Right - Square Enix Emile

    So what is Play Arts Kai? Popularized in the U.S. early last year, Play Arts Kai is a larger figure format - approximately 8-9 inches - with greater attention to sculpt, paint apps, and most importantly, articulation. Priced at around $40-$50 each, Kai figures fill the void between quality collectible figures 6-7 inches in height from the likes of NECA, Mattel and McFarlane (approx. $15 each) and high-end 12 inch figures produced by companies such as Sideshow and Hot Toys ($100-$200 each). That said, you really can not compare Kai to other figures on the market, especially McFarlane's very own Halo:Reach toys. For the price, Todd's Halo figures can't be beat, but if you have the funds, Square Enix's Halo:Reach are in a league all their own.

    Released domestically this month, the first assortment of Halo:Reach Kai action figures consist of the first half of Noble Team, an elite squad of Spartan super soldiers. These include Noble Six, the character you control in the game, the shotgun-toting, no-nonsense Emile, and the reserved sniper crack shot, Jun. Fans can expect Jorge, Carter and Kat in wave two this April. Each figure comes packaged in a large closed window box with stylish "battle damage" splashed across the front pane. Dynamic graphics on the back show off the cool poses you can achieve with the figure in hand as well as displaying the remaining figures in the series. The packages are collector friendly too, allowing you to restore the figure and accessories on the internal plastic tray. Over all, a classy presentation and excellent way to bring these figures to fans.

    A drastic departure from the Master Chief, our faceless, green armored hero of the first three Halo titles, Noble Team is a diverse bunch, each character loaded with armored personality. A clear fan favorite, Emile wins the award for "Best Dressed" with his intimidating bandoleer of grenades, lethal shoulder-mounted kukri knife and "skull"-etched visor. If I may be so lax in my description, it's a sick future military look.

    I'll summarize articulation on the Halo:Reach Kai figures as a whole in a bit, saving this space to point out some of Emile's standout features. Of immediate note is his helmet, an EVA [C] class that brazenly depicts a skull face, no doubt carved in by his very own kukri blade. The detail is very cool (in sculpt and design) though I found myself longing for a bit more visual pop - perhaps a little more silver to bring out the feature.

    Another knockout feature is Emile's kukri/shoulder armor array. Standing out in bold red and white, the curved armored plating (Security class) further pops with a unique combat knife attachment. Fans will be delighted to know that the knife can be removed, though having Emile wield it can be a challenge - the blade's handle is just too small to grip properily. Last, but not least, is his M45 Tactical Shotgun. While its appearance was redesigned for Halo:Reach, the new shotgun is just as devasting in close quarters. It's a fitting weapon for Emile and looks incredible in this larger scale. Emile includes two sets of interchangable hands: open and weapon grasping, shotgun, removable knife and frag grenade.

    Noble Six is the character you play in Halo:Reach and the newest member of Noble Team. He wears default MJOLNIR Mark V armor with a Mark V[B] helmet in a gray coloration. I say "default" because as you progress in multiplayer, your armored look can radically alter in the campaign. As such, this figure depicts your basic Spartan soldier; almost the Master Chief of the line.

    While Noble Six isn't as flamboyant a character as the rest of Noble Team, there is no denying his cool armored look. The Mark V[B] helmet may be the most basic model in the Halo:Reach armory, but it's still one of my favorite designs. Noble Six comes armed with another game default, the MA37 Assault Rifle. Like Emile's shotgun, the AR has been redesigned for Halo:Reach featuring a much more realistic appearance. It's a pretty weak gun in multiplayer, requiring almost a full clip to take down an enemy, but it looks killer. Noble Six includes two sets of interchangable hands: open and weapon grasping, assault fifle, removable knife and frag grenade.

    Rounding off the first half of Noble Team is Jun, the long range sniper of the squad. At first glance Jun may appear a simple Spartan design, but he packs some traits that really make him one of my favorites. Right away fans will note his trademark weapon, Sniper Rifle System 99 Anti-Matériel. This huge rifle has a super sculpt to it including a bi-pod that folds out.

    However, it is Jun's helmet and camouflaged neck wrap that grabs me the most. A less pointy Scout class helmet, the modified armor screams new and improved Master Chief. Combined with the camo neck wrap, jungle green color scheme and shouder-mounted knife, Jun awes with a cool future ghillie suit vibe. Jun includes two sets of interchangable hands: open and weapon grasping, sniper rifle, removable knife and frag grenade.

    Square Enix's Halo:Reach Kai figures look great, but you really didn't need me to tell you that. What makes these figures truly amazing is their size and articulation. 9 inches equals a pretty robust figure. Paired with a very durable plastic construction, these toys are, for lack of a better word, MEATY. Playing with these is an absolute joy, with nice and firm rachet and ball joints all over the place. The photo above is just a small sampling of the extreme gun-firing poses you can achieve; from Emile hip-shooting with his beastly shotgun, to Jun striking a solid sniper stance - upright OR squatting. I haven't been able to put these figures down since I got them; constantly amazed by their hefty size and solid articulation.

    Alas, I DID encounter several problems with Noble Six. The least offending was the peg for his rifle snapped when trying to remove it. The pegs, which also come with Emile's shotgun and all the figure's grenades, allow the accessories to be stowed on the figure, be it his back or thigh. These ARE removable (something I've noted other reviews fail to mention), but in the case of Noble Six, it broke. No biggy as I plan on having him hold his weapon anyways. The main offender was Noble Six's right hand snapping off at the wrist peg when I went to swap hands. All the Halo:Reach Kai figures come pre-packed with open hands, requiring you to swap them out if you want them firing guns.

    For Emile and Jun, swapping hands was a bit of work, but I managed it with some careful pushing and prying. Noble Six, though, wasn't so lucky. It was a clean wrist post snap that required some resourceful "cybernetic surgery" (read: I implanted a screw for the wrist post). I've seen YouTube reviews of the same thing happening to theirs, all of the first run of Noble Six figures released a few months ago overseas. However, a friend of mine in the U.S. who just recently received his figure said all was absolutely fine. My conclusion: there were some defective Noble Six's in the first run and that it has since been corrected. Regardless of the problem, I do wish Square Enix packed these figures with weapon firing hands already in place. It'd save collectors a step, as I see most fans displaying their figures with gun in hand. Another solution rests in the interchangeable hands themselves. The wrists posts are actually part of the figure, requiring you to push the hand onto it... hard. Having the peg pre-attached to the hand could possibly lessen the tension and make for an easier connection.

    Despite my issues with Noble Six (which appears to be isolated to the first run of figures), Square Enix's Halo:Reach Play Arts Kai are absolutely AMAZING. Their size is what instantly appeals to me; not too small and not too big. I'm a huge fan of 7 inch figures, but I must say that 9 inches is just the perfect height for play and display. The size also allows the sculpt and paint apps to shine, something these figures both reflect in spades. $50 isn't cheap, but I will say that each Halo:Reach Kai figure is well worth the money. I don't want to go into comparison details, but take your commonly seen $20 action figure, increase its size, level of articulation, sculpt and paint apps, and you have a Kai - all those extras (and improvements) easily justifying the extra $30. Kai is a class of collectibles all to itself. Highly recommended.


    Square Enix's Halo:Reach Play Arts Kai Series 1 is IN-STOCK now at Square Enix's Online Store and They are available for pre-order and shipping soon at and

    Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor

    Review Samples Courtesy of Square Enix

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: HALO: REACH Play Arts Kai Series 1

    Any word on if TRU will be getting these? I've been really happy to see FFXIII and Kingdom Hearts 2 figs hitting American TRU's for the sake of convenience and not having to pay shipping and having the chance to pick out my own prefered paint apps at purchase time... I'd rather grab these at TRU for all those reasons. But I don't want to miss out on them entirely waiting for TRU to get them in...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Re: HALO: REACH Play Arts Kai Series 1

    That's a good question and will look into it for you. I agree, S&H can kill a deal sometimes, but in the case of these, well worth it if you ordered the set. I'll get back to you when I hear back from Square.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: HALO: REACH Play Arts Kai Series 1

    Yeah, they're totally worth it. I've been lucky with SE so far, from as far back as FFVII AC figs I've been able to order through comic shops and a small handful of specialty shops in my area. TRU having them is almost like getting spoiled

    If they're not going to, I'll try to grab them from BBTS, I've been insanely impressed with them and their customer service. Good shipping rates too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: HALO: REACH Play Arts Kai Series 1

    This is one of those sets I've been trying to fool myself into thinking that I didn't want mostly because I can't really afford them. But I said the same thing with a few other Square Enix figures that, in the end, I eventually got. Their craftsmanship is crazy! It seems as though each figure they release is better than the one before it. Honestly, I didn't think there will be a figure cooler than their Snake figure from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. I can't wait for the second one! Yeah, I'm sure i'll be shelling out some funds for some of Noble Team. I can't afford to get them all so I'll have to limit them to my favorites. Jorge is a definate purchase when he comes out as well as Carter. I may have to pick up Noble Six since he's the game's main character. I do wonder if Jorge will be scaled to everyone else. That'll be really cool!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: HALO: REACH Play Arts Kai Series 1

    I'm really interested to see some regular (non promo) pics of Jorge too... in the pics that have come out, he looks a little too lean for how massive he seems in the game. Honestly, the waists on even these seem a little too lean. Probably a choice to accommodate articulation, but it sort of off sets the hips in an odd way. Its a very very minor thing, but I can't help but notice it.

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