REVIEW: STREET FIGHTER REVOLUTIONS DHALSIM
It would appear that the STREET FIGHTER line of action figures from SOTA Toys has run its course. The general word I've been hearing is that once a certain highly-placed individual within the company, who was Street Fighter's staunchest supporter, left, so did company interest in continuing the line.
That is unfortunate, and it would also explain why NECA has the license for action figures from Street Fighter IV. I have to say that however impressive the game looks, and it does look extremely impressive, I'm not impressed with the figures. Granted, the character designs in the game seem oddly bulky, as well, so I suspect NECA was just working with what they had.
At any rate, I've been gradually rounding up the final assortment of Street Fighter figures from SOTA Toys. Alas, the assortment comes one short of completing what I've always considered to be the "core cast" of Street Fighters. They didn't get around to Dee-Jay, despite showing a superb-looking prototype of him at a San Diego Comic-Con a couple of years ago. However, the last assortment does give us three other core case characters. I've already reviewed Zangief and E. Honda. This review will take a look at DHALSIM.
Here is some background on this character.
Dhalsim made his debut in the original Street Fighter II as one of the game's original eight main characters. In his backstory, Dhalsim is from Kerala, India, and is characterized as a pacifist who goes against his beliefs by entering the World Warrior tournament to raise money for his village. In his ending, Dhalsim wins the tournament and returns home on his elephant Kodal.
Three years later, Dhalsim's son, Datta, discovers a photograph of his father from the tournament. From the original Street Fighter II and up until Super Street Fighter II, this ending graphics was drawn in a comical style. In Super Street Fighter II Turbo, it was changed to a more realistic style, with Dhalsim's wife, Sally, added to it.
Dhalsim would later appear in the Street Fighter Alpha sub-series in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3. In his storyline in the Alpha games (which are set prior to the events of Street Fighter II), Dhalsim attempts to hunt down an "evil spirit" (M. Bison) threatening the world.
Dhalsim also appears in the Street Fighter EX sub-series, beginning with the console-exclusive version, Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha, followed by Street Fighter EX2 and Street Fighter EX3. His characterization and motivation are the same as they are in the previous Street Fighter game.
Dhalsim is back in Street Fighter IV , and given the rather bulky design of the characters in that game.
Dhalsim is often depicted as having pupil-less eyes. His build is that of a normal man who exercises and weight trains regularly except for his abdomen and waist which appear much out of proportion and emaciated.
He wears torn saffron shorts as his only clothing attire as well as saffron wristbands and anklebands. He has three colored stripes adorning his head, and in the Street Fighter Alpha series, he wears a turban that he removes before battle. The skulls he wears around his neck are those of village children who died during a plague.
In palette swap renditions of Dhalsim, his skin is often dark blue or other unnatural colors; he is the oldest of the original World Warriors.
In the Street Fighter II V, the UDON comic book series, and Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Dhalsim is a wise and powerful mystic who has mastered the inner mysteries of Yoga. In the comic, he helps prepare Sagat for his bout with Ryu and helps Ryu himself discover the darkness within his soul. Later on he is given an invitation to M. Bison's "Street Fighter II" global fighting tournament, wherein he defeats Adon in the preliminaries with ease.
In the live-action movie, Dhalsim's character was considerably different. He was a timid scientist responsible for the genetic work that produced Blanka. At the film's end, he and Blanka head off for parts unknown. The animated series that followed on the USA Network, which picked up elements from the movie, restored Dhalsim to his original look, but kept the movie backstory. Dhalsim had retreated to a life of solitude and wanted to have nothing to do with science and technology. Nevertheless, he was willing to help Colonel Guile and the other Street Fighters when it came down to it.
The only previous Dhalsim figure of which I am aware is the one Hasbro created as part of their Street Fighter line in the mid-1990's, which was based on the design and construction parameters for G.I. Joe.
Dhalsim was one of very few figures in the line that had to be sculpted from scratch and couldn't use any previously existing parts. He was just a little too peculiar in appearance. Hasbro did a good job, but it was tough to get Dhalsim's skinny frame into the G.I. Joe motif, especially when one considers that a lot of the figures in that line had built-in spring-action features. In fairness, however, Hasbro was trying for a somewhat more realistic and slightly less "anime" look to many of the figures. From that standpoint, Dhalsim worked.
So, how did SOTA's effort turn out? Quite well, really. After buying the E. Honda and Zangief figures a while back, I was concerned that SOTA had raised the basic scale of the figures for this assortment, when it became the "Street Fighter Revolutions" line, and before they pretty much decided to drop the license. Honda and Zangief are big guys, but if one uses the original Ryu and Ken figures as a sort of "scale default", I wondered if they really were THAT big. Apparently they were, because Dhalsim isn't really any taller than Ryu and Ken.
Granted, trying to determine any sort of scale for this line isn't easy, when you've got everything from massive monsters like Honda and Zangief down to petite little specimens like Sakura.
Dhalsim stands just about 6-1/2" in height, and has a physical build that I would describe as "powerfully slender". He looks almost painfully thin in some respects, but at the same time, one can tell that the muscle he does have on his frame is just that -- muscle, and it looks pretty solid. Dhalsim might be in a fairly light weight class, and I don't think you'd want to put him up against someone like Zangief or Honda outside of the video game environment, but he could probably take on anybody of an average build and reasonable musculature and pretty well kick their butt.
The figure looks very much like the character. He has a bald head with the red stripes over the top of his dome, and the pupil-less eyes. He has two silver hoop-like earrings hanging from his lobes. His only significant clothing is the so-called saffron shorts, which are colored yellow on the figure, and are "tied off" with a nicely detailed plastic rope. The shorts appear to be somewhat less than tailor-made.
He has fabric wrappings around his wrists and ankles, and two silver armbands, which are in place as loose pieces.
Dhalsim also has his skulls necklace. Can't say I'm entirely comfortable with this, let alone after reading the explanation for it, but it's part of the character. The skulls have been individually molded, and are tied to a small length of brown string. They're separately packaged in the box, but can easily be placed around Dhalsim's neck.
Dhalsim's articulation is excellent. He is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper-arm swivel, double-jointed elbow, wrists, mid-torso, waist legs, leg swivel where the shorts end, double-jointed knees, and ankles.
Unlike Zangief and Honda, which came with warnings about how to loosen stuck articulation points, Dhalsim came with no such warning. I think his slender build makes him more easily poseable. Even so, anything that you find stuck on your Dhalsim should not be forced. SOTA recommends briefly boiling the figure to remedy this, a procedure that is becoming fairly commonplace among collectors for any number of action figure lines. I haven't tried it myself.
Appearance-wise, Dhalsim isn't bad, but if I have any minor gripes about the figure, it would be here. The shoulders are strange, protruding far to the sides. Additionally, there's a sort of, well, "unfinished" look to some parts of the figure, especially more detailed sculpt areas, notably the hands and feet. I noticed this somewhat on Zangief and Honda, as well. It's not as prevalent by any means on the previous assortments of Street Fighter figures, which look distinctly more refined.
Dhalsim's "accessories", if it's appropriate to call them such, are interesting. He comes with two extra hands. The hands attached to the figure are fists. The additional hands are more open. And -- he comes with something else. Something that I sort of wondered if SOTA was going to address, back when I first learned they were doing the Street Fighter line.
Dhalsim's fighting style is listed as "Mysteries of the Yoga". Now, we all know that the Street Fighters have some interesting powers. Ryu and Ken are capable of firing some sort of energy bursts. Guile has a power he calls "Sonic Boom".
Dhalsim can do two things. One is to shoot fire from his mouth which he calls "Yoga Flame". His other capability is the really weird one. He seems able to stretch his limbs to a considerable length, to punch his opponents at a distance. You've heard of an Indian rubber plant? Meet the Indian rubber man. He's no Mister Fantastic, but still, I wondered -- how was SOTA going to deal with this? WERE they going to deal with this. Short of making the figure along the lines of a "Stretch Armstrong", which didn't really strike me as their style, I had no real idea.
Dhalsim comes with two -- extended arms. In and of themselves, they're not articulated. They're clearly designed to be attached to the figure at the upper-arm swivel joint, and either set of hands can be attached to them. They're each nearly 4" in length, so do the math on a figure that stands 6-1/2" in height. Add the hands, and it makes it really easy for Dhalsim to pick stuff off the floor without so much as bending over.
I opted not to try them out. I'm always just a little reluctant to disassemble an action figure for the sake of secondary parts. Ask anyone in my Microman collection about that. However, all credit to SOTA for figuring out a very effective way to allow Dhalsim to display his peculiar ability, if one should so desire.
So, what's my final word here? Well, I think it's a shame that SOTA has apparently given up on Street Fighter. There's one additional figure I don't have, R. Mika, and if supplies last, I may get her. She's not part of the core cast, but she's a reasonably well-known character within the concept.
I desperately wish that SOTA had gotten around to Dee-Jay. If they had, I think I would've been a lot more content. There have been three Street Fighter collections. There was Hasbro's, which was cut short by the less than stellar performance of the original movie, and some of their packaging illustrations would indicate that they did plan to get around to some of the characters that they ultimately didn't. There was a short-lived line from ReSaurus which is barely worth mentioning.
SOTA, I really feel, did a superb job, even if they've been a little inattentive in some respects in this last assortment. I wish they'd cared enough to maintain and continue the license. And don't get me wrong, I'm very pleased with the figures that I have, and except for some of the more oddball variants, I have a complete collection. Let me state it like this. I have every individual character they introduced into the line. I just wish there had been one more.
But Dee-Jay's absence does not effect my enjoyment of Dhalsim. I might liked to have seen somewhat more refinement on some of the sculpting, but for the most part, I am very impressed. He certainly looks like the character from the video game, has a superb range of articulation, is nicely detailed, and can hold a wide range of action poses.
Any Street Fighter fan would be pleased to own this character, and if you've been maintaining the SOTA collection, you'll certainly want to add him. The Street Fighter line was a "specialty store" line, but I can't say as I've seen this assortment turn up even at places where previous assortments have, such as Hot Topic or Suncoast. Your best bet -- unless they've run out by the time you read this -- is to secure it from SOTA directly, at the SOTA toys website.
And assuredly, the STREET FIGHTER REVOLUTIONS figure of DHALSIM definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!