REVIEW: REDAKAI FROZTOK
I can remember when the primary purpose of trading cards was to collect them, put them in plastic sleeves in a notebook, and admire them. I'm also old enough to remember when some of my contemporaries as children took trading cards and inserted them into the spokes of their bicycles to create a sound effect. Obviously, this eventually ruined the cards, some of which today might've paid some college tuition for THEIR kids.
Today, there's collectible trading card games. You not only collect the cards, you can play games with them with your friends. I'll admit, I'm pretty much out of this particular loop. You want card games, I know Solitaire and Blackjack. And mostly I play those on my computer these days. Can't really recall the last time I actually picked up a deck of cards.
However, I do think I know cool and interesting action figures when I see them, even if I may not fully understand their core concept. Such is the case with an action figure line called REDAKAI, which is a collectible card game backed by an animated series and a line of action figures, several of which I have added to my collection.
My criteria for evaluating an action figure line can generally be described thusly: I want to see it give evidence of good quality, and a generous amount of creativity and imagination. The Redakai figures have this in abundance.
This particular review will take a look at a character by the name of FROZTOK. But first, a little background information on Redakai, courtesy of some online research.
Redakai: Conquer the Kairu is an entertainment and gaming property created by Spin Master. It featured an animated TV show produced by Marathon Media and Zodiak Kids, directed and designed by Stephane Berry, which runs on Cartoon Network. The Redakai Trading Card Game features clear, plastic cards.
The trading card game of Redakai has two sets of rules, a set of "Basic rules" which plays much like a simple card game where the top card of a deck is flipped face-up to compare powers and another set of rules that utilize the full text on the cards. The cards are made of plastic instead of paper and use a system where several parts of the cards are clear to allow portions of the cards behind them to be revealed. The cards also use images created with Lenticular printing.
There are three types of cards: Characters, Monsters, and Attacks. Each player starts the game with three Characters. A player plays monsters on their own characters to change their abilities and defenses and play attacks on top of their opponent's characters in order to damage them. When the three yellow "health bars" on a character are filled in red, that character is knocked out. One must "KO" all three opposing characters to win the game. The game's power source, "Kairu", is how the cards are played in the full game.
The 52 episode Redakai: Conquer the Kairu animated series focuses on a 15 year old student of ancient martial arts, named Ky, who embarks on a quest to find the Kairu, a primordial alien energy source. Aided by his friends Maya and Boomer, Ky travels the world searching for the Kairu, while attempting to make sure that his extraterrestrial teenage adversaries don't find it first.
Ky, whose full name is Ky Stax, leads a group called Team Stax. He is the heir to his father Connor's legacy. After displaying a gift for the Art of Kairu, Ky was sent by his father to train under the wise Boaddai. His destiny would be ultimately be revealed following the Great Cataclysm – to continue his father's legacy and protect Kairu from Lokar.
Ky fiercely believes his father survived the Great Cataclysm and is determined to discover the truth behind Connor's disappearance. Ky is impulsive and fearless, and though his rebellious nature sometimes conflicts with his Kairu training, his honor and dedication to the rules of Kairu almost always triumph over his teenage instincts. Ky is a determined and loyal warrior and shows all the potential of someday becoming a great and powerful Redakai.
Talented and book smart Maya is only female member of Team Stax and their voice of reason. She is the 'yin' to Ky's 'yang,' both complementing his skills and balancing his impulsiveness. Maya is gifted with an extra-sensory ability that allows her to sense when Kairu is nearby, a skill that proves to be useful on many of Team Stax's adventures.
As a young child, Master Boaddai took Maya in after she was left on his doorstep, and she considers Boaddai to be like a grandfather. Her origins remain a mystery, and she longs to understand her past, but strange markings on her arm may someday give her answers to who she really is, answers she may struggle to comprehend.
Maya loves the Banshee Scream and Hyper Hurricane of Harrier, with Infinita and its Fire Whip and Fire Tornado attacks providing her with all the back-up monster power she needs.
Team Stax is filled out by Boomer. Built to fight, and dedicated to his team, Boomer is the strong arm of Team Stax. Plus, he has a sense of humor -- his good-natured wit is the perfect balance between Ky's brashness and Maya's reason.
He was born on a farm in the Midwest and left at young age left to join his childhood best friend Ky as a student of Master Boaddai. While Boomer sometimes struggles to find his place among Team Stax, his strength, versatility, and loyalty make him a valuable asset to the team in their quest to restore balance to the universe.
Boomer leans towards the Hail Storm and Freeze Ray attacks of Froztok, with Chemaster and its Corosive Crush and Star Smash attacks adding to his elemental one-two monster punch.
There are villains in the series, of course. Lokar is the master of evil in the Redakai universe, and the main enemy of the Redakai and Team Stax. Lokar and Boaddai, an ally of Team Stax, trained together as young Kairu warriors, and Lokar proved from the beginning to be skilled and intelligent in the ways of Kairu. But instead of using his powers for good, he decided to use the Kairu energy for his own gain, allowing him to become a powerful and destructive force. Lokar has assembled a motley crew of E-Teen warriors to do his dirty work, and he will stop at nothing to collect the Kairu for his own twisted ends, an objective that could prove to be disastrous to Earth… and the entire universe. Other villains include Team Radikor, Team Imperiaz, and Team Battacor.
Okay, so who precisely is FROZTOK, apart from one of Boomer's personal favorites? The package for the figure described him, along with being Boomer's signature monster, as "the toughest ice elemental around and able to freeze anything." And brother, he looks the part.
So, how's the figure? Extremely impressive. Although the Redakai line has not been all that extensive, it has certainly been varied, and I would have to say that Froztok is my personal favorite in the line. Admittedly, I tend to have an affinity for certain figure features, one of which is a well-made colored-transparent figure, and Froztok definitely fits this description.
Froztok is entirely transparent blue. It's a very frigid-looking shade of blue, as well. As to Froztok's physical description? Well, picture the Incredible Hulk crossed with Iceman, with maybe a little bit of Doomsday, the creature that killed Superman, thrown in for good measure, and perhaps just a touch of Crystar (just so I can mention a really obscure toy line). Put all this together, and you've for Froztok.
Froztok is humanoid, and his overall bodily proportions are a but more proportionate than some. Seeming to take a bit of a cue from some of the more muscular characters from the popular animated series Ben 10, there's a number of characters in Redakai that are also designed to be physical powerhouses, and they have relatively small heads, massive torsos, gargantuan arms, and seriously small legs. It's like the designers spent too much time studying gorillas or some such.
Now, I'd hate to be Froztok's tailor, and this guy isn't going to be buying a suit off the rack, but he's not nearly as disproportionate as some characters of this type that I've seen. He does have a large torso, and very large arms, but his legs are only fractionally smaller than his arms, and in my opinion, he looks a lot better for the more reasonable proportions.
Froztok has a relatively humanoid face, in that it has two eyes, a centered nose, and a mouth beneath the nose. It looks like a recognizable face. The eyes are painted red, and this is the only painted detail on the entire figure. They're very neatly done, but toy company Spin Master saved some serious paint effort on this guy.
Froztok has a number of short ice spikes coming out of his jaw and along the side of his head in the front, making it look as though he has a sort of ice beard. The top of his head is a series of ice spikes, pointing backwards. Similarly, Froztok's neck and shoulders are a series of upward pointing ice spikes, and the outer edges of his shoulders feature even larger spikes. Similar spikes also appear near his elbows, knees, and lower legs. This is where my comparison of Froztok to Doomsday comes in.
Froztok has a wide, powerful torso, with angular musculature that doesn't quite correspond to human norms, although the basic outline does. The arms, also powerful and muscular in design, have an angular look to them, but are a little closer to human anatomy. Froztok's hands are clenched into fists, and he has four fingers and a thumb on each hand.
The angular musculature on Froztok's legs, much like the torso, doesn't entirely correspond to human anatomy, even if the basic shape and function of the legs does. His feet end in two sharp spiked toes on each foot.
I've been told from time to time that transparent colored plastic is more difficult to produce than opaque. I don't know all that much about plastic manufacturing, but if this is true, then Spin Master has done a really outstanding job with Froztok. He is overall a very consistent transparent blue. The plastic is very solid. It's not entirely rigid, but it's not terribly flexible, either. I'm almost surprised there aren't more warning labels on this guy, since he does have some distinctly sharp points, especially those shoulders.
Froztok's articulation is extremely impressive. Most of the Redakai figures have an excellent range of motion, but Froztok is definitely in the upper ranks. He is fully poseable at the head, arms, elbows, including a swivel, legs, and knees, including a swivel. And he's just transparent enough so that you can pretty well see how he went together, but being able to see this doesn't really detract from the look of the figure.
Froztok comes with two accessories. Described as "Blizzard Blades", these are molded from transparent green plastic. I have no idea where one would find green ice, and I think I would prefer not to know. Since Froztok's hands are sculpted as fists, he can't actually hold these. Instead, they clip over his wrists. Each "Blizzard Blade" looks like a spiky green ice meteor, with a scimitar-like blade emerging from it. These are not small blades. Froztok measures 4-1/4" in height -- average for the Redakai figures. The blades are nearly 2-1/2" long each.
And, when Froztok's not using them, if you're also a DC collector, you can loan them out to your Green Lantern figures...
So, what's my final word? Well, at this point, the Redakai line seems to be disappearing somewhat. It's possible that it wasn't a hit, but then there are, unfortunately, more misses than hits in the toy world these days, and it's very difficult for a new concept to find its place. I'm honestly not sure what Redakai's present status is at this time, but if it is on its way out, then at least it presented some interesting action figures while it was around, and I encourage you to seek them out while you still can. And, of course, there's always the secondary market.
The Redakai figures, including Froztok, are well made, interesting, and imaginative. Some of them are a little quirky, but they're cool (no pun intended towards Froztok's abilities there), and you don't have to be a follower of the game, or the animated series, to enjoy them. And I will maintain that one of the most impressive examples in the line is definitely Froztok!
The REDAKAI figure of FROZTOK definitely has my highest recommendation!