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REVIEW: MICROMAN ACROYEAR X-2 SERIES
By Thomas Wheeler

The second series of villains for Takara's popular Microman series, which
was rejuvenated in 2003 with an all-new, highly poseable and highly
accurate body sculpt, emerged on the scene a few months back. I have
recently been able to add these remarkable figures to my collection.
Although an exclusive to Japan, it is not difficult to find the toys at
certainly select online retailers, notably www.smalljoes.com and
www.bigbadtoystore.com.

Microman is legendary in Japan, having run virtually uninterrupted since
1974. It was introduced in the United States in the late 1970's by Mego,
then the action figure ruler of the toy world, under the name of
Micronauts. The concept enjoyed a healthy run, spawned a very popular
Marvel comic, and enjoyed a conceptual resurgence a couple of years back,
with a too-short lived comic book, a trilogy of paperback novels, and a
somewhat less-than-successful revival of the original toys, this time
courtesy of Palisades. More recently, SOTA Toys, best known for their
superb Street Fighter line, has announced plans to remake the Micronauts
with more extreme likenesses.

Meanwhile, the Microman concept has continued along its merry way,
entirely apart from this, in Japan, and the newest assortment of enemy
ACROYEAR figures is highly impressive - if more than a bit quirky from
several standpoints.

The assortment is designated ACROYEAR X-2, the "Acroyear" name being as
long-standing a part of the world of Microman as anything. This
particular batch includes two male figures, named ACROPHANTOM and
ACROMEDALG, and two female figures, named ACROELSA and ACROPLANA. Let's
take a look at each one individually:

ACROPHANTOM: Probably the most straightforward of the entire assortment,
AcroPhantom is molded almost entirely in uncolored clear plastic, the
first MicroMan in the modern series to be done in this fashion that I am
aware of. His body is heavily marked with intricate designed in dark
blue, markings which could be a form of tattoo, almost, especially since
his back has the letters "D-E-A-T-H" on it, in fancy "Old English"
lettering of the type I have seen used on tattoos before. AcroPhantom's
head is colored a dark blue chrome, and topped with a clear dome-helmet.
The only other color on the figure is his hands, which are black.

His main accessory is a huge contraption that actually converts into a
small vehicle that strongly resembles a wheelchair - an armed wheelchair.
An armed wheelchair, admittedly. He has a number of other, smaller
weapons, and, as with all the MicroMan figures, several pairs of extra
hands in different positions, which can easily be exchanged on the figure.

Overall, AcroPhantom is a superb and very cool addition to the MicroMan/
Acroyear series, even if, strangely, he's probably the most unremarkable
of the foursome - which should give you some idea of how extreme and
downright strange the rest of them are.

ACROMEDALG: This member of the Acroyear X-2 assortment features something
entirely new for the male MicroMan figures - a new upper torso and upper
arms. Takara has taken some pride in the fact that the new MicroMan
figures are proportionately correct for actual human beings. That being
the case, AcroMedalg probably represents someone who works out - a lot -
and could probably clean house on half the locker room of the WWE.

Granted, he needs his massive build. His primary weapons are huge
mechanical gauntlets, each of which ends in five claw-like fingers. And
as an example of the level of detail and articulation Takara puts into
these, each individual finger is separately articulated. The figure comes
packaged wearing these huge gauntlets, but it is possible to switch them
out for standard hands, of which AcroMedalg comes with a generous supply.

The figure's other main unusual feature is his head. It looks like a six-
sided bolt. There's no apparent facial features, although there's a
little extra detail, almost a mechanical "chin" under the "bolt", which
at least gives you some idea of which way to turn the head to have him
looking forward or to the side. I sort of get the impression this is a
character who doesn't have much personality - or doesn't want you to
think he does, given the eerie plain-ness of his head. On the other hand,
given his physical size compared to the others, I doubt very much that he
gets called "Bolt-Head" very often. At least not more than once by anybody.

The figure is molded mostly in a silvery grey plastic, and his markings
have a distinct mechanical look to them. The appearance of the head takes
a little getting used to, but overall, he's an excellent and interesting
figure.

Now let's turn our attention to the two females:

ACROELSA: Okay, She's pink, she's barefoot, her head is chrome pink, one
of her accessories is a changeable chrome-pink hairpiece that includes
little pig-tails, among her other accessories are cute little angel-like
arm wings, and her main accessory is a purple panther. And this is
supposed to be one of the villains.

Further proof that I will simply never understand the Japanese mindset.
Makes you wonder how they'd react to Doctor Doom or somebody else that
really looks vicious.

AcroElsa is easily one of the most distinctive MicroMan figures of the
modern line. Between her design and color scheme, she's one of the real
standouts. The figure is molded mostly in transparent pink plastic, with
a colorful and rather random overlay of opaque white that one person I
showed the figure to said made her look like she was made of bubble gum.
An odd comparison, perhaps, but not entirely inaccurate.

AcroElsa's main "accessory" is a robotic panther made in transparent
purple and chrome silver plastic. Here, the legendary articulation of the
line comes up a little short. Although the figure can move at the head,
neck, legs, feet, and tail, there's no articulation within the legs
themselves, such as knee joints. However, this might've been a little too
much to expect for what does amount to an accessory. It's still a very
cool part of the set.

Several parts can be exchanged between the panther and AcroElsa,
including the cat's "helmet" and, of all things, its tail.

AcroElsa is one of those figures where I really wish I could read
Japanese and get a better notion of her background. She certainly doesn't
look especially evil, but in any case, she's an excellent addition to the
overall line.

ACROPLANA: Then there's the really strange one. I have no desire to cause
insult, but when you advertise a female action figure as having a
proportionate 40" bust, and that figure certainly looks it, and glows in
the dark as well, you sort of start wondering just how lonely and forlorn
the male sculptors at Takara must be.

The female figures in the modern MicroMan line have been a little more
variable in their construction than the males, anyway, at least until
AcroMedalg came around. There were several different bust sizes and foot
types. AcroElsa was the first to introduce bare feet. AcroPlana is the
first to introduce an upper torso that should probably be rated PG-13.

The rest of the figure is a bit strange, too. The head, molded in chrome
green, has two metallic appendages coming out of it, to which can be
attached any of the various weapons hanging off the belt the figure is
wearing. There are also several long tentacles that come packed with the
figure. Totally accessorized, AcroPlana would easily be the strangest-
looking yet of any of the modern MicroMan line.

And then there's the glow-in-the-dark feature. Basically the entire body,
except for the head, can glow, but some of this is blocked by the
paintwork. There's a certain amount of green and white detail on the figure.

Overall, AcroPlana is an interesting, but weird, addition to the Acroyears.

The MicroMan line continues to be highly impressive. Unfortunately, plans
to introduce the line to the United States in 2005 have been scaled back,
for reasons of which I am not certain. This is a shame, as there's quite
a bit of new product scheduled to come out, including another assortment
of the "heroic" Microman figures, with small vehicles, and a new
assortment of Acroyears called ACROYEAR AEX. I have no idea what that
stands for at this time, nor have I seen pictures as of this writing.

I'm still hopeful that there's some level of American release, as the
figures intended to be released over here were going to include a DVD
movie. Might finally get some origins and explanations from that.

Fortunately, as I said, the line is available through various online
sources, and at the moment, I can't think of a better-made and more
highly-articulated line in this scale. For anyone who appreciates really
well-made action figures, you can't go wrong with MicroMan, and this
latest assortment of the villainous ACROYEARS is certainly worth the
effort to obtain, and has my highest recommendation!