As an adult with too big a toy collection, my criteria has changed from the days of my youth. When it comes to action figures, I collect to make a nice display or to even help me with my artistic skills. (I want to be a comic creator but knowing no artists and being tied to “my vision” I’m learning to draw on my own.) This results in having certain requirements when it comes to my action figures and even my Transformers, which I’ll be going through soon enough.

Before I begin burrowing through the rest of my “cubby hole” action figures, I thought you might want to see the standard by which I judge my action figures. Probably the coolest action figure in my collection, and anime fans will recognize the unintentional pun when I show you…

Cygnus Hyoga (the Swan)

Knights of the Zodiac was a poor translation/dub of the anime series Saint Seiya. While Knights of the Zodiac is a cooler name (and makes it feel more like an ensemble series, since Seiya was the name of one of the main characters), the constellation Cygnus isn’t in any Zodiac. The action figure comes from the KotZ figure line by Bandai, but I haven’t been able to find out if this is an original mold or one from the Seiya line.




Hyoga comes from the 8″ line and stands not quite as high as the classic G.I. Joes. I picked this one up because I liked the color blue and flawed dub aside  Hyoga was my favorite character on the show. (I should look up the regular translations some day. There was a dubbed version.) His powers were similar to the X-Men hero Iceman, but instead of ice armor he used magic cloth armor. The main reason I wanted one of these figures, however, is the articulation. As you see above, Hyoga has near full articulation. (All he’s missing is the ability to look up and down, but how does he see anything with his hair covering his eyes? 🙂 ) And it’s natural articulation. His waist even stops right where a normal human’s stops, and his ankles can handle most poses, even without the stand. (I still need it for poses where the figure can’t steady himself to compensate like a living being can.) This alone makes him the perfect figure to use when I’m drawing a fighting pose that my art manikin can’t. At the time I bought him, however, I just thought he’d be fun to display. I prefer action figures over statuettes or something because you change the display around when the mood strikes. However, I never found anyone for him to spar with.


"I can't squeeze my hair through that. It's hard plastic."


I mentioned the cloth armor before. Well, the figure comes with that too. So did the 5″ figures that were released around that time, but they weren’t as posable and their armor wasn’t as shiny. Sure, cloth probably shouldn’t shine like metal, but I still think this looks better. All of the armor pieces clamp on to the statue that represents that Knight’s constellation, in this case a swan. (Insert Swan Lake joke here, but remember that he can beat the daylights out of you and then freeze you solid.) The swan head pops off, which probably isn’t a good idea. There was another piece that went into the hole there, but I lost it. I’m also not sure how I’m supposed to get the body armor to connect to this thing and stay there. If it came with assembly instructions I lost them. So how does he look with all that gear on?


"I make this look goooooood."


Like he said, pretty darn good. I had to mess with the lighting to keep the sunlight from shining off the armor (it was bad enough from the figure itself) because it is very shiny. The hair is designed so the headband (or tiara, whichever) stays put. The rest wraps around him like real armor, with the leg pieces in two pieces and the arm pieces plugging into his wrists and then closing a piece around his arms. The body armor actually separates into four pieces. You bring the front and back plates together and use the shoulder pieces to hold them close. The result works, as most of the armor stays on rather well. The arms pieces don’t always plug into the wrists all that strong, but you can get them to stay in place for play or pose well enough to not be too frustrating.

The wings connect to the back armor, but are removed for their spot on the swan statue. Personally, I prefer to put them on the wrong way, with the wings down, so that’s how you’ll see them for the rest of this review.


Defensive stance, both with and without armor.


The armor doesn’t interfere with the martial arts stances at all. The skirt is designed to move out of the way for the legs, the wings are connected to ball joints so you can pose them where they won’t block his arms, and his shoulder pads also move out of the arms’ way. The tiara is a bit lose while moving it around, and may pop off while trying to pose his head, but otherwise it locks on to his hair well enough.



A look at the wings on their ball joint.


From the back you can see all the screws holding the toy together, but that’s no big. The end result is the best action figure I’ve ever owned, and I really want to get more like it, especially at this size so Hyoga has someone to spar with. None of the figures up for review match this and I’m not going to necessarily drop the figures just because they aren’t as awesome as Cygnus Hyoga, but this is how I judge my future purchases as well as a factor in judging which figures I’m keeping in this purge. So far, only Mega Man (classic version) has the same range of poses, but some of the upcoming action figures may have their own strong points. We’ll see when I review the next set of figures, the DC Super Heroes set, featuring 4 figures from three different lines.



Our judges, ladies and gentlemen.