Who makes it? Of the many properties that Bandai has had licensing deals with–it’s a figure made in conjunction with the Japanese game (card? video? both?) Animal Kaiser–part of the Bigger Beast Series 1, number 8. I think. Kind of like the Playmates Dinosaur King figures.
When did it come out? I honestly don’t know. Last 10 years or so is my best guess.
Still available? Maybe in aftermarket. Like many of these things, they tend to be limited in time. Plus, by the time those of us outside of Japan hear about them they’re usually already gone.
Where can it be found in my displays? It’s not. It’s fine as a figure, but there are others that I actually display.
How does it fit in the collection? Again, it doesn’t really–it was probably part of a lot of them that contained animals I did specifically want. So it’s in storage. The kids like them though.
Any story behind it? Indirectly I suppose–I had found out about an unusual couple of ray figure (a Velez skate and a Common torpedo ray) so I had to try and find them. As I searched I found out that they were part of a larger series of animal figures, all tied to some kind of game. The figures (based on game characters) ranged from very realistic to stylized and anthropomorphic to bizarrely cartoonish to…weird (there’s a Flying Saucer, for example). The easiest way to get the ones I wanted (cheapest way) was to find lots on Japanese auctions–sometimes there were lots of decent ones, with some unusual animals (like the two rays). So that’s why I have this one.
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): Okay, I’m not the greatest source on whale figures and their accuracy. But given that this one is based on a concept from a game, it looks pretty good (I’ve seen worse from ‘real’ companies). It has that really narrow profile that isn’t necessarily obvious when you look at a sperm whale from the side. Colour-wise, it has an almost metallic sheen that makes it almost purple in some lights; from what I can tell they are more greyish or blackish, but this might be from the game design too. And despite the game references, it looks like the animal was designed with some research–the teeth are only in the lower jaw, the blowhole is to one side, the back features the ridges after the dorsal fin, and there’s that big ventral keel in front of the tail. Those latter two elements seem a little more pronounced but that might be a style choice. Even the body texture has been sculpted to feature ridges and wrinkles, giving a lively appearance. One interesting thing is that the face is somewhat styled to look menacing–again, this is probably from the game itself. Is the sperm whale a villain or something? I will likely never find out.
Would I recommend it? I mean, if you are really into whale figures, it would be unique. They’re not impossible to find online, but most likely would be in lots–not a bad thing. It wouldn’t really work as a truly museum-quality figure, but it would be a good diorama figure, and could hold up well as a toy. I definitely would recommend looking up the series overall; there’s probably something in there for fans of all kinds of animals, even prehistoric ones!