It’s going to be a fast one today, but a really unique one. A set that came out recently (I received them in August, I think?), it’s a series from a Japanese group called Toys Spirits. As best as I can tell, this is one of many lines produced by or for Bandai; Toys Spirits tend to be smaller figures overall than what we usually associate with capsule figures, which really says something. From the limited information I could find, many of the sets also have a unique gimmick. In this case, we have the series called Super Long Moray Mascot. Not sure how they are mascots…but they are cute little figures–a set of five moray eel species!
I have always been a fan of eel species and figures, and while a number of figures are made representing a few different species (especially but not limited to Japanese series), most only feature a couple. As far as I can tell, the species in this series are not necessarily unique, but they are very nice takes on the animals. Of the species, the Green moray eel is probably the most familiar species as a figure (Safari has done several!); the Laced moray eel has also shown up a few times (although is a different species than the spotted moray, another popular figure that gets made). Two other species are more likely to be seen from Japanese companies, the Giant moray eel and the Kidako moray eel. The fifth species is the least common as a figure, but is probably the most distinctive, a Zebra moray eel.
So what are the figures like? They are all the same basic model, recognizably moray eels, although this does mean that the zebra moray’s head isn’t quite right, being a completely different genus from the other species. The paint jobs are recognizable if a little simple in some cases. It does help that the figures come with identification of the species, since some (like the Laced moray) could be mistaken for others. The figures are made of a soft, flexible rubber; they can be bent to some extent but I would be concerned about tearing them. This flexibility is part of their gimmick, and suits the other part–each eel comes packaged with a plastic piece of scenery, either an urn or pipe, with openings at different ends. This allows the eels to be displayed as though hiding, probably representing the fish in an aquarium. The size of the pieces, and the soft eel models, allows more than one fish to squeeze in, also like we might see in an aquarium.
My only complaint is that the figures cannot stay upright without some kind of base. And their rubbery nature can make them difficult to stay in place in the display pieces (they usually want to tip over or fall on their sides). This means that squeezing a few together might actually help them stay better.
This is a strange little set, but definitely a worthwhile one for fans of marine animals, especially eels. I think that they might still be available in Japan, but I honestly don’t know–I usually place my orders for things like these as soon as I know about them. They’re honestly not rugged enough for playing with or anything like that. But definitely something different on the shelves!