Vault Tales 272 Run the Set Takara Monster Fish

More fish this week, this time ostensibly a ‘set’ but really just two different versions of the same figure, from the same series. In recent years Takara has started releasing small gashapon sets of figures, usually 3 to five figures, a little larger than more familiar Kaiyodo, Yujin, and similar models. Most are in a couple of pieces, often with some kind of jointing or movement. There are also quite a number of themes–a few fish ones, some prehistoric ones, several wild animals. The set in view today was referred to as the Monster Fish series–from what I can tell from the promo material (found at this link) there may be some reference to a World Fishing competition or something…maybe the translating isn’t quite capturing the proper meaning.

This set was first released, or at least announced in 2019, but I don’t believe I got mine until some time in 2020. So it’s pretty recent, although as usual they’re pretty limited Anyway, the set in question contained four figures–a fairly long Oarfish in multiple joints and a very bulky Anglerfish of some kind. I chose to pass on them…they’re neat, but I have representatives of those species. I did, however, need to get the other two, which are of course animals that suit my particular favorite animals to collect. These would be a couple of primitive fish, two Asian arowana. Not uncommon as a figure, but these ones are kind of special.

These arowana figures are the same sculpt, painted into two different, very popular colour morphs. A more yellow gold ‘crossback’ (so named by how the gold edge ‘crosses’ over the back) and a super red (because…it’s very red). Both of these are fairly common colour schemes in arowana figures, especially the red. The gold colour morphs are usually the ‘chase’ or ‘secret’ version in sets with variants, but in this case they’re just two versions with equal availability. The figures themselves are well made, and do a great job of depicting the important physical features of these big and regal fish–the big, shiny scales, the side, broad fins, and the big head with associated big mouth. The mouth even has the two barbels, although they are shortened a little, probably for manufacture purposes. There are two body joints–the tail moves side-to-side at the base of the peduncle, and the jaw hinges open and closed.

That hinging jaw hides what might be the most interesting aspect of these figures. Not sure how widely known it is, but a unique aspect of arowana life history is that the males are mouth brooders. And in what I believe is a first, these figures have what appear to have a couple of fry in their mouths, that are visible when the mouths open! So these small figures demonstrate something different about these fishes’ life history–and also identify these figures as representing male specimens, since arowana are paternal mouth brooders. Very cool to see figures with educational benefits to them released.

The figures are excellent models, a definite must for collectors of fish and unique animals. These figures are modest in size–larger than, say, Colorata or Kaiyodo ones, but smaller than the big Favorite figure. While they are still at least somewhat available, they also tend to be more affordable, so that’s nice. The figures are also pretty robust, so active handling should be okay for them, but at the same time they are great as display models. The fitting of the pieces is a bit loose–the tail and jaw need to snap in which can be tricky (although the softer PVC type material shouldn’t be that breakable); and the head is a separate piece that tends to slip off kind of easily. But it gets back in place easily! These are definitely great models, and I highly recommend them (and depending on the animals you prefer most, other models from the recent Takara series–the style has become a popular one for them lately).

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