S.H. Figuarts Pac-Man by Ban Dai

I was still a young’un when Pac-Man made it’s arcade debut in the United States, and boy was I into it. It was easy to learn how to play, and that combined with the colorful graphics, and cartoony characters, had it sucking away every quarter I could wrestle from my poor parents’ pockets. But Pac-Man’s popularity quickly transcended the arcades, and it’s absolutely impossible to overemphasize how powerful and invasive Pac-Man Fever became. There were books, stickers, candy, t-shirts, ballcaps, games, puzzles, ice cream bars, gumball machines, pasta, a cartoon series, and even a hit record. It was nuts! And despite all that, there weren’t really any action figures, and that was disappointing. Many decades later, I’m an old man and I still love me some Pac-Man, and luckily the yellow chomper has had the staying power to still be crazy popular in an era where just about everything can get an action figure!

Enter S.H. Figuarts… OK, I wasn’t expecting that! It’s a brand known for some highly articulated collectible figures. When I first discovered Figuarts, it was mainly focused on anime characters, but it’s since branched out to include lots of different franchise. Pac-Man comes in a beautiful little window box that shows off the figure inside and features some nice artwork of the maze, as well an approving Pac-man on the front. Obviously, Pac-Man sports a rather unique character, so I’m pretty excited to see what they did with him!

Out of the package, and we get Pac-Man’s large spherical head-body with short arms and lugs jutting out from it. The eyes and eyebrows are sculpted as well as painted, and the mouth has some depth to it and includes a big red tongue in there. His portrait is rounded out by a jutting nose. Pac-Man has been stylized in a lot of ways over the years, but I’m really glad SHF went with this one. It’s simple, it’s iconic, and I think it captures the character perfectly. It’s also the design used for Namco’s 3D Pac-Man games on the PlayStation, and I really dig those games a lot.

For such a simple design, SHF managed to cram a decent amount of useful articulation in here. There are rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, upper legs, and knees. The hands are mounted on ball joints, so they can be swapped out, and the ankles are not only hinged, but also have lateral rockers to keep his feet flat in wide stances. Also impressive is the way the legs can shift forward and back on tracks along the bottom of his body. These tracks help to put him in running poses. All this makes him a surprisingly fun figure to play around with!

Pac-Man comes equpped with two bulbous fist mittens, and these can be swapped out with a set of open handed mittens, and even a right hand giving the thumbs-up!

You also get a swappable face plate, which is actually the entire front hemisphere of Pac-Man’s head-body. This extra face has Pac-Man offering a wink, and while it’s a bit limited as far as expressions go, it does look fantastic with the thumbs up hand! I can easily see this being the way I display him most of the time.

Pac-Man does feature a socket where his Pac-Anus should be, and that’s to attach him to a standard SHF-compatible figure stand. No, he doesn’t come with one, which feels kind of like a big omission, but I’ll come back to that at the end of the review. He absolutely does not need support to stand in most poses, but it’s a nice option for some more dynamic stuff.

Pac-Man does come with a couple of simple accessories: Some pixelated cherries and a Ghost. The cherries are a nice display piece, and they have a socket in the back to suspend them using an SHF stand. The Ghost is just too small to be any fun, but it looks good displayed beside him, and it can also be socketed into a stand. No pellets are included, but I found that Airsoft pellets are a decent stand in.

Honestly, the only downside to this set is that I want Ghosts! I’m actually kicking myself for not picking up the Funko Pop! Ghosts, because they would have displayed pretty well with him and now they go for crazy money. I’d love to see them get the SHF treatment, even if the only articulation would be in their arms, and how about a Ms. Pac-Man? And while we’re on the subject, I would be all on board Figuarts doing similar figures based off the Saturday morning cartoon designs. Sure, I griped about not getting a stand, but not really, because this figure cost $20, and that’s a pretty amazing deal for this quality of toy. I’ve wanted a figure like this my whole life, and to finally get it for so cheap, I can’t be anything but happy!

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