Atlus’ role-playing franchise Shin Megami Tensei: Persona has always been beloved among the gaming community, but the past year has seen its profile rise considerably, mostly through the anime adaptation and subsequent spinoff games of Persona 4, the latest in the series. The toy we’ll be looking at today however comes from the previous title, Persona 3. Based on the ancient Greek personification of Death, Thanatos is the P3 protagonist’s Persona, his own monster summoned to fight for him.
Thanatos comes from Bandai’s D-Arts range, a multi-purpose figure line that covers franchises as diverse as Mega Man and Digimon. First impressions are positive – this thing comes in an impressively large box, and a stylish one at that, with a nice splash of metallic blue and a cool grid based design.
Out of the box, and as you can see Thanatos possesses an immediately striking design. This is a big action figure, almost twice the size of your average Figma, and Thanatos is only made larger by the distinctive ring of coffins that makes up a large part of his design. They’re by far and away the biggest and most interesting part of the figure.
From this angle we can see the unique way this setup works. The coffins are mounted on ball joints to a clear plastic ring, making them fully adjustable. The ring then perches on the back on the stand like a ‘backpack’ for the figure, plugging into peg holes on the back for added stability. It’s a clever and very effective way to match the fantastical design and feels reassuringly solid, although you do still have to take a little care.
Speaking of that stand, it’s a good one – it’s much beefier than your standard figure stand to accommodate the greater weight and spread of the figure, with the bottom joint being a ratcheted one for extra security. Despite all this mine still needed a little extra tightening with a screwdriver, but once done it’s very secure.
Bandai provide a unique base emblazoned with the distinctive Persona symbol found on the back of the in-universe Tarot deck. It’s a very nice touch and really helps sell the figure as a viable display piece, above and beyond your standard poseable.
The larger scale also helps with the fine detailing, which is very good. Note the Death’s Head detailing on the belt and the sharp paint on the shoulder straps and buttons. I do have an issue with the quality of the materials though. The plastic feels a little rough and cheap, and is certainly not a match for the gorgeous soft-touch stuff most Figmas employ. Overall though this is a well constructed figure with no loose joints or nagging plastic flares.
Poseability is decent but naturally somewhat limited by design. There are decent ball joints for the legs and shoulders, and swivelling hinges at knees and elbows, but nothing too elaborate like double joints, and the legs in particular and restricted slightly by the rubber ‘skirt’. Accessories are pretty bare too – Thanatos comes with his sword, the scabbard, a sword hilt for placing in the scabbard and two pairs of hands, one to grip the sword and the other in an open pose. Having said that, the character isn’t really depicted with much else, so it’s debatable what else could have been included.
I really like this figure, it’s an ambitious attempt at a complicated design that pulls it off with aplomb, and though the considerable size and limited poseability make it perhaps not quite a playworthy as it could have been, it makes a fine display piece. It’s also remarkably good value, being available online for around the 4,500 yen mark. I’d recommend this to any fan of Persona 3 or anybody who appreciates the striking design.