Dragon Ball Super Dragon Stars Line (Cell and Piccolo) // Review
To say that Dragon Ball is an international phenomenon is an understatement. Since it’s release outside Japan in the 90s, it’s been hard to not find some new Dragon Ball product coming out somewhere. When it comes to toys, they have either been lower quality figures from American toy companies for a quick buck, or imported expensive Japanese products intended for older collectors. Bandai, apparently, has finally decided to merge the two into a somewhat affordable line of figures: the Dragon Stars series.
For this review, the figures selected are Piccolo and Perfect Form Cell. An older figure, Zamasu, will be referenced as well.
The first thing most fans will notice is the sculpt quality. These figures honestly do look perfectly like their original animated counterparts. Perhaps on an off-model day at worst, it must be admitted for some figures, but these look quite nice on the shelf. At approximately 6.5 inches, they scale in just below the average Marvel Legends or DC Multiverse figures, but just above the SH Figuarts line of imported figures. They are also sadly out of scale with Bandai’s Figurise line of Dragon Ball model kit characters, being just a little on the small side. However, it should be noted that there is an attempt at scale here. Cell towers over the others in the line and smaller characters like Gotenks and Gohan are sized appropriately.
The next thing noticed will likely be the accessories or lack thereof. Dragon Ball figures on both sides of the ocean tend to come with some kind of accessories, such as a beam blast or multiple hands to have them performing dynamic moves. This is where Bandai did cheap out slightly. Cell comes with two sets of hands, one open for a ki attack, and one fist set for punching. Piccolo himself does the same but also has an extra handset in the Special Beam Cannon pose so he can be charging or firing that beam. The fists are also generic person fists, lacking the pointed nails of their animated counterparts. Unfortunately, there are no other accessories included, though Perfect Cell’s wings are lovingly crafted here and must be noted.
This feels like a step down from a previous line of Dragon Stars, such as the Zamasu used for comparison. Zamasu came with similar sets of hands, a straight hand for combat, and a beam blade to mimic one of his attacks. He also was part of a Build-A-Figure line, which included the right leg of fused Zamasu, which is basically a repaint of his own leg. That BAF leg may go in the junk drawer, but it was still a bonus for those who wanted the character.
However, these are not perfect figures. Posing is limited, thanks to the lack of peg holes for a collector’s stand. This leaves the owner relying on the figure’s sense of balance, which can be difficult. Any character who also makes use of the Toriyama parachute pants also has the issue of weird knees that look miserable when posed at a bent angle. Waist articulation is also hit and miss, with it being handled by a ball joint. Usually, there is a softer plastic circling the waist for characters like Piccolo and Zamasu in order to cover up the joint, while others like Cell are sculpted around the joint in order to keep looking like the animated character.
Piccolo, in particular, has been somewhat disappointing as well. The main weakness, aside from a slightly poor paint job on the chest that looks like his gi, is merged with his chest. His neck and head are sculpted in such a way that he seems to always be looking down. While it does work if you want him to be in the Special Beam Cannon charge pose, all hunched down and with a smallish profile. It also means he cannot look anyone in the eye.
Cell is actually quite wonderful, however. Despite the lack of accessories, he has some reasonable articulation, and the paint job is… perfect. He genuinely looks like he jumped off the screen, though the smaller (but accurate) feet do wind up, making him a little harder to balance appropriately. A heavyweight in both feet might have raised the price of the figure, but it would have made it easier to pose. The painting is fantastic, and the spots on his arms, legs, and head/crown look excellent. Again, the weakness here are the hands and lack of accessories. The figure even has his stinger molded in the back, which is a wonderful little character detail that many would have ignored.
Exclusive to Gamestop, Walgreens, Amazon.com, and Target, these toys can be a little hard to find. However, their retail price of $20 is actually reasonable for this level of quality. There can be a lot of love put into these figures, but some of them do come off less than stellar in the end.