BEATRIX KIDDO, BILL, HATTORI HANZO, & PAI MEI
KILL BILL MINIMATES
“I’m calling you a killer. A natural born killer. You always have been and you always will be.” – Bill
I didn’t see Kill Bill when it was first released. In fact, I didn’t see Kill Bill for several years after it was released. On the outside, Quentin Tarantino’s movies never really appealed to me. But then, Diamond Select Toys got the license to make Minimates for a few of Tarantino’s films, Kill Bill among them. And, seeing as both parts were up on Netflix, I figured it was as good a time as any to watch the movies. And I really quite enjoyed them. The first two sets in the Kill Bill Minimates line were firmly based on the first film, specifically its final scene. While I certainly enjoyed the first movie, I think the second is the stronger of the two, so I was happy to see that the third set would be delving into that movie. So, let’s see how this set turned out.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The third set of Kill Bill Minimates is officially titled “The Masters of Death Set.” Unlike the previous two sets, it isn’t based upon a particular scene or sequence from the movies. Instead, the theme of this set is the Bride and the three men who helped her hone her skills as a killer.
Okay, spoilers: the Bride’s name is Beatrix Kiddo. Bam! Mind blown, right? This is the second figure of Beatrix in the line. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation, although most of the leg articulation is rendered inert by the skirt. The first Bride figure was based on her look from the first movie’s climactic battle with the Crazy 88s. This one is based on her look from the second half of the second movie, which includes the sequence where she fights Bill. It’s not quite as distinctive as the yellow tracksuit, but it’s an important look nonetheless. Beatrix is constructed on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for her hair, jacket, and skirt. The jacket is a reuse from the Marvel Minimates Series 22 James Rhodes, which is a pretty great leather jacket piece. The hair and skirt are both new. The hair seems a little on the bulky side, but it’s not terrible. The skirt is pretty accurate to the source material; the details aren’t the sharpest, but they’re decent. Beatrix’s paintwork is overall pretty clean. The colors are nicely matched to the source material, and the leather jacket is appropriately shiny. The sash on her skirt piece shows a little bit of bleed over, however, it’s nothing too severe. The detail line work is all very sharp and clean, and the face has a passing resemblance to Uma Thurman (I thought the last one was a bit better, though). Beatrix includes her Hattori Hanzo sword with a scabbard to match, a handgun, a spare set of sleeveless arms, and a clear display stand. The sword and scabbard, it should be noted, are the same as those included with the first Beatrix, which means the scabbard is still upside down.
So here’s the guy the Bride was out to kill. It says so right in the title! Bill is presented here in all of his Bill-ish glory, depicting the character as he appears in his scenes at the end of the second movie. Though, to be fair, Bill looks about the same for pretty much all of the second movie, so this figure works for just about all of his appearances. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall, with 14 points of articulation. Bill is constructed on the basic Minimate body, with add-ons for his hair and jacket. The jacket is the same basic suit jacket that DST had been using since way back in the Back to the Future Minimates “Enchantment Under the Sea” Marty. It’s a good, standard suit jacket, so the re-use is certainly warranted. The hair is new to Bill, and it’s a fairly decent approximation of his hair in the movie. It’s sculpted with some rather nice fine detail work and the bottom has been handled in such a way as to not impede articulation. Bill’s paintwork is pretty good. It’s sort of a subtle sort of a paint job, that looks pretty basic at first glance, but actually has quite a bit of detail. His jacket has the proper detaiing at the top, which could have easily been overlooked. His shirt is also fully detailed, with wrinkles and such, and you can even see some of his chest hair. The best part of the paint is definitely the face, which is a pretty great likeness of David Carradine. It’s very definitely Bill. Bill includes a Hanzo sword, a revolver, a bamboo flute, and a clear display stand.
Hattori here is the only figure in this set who hails from the first movie. That being said, his role in the first movie is pivotal to the second, and he and his work as a sword maker are brought up quite a lot in the second film. So, he’s definitely not out of place here (although being pretty much the only genuinely good person in the set does make him a little out of place). The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches in height and sports 14 points of articulation. Hattori is based on his appearance when he first meets the Bride, while working in his sushi restaurant. He uses the basic body, with add-ons for his headband, sleeves, and the lower portion of his robe. The sleeves and lower robe are both fairly standard pieces that we’ve seen many times before. They are well chosen and do their job admirably. The headband is a new piece; it’s a fairly straightforward piece, and it captures the look from the movie nicely. Overall, the figure’s paint is pretty good, but there’s one rather annoying issue. The figure’s skin tone on the body is appropriately warm and lifelike, but for some reason, the skin tone on the head is more gray. It doesn’t look right, and it clashes with the rest of the figure. Other than that, the paint is nice and clean, and the figure has some wonderful detail line work. Hattori includes one of his own swords and a clear display stand.
Pai Mei is an intriguing character. He’s a very important character to the story, but his role is entirely in flashback. By the actual time of the movie, he’s been dead for some time. He also portrayed as a positive figure in Beatrix’s life, while at the same time being one of meanest characters to her in the movie. Seriously, she’s treated much better by the people who are actively trying to kill her. But, he’s key to her training, and, more specifically, her defeat of Bill. This is Pai Mei’s first Minimate, but it’s the second Minimate his actor, Gordon Liu, has received for Kill Bill. His other character, Johnny Mo was one of the Crazy 88s featured in set #2. Pai Mei is about 2 ½ inches tall, with 14 points of articulation, although, just like Beatrix, the leg articulation is restricted by the sculpted parts. Pai Mei is constructed from the basic Minimate body, with unique forearm pieces, as well as add-ons for his hair, beard, and the lower half of his robes. The robe piece and forearms are re-used from the Marvel Minimates Series 52 Mariko, and they are definitely a reasonable re-use. The beard and hair are both new to Pai Mei. They are decent pieces, though the eyebrows could stand to be a bit more distinctly separate. As it stands now, he sort of looks like he’s got a very strange haircut. Also, on my figure, the left strand of hair was stuck between his head and his torso, causing it to be misshapen. It can be fixed pretty easily, but it’s still annoying. Pai Mei has pretty good paintwork. The black/white contrast is nice and bold, and there’s plenty of fine detail work. Pai Mei includes his distinctive staff and a clear display stand. I do kind of wish he’d had a spare beard piece that could be held, but oh well.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Like yesterday’s Godzilla set, I got these four from my very favorite Minimate retailer, Luke’s Toy Store. I was fairly excited for this set. It’s nice to have a Bill for Beatrix to… uhh… kill. And, Hattori is one of my favorite characters from the movie, so I’m definitely glad to get him. The one thing I will say about this set, is that it and the next set feel like their release order has been reversed. This set featuring both Bill and the final battle version of Beatrix kind of makes it feel like it should be the final set. But, as long as they all get released, it doesn’t really matter in what order they’re released.