GUILLERMO DEL TORO SIGNATURE SERIES (NECA)
“Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love, it humbles my heart, for you are everywhere.”
2017’s The Shape of Water was another critical success for director Guillermo del Toro, who likes to flip back and forth between fun action pieces and deeply personal, gothically-inspired fairy tales. Shape of Water was a more personal piece, and in fact one that del Toro’s been working on in the background for several years now, originally beginning life as a pitch to Universal Studios for a reboot of their Creature from the Black Lagoon franchise, but this time through the eyes of the creature. When Universal turned him down, he reworked it into something more distinctively his own, and ultimately passed up directing the second Pacific Rim in order to complete it. The film’s central creature is clearly its most distinctive design, marrying the classic Gill-man with something a little more Abe Sapien-inspired (and since he was portrayed by del Toro mainstay Doug Jones, he also shares an actor with Abe). Courtesy of NECA’s Guillermo del Toro Signature Series launched last year, the Amphibian Man has just made his way into articulated plastic form!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Amphibian Man is figure 5 in the Guillermo del Toro Signature Series line-up. He’s the first, and likely to be only, figure from Shape of Water, and our third figure of Doug Jones in the line, following the Pale Man and the Faun. The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. He’s one of NECA’s most articulated figures ever, which is really impressive, as is the range of motion you can get out of all those joints. For a character like the Amphibian Man, it’s kind of key for him to be very flexible, so it’s nice that NECA kept this in mind when designing him. Amphibian Man’s all-new sculpt is quite frankly one of NECA’s most impressive, and that’s saying something for them. Not only is it screen accurate, but pretty much no detail has been overlooked on this figure, and no real sacrifices have been made in the name of all of that articulation. Unlike the previous Signature Series figures I looked at, I don’t feel that there’s an obvious weak point to this sculpt. Everything is really good. Equally impressive is the paint and color work. I feel the need to specify paint and color, because it’s not just the paint that sells things. The figure is molded in a slightly translucent plastic, and the paint is applied on top of that, which makes this guy look like an actual aquatic creature, and keeps his fins and gills appropriately clear. The paint is sharp and clean, and captures the vibrant patterning on the Amphibian Man’s head, arms, and legs very nicely. The Amphibian Man is packed with a rather impressive, rather immense selection of extras. He gets an extra screaming head (with articulated jaw), a spare set of forearms and hands (the purpose of which I’ll get to in a second), a plate of boiled eggs, and a chunk of the labroom floor he was chained to in the movie, complete with chains and clasps for his neck and wrists. The head is a great inclusion given how expressive the character is in the film (and also addresses my only complaint with the Faun’s accessories), and the eggs are a fun moment-specific extra. The arms end the fins about half an inch earlier than the standard ones, making them ideal for use with the base and the cuffs included, which was a sensible choice on NECA’s part.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Contrary to what my Pan’s Labyrinth review might lead you to believe, I actually saw Shape of Water while it was in theaters, and it was the announcement of this figure that brought my attention to the Signature Series as a whole, ultimately leading to me picking up the Faun. I loved the creature design from Shape, due in no small part to its Abe Sapien similarities, and I knew I wanted this figure as soon as it was shown off. He makes for a really nice figure, and definitely is one of NECA’s finest.
Like the Faun and Ofelia, the Amphibian Man was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys. If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.