Robot Damashii: Eva-01 (Awaking Ver.)

Eva-01 (Awaking Ver.) is the third Tamashii Web Exclusive release from Bandai’s Robot Damashii (SIDE EVA) series. Created and mapped from CG data used for the Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition films, this is the most accurate Awakened Unit-01 you can get as far as action-figures are concerned.

To those who already own any of the existing Eva Units from the RD <SIDE EVA> line, little needs to be said about its quality and awe-inspiring range of articulation as this figure will share many major components with the others.

In place of the weapons that came with the regular Eva-01 and Night Combat version, Awaking Ver. comes with exchangeable parts for it to switch into…its Awakened Mode of course. Changing the parts is a breeze, especially in comparison to the Soul SPEC version. The exposed core, which was absent in the Revoltech release is also included.

The paint application is the same as the regular Unit-01, with a strong matte coating on the pylons and a moderate coat of matte on the purple body throughout. The red highlights are painted on, and to be hypercritical, the paint work is not as evenly applied as the regular Eva-01.

Part of the appeal in this figure is the hexagonal AT Field effect part that is exclusive to the RD release (for now, we’ll see if Kaiyodo has any plans to plagiarise again), and a Stage Act stand is included to hold it in place.

An AT Field is also included, along with a display base to keep it supported. But the gradient effect and colour are different to the original that came packed with the standard Unit-01.

The articulation for these Eva Units is simply smashing, and can hold just about any pose you can conceive of quite convincingly. It’s the best I’ve ever come across in any action-figure, and they are sturdy to boot. If you look through an older review of Unit-02, there are some pictures demonstrating the basic range of articulation. As for the rest, I think the pictures speak for itself.

Even the sole of the feet are engraved with panel line details. And as you can see, the core of the joints is hinged with metal for greater support and durability.

The following shot ended up looking a lot like the cover to the English release of Evangelion 1.11 by chance.

It’s time to get to some of the juicer bits that are fresh to us all, the Awakened Mode.

The pylon is removable via a connecting ball-joint, and the arm itself is attached to a peg joint that can be removed with ease yet remains firm when posing.

When it comes to the regenerated arm, each release of the Awaking Mode has its own pros and cons. Whilst the Soul SPEC has a nice aesthetic with the effect of glitter sparkling within its arm, it suffers from poor sculpts with stubby fingers and a lack of hands to choose from. The Revoltech has a nice energy effect built into the sculpt of the arm, but suffers from poor wrist articulation. The Robot Damashii figure, and the more recent release of the 3, probably has the least interesting ‘look’, but makes up for it with its flexibility and ability to strike a convincing pose.

Instead of having to replace the entire chest piece, only the external breast plates needs to be removed to fit on the piece with the exposed core. It’s a far better sculpt than the Soul SPEC’s exposed core as RD’s proportions are a lot more faithful to the design of the NME Evangelions.

The head of the Awaking Mode comes with an articulated jaw; something that should have been included in the original Eva-01 considering even the HGLM model kits from way back in 1995 had them!

The teeth within the jaw are painted quite nicely, and the horns between the two heads are exchangeable. (one is made of firmer ABS plastic while the other is of PVC, in a  more malleable nature, and less prone to snapping) However, a better job could’ve been done on the eyes by giving it a smoother gradient instead of dividing the white and pink sections so clearly.

Have you noticed I’ve forgotten to attach the halo all this time? It is attached to the back where the umbilical cord is inserted, and is one of the weaker aspects of this figure. The lack of articulation for the halo makes it difficult to get it in alignment with the head when it rotates. A problem we didn’t have to deal with on the Soul SPEC, as the halo is attached to the back of its head.

The Robot Damashii is the only Awaking Ver. figure of the 3 mentioned that is able to pose with its legs straight side by side to one another.

“Give Ayanami back!!”

The Awaking Ver. is of a different shade of purple to the regular Unit-01, and is fairly accurate to the way it looks in the final scene of Evangelion 2.0. The thigh joints of this figure also moves with greater ease than that of the standard Unit-01, and the process of swapping the hands around is less of an ordeal.

Family Portrait
From left to right: Bandai’s Soul SPEC and Robot Damashii, Kaiyodo’s Revoltech, and Medicom’s Kubrick.

The largest of them all, and loaded with die-cast armour from the waist down, the Soul SPEC figures are a popular choice amongst collectors who favour the weighty feel of die-cast in their mechs. But whilst they’ve done a good job of recreating the original designs from Neon Genesis Evangelion, the NME figures are a far cry from what the new designs are supposed to look like. Not only are the proportions inaccurate to the NME design, the head sculpt is also pretty damn ugly when you compare it side by side with the other candidates…

As a Tamashii Web Exclusive, the Robot Damashii can be somewhat dear in terms of price, what with the additional fees required to obtain it via a middleman. (Dawdle to pre-order, and suffer the after market prices…)But it is definitely the most accurate and impressive Awaking Ver. of the lot. Capable of just about any pose imaginable, thanks to Bandai’s superb toy engineering, the RD is the one to get for discerning collectors who can earn their own buck. The regular Unit-01 and Unit-02 figures, which are standard releases and easier to come by, should be essentials for any Evangelion fan.

As for the Revoltech version, it’s a great bargain for beginners or the more casual collectors. I managed to get mine for about 50% off retail price on, and it’s a very solid toy for its price range. Although it doesn’t allow for a lot of freedom to achieve specify poss, the way the joints are cut at an angle/designed is ideal for beginners, as dynamic poses can be made with minimal effort.

And last but not least, the Kubrick? It’s a fantastic and adorable little gem! The detail and paint work is very crisp with an evenly applied matte coating, void of any ‘plasticy’ feel. And to go the length in using clear parts for the halo and regenerated arm for such a tiny figure certainly makes it a very classy looking baby Unit-01.

“The 3rd Impact has begun…where the 2nd has left off. The world is ending.”

    • Matt
    • September 28th, 2011

    where can i get one?

    • Sean
    • February 2nd, 2012

    One missing detail from almost all of the reviews I’ve seen, is that the jaw of the awakened-state could be pulled down, where the top and lower jaw can be perpendicular to each other, and opens wider than the normal state.

    Discovered this myself after messing around with it.

    • Asukaisshit
    • November 22nd, 2012

    “Kaiyodo has any plans to plagiarise again”

    Wow bandai loyalty much? If anything bandai was late to the game when it came to rebuild figures (not including the models as hardly anyone bought those either).

    • No, it’s just stating the facts. Kaiyodo had plenty of time to release those figures with those exact same accessories in their first run before R-Damashii did had they want to or thought of it.

      I’m all about quality and accuracy, not whoever pumps out the fastest figures first.

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