Release Date: December 12, 2019
Price Point: $37.99 (Purchased at SirToys)
Retailer: China Exclusive
Accessories: Wind Fire Wheel weapon, Fire-tipped Spear, Nezha mini-figure
Way back in 2017, Hasbro's Allspark Productions and China Central Television announced a partnership to develop an animated Transformers program for the Chinese market. The Transformers brand would cross over with a character from Chinese Mythology, Nezha! For those unfamiliar, Nezha is a character who appears frequently in Chinese Mythology, often as a warrior. Similar to modern day comic book characters, he has come into conflict with both good guys and bad guys, but for the most part he is on the side of good in his media portrayals. In 2019 a trailer was finally released which you can check out below:
In November 2019 Transformers, there was further word about actual toys for this line trickled online with a combination of LEGO style building sets and more traditional action figures. Based on the trailer above, it appears Nezha takes place either in or an alternate timeline based on the Cyberverse animated series so it is no surprise that this figure is styled very similar to the Ultra Class figures from that line. As far as I can tell however the figure appears to be mostly, if not all new parts. I do not have the Ultra Class Bumblebee from Cyberverse so I am unable to compare the two in hand. The figure does share a transformation scheme with the Cyberverse Spark Armor Bumblebee figure, but given the size differences I would say this is a case of a figure borrowing some engineering and note a retool. That means I will treat the figure as all new in this review.
The Nezha: Transformers packaging uses the basic Cyberverse Ultra Class "open box" design. The figure sits on a plastic tray which is attached to a cardboard piece that acts as a backing with a bit of cardboard on the sides and front. The packaging also uses all the basic Cyberverse colors including yellow, blue and red. However, all the Cyberverse branding has been replaced with Nezha: Transformers branding. Artwork of Nezha in "Transformer mode" is behind the Nezha mini-figure included with the set. Given that this was meant for the Chinese market, most of the text is in Chinese.
Nezha (or the Nezha mech if you prefer) comes with three accessories:
- Nezha: Nezha himself is often portrayed as a humanoid figure resembling a young human being sometimes with buns in his hair and a rounded face. To represent the character himself, a mini-figure is included with this figure. The figure is about 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) tall. This figure is meant to look like his animated counterpart including the buns on his head, earrings with tassles attached. This figure is cast in flesh tones and for such a small figure it has a really intricate deco including lines around the eyes, a dot on the forehead (a key feature of the character) along with a red shirt and purple pants. He has arm guards sculped in but they are left unpainted so he looks like he has oddly shaped forearms. Much to my surprise, this is not just a PVC slug. The figure actually has five points of articulation: the head, arms and legs!
- Wind Fire Wheel: One of Nezha's weapons is the "Wind Fire Wheel". This is made of soft plastic but it is painted yellow. While it looks nice, the problem is I can easily see the paint peeling or flaking off with repeated use so be warned. The wheel features two tabs and two slots. The tabs allow it to attach to Nezha's back in robot mode and the slots allow it to attach to his Fire-tipped Spear weapon. For those curious, "Wind Fire Wheels" are actually weapons used in Martial Arts!
- Fire-tipped Spear: One of Nezha's signature weapons is his Fire-tipped Spear. The design features a staff with a thin spear point and blades below that (presumably they act defensively to catch weapons and offensively). The spear has a tab on one side flanked by two small pegs that attach to the Fire Wheel weapon. The other side has a larger peg that is used to attach the weapon to the vehicle mode.
I have not seen the Nezha: Transformers series but based on the trailer above, it looks like Nezha himself actually "becomes" a Transformer (at least temporarily), so I will refer to this figure as Nezha himself for the sake of simplicity.
The Nezha figure measures at about 6.25 inches (15.875 cm) tall. For those wondering just how much plastic you're getting, the figure weighs in around 3.4 ounces. That puts it somewhere between your average modern day Deluxe and Voyager Class figure.
Nezha's design is an interesting one. It takes traditional Transformers design elements and meshes them with designs based of Nezha and Chinese culture. The arms, legs and chest are the most traditional Transformers style designs. The arms feature parts of the car mode's front end including headlights pointing forward. The legs feature the rear of the car split into the legs. However, the designs inspired by Nezha are dominant in this figure and they include:
- The head design is based off Nezha himself including the "buns" on the top of the head, circles on the sides in place of ears and a very human looking face.
- The torso features designs that appear heavily based on old style Chinese armor including a "skirt" around the hip area.
- On the "belt" area is a circular symbol. I believe this is meant to be a stylized Lotus Symbol. Nezha himself was referred to as the "Third Lotus Prince" according to Wikipedia. The symbol was found on old statues of the character too.
- The feet look like regular robot feet at first, but look closer and you'll see lines etched into the front to simulate "toes", a callback to his more humanoid form.
The main plastic colors used on this figure are red, flesh tone, black and purple. Perhaps most significant is red, which symbolizes good fortune and joy (reference this article on Wikipedia). The flesh tone pieces of course reference Nezha's humanoid form. Yellow and black paint details make up most of the paint on this figure. I really like some of the paint details including those on the chest and Lotus symbol.
Nezha has seventeen points of articulation in this form. This includes four in each arm and leg. You can push the weapons into his open hands but be warned, given that the yellow on the weapons is paint, it is possible it could scrape off after enough times of being pulled out and pushed into the hand so be warned. You can store the weapons on his back by attaching the tabs to the slots on the windshield piece. Perhaps my favorite feature of this figure is built into the torso. You can swing the torso panels out to reveal a chamber inside. The Nezha mini-figure fits into the slot, which you can interpret in a couple ways. One way is that he is "piloting" a mecha representation of himself (this is not in line with what the animation says) or you can look at it conceptually as Nezha serving as the "core essence" of the Transformer body (which is what the show appears to show). I love this feature. It really makes Nezha something unique in the Cyberverse line.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Detach the weapons and combine them, then set them aside for now.
- Straighten out the arms and legs.
- Push the two lower legs together.
- Open the panels on the back of each lower leg.
- Swing the heel pieces into the bottom of the feet.
- Point the feet down.
- Swing open the panels on the front of the lower legs and push the feet up, then swing the panels back down.
- Rotate the forearms inward so the purple details face out to the sides.
- Swing the shoulder armor up, then line that piece up with the forearm piece on each side.
- On the back swing the windshield piece out and line it up with the hood piece.
- Swing the robot legs back over the thighs. Push the panels from the lower legs in and push the pieces at the back of the vehicle down.
- Adjust the arms so the fists tuck into the armor from the lower legs to form the sides of the vehicle.
- Push the windshield/hood piece down and snap it into place using the tabs on the arms and on the front.
- The weapons can attach to the top of the car.
- For those curious, you can leave the Nezha mini-figure in the torso chamber and still transform the figure into vehicle mode.
Nezha's vehicle mode is a fictional vehicle that looks to me like a type of Luxury Car similar to a Bentley. I'm mostly drawing this from the high grille section and the rounded sections on either side of the grille. The vehicle looks almost boxy, but the curves on it help keep it looking elegant. There are some really nice details here including Nezha's symbol on the hood and yellow flame designs over each wheel well alluding to his "Fire Wheel" weapon. The actual wheels themselves also have a symbol similar to the one on his "belt" in robot mode, which is a beautiful detail. There is some purple along the sides helping to break up any monotony from the red and yellow colors. I only regret that the rear lights and the sides of the wheels are not painted at all.
Note: I am no expert on Chinese history and symbols. Much of what I wrote above relies on Wikipedia searches and rudimentary knowledge I had beforehand. If anyone has corrections with references, please feel free to write me about them.
Final Thoughts: Nezha is a unique Transformer that references a part of Chinese mythology that I never thought I would see as an action figure. This is not the easiest figure to obtain so I do not think most fans will jump on it. I was very happy to find a way to purchase this figure online. Recommended if you can get it for a reasonable price.
- References an interesting and popular element of Chinese Mythology.
- Fun play features including Nezha fitting into the torso slot.
- Cool weapons.
- Nice mini-figure. It could have just been a solid lump of plastic but it actually has nice deco and articulation.
- I am concerned about yellow paint peeling off the weapons even though it has not yet happened to my copy of the figure.
- The aesthetics of the figure lean towards the Cyberverse line, which may not appeal to some fans.