Sunday, 30 September 2012

Review: ReBoot 'common' figures

I come from the Net. Through systems, peoples and cities to this place: Mainframe.

My format: Guardian, to Mend and Defend. To defend my newfound friends, their hopes and dreams. To defend them from...

Their enemies!

They say The User lives outside the Net and inputs games for pleasure. No one knows for sure, but I intend to find out.



And thus began ReBoot, the first - and arguably best - completely computer generated half-hour TV series from the mid-90s. It began simply as another children's cartoon, but by the time it'd finished, well, it was something else altogether.

But I'm getting both ahead of myself and off the point a little. This review isn't about the TV series, it's about the toyline(s) that accompanied it and therefore I should only provide a little introduction to the show itself before moving onto the toys themselves.

ReBoot was set inside a computer, in a city called Mainframe, which Bob and his friends must defend from the attacking viruses, Megabyte and Hexadecimal. It was shown in the UK on ITV, until partway through season 3 when ITV realised it was getting a bit dark to be shown in a 4pm slot and yanked it from the schedules partway through a multi-part storyline. A little later they began to show it again, got a few episodes further and then it was gone again. This meant, rather annoyingly, that it wasn't until many years later that I actually got to see the end.

There have been two sets of 'common' toys released (they were other, rarer ones which I'll mention later). The first was during the first/second season and, as can be seen from the sculpts, was aimed very much at children. The second set was released much later, and is much more detailed.

First release of Megabyte on the left, with the later one on the right.
The first line includes a number of 'action features', but they're mostly the ability to change accessories. Hexadecimal, for example, has interchangeable face masks.

This is in addition to her near-inability to stand up.

Bob comes with a variety of changeable accessories for Glitch, his arm tool, which in the show could turn into just about anything he desired. Megabyte comes with extendable claws on one hand.

Megabytes henchmen, Hack and Slash come with falling-apart action. Supposed to mimic what often happened to them in the show, as toys it's a bit annoying since arms are constantly falling off when you don't want them to.

And so onto the later figures, based on the characters appearances in season 3 of the show, and which really ought to have been better. Sure, they look prettier but the lack of elbow joints really hurts them. If they'd all come with their arms slightly bent it might have been okay, but the arms on all the figures are near-straight, which leads to some awkward poses when you move the arms.

Bigger, but better?

As well as human-looking sprites inhabiting Mainframe, there are many more Binomes, characters based around '1' and '0'. These are all great, though due to their tiny legs, balancing them upright is a major task. You can also take them apart and mix and match the parts, though they don't look particularly great when you do this so I wouldn't bother.

There are, floating round the internet, a very limited number of further releases (e.g. variations such as Colour-changers, grey Megabyte, Web Bob and characters such as Ray Tracer) but, unlike a lot of 'rare' stuff on ebay they really are rare and cost a fortune. I really doubt I'll ever get my hands on any of these.

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