Callie and Marie (Plus: Why I love Amiibo!)

Brothers and Sisters of the congregation of the Game, welcome to a revival in the making!

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love Amiibo. Ever since Nintendo first announced their Toys-To-Life line at E3 2014, I’ve been hooked. In the beginning I waxed lyrical about the wonders of Amiibo, and the untold possibility of such a product if used in a similar way to Skylanders. My mind raced with ideas of a Nintend themed Skylanders or Disney Infinity kind of game, or even something similar to Subspace Emissary from Smash Brothers Brawl, a game where all the numerous characters from across the Nintendo multiverse can come together for one massive game, as well as find use in the characters individual games.

Sadly such a huge experience has not yet been realised, but although limited in their scope, Amiibo are finding use in a good number of games, and will continue to be expanded upon in the future.

I’m a collector though, and the thing that I find the most captivating about Amiibo is the fact that they are a single growing collection, one large set of some of my favourite video game characters of all time. The sculpts and builds are excellent, and getting better, with new and interesting details being added in every new release, and are at a more than reasonable price for the piece you are buying.

I know some people would disagree with that statement but if I may illustrate my point:

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On the left we have a Nintendo World vinyl figurine. It’s great little collectible, made from an early artwork from the original Legend of Zelda. It’s a nice figure, and I bought it straight away with no regrets, but the piece is bulky, flat and plain in comparison to the Amiibo on the right. The Toon Link Amiibo is a far superior sculpt, and even has a fabric texture on the tunic. Not only that but, while limited, the Amiibo does have in game functionality, while the regular figurine does not.

An Amiibo can set you back between $12 and $18 Australian (not including the Woolen Yoshis), this Toon Link cost me $14, the figurine on the other hand cost $22 Australian.

If you look at an Amiibo and think of it as physical DLC, then yeah, it’s going to seem over priced. However if you do that, you are ignoring a good chunk of what you are paying for, maybe so far as to say at least 90% of what an Amiibo is. At the end of the day, when the game is turned off, when the sequel comes out, when you want to play something else, and Amiibo is still a high quality collectible figurine, that you can enjoy. Not everyone is into collecting things, and that’s fine. I’m not saying you have to be, but when I look at my extensive Amiibo collection, I can’t help but smile at the fact that all those characters that I love, are there on my shelf.

And should the day come that a huge game is made for the Amiibo, then I can just add that to the list of reasons why I enjoy them.

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s that I have to open the Amiibo to use them. They look so good in their plastic prison, that I just want to leave them there, and some games like Splatoon, even taunt you by having your tapped Amiibo appear in a box on the screen. I was so bad at one point that I was actually delicately cutting the boxes open, so that you couldn’t see that they had been opened, and keeping them. When a good portion of the office wardrobe was full of Amiibo boxes, I came to the painful decision of throwing them out.

So for all those people out there, about to cringe at the torn discarded box in the background, trust me, I feel your pain, but it works as a backdrop as I review the latest release for Splatoon Amiibo: Callie and Marie!

The Squid Sisters

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The Callie and Marie Amiibo have been available for about a month now, so I’m a little bit behind on my Amiibo collection. If the run away popularity of Splatoon wasn’t surprising enough, to see this pair explode in a huge way in Japan, was completely unexpected. However with that popularity, it was only natural that they get their own Amiibo, and they look great! When I was out and about last Sunday however, I actually went intending to pick up something from the new Kirby range, which came out along side Planet Robobot (Ok, I’m REALLY behind on my Amiibo collection), but when I saw Callie and Marie, there was no question. These are some of the best Amiibo that have been released to date.

candm003I really like these twin packs, when Amiibo are sold individually, there’s always the chance that one will sell better than the other, even a duo like Callie and Marie, which leaves collectors such as myself down by one half of a pair. The twin packs not only guarantee that you can get hold of the both of them, but twin packs tend to also be slightly cheaper.

Everything about these Amiibo are on point, from Callie’s impish grin and wink, to Marie’s sleepy, almost unsure expression. I know that some people don’t quite get the pose, with their hands facing down the way they do, and I admit it seemed weird to me at first too, but this hand gesture, with the white gloves is meant to mimic a cartoonish depiction of a squid. Think something like a blooper from Super Mario.

Unlike the inkling boy and girl, the paint on the base of Callie and Marie is far more interesting, splashing up around them, and is so glossy, it actually looks like some kind of liquid. Just like in the Squid form Inkling that came out in the first set, the splashes on Callie and Marie’s bases also act as camouflaged supports; much better than the “ice” that can be found on a lot of Amiibo.

candm005The “hair” (read: tentacles) and hats are made form a slightly translucent plastic, which gives the gradients of the hair an almost ghostly transition. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to describe it, but it has a certain quality about it, that makes it very interesting to look at, and looks like it’s glowing when backlit.

Their outfits though, really take the cake! They are made from a black, semi-transparent, plastic filled with glitter. I think this worked a lot better than Nintendo realise, as the glassy nature of the dresses, and the sense of depth provided by the glitter, gives their costumes a fluid look about them, and being squids it reminds me a lot of ink! Like I said though, I’m not sure if that’s what Nintendo were going for, but it’s pretty cool none the less. With these two on my desk as I write this, every so often I’ll move and the light will catch on the glitter, drawing my attention. It’s distracting, but makes them perfect for catching peoples eye!

If there were anything that bothered me about these Amiibo, it would be their earrings. Currently the earrings are a part of the head mold, which means they are more like barrels or bolts coming from the side of her head. They also need to be hand painted, and that opens up the miniature to otherwise avoidable errors, which I might add both of them suffer from. The earrings may look better if molded separately in a silver plastic and added to the rest of the Amiibo later. Though this could be rather fiddly. There is already a small parts warning on the box however, so it’s not like Nintendo couldn’t do this.

Callie

candm004First let’s take a close look at the Callie in this box.

Over all I’m very happy. There are almost no flaws in the plastic, save for a small notch on Callie’s left leg (not visible in the image). There appeared to be two at first but the second turned out to be excess paint, which came off easily, with no damage.For the most per her mold lines are barely visible, however, they are prominent on her left leg, and I can clearly feel the edge with my finger.

Unlike some Amiibo with a lot of detail, the detail of this Amiibo are in the molding itself, so there’s not a whole lot of paint work details. Of the paint though, the face mask, and most importantly, her eye is perfectly centered, and the corset-like laces on the back of her outfit are ok, they miss the mars slightly, which being such a fine detail makes it look worse than it is. I don’t think it’s any worse than one would expect from a figurine of this size. The only mistake I’ve noticed, is the silver paint on the earrings. They look like they’ve been hand painted, and pretty shoddily done at that.

Marie

candm006Marie is possible the cuter of the two. I really like how her vintage pillbox style hat is made out of a Calamari ring. (Also, if you’ve never noticed before Callie + Marie = Calamari. Mind blown!) Also the paler greys and greens of her tentacles and hat really give off that ghostly glow.

As for the molding, it’s come out almost perfectly, even the mold lines are near non-existent. The only error in the plastic I’ve found was a small nodule that was on the inside of her lip. It’s barely visible in this image to the right, and it was very easy to nick it off with a sharp scalpel. As for the paint job, again it’s mostly perfect. The mask and eyes are square and centered, and the corset laces, are better than on Callie. The only real error appears to be a small smudge on the bottom green patch on the front of her dress, where it may have been pressing against another Amiibo as it dried, or was picked up while the paint was still wet.

And Finally…

I can’t help but gush when it comes to these Amiibo, they just look so good. I’ve enjoyed playing Splatoon, and the rise to fame for the Squid Sisters is certainly intriguing, but they are by no means two of my favourite characters. That’s not to say I dislike them of course, just that any other time, they wouldn’t be my first choice. I think maybe it’s a testament to the quality of these Amiibo, that I was so compelled to pick this pair up over characters I am more fond of like, Meta Knight and Waddle Dee.

I’m very glad to be adding Callie and Marie to the collection. Now if only I could find a place to keep them all. The space across the front of my TV is filling up fast!

Best get on and make that bookshelf.

I just want to talk a little about the future of this project. The idea is, that every time I buy a new Amiibo, I’m going to talk about it. Pretty simple right? I realise that some people may say this isn’t an unboxing, it’s a toy review and to a great extent you are right. However, I have no intentions of reviewing games, or anything else for that matter, so the best place to put such an article in my opinion is under Unboxing. After all I am removing it from a box.

Just for the sake of causing you people further rage, I’m also going to go back over the other Amiibo that I own, gradually writing about the entire collection. For a lot of Amiibo I had written articles when I first got them, so it’ll be more a case of revamping those article and posting them across to this new site rather than writing entirely new ones for Amiibo I unboxed over a year ago.

There is not going to be any kind of solid schedule on this project. I often get Amiibo when they are first released, as I have Pre-order to make sure I can actually get them, but not always. I didn’t bother with the Kirby set and I actually rather regret that decision. I’ll try to write an unboxing as soon as I get the Amiibo, but sometimes stuff gets in the way. If I don’t write about an Amiibo in about a week of it being released, you can assume I haven’t bought it yet.

candm007Finally, in regards to the other recent Splatoon release. I have no intentions of reviewing them, nor even buying them. I think the fact that they are a recolour is completely lazy, and I would much rather have seen new sculpts. I feel the same way about the Golden Megaman, and the Gold and Silver Marios. I did however get the 30th Anniversary Pixel Mario Amiibo, as I felt the 8bit and 16bit variants were significant to show the difference from then to now. *shrug*

That’s it from me for now, and I’ll catch you next time!

Peace and High Scores!