ANIME - Review - Bandai 1/96 scale "Thousand Sunny" from "One Piece"

Kit Review: Bandai Anime Kit No. 69490; Thousand Sunny ship from the series "One Piece"; 156 parts (154 in at least 15 different colors, 2 flexible vi
nyl sails); retail price US$51.95
Advantages: probably the only kit of this ship around; comes with a complet e crew of nine; designed so that only the figures need painting
Disadvantages: nothing major noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for Japanese Anime fans and especially fans of "One Piece"
    A number of years ago my wife and I stumbled upon the Japanese cartoon sho w (Anime to its fans) "One Piece" which followed the adventures of a boy na med Monkey D. Luffy as he decided to become "King of the Pirates" and took off on the road to adventure when he was a teenager. Along the way he garne red a crew and two ships, and so far their adventures have been covered in more than 700 episodes of about 20 minutes each. While they are now "wanted criminals" most of their "pirate" adventures are actually beating out nefa rious types such as the "Seven Warlords of the Sea" and unscrupulous Navy p ersonnel. Their adventures may be found in better video shops, online at th eir website, or on the Cartoon Network.
            A couple of years ago at Disneyworld we were over in EPCOT at the Japane se Pavilion where I saw this ship (the second one in the series) for sale f or what I think was US$160 and with the crew figures extra. I passed it up but today found a similar one (perhaps the same model in kit form) with the figure set for only $52 and could not pass it up.
    The storyline has the crew given their first ship, the "Going Merry" (or " Merry Go" in earlier Funimation translations) which lasts the crew up until about episode 312 when they have to burn its shattered hull and give it a respectful funeral at sea. Over the next ten episodes they built this new s hip, the "Thousand Sunny" with a lion on a sun figurehead to carry them thr ough the next 400+ episodes.
    From the size of the figures this looks to be about 1/96 scale but as it i s Anime reality is not really needed nor requested. It comes with a stand a nd several accessories to include a lifeboat based on the deceased "Going M erry", a bathtub based water scooter, and a mechanical shark.
    The model comes in at least 15 different colors of plastic with as many as four different colors molded on one sprue similar to the Trumpeter 1/350 a ircraft kits. Some additional painting is required, mostly for the crew fig ures which are all in a neutral flesh color. Assembly does use cement but m ost of the model can virtually be snapped together.
    There are some options. The sides of the hull can be either fitted with co ver plates or paddlewheels with shields, and the lion's head can either be smiling or have a cannon protruding from its mouth.
    The figures are of the entire crew of the later episodes: Monkey D. Luffy, the captain; Nami, the navigator; Nico Robin, the archeologist; Sanji, the cook; Roarona Zolo, master swordsman with three swords (included); Usopp, master of the slingshot; Chopper, the reindeer-cum-doctor; Franky, a cyborg and shiprwright; and Brooke, a zombie who wants to be a lounge singer. Fiv e bases are included for separate display of the figures.
    The model comes with a large sheet of adhesive stickers (as noted this is a kit designed to minimize painting) and two decal sheets for the main sail with Luffy's "Straw Hat Pirates" trademark Jolly Roger crest.
    The box indicates that Bandai also makes the "Going Merry" with figures to complete the set.
    Overall this something completely different and due to the subject matter one I can probably persuade my wife to let me keep in the living room!
    Thanks to Kevin and West at the Bel Air (MD) Hobby Works.
Cookie Sewell
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