NS Reviews amiibo – Squid Sisters & New Wave Splatoon amiibo
Following in the inktrail of our Monthly Most Played, July 8th marks the release of a new wave of Splatoon amiibo, and bringing with it is yet another new installment of article I hope you’ll enjoy; Nintendo Scene, specifically myself, will start reviewing amiibo!
For those unfamiliar, amiibo are a series of interactive figurines created by Nintendo. Featuring a character from a game perched upon a usually themed base that houses a chip inside it, you can save various types of game data inside this chip and use different amiibo to unlock different in-game rewards. Super Smash Brothers was the first up to hit the market in late November of 2014 and since then we’ve had wave after wave of Mario, Kirby, Yoshi, Splatoon, Animal Crossing, and more. Naturally, there were some that were in more demand than others, and in the almost 2 years of their creation we’ve seen our fair share of adorable, amazing, weird, and downright derpy.
I personally first saw amiibo at Hyper Japan 2014. They were in a bright display case and almost every figure looked highly detailed and worth investing in. Those were the more innocent days, when Zelda looked like she had a soul, Link didn’t have an incontinence issue, and Marth almost looked passably human. Fast forward to the public release and there were some serious downgrades, which hit the humanoid characters and the airborne ones the most. Of course given amiibo were undoubtedly going to come into contact with children and by nature need to be handled the stands needed to be much sturdier, but why they ended up in strange colors I don’t know. Other faults such as paint being misprinted onto the wrong parts, amiibo being sold with visible chips and smears in the finish, and utterly hideous seam lines are just a few other downgrades being offered to the public. Generally the more human the figure the harder it is to realistically bring into real life, this goes for any sculpt, and attempting to convert a typical anime face into something 3D and not have it look ridiculous is a challenge on it’s own. This is why Sonic or Kirby for example are extremely accurate, but the same fate doesn’t befall the Fire Emblem amiibo. I don’t believe Nintendo lacks the resources or funding for a higher quality production but you and I both know regardless of whether or not Zelda looks like she’s had her face shot on at point blank range by the make-up gun from The Simpsons you’re going to buy your anime waifu figure anyway, and Nintendo knows this too, which is why they can get away with it, and we’re only going to continue being enablers.
So fast forward to a short while ago and finally Nintendo announce these fantastic looking amiibo of Callie and Marie; the Squid Sisters from the Wii U game Splatoon. I of course pre-ordered the heck out of them. The video doesn’t show much but promises quality and I know as I begrudgingly hand over yet more of my money to Nintendo that when they show up they could very well look like they’ve been partially melted down and then run over by Baby Daisy in the Pipe Frame and the Monster Wheels. I’m so glad I was wrong.
Ever since I unboxed these, and every time I go back to admire them, the Squid Sisters amiibo almost look like they’re directly from the game. The dresses are cast with a translucent material showcasing varying depths of glitter and it looks fantastic. Subtle splats of color dart across the hair and even the undersides of the shoes have form. The irises have the slightest of gradients and the contrast between the dark limbal rings, the pupils, and the slight elevation of the eyelids really make the face of these amiibo pop and are what I think may be one of the biggest factors in what makes these figures so visually impressive. Unlike other figures Callie and Marie are cleverly posed in a manner which frees them from the need of the usual blocky supports yet they effortlessly retain dynamic poses. Tentacles fall close to the hands and body and vibrant splashes of ink rise to meet their limbs in both function and an eye-popping addition to the design. The amiibo unfortunately still sport the regular mistakes of bleeding, strange smudges, and misprints, with flat blocks of color removing some of the depth of the sculpting, particularly in the hands.
Ears and noses also had to be thickened out for stability and earrings sit against the face which do detract from the overall accuracy. Seam lines are minimal and strategically placed with the most noticeable and intrusive one running down one of Callie’s tentacles. Curiously enough the “hair” sports a matte finish, rather than gloss, and the laced back of the dresses are arguably the messiest feature of these amiibo, with slightly awkward anatomy coming a close second. Speaking of anatomy, both Callie and Marie seem to suffer from their raised forearm being slightly shorter than their lower ones, and the protruding chest does look somewhat uncomfortable. The back however has the slightest of dips to mimic shoulder blades and it’s tiny details like this that definitely don’t go unappreciated. Given her droopy eyes and uninterested expressions I would have thought Marie would have had the worse face, but she’s translated almost perfectly into our world. Callie’s mouth means she suffers from the dreaded Ike-Face from a few angles but if you get her from the right one then she’s up there with Marie in terms of accuracy.
Not only have Nintendo managed to bring to life such strange designs but they managed to do so avoiding overbearing inaccuracies and have created what I think may be some of their most impressive, and freshest amiibo to date. The Squid Sisters amiibo are definitely up there in my top favs.
Callie & Marie/Squid Sisters amiibo
Up next is my first purchase of an Inkling Girl amiibo, when I saw they were releasing a green version I jumped on that given I’m all for representation of green in the media. Speaking of representation, this wave features an alt Inkling Boy color too, with visibly dark skin. I shant speak any more about that but I will genuinely thank and congratulate Nintendo for this addition. Going back to Inkling Girl (Lime) who I’ve nicknamed “Edgy Inkling Girl” due to her color palette swap, she seems to be the exact same figure as the original Inkling Girl amiibo, just with a different paintjob. The base sculpt is done well enough, she’s fairly accurate to the game and posed in as dynamic a way that real life will allow her to be. She still sports a horrendous seam line over the top of her head and the bleeding on this figures colors are fairly noticeable. But I’m on board with her pink eyes, her swanky new outfit, and the barrel of her gun looking similar to a gummy sweet, so she’ll remain in my collection for now. Hopefully I can pick up the new Inkling Boy to keep her company in the near future.
Inkling Girl (Lime)
Have you got your hands on the new Splatoon amiibo yet? Do you have plans to get any of them? What’s your favorite Splatoon amiibo? Leave a comment below or tweet me @MattiasMay. Thanks for reading!