It's time for the big guy, the ABYstyle Studio Ryuk figure. There are few anime fans that aren't at least aware of Death Note, the seminal manga by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. One of the anime series to cross into the mainstream thanks to its excellent supernatural mystery elements, the cat and mouse chase between student Light Yagami and the reclusive detective "L" is the stuff of anime legend. And behind it all, the central antagonist and owner of the deadly Death Note, Shinigami Death God Ryuk.
Let's start with the packaging, which it's fair to say dwarfs the other releases in this line, yet it only comes in at an extra £10 over a standard release. This is quite astounding considering all the extra value they've pushed into the box. It's also worth noting the extra details used - cut-outs of the character along both sides, as well as black detailing across the plastic window actually make displaying the figure in the box a viable option.
Looking at the sculpt, Ryuk was always an outlandishly gothic looking beast, suitable of course for his role as a Shinigami death god. His feathered shoulders and beautifully sculpted wings mesh together to create a distinctive and horrifying silhouette. The gangly proportions of his body, alongside his rictus grin, give an almost disarmingly playful impression that helps mask the sinister side of his nature. All this is captured beautifully in the facial features, the sharp teeth suggesting an animalistic twist, aided no end by the wide staring eyes.
Basically, he looks bloody terrifying!
Let's not forget the outfit, which reminds me somewhat of Penance from Generation X (there's a deep cut for Marvel fans!). The black wraparound style of the garments which look to be sewn into the skin are freaky, and the paint wash used provides plenty of detail in what could otherwise be a black lump of plastic. The sculpt work here is really exceptional, and clearly a lot of love has gone into creating this figure. Perched atop his stand (which I wish was an apple, but isn't for good reasons which I'll come to) it's a departure from the usual two-tone matte and polished black plastic of other ABYstyle Studio releases.
To finish the overall look, the figure is adorned with silver jewellery, a gothic touch that further adds highlights to an already very detailed display piece. In particular I love the ring on his left hand, it just stands out as a chunky piece of regalia that suits the character to a T. Obata's design work is first class, and this figure does the artist proud.
Finally, here's the clever little extra that more than justifies the price increase - he glows in the dark! It's a perfect touch for a supernatural character and looks amazing when the lights go off. I had worried that this feature would ruin the sculpt during daylight hours, but it actually works perfectly on the skin (I'll grant you the belt looks a little gel-like and I would have painted the cross in the centre, but that's me!). It really takes the figure to a whole new level.
In short, I can't think of any reason not to recommend this for fans of Death Note - the character sculpt is spot on, paint is, as always, defiant of the price tag, and given the size and glow-in-the-dark feature, this is a bargain. It's a cracking way to finish out the month.