Bandai Final Fantasy VII “Keshi” Mini-figures, 1997!

Owing to the fact that the best part of $50 left my bank account the other day and went to WordPress for hosting my site, it’s probably time that I actually did something with it. I’ve been playing the Final Fantasy VII remake lately, and finished it the day before yesterday. It was alright. I loved some parts and disliked others. I shan’t be too specific in case any of the three people that still visit my site are halfway through it. But overall, it certainly made me yearn to play the original again, and as I bought the twin-pack of Final Fantasy VII and VIII for the switch from Play Asia a few months back, this is definitely something I’m gonna do soon. But for now, here’s a look at some obscure Final Fantasy VII toys.

As many will know, Final Fantasy VII was released to critical acclaim back in 1997, and if you happened to live in Japan at the time, you might have encountered some small Final Fantasy VII blind boxes which contained candy, trading cards and two minifigures from the game.

The box features the art of Tetsuya Nomura, with a very nice picture of Cloud Strife wielding his iconic Buster sword, and the sides show all the possible characters that were available inside the box, using in-game character models.

The character models are actually those found during in-game battles, and look more realistically scaled than the squat character models seen for the majority of the game. I assume Square was trying to copy the chunky sprite style of the characters from the previous 2D Final Fantasy games. Although I think the squat character models don’t really hold up compared to the battle models, I do love them and they definitely have a charm that makes FF-VII feel unique. Anyway less about the game, and more about the toys. So each pair of figures came in a tree/frame, and you had to pull or cut the figures free from it. The figures have a rubbery plastic feel to them (much like M.U.S.C.L.E toys which also originated in Japan) and the figures could either come in a light blue colour, or a violet colour. I think I’d have loved more of a multicoloured/neon variety, but as these didn’t get released outside of Japan, I should just be grateful that I own any Final Fantasy VII themed minifigures at all. So the first pair of figures is protagonist Cloud Strife and flower seller Aerith Gainsborough.

All of the characters seem to be in the same pose that the original Tetsuya Nomura drew them in, only they look more deformed in scale. In spite of the small size, they still manage to capture the aesthetic of the characters quite well!

Here’s lab-rat-dog Red XIII and barmaid Tifa Lockhart.

I love Red XIII, and in the more deformed style of these figures, he looks more like a puppy than a ferocious warrior. Anyway, here’s Barret and a toad.

Although I wouldn’t have thought the in-game toad was really iconic enough to be immortalised in small plastic minifigure form, Bandai obviously felt differently enough that they also paired Tifa off with a toad in their larger Final Fantasy VII action figure line.

Next it’s Vincent Valenine and Yuffie Kisaragi.

Vincent Valentine was my favourite character as a kid. He was mysterious, sported a rockstar bandanna and long hair, wore a cloak and slept in a coffin for thirty years. And he could also transform into an array of horror movie-esque creatures as his temporary “limit break” power up, including a red-eyed, chainsaw wielding, hockey mask wearing slasher! I’m not sure this figure does justice to how badass I think Vincent Valentine is, but’s fine. Yuffie is less cool and most people who have played VII will probably agree that she airs more on the side of pain-in-the-ass. Which is a shame as ninjas are usually impressive, but she sadly is not.

And now for a character I disliked more than Yuffie, it’s Cait Sith.

The name Cait Sith actually comes from Scottish Gaelic, Cat Sidhe, a fairy-like creature that resembled a cat. But perhaps because the in-game character would be an annoying (and traitorous) bastard, Square went with the spelling Cait Sith, which was appropriately an anagram of Cat Shit. I warmed to the character more in the sequel movie and games of FF-VII because of his overall Scottish-ness. And I just this second realised that the reason he is Scottish is because of Cat Sidhe being Scottish Gaelic! I can’t believe I missed that until now!

Next is Cid Highwind and Chocobo.

I will never not love plastic incarnations of the Chocobo. Chocobos are just a joy and I very much wish they existed in real life. Kweh! Cid is also neat, although somehow, even with a spear in hand he looks posed like someone who is waiting for a bus. The final figure in the set is the only one that came on its own and not with another figure. It’s the Summon Leviathan!

Leviathan is a little bigger than the other figures and requires assembly. There aren’t many toys based on Leviathan so I’m grateful that he exists in this form. But it does seem odd that they’d make this figure over someone like Sephiroth! Or even a little miniature Jenova that you’d need to assemble. Oh man, that would have been cool as hell. But I’m happy with this little splashy-boy anyway.

So that’s the whole bunch. Like many of my posts about toys on here, I’m dismayed that these never saw a release outside of Japan, and getting to make Cloud and the gang battle against Monster in my Pocket toys would have been rad, but as I didn’t get into Final Fantasy VII until after I’d gotten rid of all my Monster in my Pocket toys, I can’t really complain too much. Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m going to try and post more frequently, especially considering that I pay $48 annually for this site that I’m apparently too much of a lazy bastard to do anything much with!

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