Review: Robot Damashii MSN-06S Sinanju (Animation Edition)

Introduced in the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn novel and then brought to animation in the Unicorn OVA, the Sinanju is a strikingly sexy mobile suit that might actually be more popular than the Unicorn Gundam itself. Piloted by the equally-awesome-despite-his-name Full Frontal, the Sinanju is pretty much the zenith of bad guy Gundam suits, outclassing even Char’s Sazabi, at least in my opinion. The suit’s had two Master Grade kits and a High Grade, but due to the ornate decorations, all the kits require a whole sheet of stickers which makes me hurt to look at. To get a Sinanju in proper plastic form, I turned to the Robot Damashii (or Spirits if you prefer) line, specifically the second release of the suit: the Sinanju (Animation Edit.)

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Appearance

Full Frontal’s mobile suit is iconic due to its imposing nature and extremely, sinisterly regal appearance, and in small plastic form, the Sinanju manages to capture the look of the suit to a tee. The red looks lovely, the gold trim fantastic (and actually painted over molded detail), and even the small metallic paint apps on his thrusters look good. It’s a shame that all of the grey on the suit couldn’t be painted, but I understand why it isn’t. All of the paint apps are nice and clean with nothing missing or botched. The proportions of the suit seem mostly right, though his torso and shoulderpads could be a bit bigger. His hip thruster bits flare out a bit more than they should, but it’s hardly a problem.

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The Sinanju does have a bit of an inevitable flaw, though: this toy is really small, like just over 5 inches. This is fine, since Robot Spirits releases generally are pretty small, but the Sinanju is a big mobile suit. It’s supposed to be very imposing and very intimidating. At this size, it’s very hard to get that across, especially since the toy is not too much bigger than other Robot Spirits releases of normal-sized mobile suits. I think this could have been remedied by bulking up the chest a bit, because it does look rather small compared to how the MS should look. This is really more of a nitpick than anything, though, so I won’t hold it against the toy too much.

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Articulation

Robot Spirits is essentially S.H. Figuarts for robot toys, which means that posability is always at a maximum. The Sinanju is a pretty bulky suit, but I’ve had surprisingly little issues with posing. His head is on multiple joints for lots of looking around, his shoulders are on a double ball joint mounted on an internal block that allows for further inward movement, much like modern Gundam kits use. He has bicep swivels, double-jointed elbows, and double-ball wrists to finish out the excellent arms. He has an ab crunch mid-torso, and his entire upper body is mounted on a ball joint with an excellent range. His hips are ball-jointed with a thigh swivel, his knees are technically double-jointed, but only the top joint bends to a proper degree; the second joint only bends a little bit to complement the first joint, and it also separates the Sinanju’s kneecap armor, making for a cool effect. Finally, his ankles are on a ball joint connected to about three different swivels.

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In addition, his shoulder thrusters swing outwards to get out of the way of arm movement, and his leg thrusters are mounted on two swivels and a ball joint. The only real area of problem is his hip section, primarily the skirt armor. Each piece is individually ball-jointed, but they tend to be very stiff, and are often blocked by Sinanju’s abdominal tubing. Once you get a feel for how everything works and moves, you can get the hips to move at their full potential, but it’s not the easiest of tasks.

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Sinanju’s backpack has its fair share of movable parts: the giant thrusters are on multiple swivels, but do sometimes clang into the shoulder armor. They also contain the feature found on pretty much all Sinanjus whereby spreading the armor panels extends the thrusters a bit. It’s a cool mechanism in theory, but admittedly a bit underwhelming in practice. The large fuel tanks are also on ball joints.

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Accessories

The Sinanju comes with a wealth of accessories, two in particular are exclusive to the Animation Edition. Firstly, Sinanju comes with seven hands: two fists, two beam saber-holding hands, one right-hand gun-holding hand, and two open hands. They all do their jobs well. Also included with the Animation Edition is an alternate battle-damaged head representing the time when the Sinanju got shot in the face (I honestly can’t remember the context). The head is well-painted and does the job well, but I kind of feel that it needs more detail.

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As far as weapons go, included are two rectangular beam sabers (that sadly cannot store in his forearms), two sets of beam axes (one pair to go in the shield, one pair with the ability to connect together), the huge beam rifle (that can separate into the rifle, the scope, and the grenade launcher), the aforementioned big shield, and the newly-included rocket bazooka (which can also separate to make the barrel shorter, as well as the scope thing). The beam sabers can be held in his hands, or you can swap out the forearm armor plates to an alternate set to represent the saber hilts mounted in Sinanju’s arms. The beam axes also have two different effects parts; a shorter, axe-looking beam and a longer, sword-like beam.

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One of the main features of the Sinanju’s weaponry is how modular it is. The beam rifle and bazooka can both break down a bit; if you remove the grenade launcher from the rifle, you can insert the rocket bazooka and switch around the scope parts to make the ridiculously-huge gun that Full Frontal showed up with in the final scene of Episode 5. It’s… really heavy, and it’s hard to get the Sinanju to hold it up properly without support from his other arm. He has no problem holding the weapons individually, though.

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Both the grenade launcher and the bazooka can mount on the underside of the shield, which has its own swappable forearm panel for mounting. You can also mount the shield on the shoulder armor with a connector piece, but I always think that looks dumb. The two beam axes connected to the shield can be popped off and mounted downward for making an enormous energy-sword-shield, which looks both amazing and unwieldy.

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Finally, Sinanju also comes with yet another forearm panel, this time with both a shield connector and slots for mounting a pair of gatling guns found in the later Unicorn Gundam releases, as well as a part for mounting Sinanju on a Tamashii Stage Stand, which is fairly necessary for maximum posing of this guy.

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Overall

I always find myself conflicted on Robot Spirits releases. On one hand, they’re excellent quality, usually fairly affordable, very articulate, and packed with awesome accessories… but at the same time, they almost seem a bit too small for the amount of detail and accessories they have packed in, which makes playing with them a bit of an overwhelming task. Though the quality is great, something about the Sinanju just feels fragile, like I play around with it once, then I just want to put it in its box and put it away for a while. Still, this is a great figure package, coming with everything the Sinanju ever needs (except a Neo Zeong), and is probably the best-looking Sinanju you can buy, unless you want to paint up the Master Grade. At $45, I felt like I got my money’s worth.

Where to Buy

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