What if you took classic comic book characters like Batman and Superman and put them in the world of Final Fantasy? That’s the big draw of the Play Arts Kai figures from Square-Enix. While they faithfully replicate their characters as well as the licenses they manage to acquire, they are not limited to just perfectly sculpting Ben Affleck’s Mecha suit from Batman V Superman. As a matter of fact, most of the licenses they acquire are then used to create original versions of familiar characters. As you might expect, this leads to some astounding results, featuring a series of figures that catches your attention as well as making you gawk for a long while.
We encourage you just to take a look at Square-Enix’s store to see all of the crazy figures they have there, because we certainly won’t be able to highlight them all. Instead, we selected the ones that we loved the most and will explain why. They are ultimate figures that would be worthy on any collector’s shelf (if you can afford the price tag). If you’re ready to get familiarity thrown out the window, then read on for the 15 craziest Play Arts Kai figures.
15. ROGUES GALLERY JOKER
Some of the characters that Square-Enix chose to make figures of have multiple variants. This version of The Joker immediately catches our eye because of its similarity to Batman’s look. Not only is Mister J sporting his classic smile and crazy eyes, but he is wearing a demented version of the Batsuit, complete with its own Bat symbol and torn cape.
It’s easy to see why we would put this one on our list, because we’ve never really seen what The Joker would like as the Dark Knight. He has always been a philosophical antithesis to Batman, but it hasn’t taken form in the physical aspect until now. There are other villains in this series who take Batman’s look, but none of them fit the mold as well as The Joker.
Jumping over to the Marvel side, Square decided to take a stab at Marvel’s mutant Merc with a Mouth, and the results are beautiful. Right away, Deadpool’s traditional suit is thrown out the window for a more mechanical interpretation, complete with holsters and scabbards so that he can carry all of his crazy weapons.
Despite being so functionally different, the iconic color scheme and design remain intact, but he looks a little more menacing now. This figure also comes with more weapons (including a massive gun) for Deadpool to hold, which is every bit as ridiculous and straight from the ’90s as we would were hoping for. For the real collectors out there, this figure also has an X-Force variant, where Deadpool gets his black and white suit.
13. WILD WEST BATMAN
Of all the characters who would receive the most attention, Batman was always going to be at the top of the list. Thankfully, Square-Enix didn’t disappoint in this department, giving us several different interpretations of the Dark Knight that hold to the classic design while still taking many creative liberties (and we mean that in a good way).
This design takes inspiration from the Wild West, and it’s hard not to be enamored by it. Never would we have thought that Batman and the West would mix well, but we love being wrong. He holds a Lone Ranger yet slightly steampunk vibe. His horns are instead replaced with a hat that has tips at the top, and the cape is more like a tattered cloak that goes over his shoulders. Any Batman fan would need this on their shelf.
Due to having a deal with Marvel Comics, it was only a matter of time before we saw Spider-Man and Venom get their own figures from the company. When looking at both of them, it’s clear that Venom holds the superior design. Just look at that! We were unsure that they would find a way to make the character look different because he doesn’t have much of a suit, yet they continuously impress us.
The symbiote webs around Venom’s body look more like tendons now, giving him a much more grotesque and sinister appearance. Furthermore, they made the logo on his chest integrate better with his overall look, so that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. The figure also comes with different hands and another head that has his infamous tongue hanging out.
Magneto is the master of magnetism, and that was the primary goal when Square-Enix created this figure. Just take a moment and look at the cape. Notice how it looks like small metal fragments all melded together. That’s the kind of attention to detail we like in the Play Arts line, and it’s what makes this Magneto figure one of the best.
The greatness of the design doesn’t begin and end with the cape either, as the armor surrounding him looks much more refined as well. The helmet is also slimmed down and a little angular to make it feel more modern. Perhaps the part we love the most is the eyes. If you look, you’ll see a white shroud coming over them, which further accents his control over magnetism.
10. DARTH VADER
The greatest villain in the galaxy got a touch from Play Arts, and we couldn’t be more excited. One complaint we have with the original portrayal of Darth Vader is that we were never shown his amazing power. Yeah, he had a few lightsaber fights, but nothing on par with what he’s done in other media.
This figure communicates a different story. Featuring a slimmer and more agile Darth Vader, we could easily imagine him slicing up Rebels and hunting down Jedi. He looks like a futuristic samurai with a really cool belt buckle (or shawl buckle?), even with the red glow as he swings his lightsaber. The pointed cape is also a really nice touch, further accenting the subtle differences Square made to the design.
9. BOBA FETT
If you thought Darth Vader’s design was cool, then you’ll be blown away by Boba Fett. Square made many alterations to his design, making it seem much more thematic than the one that appears on screen. Combine all of the different colors with the small cape flowing behind him, and you’ve got someone who looks like he belongs in the Borderlands video games.
Boba Fett has always had a great design, but this interpretation really brings it out. His mask is trimmed down, his armor is more detailed, and he’s armed to the teeth with different all sorts of weaponry. He truly looks like a bounty hunter scavenging the barren wasteland of Tatooine, and we wouldn’t want to get on his bad side or meet him face to face.
When designing Catwoman, most people don’t reinvent the wheel. Injustice and the Arkham series both had designs that could’ve easily fit in the comics. Leave it to Square, then, to break the mold and create a character that is both recognizable and unique.
This Catwoman looks like she was ripped straight out of the Nier Automata video with the purple visor and slick armor over her body. Even with all the futuristic designs, she still manages to retain the classic thief look that we all know and love. Her whip instead functions as a tail, and she’s even packing a gun for when things get a little messier. There aren’t many times where we see a Catwoman so original, so get this one while you still can.
7. BLACK PANTHER
DC isn’t the only company who got a cool cat figure. Marvel joined the party as well when Square made their variant of the Black Panther. May we be the first to say that it is one imposing design. The Black Panther has always had an interesting costume, sometimes featuring a cape, and other times, being a little more refined.
This version goes all out though, ditching the cape for a more technology-based look (which is appropriate considering how advanced Wakanda is). This is one hero that you wouldn’t want to mess with. His hands are tipped with Vibranium claws, and he even packs a few knives. This Black Panther looks like a true protector of Wakanda, and even Ulysses Klaw would be afraid to fight him.
6. SPARTA BATMAN
Just when you thought he couldn’t get any cooler, Square released the Sparta version of Batman. This is a Dark Knight that fits in the Gladiator arena, or in the army with Leonidas. He looks like a one man army, and any emperor would either fear him or try to use him for sport.
It was likely no easy job incorporating the Batman design with ancient Greece, but it’s pulled off extremely well here. The Batman insignia is placed on the shield as well as the breastplate, but doesn’t look modern. The helmet sports the ears, but they have the trademark crests that are seen on most Spartan helmets. This time, he is sporting a dark red cape to fit in with the times as opposed to a black one.
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA
The Star-Spangled Avenger is a symbol of hope to the rest of the world that there are heroes ready to protect them. Being the fearless leader of one of the greatest superhero teams, Captain America has to be heroic, unwavering and full of the values he promotes to the world.
Thankfully, Square communicates all of this in his Play Arts Kai figure without letting him look cheesy (we’re looking at you, The Avengers). The design also looks a little more slick, like Tony Stark designed it rather than the writers wanting to make him look like the American flag and gone are the classic wings that are usually on his head. The shield also gets a raised pattern, which adds a bit more depth to a design that greatly needed it.
The Predators are some of the most horrifying creatures in the universe, both having better hunting skills and attributes than any human ever could. Their iconic dreadlock and mask design makes them a force to be reckoned with on appearance alone, but Square has taken it a step further. They’ve taken a scary design and made it even scarier.
This variant of the Predator looks much more alien-like than its actual counterpart. The dreadlocks are a bit more fleshy, and its hands extend out to make massive claws. The mouth remains largely the same, but the eyes and the horns add just enough to make us want to wet our pants. If we had it our way, this is the Predator that would appear in movies from now on.
3. IRON MAN
Iron Man is a character who will constantly get redesigned. Tony Stark has more than enough spare time to keep building suits, each one with its own improvements and it makes sense that he would change up the look of each one. There have been some great-looking suits over the years, but none to the level of the Play Arts figure.
We’ve seen Tony sport red and gold armor before, but very seldom does he use black as the primary color. The arc reactor also looks more like a glistening diamond than a blue element, and it contrasts nicely with the mostly black design. The figure also comes with fire to emulate his flying and flaps that extend from the back. Marvel fans will go crazy for this one. Lord knows that we already are.
2. HARLEY QUINN
Harley Quinn is one of the craziest people in the DC Universe, and Square wanted to bring that to light with their version of her design. Instead of being a Harlequin, Harley is sporting an outfit that takes her previous occupation of a nurse and completely turns it on its head complete with a pole.
Right off the bat, the red and black blinds over her eyes raise some questions about how she can see and fight, but it looks amazing. She is still sporting her color scheme reminiscent of a deck of cards, but it’s used more thematically here. We also have to point that her hammer looks like a weapon taken straight from Kingdom Hearts, once again showing off Square’s legacy injected into their designs, and we’re not complaining a single bit.
1. THE JOKER
While Batman has seen multiple designs from Square, we really have to highlight their other interpretation of The Joker. What makes this figure so great is that it doesn’t just have one design — it has multiple. If you want a more classic take on the character, you can swap the parts out and go to town. If you want their version of the Red Hood (which is an excellent design), you can have that too.
The Joker is a villain that will exist throughout time, and this figure replicates that. There’s even a variant where he’s just an old crazy man in a wheelchair. Whichever version of the Joker suits you the best, you can set it up when you get this figure. It’s a celebration of everything DC has done and we love every inch of it.
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