Review: The Shape of Water Amphibian Man Action Figure

As movie awards season gets into full swing, it’s the perfect time to look back on that more innocent time, two years ago, when a movie about a mute woman having sex with a fish-man scored the top prize. Naturally, that’s a concept that lends itself well to toys. At least one toy, anyway. As part of their ongoing Guillermo del Toro collection, NECA delivers his latest and greatest “monster: The Amphibian Man.

Before anybody asks: no, he does not feature the particular anatomical accuracy that Sally Hawkins’ character suggested with her hands in the movie. The Shape of Water didn’t need to get slapped with an X-rating, and nor does the toy. But just about every other detail a fan could hope for is here, save maybe for any glowing effect.

When NECA first started making movie-based action figures, they typically included a small diorama base. Gradually those phased out as costs went up. But for the first time in a long time, Amphibian Man has one. It’s the slab on which he gets chained. And while it doesn’t necessarily show up so well in photos, there’s a glossy “puddle” effect that makes it look like the slab has a huge wet spot. The chains are real metal, and the cuffs don’t open. So you’ll have to pop his hands and head off to get them on.

RELATED: Review: NECA Exclusive Green Lantern vs. Sinestro Corps Predator Figure Set

He includes an alternate angry head, and extra forearms. The forearms are odd because if there’s any difference between them, I can’t see it. Save for the hands, which pop off separately anyway, and come open or closed.

The base allows for a fancier display, but I really wasn’t prepared for one small side effect. Namely, that I don’t want to see him chained! As in the movie, I have an emotional investment in seeing him free and powerful. Still, there are plenty of other monsters to chain up, so the base won’t go idle.

Other extras included are a plate of eggs, and webbing bits to put under his arms when outstretched. think Spider-Man’s web wings, but made of skin. They work in that one specific pose, but if he’s posed any other way, they look better removed.

The figure’s body is made of the same sort of semi-translucent plastic NECA used for flesh tone son their Rocky figures, giving him a slightly wet look. Most of the body is hard, but all his gills and fins are soft and flexible, which makes the figure a tactile experience. Details on the torso and face look spectacular, with many of the litte; crevasses on his chest filled in to make every detail show up. Articulation includes ball-and-hinge elbows and knees, hinge and side ankles, ball-and-cut hips, ball wrists, mid-torso and neck. If posing him captured, the chains allow him to hold most any pose. If not, there are still good options.

(The Guillermo del Toro action figure is NOT included.)

RELATED: Review: Pan’s Labyrinth Faun Action Figure by NECA

The window box he comes in puts the figure and accessories on full display, so non-openers can still enjoy to the max.

Mercifully, no half-eaten cat comes in the box. But for hardcore collectors that want one, Full Moon’s Castle Freak action figure from years ago has your back.

The del Toro collection continues to be a clear labor of love for NECA, and they’ve promised more. Given that they’ve run through all the major monsters the director owns the rights to, I’ve no idea what they can do next, though if he were able to make a deal for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark I’d rejoice. In the meantime, this is a clear figure of the year candidate. Check out even more in-hand pictures in our gallery below.