Viral hails from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, a show I tried to watch but gave up just as it got good. Unlike pretty much all of my figures, Viral is a villain (well he started as one), but more than that he’s a male!! ZOMG!
Male figures – or I should say, masculine figures – are a rarity these days. Actually this figure is not recent at all; it was released way back in 2009 and I somehow found it on sale for around $80. I’m not even a huge Gurren Lagann fan, but I wanted Viral because he’s a guy, and he looks bestial and evil. Almost everything about him stands out in my collection, so I think it was a good purchase.
Uplark is not a prolific manufacturer. They did some other Gurren Lagann figures, one of Mio Akiyama, and one of Rei Ayanami (I think if you’re a figure manufacturer you’re required to do a K-On! piece and an Evangelion piece). I really wish they’d do more, as Viral here is of very good quality. The paint job is clean, I really like the shading, and the sculpt is good but has a quirk.
If you look at this figure from the side, his pose looks really dumb. From any other angle, it’s dynamic, fierce, and menacing. But his stylized proportions tend to hide the length of his legs from the side. So if you’re looking side-on, it looks like he’s trying really hard to give someone his knife.
Other than that, the figure oozes menace. His grin is fiendishly vicious, and his one revealed eye is magnificently evil. You get a good sense of energy through his pose, the sculpt of which features some strained musculature. I also like his grungy, oversized meat cleaver. Finally, I think it’s important to note he’s still rocking the fluffy cuffs. What a badass.
I don’t think there are any figures like Viral today. Most male figures that come out are of the bishounen variety, because apparently nothing sells except pretty girls and boys-love fodder. The only people doing more macho figures are Megahouse. It’s sad that there isn’t a bigger market for male figures, as there are plenty of male characters I’d like to see made.
So on the strength of its uniqueness, Viral is a good purchase. It helps that the figure is actually well made. I think we’re on the cusp of a boom in male figures, but whether we get a wave of pretty boys or manlier men is uncertain. I hope that with the death of the Macho Man Randy Savage, the universe will rebalance its macho mojo and cause a wave of macho figures to be produced. That’s, like, the second law of thermodynamics.