I guess persistence does eventually pay off! Almost seven years ago Toyfare magazine revealed that NECA was working on an action figure of Dante from Capcom’s “Devil May Cry” game series to be part of their Player Select line. The figure never went into production. This isn’t the first time that a prototyped figure never made it to retail. I’d imagine most action figure companies who have been around a while have a library of these cases. Apparently somebody at NECA wanted this figure to happen, however. And shortly before New York Comic Convention last year they announced that they were able to make this long lost figure a reality.
Next time I get a chance to talk with the people over at NECA I’ll have to find out exactly what changed to bring this Dante to life. Or even why it didn’t work out originally? If you think about it, why would it work now? Capcom has moved on from that look with Dante. This can be seen in the 2013 reboot of sorts titled “DMC: Devil May Cry.” Maybe NECA just left messages daily over at Capcom for the last seven years asking for their final approval. Then one day in Summer of 2014 Capcom finally called back! I’m sure my speculation is wrong on all accounts, but I’m glad this figure finally exists!
If you were alive in 2001 when Devil May Cry originally launched on Playstation 2, then the box will look very familiar. Dante comes packed in an opening window box. It’s very similar to the ones used for the NECA 8bit variants, but this one is much larger. His accessories include a pair of alternate hands with trigger fingers, two pistols, a shotgun, Alastar (his sword), and a couple of firing effects. Dante has no issues holding any of these items, in fact he is even able to hold the sword with both hands. On the subject of the swappable hands, they have little tiny pegs and I would suggest exercising some caution when swapping. Nothing has broken on mine, but the small size always worries me a bit … especially with the amount of swapping I’ve been doing today.
Now the first thing you will probably notice on Dante is his long, windswept coat. Personally I think it completes the package, but I’m sure it’s going to annoy some people. If you are annoyed by it then I have some good news: it’s removable! Just face his arms backwards and pull it off if you wish. I think the shoulders look slightly naked with the coat off, but this is because the coat serves a double purpose of completing the sculpt and hiding the articulation. You’d also be shocked at how well he stands with it on. He had a pretty great center of balance despite being left-heavy.
While it sucks that it took this long for the figure come out, it may have also been a blessing in disguise. Seven years ago NECA was not putting nearly the amount of engineering and articulation into their figures. They certainly were on their way at that point though. For example, a few years later they released their Chris Redfield figure from Resident Evil 5 and it’s a surprisingly well articulated figure. Nowadays they’ve got things down pretty well, and I think Dante benefits as a figure from their growth.
His ball-jointed shoulders have a very good range of motion. Despite the jacket you can pretty much put his hands at his sides with ease. The elbows can hit about a 90 degree angle before the cuffs of his jacket stop them. They work pretty well together to make some really nice gun or sword wielding poses. If you have a decent flight stand available his hips, ankles, and double-knees can make some really nice jumping or acrobatic poses. The Diablo stand also works very well for standing or one legged poses. (I don’t own any of the standalone NECA stands, but I may give them a try if they are similar to Diablo’s)
I couldn’t help myself and bought a pair of Dantes. Both of them have pretty crisp and clean paint jobs, so in that respect I’m very happy. The only thing that really threw me off was black paint used on his upper lip. I think I understand the intent was shading, but it does looks a bit like he’s wearing some black lipstick. If you lift up his hair he actually has some really nice detail in those eyes, it’s just hidden by his mop of hair. Examining his head also reminds me how similar he is to Leon Kennedy, and that makes perfect sense since Devil May Cry was originally supposed to be a Resident Evil sequel. Dante is almost that missing link in the evolution of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4 Leon.
Dante probably marks the end of NECA’s collaboration with Capcom, at least for now. They’ve been pretty public about “things needing to change” if they were to work with them again. That probably won’t happen. This figure is a nice way to go out though, and I’m glad it finally came to be. NECA does really good work bringing video game action figures to life, so it’s nice to see them do one of my favorites in their classic outfit.
Do you want Dante? I grabbed mine off of NECA’s Amazon store because who the hell knows if Toys “R” Us will be reliable about stocking a figure based on a fourteen year old property? Some figures I just need to secure immediately … usually it’s video game figures too. I’m predicable like that.
Entertainment Earth also has him up for preorder, but should be shipping soon!