Kingdom Hearts Diamond Select – Series One impressions

2002, I remember it like it was yesterday. The year the original Kingdom Hearts was released and when my love for it began. Not only was this the beginning of my fandom, but the start of my journey to find collectibles for my new-found love. I completed my first run through the game in October 2002, a day before my first trip to Disney World since I was a child.

The trip became an Easter egg hunt for any merchandise related to the game. My thought was, I was in Disney World and why wouldn?t they have stuff for this new video game that mixed their beloved characters with those of Square Enix fame? To me, this was a no brainer, yet the search ended in disappointment. Not one item could be found for a little while too.

It wasn?t until I came back from the trip that I came across my first merchandise for the series. It was at ?Babbage?s? (Became GameStop) that I found a wave of two pack figures for Kingdom Hearts. They were made by Mirage Toys and included a mix of original characters like Sora and Heartless, to Disney?s Captain Hook and Goofy.
Owning these figures would become the beginning of my journey into the passion I have for the Kingdom Hearts world. Fast forward almost 16 years later and we are about 6 months away from the release of Kingdom Hearts III and the collectibles have towered most popular franchises. It?s become an impossible task to collect all things KH, but rest assured, there is something for every kind of fan.

For me, I?ve always loved figures and statues of my favorite characters. Since I was a little kid, having a dad that sold comics, video games and toys, I was always within arms reach of the hottest action figures from the world of comic books. Being able to have a Spider-Man, Venom and Wolverine figure was nothing short of amazing even to this day.
That passion has done nothing but grow over the years and expanded to have a primary focus on video game favorites like KH, Mega Man, Legend of Zelda and Metroid. My love also includes guilty pleasures from when I was younger in the form of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Robotech, Guyver and Voltron.

The issue I ended up having as an adult was having a place to store or display things. This in turn caused me to sell many things over the years including any childhood stuff that I had left. The beginning of 2018 was a turning point for me in life, because my wife and I purchased our first home and one of the bonuses of this new home was I would be able to get an office.

This finally allowed me to not only display my collectibles, but also provided a work area for Gaming Age as well as my musical venture ?Neon Arcadia?. I was fortunate to get an invitation to meet with Diamond Distributors back in February for the NYC Toy Fair where our resident photographer Parisi and I were given a private booth tour of what they had in the pipeline for the year.

Out of everything we were shown, I was obviously drawn to the new series of Kingdom Hearts figures. The first wave of figures included characters like King Mickey, Sora in his KHII outfit along with his Drive Forms as store exclusives, Axel, small Heartless and an Unversed. The figured ranged in size between 4-7 inches and feature up to 16 points of articulation.
This is something I was used to seeing with imported figures like the Square Enix Play and Figure Arts which cost considerably more money. It was nice to see a company like Diamond to take on the task of putting out figures for the franchise in an affordable way with giving some of the extra finesse I expect from higher priced figures.

The team over at Diamond were kind enough to send me the figures from the first wave to check out. I?ve had them for a little but finally was able to take some time and proudly display my love for Kingdom Hearts in my office and check out these figures. One thing I have to get out of the way is, the way these are packed in the plastic is beyond secure. There is a mix of twist ties and what seem like the plastic from tags you see in clothing stores that hold the price.

They?re a bit of a nuisance and time consuming to get out but I can appreciate the effort to keep the figures from getting loose in the box. Once I got them out, it was time to check out the quality. Overall, the figures are well made and don?t feel flimsy. The joints are very stiff which made me a bit concerned that I may break them. This happened with the import Axel from many years ago. His hand came right off.

I?m happy to say they held up with all the movement and adjusting I did. Out of the two sets, Axel has the least amount of articulation and its primarily due to his Organization jacket. When I first opened his box, I thought his ankle was broken off because it looked out of place. The bend was intentional and is a nice joint for the figure. I would like to see it used more.
The only real issue I have with this series, is the paint job and faces of Sora and Mickey. Sora has an overly happy face and despite it being something he does most of the time, placing him on display to fight off the Heartless seems bizarre. The style of paint is a little weird too and not something I?ve seen before. It?s almost a matte finish which seems to take away from the detail of the design.

Series 2 has started to appear in stores and look like be an improvement on most of my gripes with the series. It will be great to own an Aqua figure that doesn?t cost $150. The new wave also includes Roxas with a Heartless Soldier, Donald and Goofy, Pete with Chip and Dale, Aqua with Birth by Sleep Goofy and some store exclusives like Timeless River Sora, Birth by Sleep Mickey and Final Form Sora. There is a Series 3 coming as well that focuses on the Tron world including both heroes and villains. I hope to get these other series to review as well.

For the price of these figures. They?re great for someone looking to have some collectibles that won?t break the bank, I would recommend picking them up. I?ve seen these on sale at GameStop recently. With Kingdom Hearts III right around the corner, it?s a great time to start collecting.