|As it seems Halloween has crept up on me this year, what better time to post an article on everyone's favorite shapechangin' mutant hero: Mutant Chaos!
This article covers the Mutant Chaos [ミュータントカオス] character by RealxHead [リアルヘッド], and all related subvarieties thereof. All or most Chaos-type figures represent the same character in official canon as well, so I'm not just being lazy in my taxonomy of the subject.
|ORIGINS & INSPIRATION:
Mutant Chaos is an original hero character created by Mori Katsura of RealxHead. He was the fourth and final character in the hero lineup of the Mutant Zone Series, debuting in November 2005. Mutant Chaos is generally considered the most popular of all RxH's characters, and is likely featured in the greatest number of toy releases as well (cheats a bit with his variations, though). The background of Mutant Chaos is quite mysterious- we only know that he is a shape-shifting mutant vegetable capable of utilizing different body types. Mr. Mori has ingeniously worked Mutant Chaos' power into the toy design, exchanging various parts with other RxH figures to create his various forms: Chaosman, Fighter Chaos, etc. Even some of the RxH villains sport a Chaos limb or two- quite a versatile chap!
|Just as Mutant Chaos is of unknown origin, so are the influences on his character design shrouded in mystery. Although Mutant Chaos was the last Mutant Zone hero to be designed, his form has always struck me as the most 'Japanese' (for lack of a better descriptor) out of all 4 initial characters. The sculpt is riddled with organic eddies and fungal textures, somewhat like the traditional ink drawings of demons and spirits. It was recently discovered by inquisitive Skullbrainer, stealthtank, that the old Bullmark Curricula Machine vinyls used a similar doll eye as that of Mutant Chaos. Mutant Chaos' head- and this is only personal speculation- to me, looks a bit like Mayor McCheese's head (one of Mr. Mori's favorite toys is apparently an old McCheese doll). Whatever the case, Mutant Chaos epitomizes the creativity and unconventional design that continues to make RxH a fan favorite in the world of Japanese vinyl.|
(3/23/10 NOTE: This was originally a list of the 6" sculpt variations. However, there are so many new sculpts that I thought a chronological overview of the characters would be more useful.)
Chaosman [カオスマン] - December 2005- Chaosman adopts the Mutant Head body. (Not pictured)
Fighter Chaos [ファイターカオス] - July 2006- Fighter Chaos uses the Mutant Head body, but retains his signature arms.
Chaoslime [カオスライム] - September 2006- Not Mutant Chaos! Chaoslime is actually a pet of Mutant Chaos that lets him hitch a ride every now and again. (Not pictured)
Armored Chaos [アーマードカオス] - October 2006- When the enemies get tough, Chaosman dons an armored vest similar to that of villain Akrokaiser.
ChaoQ [カオQ] - October 2006- ChaoQ is a more child-like form of Mutant Chaos, with a small kewpie doll body. He even comes in phone strap size! (Not pictured)
Kochaos [コケオス] - December 2006- Perhaps to help him blend into ordinary surroundings, Mutant Chaos has taken on a cylindrical form, resembling the Japanese kokeshi dolls after which this toy is named. Note that there are 2 versions of Kochaos: Gachamon mini (not pictured) and a 'mid-size' (see below). (Gachamon mini not pictured)
Mutant Chaos 2.0 - Summer 2007- Busted and tired, the old Mutant Chaos mold was retooled in mid-2007. The new mold corrects the backward lean of the 1.0 sculpt.
Chaos minis - January 2008- Nearly all Chaos sculpts were converted into mini figures in 2008-09. The first of these were sold as blind-pulls at Superfestival 45. Two versions of a mini Chaosman were available, as well as an unpainted black mini Fighter Chaos (chase figure). (only Mutant Chaos mini pictured)
Beast Chaos [ビーストカオス] - May 2009- Beast Chaos is the first toy of a character from Mutant Zone III. MZIII introduces the concept of fusion, and I guess Chaos fused with a yak. Unlike most other characters, Beast Chaos originated as a mini version in May 2009. A 6" version would follow a few months later at the Shinto After-School Club event.
Chaos Man No. 1 [カオスマン１号] - August 2009- Chaos grows up... into a full-size action figure! Surprisingly hefty at 9" tall, the new Chaos Man now features articulated wrists and a rather debonair scarf. Guess he finally learned how to dress in Mutant University.
Chaos Man No. 2 [カオスマン２号] - September 2009- Who is this super-fly guy? Perhaps it is Chaos Man in a disguise. No. 2 has the body of Chaos Man No. 1 with a mysterious, new insect head. (Not pictured)
Chao-3 [カオスリャー] - December 2009- Eesh. I don't even know how to write this name in English. Chao-3 has the combined powers- and appearance- of the first 2. New hand attachment, too. (Not pictured)
Mutant Chaos Man [ミュータントカオスマン] - December 2009- Shouldn't this be Chaosman Man? No? Chaos Man gets back to basics (and picks up some fresh new duds) with the new full-size Mutant Head body. Don't let the first version slip by you- a few unpainted black Mutant Chaos Man toys were sold with a special year-of-the-tiger scarf at RxH's 2009 year-end party. (Not pictured)
Pheyaos [フェイオス] and Pheyaos Man [フェイオスマン] - December 2009 / January 2010- Worlds collide in 2010!... well, maybe a little before then. Pheyden's interdimensional travels bring him to the Mutant Zone (am I the only one that hears the Spiral Zone cartoon theme when I say that?). Mutant Chaos absorbs a bit of Pheyden, Pheyden takes back a little Chaos with him, and wouldn't you know it- a bunch of toys come tumbling out.
Pheyaos (pronounced 'Fey-us') is the mini version of the character resulting from Chaos' absorption of Pheyden's essence. It is an all-new sculpt and features articulated arms (unlike the other minis). The first white Pheyaos was previewed at 2009 San Diego Comic Con, sold at Superfestival 49 in Japan in September, and never seen again. Doh! The first Pheyaos to be officially sold in the U.S. was the full-color version in January 2010. (Not pictured)
Pheyaos Man uses the body of Chaos Man with an all-new head sculpt and the arm extension of Chao-3. Presumably, he is simply a full-size Pheyaos (proportioned similar to a Glyos figure). This one was first sold in December 2009 via Shinto Gangu, but U.S. sales were delayed until March 2010. There have already been a number of Japan releases of Pheyaos Man, which I doubt we will see here.
If you sense a bit of frustration on my part, it is because these characters have been exceedingly hard to obtain over here. Let's hope for some pleasant surprises in the near future.
Chaos Soldier and Chaos Trooper - February 2010- Glyos Custom Corps. 3 from Onell Design was titled "Chaos Invasion" as it featured resin-cast, Glyos-sized Chaos heads and probe arms that could plug into the Glyos connection ports. Sculpting was handled by artist Lamous Supreme. There were two different types of Chaos heads and one type of probe arm. Read more about the Glyos Custom Corps. here.
Chaos Soldier uses the Chaos head with the Glyos body.
Chaos Trooper additionally substitutes the left arm of a Glyos figure for the probe arm. (Not pictured)
Mame Chao-maru [まめカオ丸] - March 2010- I've seen all sorts of names for this guy, but this is the correct one. This is a one-piece finger puppet sculpt of ChaoQ, first unveiled in various colors at the RxH & Uamou show in March 2010. Mini Chaoslimes were also sold at that show. (Not pictured)
Mutant Zone II - Numerous Mutant Zone II (Villains) characters use the arm pieces of Mutant Chaos. Namely, Soldier Bigaos (also uses body of MC), Fighter Bigaos and Organ Bat. Most of these are mutations of the MZI heroes.
This slime color Fighter Chaos was released in a set with the other 3 Mutant Zone heroes in December of 2006. While they were sold in blind-bags in Japan, Super 7 was kind enough to sort out complete sets for U.S. collectors (sadly, we did not have a chance at the lottery figures given away in said blind-bags). This particular Chaos holds particular sentimental value for me, as it was my first RxH toy. In fact, I even blogged about this guy way back over here. Even near 3 years later, the beautiful slime green vinyl never ceases to delight me when I take him out of the display case.
Officially called the "Fungus Chaos," this toy was sold exclusively at Super 7 in June 2007. Simply one of the best RxH toys out there. That's about all there is to it.
This pearl black Mutant Chaos was exclusive to the online store, Kaiju-Taro (now part of Kabushiki-Gaisha Link), where it was sold during the store's one year anniversary event in July 2007. Included with this toy was a pair of senbei (rice cracker snacks) in a separate bag. One senbei was shoyu flavored and printed with the RxH logo, and the other lobster flavored and printed with K-T's logo- the idea is that the toy represents the nori (dried seaweed) often wrapped around senbei. The black vinyl material has a very slight shimmer in bright light. Still one of my favorite Mutant Chaos figures because of the thoughtful design concept and understated execution.
In September 2007, Toy Karma was held at Rotofugi's gallery in Chicago, Illinois. Among the many toys exclusive to that show was this Mutant Chaos, cast in bright green vinyl (which, unfortunately, does not photograph very well) and painted with a variety of pastel colors. The vivid green and light colors make me think of colorful mold and Easter eggs, and help this piece to stand out in a crowd of other toys. This one can be found without much trouble if you are in the U.S.
As far as we can figure, this was the first Mutant Chaos to use the 2.0 mold.
As mentioned earlier, Chaos Man No. 2 is simply No. 1 with a new head sculpt. I think the new head fits the 9" body even better than the traditional Chaos head in both balance and texture. The reptilian ear indentations are my favorite feature.
This Chaos Man No. 2 was sold exclusively at Kaiju Blue on December 31, 2009. According to the official store blog, only 4 pieces were offered for sale, making it one of the lowest production official releases ever. Somewhat unfortunate, since the half-fade style is a fan favorite among RxH collectors.
Another collector once commented that the effect of the half-fade is as if the character is emerging from 'stealth mode.' I have to say that I completely agree. The half-fade is very attractive as an aesthetic effect, but more than that, it feels like one of those special edition action figures that feature clear or glow parts. Even the overspray on the clear portion of the body- which I would normally criticize- works with the effect. It gives the impression that the particles of the character are fading into visibility.
I've done a good bit of discussion of the Glyos Custom Corps. in my other article, but this was my single pull from Custom Corps. 3 in February 2010. And fortunately, it turned out to be a Chaos type! This one is a Chaos Soldier with the 2nd head type. I've been told that the hairy head is intended to be Beast Chaos, but I have more fun imagining him as the crotchety old veteran of Wrecker Command. Why in my day, we didn't have them Buildmen... we disassembled our colleagues for spare parts and no one complained!
I ended up trading the Wrecker Chaos Soldier furry-head guy to a fellow collector who, apparently, needed them like air. I liked the Wrecker colors well enough, but I'm not married to them or anything. So off he went on another trip back to the other side of the U.S., and in exchange, I received...
...a Chaos Trooper! I certainly couldn't resist the temptation of owning the probe-armed version of the Glyos Chaos. The arm is a two-part resin piece that can swivel at the elbow.
This Trooper is part of the large CC3 Metalluma subgroup, placed with the Long Range Reconnaissance Unit (a rather eccentric bunch with the remainder of the team consisting of a Hermit and Sincroid). The metallic blue of his armor, and brainy grey-red of the Chaos parts, pay distinct homage to the Metalluma name. A matching metallic-blue Sarvos head is included.
I still can't believe we have Glyos toys with Chaos parts. Too crazy.
I never thought I would have the opportunity to reference Dream Rocket in a RxH article, but these days it seems that there are no nevers.
Last December, we had a chance to speak with Mr. Yajima of Dream Rocket, when he visited the U.S. as a guest artist at the Double Punch show. He commented that he is interested in painting the Mutant Chaos, which really surprised me. RxH is pretty far from DR's normal fare- although perhaps not, when you look at something like Marnon.
Without warning, Dream Rocket made good on his intention and appeared as a surprise collaborator at the RxH collective at Superfestival 52 in April 2010. Two- possibly three- varieties of Mutant Chaos were sold in blind bags at 5,000 yen a piece (slightly more than normal retail). Very few must have been made, as my normal dealer told me that they sold out before he could get there. A real pain to get. But that's what makes it fun, eh?
What can I say? There is absolutely no way that I could criticize this combination unless he dunked it in cat pee and set it on fire. Even then.
Dream Rocket took a glossy black vinyl Mutant Chaos and used some mystery combination of hand-brushing, airbrush, black wash and clear coat to create the amazing results seen above. People have faulted these as being 'too busy,' and I while I can't say they are entirely wrong, I find it a refreshing take on an old favorite. The multitude of colors and textured black wash have a complex, organic sense to them, not unlike the encrusted rocks of a tropical reef. DR's characteristic attention to detail does not fall short here; they are absolutely flawless in execution.
Perhaps if we are lucky, we will see a second collaboration between my two favorite companies...
Future mutants from another universe! Since the tear in the space-time fabric caused by Pheyden’s exploration into the Mutant Zone, Phase-powered Chaos hybrids have streamed into the Glyos universe and back into the Mutant Zone. Are these peaceful brothers of Mutant Chaos or are they evil hybrid clones? And more importantly, who is behind the Chaos invasion???
The second crossover figure collaboration between RealxHead and Onell Design recently marched into the Mutant Zone- the Chaos Trooper [カオストルーパー]! Originally conceived as a Glyos-scale toy with custom urethane accessories, the Chaos Trooper has come full circle to be realized as a full-size RxH vinyl figure.
The unpainted beige vinyl version shown above was displayed at Superfestival 56 in April 2011 and sold via Shinto Gangu at the end of that month. Onell also received an allocation of the initial release Trooper, which they sold via their webstore at the end of May 2011.
This is the first painted release of the Chaos Trooper and second release overall. The faint silver sheen over black vinyl, combined with the darker Chaos colors on the head and arm, make for a exceedingly nice toy. Despite being ~25 releases deep on the Trooper as of the date of this post (although certainly not all in my possession), this one is still my favorite.
By my count, this is the 16th release of the Chaos Trooper. Using a subtle grey vinyl base with embedded micro-glitter, this color scheme is evocative of classic sci-fi and aliens. Suprisingly, this release appears to have been painted entirely with wipe and wash techniques- no airbrush! The restrained black wash does wonders to bring out the hard technical lines of the body design.
This Trooper was initially a micro release from Shinto Gangu (or RealxHeads) in June 2011, with a few brought to SDCC the following month.
And finally we come to this rather mundane flesh-colored Mutant Chaos. But not really. You can see my earlier blog post about this prototype figure here. I call it a general prototype, rather than a test shot, as I don't really know where it originated in the development process. Most commonly, you will see unpainted samples called test shots, i.e., unpainted versions of the final product. Less common are 'color tests,' in which the figure is tested in a certain color of vinyl, but never mass produced in that color (I've noticed this phenomenon to be fairly specific to vinyl toys). Obviously, color tests are considered more desirable among collectors. Then you have the actual test shots, which are the initial samples of a toy pulled from a new mold- usually in grey, flesh or other odd colors. There's not a lot of different between color tests and test shots, except maybe the purpose for which they are used. There are also the original (clay) sculpt, the wax sculpt and paint samples. All of these fall under the banner of 'prototypes' per general toy lingo usage. Some companies will also refer to the initial release of a toy in unpainted vinyl as the prototype version, although this is sort of a contrived usage of the term.
I believe this is an early test shot of Mutant Chaos, possibly one of the first few pulled from the mold. Significant is the fact that sculpt details are much sharper than later releases (possibly signifying a 'fresher' metal mold), as is the use of the old style eye (used only on MC-01). The toy is also cast in flesh vinyl, a typical material for initial samples due to its availability, low cost and neutral coloration. Other odd details about this toy include a wobbly head (probably some deformation in production) and numerous scuff marks. Very interesting from a historical standpoint, and I feel fortunate to have something like this in my collection.
|If you are new to collecting RxH, the assortment of Chaos characters and paint versions may seem well, chaotic, at first. However, the complexity of the sculpt, the modular concept of the toys and the variety of paint and vinyl combinations make this figure very easy to love. As his shape-shifting power would imply, Mutant Chaos can find a form to please nearly any collector.|
*Numbering of RxH toys per standards of RealxHead Supplement, Super 7-The Book, vol. 5, issue 1 (2007).
- Credit and thanks to Super 7-The Book, vol. 5, issue 1 (2007) (for providing numbering standards and release information on RxH toys); and to Skullbrain.org board members BEYOND, stealthtank and others for their work in furthering our collective knowledge of these toys.
- My sincerest thanks to the many blogs, image galleries and websites that have photographed and provided information regarding past events and toy releases: K-Rex blog (http://svnl.exblog.jp/i9/); Kadomiumtank's sofvi blog (http://pink.ap.teacup.com/kadomiumtank/) and (http://blog.goo.ne.jp/kadomiumtank/); datadub's flickr gallery (http://www.flickr.com/photos/datadub/sets/); and others.
- See Prototype, TFWiki.net, at http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Prototype (last updated, July 12, 2009) for more information regarding the production process of mainstream toys.
- See also April 9, 2009 entry, Toy Karma blog, at http://toykarma.blogspot.com/2009/04/kaiju-comrades-art-show-tokyo-japan_09.html (last updated April 9, 2009) for information on the production process of Japanese vinyl toys.