Sunday, 26 March 2017

POP! Asia – Aswang (Flocked)

POP! Asia figures don’t seem to turn up in Australia very often, so when the opportunity to own this flocked Aswang came up recently, I couldn’t turn it down.

But what, you're probably quite reasonably asking, is an Aswang? It's not a terribly familiar creature to Western audiences. According to the flavour text on the back,“An Aswang is a vampire-like witch ghoul in Filipino Folklore and is the subject of a wide variety of myths and legends. Early Spanish colonists noted that the Aswang was the most feared among the mythical creatures in the Philippines.” Strangely, it doesn’t highlight the inherent hilarity of the creature's name.

A scan of the Wikipedia page (arguably NSFW) suggests that this description is a slight oversimplification; but as might be expected, the mythology around the creature has changed over time and across different parts of the Philippines. It happens in Western cultures, too – you only need to look at the history of vampire or werewolf folklore over the years to see how little resemblance the modern incarnation has to some of its historical antecedents. But any questions about accuracy on the box aside, I can see why they were widely feared back in the day. 

This Aswang has a Nosferatu-esque head (though with a huge tongue), bat wings and an oddly ripped torso. A Google image search shows plenty of similar illustrations to this depiction, but a bunch that look quite different too – that’s the great thing about folk tales; they lend themselves to multiple interpretations, to suit different times and places. So think of this as Funko’s take on the creature, rather than a “canonical” one.   

The sculpt is excellent, and the flocking has been well-executed, allowing for some nice little painted details (like the bloodied teeth) to show through – so my only real complaint about the figure is related to his packaging. The Aswang’s flocked nature means that I’ll primarily be keeping him in the box to avoid dust, but there isn’t actually space cut out in the plastic casing to fit his head in there properly. As a result, he kind of just leans forward a little awkwardly. It seems a bit of an oversight on Funko’s part, and I’m not sure that it’s been corrected in future iterations*.

So the final verdict? There are a number of different versions of the Aswang available. It’s a great figure for those interested in cryptids or horror, and most of them are not outrageously expensive on the aftermarket either. This one will be joining my horror shelf, and I’m considering looking at some of the other cryptid-related POPs in POP! Asia line in the future too.  

*The flocked Aswang was apparently exclusive to the Philippines Toy Con in 2015 – but the sticker on mine looks more like one of the generic convention stickers that turn up on seasonal exclusives.

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