All manner of bizarre-looking creatures lurk down in the darkest deepest oceans, but you don’t have to descend too far to meet the unusual frogfish. The Furuta version of the frogfish under review here is absolutely one of the best toys of its kind available.
The packaging doesn’t specify the species, but the Furuta frogfish is probably Antennarius striatus, the striated frogfish or hairy frogfish (thanks go to Brontodocus for the likely ID). It inhabits shallow tropical and subtropical oceans across the globe, where it uses its skills as a coral impersonator, together with its distinctive lure, to surprise and subdue small prey.
In general, the Furuta ChocoEgg series are more poorly produced that their Kaiyodo equivalents. In my experience, Furuta models tend not to clip together as cleanly, and the details are cruder. However, the frogfish is certainly one of the better Furuta figures in this line. The seams are barely visible and the attention to detail on the colour pattern – especially the eyes and fin spots – is really rather spectacular. So, this figure is an exception to that rule.
The plastic is slightly translucent, which gives the figure a realistic globular appearance, made all the more impressive because the plastic is actually very brittle. The skin of the living animal, while soft, is covered with hair-like ‘spinules’, hence one of its common names being the ‘hairy frogfish’. However, such fine detail is essentially impossible to recreate in figure of this size (4cm long) so I cast no marks against it for that.
This is a faithful recreation of this species. The Furuta frogfish sits on its small fleshy pectoral fins and anal fin – no base required. The enlarged and weirdly forward-pointing pelvic fins protrude to the sides. The orange colour and dark spots are representative of the living animal, which can be highly variable in life, because the creature is capable of changing its appearance to camouflage itself amongst the reef. The dark spots seem to be sprayed on, not painted, and look impressively realistic. The sculptural details are also impressive, the fin spines and texture are clearly inspired by images of the living animal. If I wanted to be picky, then the lure (or esca) is perhaps a little generic, but it is absolutely tiny after all.
At a tiny 4cm long, this frogfish isn’t going to take up too much shelf space. It is definitely a collector’s figure though, the material is far too brittle to be played with. A more suitable option for children would be the Safari Ltd Incredible Creatures frogfish, which seems to represent the same species as this. If you’re an adult, and you’re into miniature ugly fish (and who isn’t?) then I highly recommend this figure.
This line is out of production, so the toys can be difficult to track down today, but this one can still be found on Ebay at a reasonable price.
A short side note. This, my first Animal Toy Blog review, is recycling photos from my previous ‘walk-around’ of this figure posted on the Animal Toy Forum. We will gradually be winding down and replacing that section of the Animal Toy Forum with this blog, so if you’ve contributed walk-arounds there before, feel free to repurpose the photos here on the Animal Toy Blog as I have done. Instructions for guest reviewers can be found here.