Common Octopus (Minatureplanet Vol. 15 by Eikoh)

Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972

Octopuses are remarkable animals: They have 3 hearts, blue blood, are able to squeeze into tiny spaces that are larger than its beak, change colour and sometimes texture to match their surroundings, and their most remarkable feature: intelligence. Compared to the other invertebrates, the octopus outsmarts all of them due to it having the largest brain-to-body ratio and the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) has around half a billion neurons, two thirds of it are located in the 8 arms of the animal. However, these amazing animals have very short lifespans, with some species not living for more than a year with the longest not usually surpassing five. Octopuses range in size from the tiny star sucker pygmy octopus (Octopus wolfi) at less than a 2.5 cm arm span, to the huge giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) with the largest specimens having a 900 cm arm span. Today’s subject is not the tiniest, but also, not the biggest species: the common octopus. They get to a mantle length of 25 cm with an arm span of 100 cm, although National Geographic states that they can get up to 120 cm in arm span. This octopus is a cosmopolitan species, being found in warm waters around the East and West Atlantic and parts of Eurasia, including the Mediterranean, up to parts of Japan. This octopus preys on crustaceans and mollusks, although they will eat anything they can, and like all octopuses, they can use venom to subdue their prey. In turn, they are eaten by large fish and sea mammals like seals and some cetaceans and of course, us humans. To defend themselves, octopuses are able to expel ink from their singular siphons to confuse their predator, although that does not always work, especially on dolphins. These animals are of commercial importance for us humans, especially in places like Japan. About 20000 tonnes are harvested annually. However, despite this, the common octopus is listed as ‘Least concern’ by the IUCN.

About the figure: this octopus has a mantle length of 2 cm and am arm span of 8 cm across its widest points, which is when the arms are stretched out, puts this figure in the 1:12.5 scale range. This is one of the few rule breakers in my collection, along with the Colorata footballfish, although it may be replaced by the CollectA mini octopus (see last pic) if that figure is better as they both have the same mantle size, despite the CollectA mini octopus looking smaller, same arm span, although the arms are thinner. This octopus is part of Eikoh’s Miniatureplanet series, which has been going on for quite sometime and it is part of volume 15, which includes mostly animals from Japan seen here.

The figure’s main color is this brownish red, which fits this species well, although variants that are more brownish or reddish do exist; note, that they can change their colour or texture to match their surroundings. It may look generic, but it isn’t as generic as colouring an octopus bright red and calling it a day. The tentacles are sculpted as if moving independently: some nearly straight out while a few are curled up, as if this octopus is exploring its surroundings.

The eyes are painted in a gold colour with a black streak to give off the vertical slit pupil that octopuses have, and the underside is the same as the top in terms of colouring, except that the suckers are painted a little sloppily on some and there is no beak sculpted. I’m not sure if it is just mine or it is on most of them. Unlike some octopus toys, this figure has only one siphon. My main issue of this octopus is that the 2 arms behind the mantle are sculpted together, which is an annoyance to me as I like the arms to be sculpted freely.

Apart from two of the arms being sculpted together, the lack of a beak, and the sloppily-painted suckers, I think this is a great little figure of a well-known cephalopods species, and it makes a great addition to anyone who loves marine life and cephalopods. As for rarity, this figure is sold in Japan only and it is very hard to come across outside of Japan, so my best bet is secondhand sites based in Japan like Yahoo Auctions. Alternatively, CollectA has great offerings of this species in both the large and miniature versions, and Maia & Borges has a pretty good one, though it resembles more of a giant Pacific than a common. Looks like this octopus senses a predator so it will be making its move. Until then…

Compared to both versions of CollectA’s common octopus:

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