Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972
Contrary to their common name, killer whales (Orcinus orca), also known as orcas, are a species of oceanic dolphin, although they can be considered whales as all dolphins are considered whales but not all whales are dolphins. They are the largest of all dolphins, reaching lengths of 500 cm to 960 cm with males getting to greater lengths than females and also sporting larger pectoral and dorsal fins, with some getting higher than 180 cm (that’s taller than I am!). These mammals are a cosmopolitan species, inhabiting all of the world’s oceans from the Artic all the way to the Antarctic and the Pacific. These mammals have a colour plan of a black body with their iconic white eye patch and patterns over their body, which varies among ecotypes, and includes a more faded saddled patch on the offshore orcas, a tiny eyepatch on ‘Type D’s’, and yellow casts from diatoms in ‘Type B’s’. Their diet can vary according to ecotypes, with transient populations preferring a diet of marine mammals (including pinnepeds like seals and walruses, other toothed whales, baleen whales and occasionally sea otters), resident orcas are mainly piscivorous, and offshore populations favour a diet of sharks, including the great white. Little is know about their populations and the IUCN classes these mammals as ‘Data Deficient’, although some populations may be under threat due to the decline of their prey, such as salmon.
About the figure: The orca mother measures about 14 cm from the snout to the notch of the fluke while the calf measures about 6 cm. Female orcas get to about 500 cm to 800 cm, depending on ecotype but for the sake of this review, I’m going to consider this orca as a generic orca, which all orca figures in general are. This puts the mother at the 1:36 to the 1:57 scale range. Babies are about 260 cm when born and since this baby lacks a saddle patch but the lack of a yellow hue, I assume this baby is more than a year old, so my guess this baby orca is about 300 cm, which puts it at about the 1:50 scale. These figures are part of the Takara Tomy ANIA line, which are articulated animal figures aimed towards children. The orcas are part of the AL series within the ANIA line, which includes mostly dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, with the orca, whale shark, and blue whale being the only modern animals in that line.
We will start at looking at the mother. The figure has a really good body plan with a properly-sized head in relation to the body, an accurate eye patch and pattering throughout the body. Unlike too many orca figures, this orca has a saddle patch, a white underside of the fluke, and a genital slit sculpted. The mother orca also has jaw articulation and tail articulation that swivels at about 270°, which opens up more posing options, but does plague the figure with some really distracting seams and cuts. Not worth the trade off in my opinion.
Onto the calf. This may be the best miniature orca figure out there in the market. Unlike the mother, the calf is one solid piece with no articulation. Like its mom, the calf has all the patterns akin to the real orca, except the lack of a saddle. While this may look inaccurate, orca calves lack saddle patches and they only develop as the calves get much older. A interesting thing to point out is that despite the tiny size of the calf, there is a genital slit sculpted.
Final thoughts are, this is a great pair of figures for both kids and for those who don’t mind collecting small versions of large animals. The calf is certainly the highlight of the set, with the mother being really good, but being brought down by the small size of the figure and the seams in the articulation. Unfortunately, this set has been discontinued and re-released with the calf now having tail articulation. Alternatively, the current best orcas on the market are the 2018 Schleich orca and the 2008 Papo orca, which both unfortunately lacking the saddle patch (but one can customize it themselves). The Safari Ltd. Monterey Bay Aquarium and 2019 ones are good, but the 2019 one lacks a blowhole. I really hope a company can makes a definitive orca figure that is 20cm or larger, featuring a saddle and other key features, such as the blowhole, white patches, and a sculpted genital slit.