Ocean Sunfish (ANIA by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S.)

Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972

Evolution has created a lot of weird organisms and there is no place stranger to find them than in the oceans and seas: the five-eyed Opabinia, the recently described eagle shark Aquilolamna, the various deep sea life like the goblin shark and the telescope fish. One of the, if not the, weirdest is probably the ocean sunfish (Mola mola), which looks more like an extra terrestrial lifeform than a marine animal (I mean, they hardly resemble a typical fish). They are part of the family Molidae, which is a family in the Tetraodontiformes, which also includes the pufferfish, porcupinefish, boxfish, cowfish, filefish, triggerfish, triplespines, spikefish, and three-tooth puffers; the fry of the ocean sunfish resembles miniature porcupinefish. The ocean sunfish is the largest on the family and largest bony fish in terms of weight, often growing as tall as they are long, up to 333 cm long and 420 cm long and weighing at 2.3 tons, although these fish average at 180 cm long and 250 cm tall. While this is impressive, they are still dwarfed by some of the largest fishes including oceanic manta rays, whale sharks, and the infamous megalodon. Despite their heft, these fish are laterally compressed and it wouldn’t appear as if they are good swimmers. However, it has been proven that these mega-fish are able to breach to remove parasites and are active generalist predators, feeding on small fish, fish fry, squid, crustaceans, and jellyfish, and they are in turn eaten by sea lions, orcas, and sharks like the great white. These fish get their name from their habit of sunbathing to allow birds to pick off parasites, as their thin mucus-coated skin makes them more prone to parasites. The females of this species can lay up to 300 million eggs, although the majority do not survive. Despite this, these fish are classed as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to them being frequently caught as bycatch and also mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish, which results in them choking and sometimes dying. A few public aquaria house these fish, though I can only think of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and some aquariums in Japan, like the Sunshine Aquarium and the Osaka Aquarium. Additionally, these fish are a delicacy in Japan and Taiwan.

About this figure: this ocean sunfish measures 6.6 cm long and 9.8 cm tall. This puts this figure in the 1:27-1:55 scale. This sunfish is part of the ANIA line of articulated animal figures and this figure does feature articulation in the anal and dorsal fins, although they are very floppy, similar in physics to a ragdoll.

There is nothing much to the posing due to the wobbly fins. This figure comes with a blue rocky base due to the inability of the figure to stand on its own. The mouth is sculpted open, possibly to suck in prey and the gill slits flap is sculpted next to the rounded pectoral fins. A bump is present on the nose of the fish, too.

The sunfish is painted in a grey colour with an off-white underbelly. There are subtle spots; however, I wish they were more pronounced, like the many pictures of live Mola I’ve seen. Fine rays are sculpted on the fins of this fish. It’s also worth noting that this sunfish is a playset exclusive item released in 2014.

This figure suffers a few faults such as very visible seams and floppy articulation, but it is a nice figure of this species. Due to the age of this figure, this figure is no longer in production but tends to appear on second-hand sites like eBay, Mercari, and Yahoo Auctions. I wish this figure was much bigger as it is dwarfed by my Safari Ltd. Goliath grouper, which I have customized into a slightly larger Queensland grouper, and the Colorata striped marlin. However, beggars can’t afford to be choosy as there are only 2 other sunfish at the standard size scale, which are the Safari Ltd. and the Colorata figures. Favorite Co. has one, but that thing is huge. I wish somewhere down the line, a company like Papo or CollectA would release a larger version of this fish, and maybe even some of its equally fascinating, yet obscure, relatives like the hookwinker sunfish or the slender sunfish.

In the same order: with the Colorata tiger puffer, clown triggerfish, and boxfish, Kaiyodo longspine porcupinefish, and Yujin black scraper filefish:

Compared to some oceanic fishy giants: Papo oceanic manta ray and whale shark, Colorata oarfish, and CollectA megalodon:

Compared to a 1:30 scale Kanan Matsuura to showcase the enormous size of this fish (PS: this isn’t it’s final form yet). Fittingly, an ocean sunfish was featured in one of the episodes as food, albeit a much smaller one.

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