Cubers Are a Cowardly and Superstitious Lot

I was in the office yesterday, and I had two boxes of product waiting for me. There was some interesting stuff in those boxes, like Thor #750 and Dayton Ward’s just-released Jurassic World cookbook. There was also…

A toy. Yes, a toy.

That toy? Bandai’s Batman Rubik’s Charaction Cube, part chibi collectible figure, part Rubik’s Cube.

The Batman Charaction Cube, part Rubik's Cube, part action figure
Part Rubik’s Cube, part collectible figure, the Batman Charaction Cube is Gotham City’s newest speed-cubing champion.

Unfortunately, it’s not especially interesting as a Rubik’s Cube. You can’t do anything with it.

Fundamentally, the Batman Charaction Cube is a 2×2 Rubik’s Cube. (I think they call that the Pocket Cube these days.) There’s the head and there’s the body — two layers. There’s the front and the back — two layers. But down the middle? Only the body is fully split; the front of Batman’s head isn’t split while the back is. Split the head, front and back, and it’s a 2x2x2 cube in the shape of a chibi Batman figure. Don’t split part of the head, and, while you can swivel the parts around, you can’t truly scramble Batman. It lacks the full three axes of movement a Rubik’s Cube needs.

Maybe the product meeting was all, “Let’s make it difficult to mess up so a collector can’t scramble it and end up with something they don’t know how to solve and doesn’t look much like Batman.” Preventing Batman’s face from being turned on one axis certainly accomplishes that.

As a result, it’s a far less interesting product than it could be.

I took it out of the plastic package when I got home last night and gave it a couple of turns. I turned the legs so their fronts were behind Batman’s head. I turned one leg out. I turned it all back to its starting point. I put it back in the package. Except for the fact the tape is cut, it could be new off the shelf.

It didn’t cost me a lot — it was on a liquidation sale — so I don’t feel like I’m out anything, but it’s a novelty at best, not a puzzle. This could have been better. So much better.

Published by Allyn Gibson

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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