Despite the progress we have made as a species, there is one fact we cannot change: extinction is forever. As a result of our hubris, many spectacular species have been wiped from the face of the earth. Takara have created quite an exquisite set, showing a selection of the species that have been lost of the centuries, each with a stand stating scientific names and year of extinction.
We start with perhaps the most famous of recently extinct species, the Dodo. From the island of Mauritius, it was first discovered by Dutch sailors in 1598, but the introduction of rats and other domestic species resulted in the fearless bird’s extinction in 1681. Now we speak of things being “as dead as a Dodo”. This figure goes for a colour scheme reminiscent of classic paintings, though with a more modern body shape, a bit more trim than the classic dumpy look. It is fairly small, at 1.8″ high and 1.7″ long, which could work well as a female in certain lines.
Next is the largest figure from the set, and perhaps the most unfortunate: Steller’s Sea Cow. The largest sirenian ever known, it was rare when Europeans first discovered it in 1741. Owing to being quite delicious, it was wiped out by 1768. To get the idea of this animal swimming, it comes with a clear stand attached to the base, which is quite easy to remove and attach to the figure. It comes in two parts, owing to it’s size, being a total length of 3″ and a height of 0.7″, but the connection is fairly seamless. The all over grey with brown muzzle matches modern Dugongs, and works well for it. It is my personal favourite of the set.
Now we get into species lost in the 20th century, and another famous example, the Thylacine, or Tasmanian wolf/tiger, went extinct on mainland Australia, leaving only Tasmania as their stronghold, until European settlers wiped them off for fear of losing livestock. The last was photographed and eventually died in Beaumaris Zoo in 1936. This model copies the famous image showing it’s impressive gaping jaw, with a pelt matching photographed images. It is, like the rest, quite small, measuring 3″ long and 1.1″ high, so could work well as a juvenile amongst figures from other lines.
The next figures are animals that died out within the last 40 years, a mere 31 years to be precise. The Golden Toads of Costa Rica died out in 1989, possibly due to fungus, bacteria or deforestation, the true reasoning being uncertain. As a Gashapon set of figures, this line has a single ‘secret’ figure, which in this case is a toad matching the colouring of a female, while the normal one is an orange male, meaning you get one of each, even if the morphology of the female isn’t quite right as a result. Each is 1.4″ long and 0.3″ high and make quite a sweet pair.
Our final figure is a story of hope for saving rare species, the Japanese Crested Ibis. Formally wide spread across Asia, deforestation and hunting caused it to become extinct in most Asian countries, and eventually Japan in 2003. However, by working with captive breeds in China, the species has been successfully reintroduced back into Japan and, though still threatened, numbers are starting to rise. This is my second favourite, as I love the pose is amazing, a mother on a nest. The underside is even moulded so that it can sit on a trio of eggs that are in the nest, a delightful touch. At 1.8″ long and 0.8″ high, it is just as small as the other figures, but works phenomenally.
This is a truly amazing set, displaying several animals that have disappeared over the years, many that don’t often get made into figures. Each is as accurate as possible, magnificently moulded and are perfect if you want a small set that won’t take up a lot of space. It can be found on eBay and a few other sites from Japan, and I highly recommend them to anyone. This set is spectacular.