Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ahh! I'll Buy It At A High Price!

"What're ya buyin'?"
Phantom produces Leon's Bomber Jacket from biohazard 4.

It's taken 4 years. 4 years since that horrible incident in some nowhere part of world...

F our years since the release of biohazard 4 (Resident Evil 4) on the Nintendo GameCube in late January 2005 and a clothier has finally made a nearly closely scaled replica of Leon S. Kennedy's iconic custom bomber jacket worn in the first (and only first) Chapter 1-1 of the game before it disappears after an unfortunate capture. Upon waking from unconciousness, tied-up in captive next to a strange long-haired Johnny Depp lookalike, Leon recognizes his jacket off.

L eon's jacket, a leather and fleece or shearling inner-lined bomber style has been contrast to it's resemblance to a B-3 flight/bomber jacket, customarily warn by fighter pilots in World War II. Unlike the traditional B-3, and unlike many a poor replication by cosplayers across the land, Leon's was designed to be custom form-fitting, like a motorcycle jacket, with the length stopping inches below the torso with a standing colar. A spiffy jacket, there's no surprise why the Ganados stole it at the end of Chapter 1-1: it's a very unique piece of apparel which has not been without mimicking since (I'm looking at you Mummy 3).

Back in early 2005, Capcom Japan produced a "Leon's Collection" series which included various apparel, most of which Leon never wore (nor did much of it have anything to do with the game) but included a (rather ugly, inaccurate and overpriced) iteration of Leon's jacket back in February 2005 but so few were produced and I've not seen any living person with one.

But now...

"Leon's Bomber Jacket", made and sold by a Japanese company called Phantom was not mistakenly released on January 28, 2009 or one day and four years after the release of the very game it originated and a few weeks before the release of BIOHAZARD 5. Retailing for 26,040 yen ($287), it's somewhat steep price tag didn't stop eager fans from exhausting the scarse supply from all retailers including e-capcom, Capcom's online store functioning out of Japan, seeing all units sold out no more than a couple weeks after release.

"Not enough cash! ...stranger..."

It's just not fair! Produce more, we demand!

Now, I've got a few beefs with this jacket by the looks of it. Firstly, the one pictured on Phantom is quite black looking. No biggie, probably a conceptual/pre-release version. The one on e-Capcom looks more true, brown, but still off in its cut. Conclusively, it's not cut 1:1 scale like the game's iteration. Moreso, it's looking like a traditionally cut jacket with the length encroaching below the waist line. The colar looks also looks too tall and floppy, which makes us question the ability to stand up straight without fidgeting. Finally, the sizing doesn't offer anything below a "Medium" size unlike other Phantom jackets, which is approx. 48.5 cm at the shoulder, 63.5 cm at the sleeve so it might run a little loose (for myself, at least). You can see the dimensions on the former ordering pages.

I'm no cosplayer, but my own chapter goes further; ever since even before Resident Evil 4 released, I've had an obsession, no, a manly love affair with this jacket. In all my attempts to track one down, I have been somewhat successful. I've managed to snatch up a couple in my years-long search; one from Calvin Klein Jeans and an actual leather from Wilson's Leather. (got both for under $100). Furthermore, I've searched all over the net, through poor reproductions and ugly, baggy versions, nothing has been found. Not one retailer has made an attempt on Leon's stylish, short-lived outerwear... until now.

Even if one wanted the jacket, you'll have to go through an importing service which wouldn't be a huge deal if it weren't sold out. Since it's only been two weeks, we would see it as foolish for Phantom not to produce more. So far, I've contacted our friends at NCSX to snag a couple for overseas fans. Luckilly, they've agreed to import one once the stock has been replenished (if at all). I can hope, I suppose. Until then, like a pack of hungry, torch-wielding Ganados, storm the desk of Capcom, urging them to produce more!

But If some creepy, masked trenchcoated man with glowing eyes finds me in my travels, "I'll buy it at a high price!"

UPDATE (February 2009): PHANTOM e-mail claims there "will not be the possibility of the arrival in future."

UPDATE (September 2009): PHANTOM has begun taking reservations for a new batch of jackets for December. Pre-order yours now, it's likely this offer will expire around Christmas.