Hello, and welcome to All Your Monies, where The Glorio Blog’s resident toy and figure collecting crew (and Aquagaze) will run down the last week’s new pre-orders, turning a loving or scathing eye over what’s been put out for you to spend your hard earned cash on. This week, it’s the New Year’s break in Japan, so nothing came out. Instead, we look back over our favourite figures that popped up in 2013.
Marika Katou (Boadacious Space Pirates!)
Amakuni, February 2014, ¥10,990 (Hobby Japan exclusive)
It’s been a damn good year for figures, but at the end of the day I have to plump for Amakuni’s gorgeous looking rendition of the Bodacious Space Pirates heroine Marika. There’s just so much to love about this figure – the great, unique looking outfit that mixes school uniform with pirate pomp, the dynamic pose that’s full of life and energy without looking over the top or convoluted, and the awesome weapons and detailing layered into the figure. Check out the sweep of that cape or the ruffles in that cravat. The exclusive status was a pain no doubt but I did end up ordering her, so I’ll be eagerly awaiting a parcel come February.
Hatsune Miku Type 2020 (Vocaloid)
Max Factory, January 2014, ¥9,500
Until someone starts making figures based on Atsuya Uki’s renditions of Miku, I’ll go with Shirow Miwa. The Supercell alum’s 7th Dragon 2020 character designs have produced some stunning figures, and this particular one looks awesome enough to shake me out of my long standing Miku fatigue. The technical quality is top notch – just look at that white trim around her waist and twintails! – but I’m really in love with the stylized hair that twirls and fades like some kind of cartoon candy smoke. I don’t even know what that means, but I love it.
Dark Angel Olivia 1/8 Complete Figure (Rage of Bahamut)
Kotobukiya, late March 2014, ¥11,800
I fell in love with Olivia as soon as I saw her, and it’s hard not to see why. The gorgeously detailed design, the meticulously crafted hair, the luxurious colour palette, the graceful pose and those wonderful shaded wings all make you drop your jaw in awe. While the ever-present curvy spine still ails her, Olivia looks confident bordering on psychotic, and the figure nicely flaunts her regal look without devolving into fanservice. I don’t know a thing about Rage of Bahamut and frankly, I don’t really care — this could have been an original piece of work just as much. It is the prettiest figure I will never buy.
Hitagi Senjougahara (Nisemonogatari)
Kotobukiya, January 2014, ¥7,730
Kotobukiya has been on quite the roll this year and when their Senjougahara popped up she kind of pretty much blew me away. She my favorite Monogatari gal and they’ve put her in a pose that perfectly fits her character. From that sassy smirk and lovely (interchangable!) hair to the rubble base and the chair she is seated on everything looks wonderfully sculpted and painted with lots and lots of detail. And with a pose and expression like that she is easily among the figures with the most personality announced this year. I just really hope Kotobukiya’s new year’s resolution was to squash that small but slightly annoying quality control problem they have as most of the figures from them I have seen seem to have that tiny blemish that keeps them one step below Alter and GSC.
Yoko, Nia & Boota PSG Arrange Ver. Twin Pack (Gurren Lagann)
Phat Company, July 2013, ¥1,900
By virtue of being one of the only figures I bought this year, I gotta give a shout out to the depictions of the Gurren Lagann gals in the wonderfully stylized aesthetic of Panty and Stocking. Looking back, I’m quite thankful I picked these up, even if my wallet hated me for it at the time. Were there a ton of far more detailed and well sculpted figures released this year? Most certainly. Still, I’m a sucker for cartoony shapes and clean color schemes, so these two (and Boota) are the ones that ended up sticking out in my memory. They translate perfectly into PSG’s aesthetic, leading to a nice little set of stylish figures.
Mio Kisaki (Walkure Romanze)
Daiki Kogyo, June 2014, ¥11,790
Literal bikini armor amuses me on a level I can’t really even explain. There is something about this that is dumb, stupid and clever and the irony puts a smile on my face whenever I see it. At the end of the day, my pick is not only for the quality of the figure, but also for the sense of amusement obtained from it.