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 the eyes of the figure world are on Wonder Festival, but there’s still some cool stuff coming out.
S.H. Figuarts Mario (Super Mario Bros.)
Bandai, May, ¥1,990
Zigg: I actually prefer this to the Luigi Nendoroid considering posability is the big draw of a Mario Bros. figure to me. Yes, being an SHF means it’s won’t be as high quality, and they’ve been pretty stingy on accessories so they can sell bundles of extras (classic Bandai move – see also Super Robot Chogokin) but it’s a great looker at a knock down price. I can dig it.
Jel: What has the world come to? Luigi gets a real deal nendoroid and Mario has to settle for Figuarts? I guess technically that’s not a fair comparison as Mario is full size, but come on that giant head of his is perfect for a nendo. I really hate the clunky joints and seams, but he does come with some pretty neat accessories and you can’t beat the price. The optional playsets are cool too, although again the stands and seams and what not still look really unwieldy. Mario is probably a bargain, but you also get what you pay for.
Aqua: While the Year of Luigi was a masterclass in post-ironic self-awareness taken to its logical extremes, I don’t see why anyone would actually like Mario as a character. Sure, his games are mostly great, but the man himself is so void of personality it’s hard to care about him, He’s so iconic he becomes banal, almost, and that makes me wonder if anyone’s really interested in a Mario Figuarts. Nevertheless, as per Bandai standards, you get a lot of poseability and quality here for a very democratic price. The joints are jarring as they ever are, but if you’re crazy for the mustachioed plumber like some people are for his speedy rival and his furry friends, you can’t go wrong with this figure.
Timmy: With the year of Luigi over it seems we can now talk about the red brother again, and Bandai has taken it upon themselves to handle all our Mario needs. And I think they did a nice job and for a nice price as well. If you need a bit more Mario in your life I would say this is a pretty good buy.
Marika Katou (Bodacious Space Pirates)
Megahouse, August, ¥7,840
Zigg: Big, big fan of seeing more Marika and this is a really striking figure to add to her oeuvre. My major concern here is that red coat, which is flashy but just a little overpowering to my eyes. I’d have preferred her more traditional black, and the cape at the back just messes up the colour scheme and looks a bit redundant to boot. Still, the ‘sitting on the base’ pose is very unique and looks great, the pose is sassy and cool and overall pain and detailing looks well up to snuff. Big fan.
Jel: YES. While I’d prefer Marika’s black coat design to her gaudier red movie coat, I’m still totally in love with her design. The floating stand thing is super cool too and if may allow me one rare moment to perv out here: DOSE THIGHS. If I were to criticize anything it would be the somewhat aimless and squishy looking cape, but other than that this is a really sweet figure.
Aqua: I always wanted Bodacious Space Pirates to be more, well, bodacious, and less technobabbly, but the fact remains that Marika looks awesome as all hell. Nevertheless, I have my doubts about this figure. Her face seems a bit flat, her thighs are broader than her shoulders and I’m not a big fan of her sitting on the logo. Why not a sweet pirate throne of sorts? Anyways, the craft is still rife with wonderful detail, safe for that weird cape flapping all over the place. You can’t go wrong with these ruffles, though.
Timmy: Megahouse have done a really nice job on their Marika here, and having her appear to be sitting on her base is a really cool thing to do. All that red might be a tad overbearing but if I hadn’t already ordered Amakuni’s offering I would be all over this. Heck, I am still quite tempted to double dip.
Kaworu Nagisa (Evangelion 3.0)
FREEing, June, ¥7,180
Zigg: I really like is and I think one reason why is the relaxed pose. It’s very simple yet conveys a more cheerful side of Kaworu that we don’t see too often, which is aided by the cute face. His plug suit isn’t the most complex design in the world but is turned out well and the whole figure does a great job of capturing Yoshiyuki Sadomoto’s distinctively waifish character design.
Jel: Is 2014 the year we get more Kaworu and Shinji figures than Asuka and Rei? Probably not, but it’s a start. This is a pretty simple affair so not much to say other than I don’t remember Kaworu’s hair being quite that spiky. Not a bad looking figure but Kaworu is one of the rare anime dudes that has tons of other options, so I’d save your money for something better.
Aqua: FREEing’s Kaworu is a bit underwhelming in comparison to the highly detailed Asukas and Reis we’ve been getting over the years, but it’s a wonderful start for a character whose popularity has been seemingly underestimated by figure companies. The figure’s lanky build nicely reflects the show’s art style, and I really love how they explicitly gave Kaworu a traditionally feminine pose. As the finish on the plugsuit looks a bit less realistic than the one on, say, Kotobukiya’s fabulous version, FREEing’s Kaworu can hardly be called the definitive figure for the character, but at the very least it’s not another bloody bunny girl.
Timmy: See FREEing, when you focus on something that isn’t bunny girls and girls in yukatas you can make nice figures as well.
Nendoroid Sengoku Nadeko (Monogatari)
Good Smile Company, June, ¥3,090
Zigg: The coat cape remains a pretty cool bit of character design. Seeing Nadeko’s distinctive hat rendered on an Nendoroid-sized head is awesome too. That aside, this is a pretty by the numbers Nendo, except for that creepy school swimsuit accessory which speaks a little as to where fans of the character’s priorities lie.
Jel: Man, after some of the things that went down in (Warning: spoiler link) Monogatari Second Season, Nadeko’s plain old Bakemonogatari outfit is pretty much irrelevant now. Sure she’s pretty cute and the hat is still great but the world has moved on. The folded up swimsuit also feels like a desperate stretch for accessories, so I’d say pass unless you need to complete your Monogatari nendo collection.
Aqua: While I loathe Nadeko with the blazing intensity of a thousand suns — though the second season apparently did some interesting things with her — I’ve always quite liked her design. The adorable oversized hat, the jacket cape and the actual trousers made her stand out from a bunch of girls in school uniforms. Despite the rather pathetic offering of accessories and alternate faces — the blushing one looks atrocious — the figure as a whole is pretty standard adorable Nendoroid fair. We’ve seen better, but hey, at least that knife will make for some funny mixups in the near future.
Timmy: Quite cute with a hint of creepy as I would expect a Nadeko Nendo to be. Some fun, albeit slightly weird extra parts and a nice price make this a solid buy. Though at this point you are getting this because you are keen on getting the entire set. Am I right?
Beach Queens Ranko Kanzaki (The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls)
Wave, September, ¥5,830
Zigg: That’s not a swimsuit, that’s lingerie. OK, you might be able to argue that the top and bottom are pool wear, but nobody wears lace gloves and stockings to swim in. It’s a shame, because it creeps up what’s a pretty good looking figure – the lace effect is actually nice and subtly done, the pink and black colour scheme is good and the umbrella is a nice accessory. But you’re also paying almost ¥6,000 for a Beach Queen. That’s real figure money, and makes this pretty much impossible to recommend unless you’re really into the character.
Jel: While the umbrella is lovely and this is a generally pretty figure, let’s be honest: that totally looks like lingerie and not beach wear. Whatever you want to call it, this is certainly the most ambitious Beach Queen to date. Unfortunately I’m not sure it succeeds, as the detail sculpting and paint work look more like Prize Figure quality than the BQ line taking the next step up. The price is also creeping up toward better quality scale figure prices, so while I applaud the effort I don’t think this is a total success.
Aqua: That’s not a bikini, that’s lingerie, and in the grand tradition of completely unexplainable human idiosyncrasies, that makes the whole thing just a bit creepier. Seriously, who the heck would wear lace stockings to the beach? I suppose she’s supposed to be a goth, judging by the sweet umbrella, but certainly you can come up with gothy swimwear that doesn’t look like something a sex shop would have on display, no? Anyways, it’s a Beach Queen and therefore looks decent, for what it’s worth. I only wish Wave’d try to tackle some different art styles, though, as slapping a different head and swimsuit onto the same model body will only get you so far.
Timmy: There has certainly been a fair amount of beautiful Beach Queens on there but I would say Ranko takes the cake. While those stockings are hardly beach attire I can appreciate the interest they create. Couple them with a very interesting and unique swimsuit, elaborate hair, and a very fashionable umbrella and you push this photo shoot posing idol into the buy because she is really pretty territory. Though beauty has its price it seems, as this is pretty expensive by Beach Queens standards.