Best of Winter Wonder Festival 2014

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Feburary is upon us again, and along with the chilly temps and snow Japan has once again held their biannual Winter Wonder Festival, where figure manufacturers and garage kit makers alike come together to showcase their newest wares. Join us as we sort through the blizzard of new figures to bring you our favorites while our wallets cringe in the background.

Jel’s Picks:

Senjougahara HItagi (Monogatari Series Second Season) by Kotobukiya

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Jel: AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! Ever since I first saw the light novel cover of Koimonogatari, this particular Senjougahara design has been on the top of my wish list. In fact most of the Glorio crew reaction on seeing it was “Jel is going to freak out” and they were correct. I absolutely love the blue coat, scarf, and boots contrasted against the iconic pink and purple Monogatari uniform, and the dash of snow on the base adds a nice extra touch. I’ll admit some close up shots make the actual sculpt look a little rough around the edges, but given Kotobukiya’s track record I’m willing to bet that will get smoothed out before the final release. I very, very rarely buy scale figures (I’ve only bought two) but I think it’s time to add one more to my collection. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Timmy: I have yet to decide if I need this Hitagi in my life as once I recive Kotobukiya’s other one I’ll have two, but she is going to be quite tempting none the less. And yes, when I set up the post I already had Hitagi’s info conveniently filled out for Jel. He is a pretty easy tell.

Zigg: She looks wonderful and I’m really digging the combination of the traditional Monogatari uniform with the baby blue winter gear. This is also the first figure that’s persuaded me I can like short-hair Senjougahara

Warrior Rose, Graceful Valkyrie (Puzzles and Dragons) by Good Smile Company

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Jel: For me Puzzles & Dragons started as something I downloaded to entertain my niece and now I’ve found myself enjoying the game quite a bit on my own time. Part have that has been seeing the vast amount of cool artwork and character designs, and from the moment I saw her Valkyrie has been my favorite. I kid you not when the first thing I said to myself was “she would make a really awesome figure”, and needless to say I’m quite pleased to see it happening. While I personally would prefer her Azure Maiden version, the Warrior Rose variation will no doubt look great as well. Now if only they could incorporate some of those floating rose things into the stand…

Zigg’s Picks:

Nendoroid Sakura Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura) by Good Smile Company

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Zigg: Come on. Do I really need to justify this? I do? Fiiine. It’s one of the most adorable characters ever put on screen, a cornerstone of my childhood, rendered into a fantastic looking Nendoroid. Everything about this is perfect – she’s got the costume you’d want, the face is beyond cute, the design hold up wonderfully after all these years and it’s got Kero! I can’t hit pre-order fast enough quite frankly.

Timmy: Thoughts: With none on order I have really cut back on the amount of Nendos and Figmas I pick up and Cardcaptor Sakura was a thing well before I got into anime. But this is reaaaallly cute. Guhhhhh.

Nendoroid Link (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) by Good Smile Company

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Zigg: If there’s a theme this Wonder Festival it was my renewed interest in the Nendoroid line, spearheaded by Sakura, but also including a whole bunch of cool figures and concepts. This had to be the best though, since it’s essentially what Link actually looks like in The Wind Waker. So this isn’t so much a Nendoroid as it is a perfect mini-figure of the Hero of Winds in all his charming big headed glory. I hope he comes with cool accessories (a scale King of Red Lions would cost the earth but be a dream come true) but even as a barebones release, it’s absolutely something I’ll be grabbing.

Lifesong‘s Picks:

Miku Riding Hood (Vocaloid) by Max Factory

Lifesong: I’m not usually one to be impressed with a Miku figure, but honestly the fact that this is Hatsune Miku is second in my mind to how awesome the Little Red Riding Hood design is. Just look at how the big bad wolf is turned into a cute part of Miku’s hood! > < eyes are enough for me. I just might buy my first Miku figure with this.

Timmy: I don’t own any Miku scales either but with them now really exploring different designs instead of releasing her in the same outfit she is becoming more and more tempting. It is possible this may become my first Miku scale as well as she is turning out irresistibly cute.

Himeji Castle (Samurai Princess Muramasa) by Max Factory

Lifesong: I have no idea what this is from, but I share some of Japans amusement with personifying everything. A castle girl? Why not! Cutest castle I’ve ever seen.

Timmy: Castle girl is something crazy enough for me to want, as was Max Factory’s recent Cerberus. It will be interesting to see how this turns out but MF is already off to a great start.

Timmy‘s Picks:

***WARNING: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion Spoilers Ahead, scroll fast!***

Homura Akemi (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) by Aniplex

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Timmy: There have been a lot of Madoka figures made in recent years and my collectors fatigue for the series has been quite high because of it. It is not that their are no nice figures coming out, although their high frequency as companies milk the franchise is a contributing factor, its just that none of them have screamed BUY ME. It is as if these figures selling was a sure bet so those involved aren’t putting in quite the effort they could be. I would say GSC’s initial scale line sans Ultimate Madoka is quite guilty of this. They are all nice, including the NANA Homura that I have, but with them sporting the same pose as the rest GSC’s non scaled offerings at the time and with the slight alternations to the rerelease to Sayaka, and to a greater extent NANA Homura, the entire effort feels slightly subpar. As if maybe things, while nice enough, were not quite as good as they could have been.

Thankfully we are now seeing many more diverse figures, and Aniplex’s pair of Homuras are the latest to rekindle my Madoka merchandising flame. Both feature Homura in fairly badass and unique poses, with the formers sculpt looking downright amazing with that base, the magical effects, and just the overall motion of her outfit and hair. The Akuma version teased promises to be a fitting partner to GSC’s Ultimate Madoka so neither of these are going to be easy to resist even if they are exclusive.

Ciel Alencon (God Eater 2) by Good Smile Company

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Timmy: Thoughts: Ciel flew way under my radar when her sculpt was shown some time ago, but seeing her painted at Wonfest has most definitely grabbed my attention. Starting with the face, her expression is one of cool confidence as she takes care of business on a hapless foe and GSC had done a stunning job on it. Her hair and outfit sports a good amount of motion as she double backs for her attack. And as with most of God Eater’s designs the weapon is a monstrous thing of beauty. I look forward to seeing what GSC does with this line as there are some very interesting character designs, and as they do so it will be hard to not put these on my shelf.

Aqua’s Picks:

Nendoroid Ryuko Matoi & Senketsu (Kill-la-Kill) by Good Smile Company

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Aqua: I don’t give to flying anthropomorphized shits about Kantai Collection, so I can safely say that this year’s Winter WonFes lineup is kind of boring. Good thing there is still Kill-la-Kill and the undeniable forces of common sense to bring us this Ryuko nendoroid, which I totally selected as my top pick because I am the most creative and thoughtful person in the universe. Ryuko looks great, especially with the very detailed big eyes and the translucent bit of red hair, and the little Scissor Blade should make for some great poses. I only hope she comes with some cool, creative accessories and alternative faces. How about that huge-ass chest she stores her sword in, huh?

Marlin’s Picks:

Chiaki Nanami (Super Dangan-Ronpa 2) by Phat Company

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Marlin: Phat Company has another winner with this Chiaki figure. After last year’s great Kirigiri figure they have proven themselves to really know how to make the already imaginative character designs of Dangan Ronpa come to life. My only worry is those thin wires that run from the controllers. Would they actually be made of plastic? That would seem to run a huge issue when it comes to fragility, especially on the second-hand market. Still, it’s a really cool figure, and how can you not love that Monobear base?

Timmy: Phat is quickly making me regret passing on Kirigiri, as these Dangan Ronpa figures they are putting out really are amazing.

Mikasa Ackerman (Attack on Titan) by Good Smile Company

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Marlin: While one can always complain about the samey-ness of Attack on Titan figures, no one can take away from their style when the pose is done mid-air. Our main girl Mikasa shows the power of a good pose as well as having some great detail on the clothes and 3D-Maneuver Gear. The only thing I’d worry about is that the pose makes its stand precariously off-center. I don’t know much about figures, but I know enough to think that this would probably lean given time.

Gee’s Picks:

Cordelia (Fire Emblem Awakening) by Max Factory

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Gee: Okay this is probably cheating since we don’t even have a prototype to look at, but Cordelia is one of my favorite girls from the 3DS Fire Emblem and I’ll probably be all over this if it ever actually gets released. Considering the Marth they announced still isn’t even available for preorder, I have my doubts…

Mako Mankanshoku (Kill la Kill) by Good Smile Company

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Gee:I was seriously tempted to give a shout out to the amazing space Danbo and adorable spaceman Yotsuba, but Mako is literally a perfect fit for the Nendo line. Just look at her! I can only hope we’ll get some deliciously wacky accessories to go with the show’s best character.

Timmy: This and Aqua’s Ryuko Nendo above are probably going to end up being things that I will need to have when all is said and done. Damn you Trigger and GSC.

Zigg: Considering Mako is basically already a human Nendoroid, this was the logical next step.

Iro’s Picks:

Jeanne d’Arc (Fate/Apocrypha) by Gift

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Iro:  And for the compulsory Type-Moon figure I add to this post whenever it rolls around again (is it that time already?), I had to pick Jeanne d’Arc. Her design was originally for a scrapped MMO project, then was used in a cameo in Fate/Zero, and then said scrapped project was revived as a light novel series. It’s a great action-y pose, and actually features the flag Jeanne was known for carrying into battle. Allegedly, she was only ever a standard-bearer and never killed a man with her sword. If I had the stupid amounts of disposable income necessary, I’d probably buy this in a heartbeat. Alas, I have sworn off figure collecting forever.

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