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, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Utena Tenjou (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
Megahouse, September, ¥9,250
Zigg: There haven’t been any Utena figures for so long that something like this is wonderful for just existing. There are highs and lows though – I think the pose is kind of flat and there appears to be some rough paintwork in the preview shots. But this also captures the show’s style wonderfully and it’s still such a distinctive, good looking design it’s hard to find too much fault.
Jel: Utena is one of my all time favorite anime character designs so naturally I’m thrilled to see her get a new figure. It’s a completely competent rendition but up close inspection does make me wish it was done by a heavier hitter like Max Factory or Alter. Again, it’s all very solid and there’s no glaring flaws I just want… more. Maybe she needs finer details on her epaulettes or shinier gold paint – it just doesn’t seem FABULOUS enough. Add on a price tag on par with higher quality figures and I don’t think this is for me, but the fact that we’re getting any Utena figures at all in 2014 is still a victory.
Timmy: Pretty snazzy and I definitely like the look of the hair, face, and outfit. The shading feels a little flat though, like it is missing that final polish that you usually see with Alter or GSC. Still a nice figure though and fans of Utena will no doubt be pleased.
Lifesong: This might be a nice deal for Utena fans wanting a modern figure, but as someone who isn’t already a fan I find it lacking in many ways. For one she needs some better shading. Her glossy legs create a weird contrast with her outfit. I’m not sure if the gloss is just photo processing or not, but I don’t like it. This figure isn’t going to look so hot once we take away the silly stars and pink background. I don’t think this Utena is awful, but I do think her price is high for what she is.
Aqua: What a great way to start. It’s always nice to see some classic characters amongst all the mastered idols and titan slayers, and despite the show’s age, Utena’s design has stood the test of time. While the pose may be a bit too traditional for a character this fabulous, Megahouse’s handiwork is outstanding. I’m a big fan of the vivid shoulder pads and the slightly translucent hair. A royal treatment for an iconic revolutionary girl.
Yayoi Takatsuki (The iDOLM@STER)
Phat Company, November, ¥7,389
Zigg: The run of great iDOLM@STER figures continues here, with a design that’s bright, bold, cute without being creepy and packed with dynamic energy. Unlike some of the others I think the face falls on the right side of the happy/psychotic line and it’s really good to see a figure expressing such obvious emotion, particularly when it’s joy. The airplane arms and the rippling skirt jsut add to the overall impression of energy, and the net result is something I really like.
Jel: This is a lovely figure with great colors, nice details like the buttons on her overalls, and a fun energetic pose. The price is nice too considering how quickly the market is escalating these days. I guess my only issue is her eyes kind of border on making her look like a psycho killer and that base makes it look she is either jumping in or jumping out of a pool of LCL… actually that’s a plus, so preorder away.
Timmy: Cute, colorful, energetic, and generally a lot of fun to look at. Phat has done well with their Yayoi, giving her a very fun pose and a pretty detailed sculpt. The colors look great as well, as the green, blue, and orange combo goes together nicely. I’ll agree that her face is slightly offsetting if you look at it with a certain mindset, but otherwise its well done and emits tons of energy.
Lifesong: Phat Company have been making some great IdolM@ster figures and Yayoi is no exception. Her energetic pose is true to character and helps brings her to life. The shading on her outfit and hair look fantastic. Yayoi’s happiness exudes from this figure. If you have been looking for a Yayoi figure this is the one to own.
Aqua: The world’s greatest example of a fantastic figure ruined by a single faux pas. Yayoi’s cute outfit and striking colour palette, as well as her stylish, offbeat hairstyle, have all been beautifully brought to live, and her pose is a sight to behold. It’s childish, cute and lively without feeling exploitative in the slightest. Sadly enough, her face looks positively terrifying. Something went horribly wrong in the process of adapting the adorable original art into this hollow stare of oblivion, resulting in Yayoi looking like she’s about to ram a microphone down your throat. Call it a fear of the uncanny valley or an overexposure to twisted yandere imagery, but I wouldn’t allow this unsettling thing into my house even if I were an iDOLM@STER fan.
Yoshika Miyafuji ver. 1.5 (Strike Witches)
Alter, September, ¥9,800
Zigg: These Strike Witches figures are pretty much only here a) Because Alter and b) So I can keep using the ‘figures posed for maximum butt appreciation’ tag.
Jel: This is marked version 1.5 for some reason but I’m far too lazy to go check why this is different from any of the other Strike Witches from this line. It’s flawlessly made as always but does anyone care about Strike Witches in this post-Vividred world? I’m pretty sure Akane and company are the new Queens of Figures Posed for Maximum Butt Appreciation, so I imagine you’d have to be a pretty die hard fan to care at this point.
Timmy: The original was a nice figure and I don’t really see much difference here save for a slightly raised leg so this is a re release with some minor tweaking. She looks nice though, as you would expect from Alter, and no doubt is appreciated by those who got into the line late and have been trying to find the earlier figures. Unfortantly re releasing something this old highlights exactly how much the price has gone up, though it is still much better then what the aftermarket has to offer.
Lifesong: Loli butts, guns and planes. If this is your thing and you don’t already have her then you’re in luck! She looks fantastic from a technical perspective. I don’t care about loli butts myself and I know very little about planes. Nothing here for me.
Aqua: Like all wars, the War on Pants continues to linger on for way too long, as Alter dishes out yet another faceful of an underaged girl’s plastic butt. Wait, did I say “yet another”. My bad, I meant “exactly the same fucking figure as the one they released four years ago.” There you go, folks, full price for a slightly raised leg and a slightly angrier face. That’s a bloody war crime. (It is probably worth pointing out that the first release goes for ~$200 in the aftermarket – Timmy)
Zigg: I love the slightly flatter, more cartoony style of these, and it’s somewhat astonishing that these are the first scale figures of the two that don’t have them dressed like fetish strippers. At that price it’s a pretty easy sale, and Sega are known for punching well above their weight. Pre-ordered.
Jel: I’ve had a few Sega prize figures and I can confirm they are totally worth the money. Obviously they don’t hold up to close scrutiny the way a full price figure would, but at a fraction of the price they’re a steal. I love the choice of pose for Ryuko although her elongated torso is kind of off putting. I’m actually tempted to pick up Satsuki as I just like her design more (after my Utena comments, can you tell I like women in uniforms with big swords?) but I might wait a bit to see if any more interesting options pop up. The lower cost of the prize figures mean more obscure outfits, so maybe we’ll Satsuki wearing Senketsu or her casual look from the epilogue? We can only hope.
Timmy: Pretty snazzy for the price, and I can appreciate that they went for the less fanservicy versions of the outfits for this. Paint and sculpt is not half bad for prize figures and no doubt a nice wallet-saving alternative to the more expensive scales.
Lifesong: I would like to say these look okay for prize figures, but I don’t really like them. Satsuki looks better than Ryouko, but they both feel off to me. Their personalities just don’t pop out the way I would like.
Aqua: For 2000 yen, these two are an absolute bargain, and for that price you get a lot of figure, with badass poses and a great eye for detail. Obviously, the trickier bits of Ryuko and Satsuki’s designs are unceremoniously skirted around here, with Ryuko’s too-cool-for-school manes and sneakers being the most obvious victim. Yet not only do these figures highlight the badass aspect of Kill la Kill a lot more than the fanservicey aspect, with their 19 centimeters they’re not particularly lacking in the height department either. I hope this is not the last we’ve seen of Sega’s Kill la Kill prize figures.
S.H. Figuarts Zero (Mega Man Zero)
Bandai, October, ¥5,800 (Tamashii Web Exclusive)
Zigg: I’ve never really dug Mega Man‘s weird mix of kiddy cartoon and this doesn’t really change my mind. Also I’m pretty sure there are at least twice the number of Tamashii Web Exclusive figures compared to regular figures, which is sort of depressing.
Jel: I’ve played a Mega Man Zero game or two but I can’t say I have any particular attachment to the series. While the original Mega Man and even Mega Man X are iconic designs, Zero just feels like they’re trying too hard to make an anime robot. I do love the poseability and robots are always perfect for poseable figures, but I’m just not really into this one.
Timmy: Pretty neat to see more Megaman stuff out there, though I am hardly attached to the series. Seems like a decent pose able overall but that exclusivity makes him a little on the pricey side.
Lifesong: Oh boy, I think Megaman looks dumb and always have so I am just going to put that out there. I don’t like Megaman Zero any more than the rest.
Aqua: The laws of the universe continues to hate the Mega Man franchise with a fiery passion, as this little guy is doomed with exclusive status and consequently, a rather hefty price tag. Nevertheless, all the traditional Figuarts perks remain: a sturdy, solid craft, lots of accessories and obscene levels of poseability. Even his ponytail has joints! Being a robot, Zero wears his joints like a fancy suit, making this a must-own for figure-collecting Mega-fans. Too bad you virtually can’t actually own it.
Ciel Alanson (God Eater 2)
Good Smile Company, December, ¥15,556
Zigg: This is a figure of two halves for me. The weird, techno-organic dragon head…thing looks spectacular and is straight up on of the coolest things I’ve ever seen with a figure. The figure itself is sort of bad though. Sure, the clothing detail looks pretty amazing, but the pose is so awkward that it just makes the entire thing feel very off to me. A shame, as it looks to bea fine figure in all other respects. Well, except for the price.
Jel: I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve truly been impressed by a Good Smile Company figure as their subsidiary, Max Factory, has been upstaging everyone these days. That changes now as this will be a Figure of the Year contender. Ciel is visually striking and impeccably sculpted, with cool dark colors and a wide variety of textures that keep your eyes glued to her. Obviously the giant sword monster thing is a visual highlight, but even with the alternate normal sword pose you can appreciate how lovely Ciel is herself. Even the base looks amazing, cleverly using the pipe rubble for support instead of an ugly clear beam. The price will probably keep this off a lot of people’s shelves, but this seems like a must have for the collectors who can afford it.
Timmy: I loved Ciel way back when she was at Wonfest and all the stuff I said there is pretty much still relevant. She looks fantastic and I really want her but that price is no doubt a hard pill to swallow. In the end I think she is worth it though, as there is enough detail in that face, outfit, and weapon to justify it. I just only now noticed that she has a pistol holstered under her shoulder, which says alot about the amount of detail GSC has put into this.
Lifesong: I absolutely adore this figure. Not only is she easily the best God Eater figure made to date, but she is absolutely stunning in her own right. Even some of the little details that can go wrong on a nice figure like this are spot on. I love the creative use of the base as a support for the weapon and the base itself is nothing to scoff at either. I love the colors and paint work. There really isn’t anything about this figure I don’t like. What really sells me is how expressive it is. I don’t know the character, but I don’t need to know her to see her callous disregard for whatever she is about to fire her weapon at. I can also see the grace with which she wields her weapon, turning and attacking all one breathe. I’ve been trying to tell myself that I won’t buy her simply because the price is so high, but I do think she is worth it. I will have a hard time resisting the temptation.
Aqua: Does it count as a boobs-and-butt pose if you can’t actually see the butt? Awkward anatomy aside, this figure is a piece of beauty. A gorgeous base, highly detailed outfit, action-packed pose and menacing demon shadow energy thing, what else can I say? The God Eater franchise has had wonderful — albeit impractical — designs in the past, and Ciel is no different. In all honestly, though, I’d rather see the game proper on my shelf.