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 we pause for thought.
Labrys (Persona 4 Arena)
Alter, January 2015, ¥16,800
Jel: I love everything about Labrys’ design and there’s no questioning her sculpt and paint work is flawless. The combination of the hard plastic and metal of the arms and the softer, rubbery look of her legs is incredibly impressive. There’s just something underwhelming about the post though, like there’s no comfortable viewing angle for it. Looking at the available image galleries, I keep rotating and rotating to find the right view and it’s just not there. If only we could have had Alter’s level of quality with a more dynamic pose like the Megahouse version we saw awhile back, this could have been special.
Aqua: Objection? Glad to see some Labrys love with all those Maries and Sho Minazukis running around nowadays, and as usual, Alter deliver a fantastic product. The pose looks badass and Labrys’ colourful palette makes for a great figure. The translucent hair is a bit of an acquired taste, though, and that price is pretty outrageous, but the careful attention to detail on the various materials that make up the character’s intricate design is stunning. Like they say in Brooklyn, I’ll bet y’all dollars to doughnuts ya won’t find a better Labby than this ‘un. Or something.
Euri: Maybe my opinion would change if I put more than an hour into Persona 3, but there’s just so much going on with this figure, and to me that’s not really a positive. I kinda don’t know where to look, which is kind of a shame because I’m all for robot-ladies wielding giant axes instead of swords. Maybe it looks better in person, but I just wish it was a little toned down. Weird thing to say with that price tag attached, I’m sure.
ARTFX J Ciel Phantomhive (Black Butler)
Kotobukiya, March 2015, ¥11,000
Jel: Hey, we’re moving on from reviewing figures of pre-pubescent girls to reviewing figures of pre-pubescent boys! I’m not sure if that’s a positive… anyway, this is a cool concept for a figure but something seems lacking in the execution. I’m assuming the horse is supposed to be a chess piece but it still seems to be missing a certain level of detail. Same goes for Ciel, particularly in his hair and face which look a bit flat. Still, it’s a solid piece and will probably look cool paired up with the upcoming Sebastian in the same line.
Aqua: This is one of these designs that sounds fantastic on paper, yet that horse just makes me scratch my head. Is it an actual horse? A statue? A chess piece? Maybe something more abstract would’ve worked better in this case. Still, the horse is a nice addition, and its glossy finish looks pretty smart compared to Ciel’s matte, more sophisticated look. The cane and chess piece are a nice addition, though like the Black Butler franchise, the overall gothic aesthetic of this figure has to be your cup of tea. Can’t complain about that price, compared to Alter’s though.
Euri: I’m sure they want to make the most of that chess theme, but come on. That horse looks pretty nasty, let’s be honest. Yes, I know they’re going for that simplistic knight look that you’d see in a typical chess set, but if I’m in the market for a Ciel figure and then faced with a five-digit price tag, I want more detail. Or hell, less detail with a cost to match. Or just ditch the horse and throw Sebastian in there. Sebastian could even be dressed as a horse.
Michiru Matsushima (The Fruit of Grisaia)
Kotobukiya, March 2015, ¥11,000
Jel: I like Akio Watanabe’s character art (think The World God Only Knows and the Monogatari series) and while Michiru’s design is not particularly inspired this is still pretty cute. She’s dressed rather modestly for a swimsuit figure, her pose is fun and energetic, and the inner tube and random leaping cat add some interesting visual flair. The sand base is a nice thought, but I think I’d rather see something more colorful. It’s nice work overall, maybe if the anime wasn’t so bad I’d be more interested.
Aqua: Yeah sure, nice generic swimsuit figure of your nice generic anime girl from your nice generic grimdark porn game, but can we talk about that swim ring for a second? It just looks finger-licking fantastic, what with being actually translucent and all, like a real inflatable tube! Seriously, all swimsuit figures with swim tubes can learn from this masterpiece. The figure is alright too, I guess.
STOP MAKING FIGURES OF FATE IN A SWIMSUIT ALREADY Wait, who?
Tomoyo Sakagami (Clannad)
Kotobukiya, February 2015, ¥8,400 (Re-release)
Jel: I love Clannad and all but let’s be honest: The art is hideous. Something has gone wrong with your character design when the eyes are bigger than the glasses. That being said, this holds up really well for a 4 year old figure as the pose is fetching without being anatomically impossible and I like the wrinkly detail on her uniform jacket. Personally I’d much rather see Kyou or, well, any of the other girls but this is a solid rendition of the character.
Aqua: Why is she hovering in the air? Why are her glasses smaller than her eyes? Why is that school uniform so hideous? Kotobukiya’s version of Tomoyo — curse you to hell an back for having both a Tomoyo and a Tomoya in your stupid game, Jun Maeda — is far from ugly, but I can’t say it deserves a reissue after four years. The face just kills it, both because of the notoriously crappy ‘fish eyes’ and the fact that Koto makes it look like Tomoyo spent too much time under the sunbed. It’s hardly deserving of a rerelease but if you’re one of those suckers for sad girls dying in the snow, you m– Wait, they’re seriously still charging 8K for this?
Euri: I’m sure this is great for the Tomoyo fans, but re-release or not can we please have a Nagisa figure that doesn’t look like it’s been in a car accident? Thanks.
figma The Thinker (Rodin: The Animation)
Max Factory, May 2015, ¥3,980
Jel: I… uhhhhh…… what??? I like the idea of Japanese figure companies tackling classic sculptures or other works of art, but why a figma? At what point has anyone ever wanted to put The Thinker in any other pose than sitting and thinking? Those are questions I just can’t answer.
Aqua: This, for once, is a ‘oh Japan’ thing I am perfectly on board with. Throw out your hentai Woodys, folks, we have a new BEST FIGURE EVER.
Euri: I kind of want to put one next to my Revoltech Woody. To be honest, it’s quite novel having a few poseable figures that I’d be somewhat inclined to actually pose every now and again.