Hello, and welcome to All Your Monies, where The Glorio Blog’s resident toy and figure collecting crew 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’ve got warrior ladies, festival ladies and icy ladies. And Strike Witches.
figma Lucina (Fire Emblem: Awakening)
Max Factory, April 2015, ¥6,296
Zigg: Lucina has become one of those figures where the delays have almsot become more of a story than the figure herself. Still, now that she’s here she looks fantastic, and as ever Max Factory are on another level when it comes to the microdetailing of small poseable figures. The piping is exemplary, the mix between outfit and armour well handled and the muted palette works very well. It’s a fine design and a fine figure, but the increasing cost of figmas has bothered me for a while now and this doesn’t exactly belay those fears, especially given how relatively simple she is.
Jel: As I am belatedly playing the fantastic Fire Emblem: Awakening as we speak, this is very relevant to my interests. I think it’s easy to say “yup, that’s a (insert character) figma” and forget just how well made they really are. Lucina looks fantastic, from the amazingly detailed stitching on her clothes to the gold metallic paint on Falchion. My only complaint is the price, as most of the Glorio crew know from me complaining the ENTIRE day when she was announced (sorry guys). It’s not really THAT bad when you consider the very favorable exchange rates at the moment, but she really don’t come with much and if you look at other recent figma prices they’re shall we say… inconsistent. I’m over all that now though, this is a great figma and I’ll most likely be ordering it.
Aqua: Fantastic. Lucina’s lanky, slender design might make for an oddly stocky figma when posed upright, as soon as you get to the action poses, there’s not a battle she won’t win. Packed with a mask and short haircut to dress her up as Marth, this figma is a lovely incarnation of Fire Emblem’s Awakening‘s breakout character, equipped with a moveable cape, nicely detailed Falchion sword and an adorable happy face showing this notorious badass in a somewhat lighter mood. Challenge your fate and order her now, for yourself, or for your father.
Euri: I want one so much you have no idea, but yeah, what’s with the price? I should admit that I haven’t bought a figma in years, so I’m not exactly sure what the going price is these days, but I remember these things for 3000 yen! Ah what am I saying, it’s Lucina. She’s worth the money.
Colons: It’s weird that after the small, six-inch statues with the big round bases they would switch to such a complicated posable model, and I’ve no idea where they’re hiding the RFID chip, but it’s awesome they’re putting this much effort into the second-gen Amiibos. Also, anything that gets me more swords for my figmas to fight with is okay in my book.
Levi (Attack On Titan)
Good Smile Company, June 2015, ¥11,852
Zigg: Any talk about this figure has to be dominated by that hilarious base. I can’t work out if it’s genius or completely rubbish, but it certainly makes this entire thing stand out, although I’m not so sure how good that is. As for the figure, it’s once again beyond exemplary, but lack of variety is a real issue at this point and I can’t see anyone but super fans opting to grab this and the previously seen Eren and Mikasa.
Jel: That’s not really the base, right? That’s got to be photoshopped in, right? I’ll guess I’ll give props to Good Smile Company for finding a way to differentiate Levi from the other Titan figures and he does look super cool casually bouncing off the head of a horrible monster but man, that base is really distracting. Beyond that, Levi looks exactly as good as you would expect, which is to say he looks exactly like Eren with a slightly weirder face and a green scarf. Well done, I think?
Aqua: I honestly can’t tell these Attack on Titan figures apart anymore. Good Smile Company have understandably been delivering the very best of the best for their line based on one the most popular anime of the decade, but I’m getting really tired writing about it. The goregeous polish is virtually identical to the one on Eren and Mikasa, so let’s talk about the one thing setting this figure apart: That terrifying base. It takes quite a feel liberties with the regular titan design, but the result, especially those eyes gazing at Levi’s
crotch swords, is a sight to behold. I wouldn’t want this thing anywhere near me when I’m sleeping, but then again, I’m hardly the target audience for this figure anyway.
Euri: I thought we’d already seen this one, but it’s hard to tell really. I mean hell, we’ve had great Levi figures before, but they’re all more of the same. Buy the last one (the one without the nightmare-inducing base) and maybe that figma where he’s rockin’ the cleaning gear. Done.
Colons: I know it’s like his trademark thing, but while it’s rare, Levi is at least capable of making faces other than that one. It’d be cool if someone could make a figure that pulled from the other famous part(s) of levi’s two- or three-expression repertoire.
Ranko Kanzaki : Anniversary Princess Ver. -Mad Banquet- (The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls)
Phat Company, June 2015, ¥15,800
ZIgg: In the best tradition of Cinderella Girls figures this thing is gaudy and tacky as hell and all the better for it. It’s like the designers through everything they could at the wall – gothic lolita, big energy effects, crazy pose – and then slapped it all into one figure. It’s big, it’s loud and it won’t be for everyone, but it certainly makes an impression.
Jel: I say this every time but I’ll say it again: the Cinderella Girls line is the best thing Phat Company has ever done and this version of Ranko does not disappoint. I have no idea what dark idol magic she is practicing here, but the level of detail and imagination put into this seems to be right on par with something we’d see from Max Factory or Alter. I guess you could argue her face is a little flat, but with so much insanity going on around her who’s looking at her face?
Aqua: Ranko is by far the most popular of the Cinderella Girls, so it seems, and with an anime adaptation on the way, the iDOLM@STER franchise’s resident gothic lolita gets an even more impressive figure than the ones we’ve featured before. From the impressive base to the gorgeous dress, the sheer amount of baroque detail more than makes this figure worth considering for fans, though I’m not a big fan of that huge, obtrusive wave of red… stuff dominating the figure’s whole right half. The blue feathers on her skirt and the microphone also look cheap and gaudy in all the wrong ways, and with a price tag like this, it’s hard to justify a figure that isn’t absolutely perfect. Luckily, there’s plenty more neat options out there for those who hold the character dear.
Euri: I love that there’s a lot going on. It’s not boring, which is probably my number one complaint when it comes to idol figures. I’m not familiar with the franchise so maybe the base has some significance, but I have to admit that I’m a bit bored of the chessboard-style that seems to be so popular these days. You can probably blame that on Black Rock Shooter. But whatever, it’s not that important as the figure itself is pretty sweet. Something something price of a donkey.
Colons: That is not a static pose, obviously; she’s not leaning against the railing and she’s not holding on to the mic stand for support. Her right foot is angled at the ground in a way that makes it look like she is exerting a fair amount of force in the direction that leg is pointing. If that’s the case, she’d be accelerating to her left at a fair lick, meaning she’s changing direction as part of some kind of stage routine. In order for that to be the case, though, she would have to have strutted right through that railing, and is about to do so again.
I guess what I’m saying is you should get the version without the fancy base if you want the pose to make physical sense.
Kuroko Shirai Yukata ver. (A Certain Scientific Railgun)
FREEing, May 2015, ¥8,148
ZIgg: Cute, but also really bland. Kuroko’s basic character design is a stong one but FREEing do her no favours here by emphasising how beanpole-ish she is. Combine that with the plain purple yukata that jsut screams ‘cheap paint job’ and you have a figure that’s flat in more ways than one.
Jel: FREEing’s Yukata line all look like trading figures at best and Kuroko falls right in line with that. They didn’t even bother painting some flowers or something on her yukata. It’s a nice, fun pose that fits her character well and the purple is an interesting choice, but seriously who would pay that much money for something this basic?
Aqua: At last a Kuroko figure that isn’t skeevy as heck! Obvious pose for maximum butt exposure aside, I quite like this quirky Kuroko, and besides, pushing people out of the way with her behind is totally something Kuroko would do anyway. That aside, the fan is rather awkwardly placed, making her look like she’s either slapping her butt with it or trying to fan out the smell of a fart. Proper Tokiwadai ladies shouldn’t flatulate, miss Shirai.
Euri: It’s a shame that her arm is in the way because I’d have bought this to balance things on her butt.
Colons: …which is still totally possible if that’s your only requirement; that arm looks pretty removable to me.
Heidemarie W. Schnaufer (Strike Witches)
Alter, March 2015, ¥13,800
Zigg: These Strike Witches figures are perhaps the best example of where modern Alter is at. They’ve all been beyond incredibly sculpted, detailed and painted with some neat individual touches that really bring it to life. There’s also been a ton of them and they’re pretty gross.
Jel: They’re STILL making these? I thought we won the war on pants years ago, isn’t there another clothing war to fight? At least she has a more interesting color scheme than the usual neutral military colors of the other girls, but that’s about all I can add to this conversation at this point.
Aqua: I refuse to say anything meaningful about Strike Witches until they get to put on some pants.
Euri: I wonder if her bum is cold.
Colons: If they sell, I suppose, you can’t really blame them for keeping at it. Capitalism ho! I wonder if you can plug a coax cable into her foot and use those aerials to pick up Japanese TV.
Nendoroid Elsa (Frozen)
Good Smile Company, May 2015, ¥3,889
Zigg: I don’t quite understand the Frozen thing but then I am a man in his twenties, so I’m not sure I’m meant to. Regardless, I’m always fond of seeing GSC branch out into more mainstream properties, since the figures are so good they deserve a wider showcase. This definitely looks to live up to those standards, and neat touches like the translucent cape and poseable Olaf make it a delight to see.
Jel: I showed this to my 6 year old niece who loves Frozen. She thought it was weird. I think it’s kind of weird too. Feeding the vaguely realistic 3D model through the nendoroid filter just seems odd, like it’s going through some kind of awkward stylistic feedback loop. Maybe a full size Olaf nendo would make more sense? I still think it’s awesome to see the Nendoroid line keep reaching for more well known properties outside the anime fandom though, so I’m glad this exists.
Aqua: They just can’t seem to let Frozen go, but I’d gladly take an actually cool character from an actually good film over the gazillionth schoolgirl. I personally think Elsa looks a bit too cuddly and squishy in Nendoroid version, but her mischievous half-wink and especially the shamelessly over-the-top singing pose are a wonderful addition. A semi-posable Olaf finishes is the cherry on top, making this the perfect figure for Frozen fans who are too mature to step into a toy store and buy one of the gazillion Elsas already available.
I wonder if her butt is cold. Looks too weird for a Nendoroid, in my opinion as a Qualified Nendoroid Hoarder. I’m not entirely surprised that this exists though, as 99% of my Frozen knowledge comes from stuff I picked up while walking through Akihabara in July. It is huge over there, and both the original and Japanese versions of Let it Go were being played all over the place. They released it as a free downloadable song in the most recent Taiko no Tatsujin 3DS game (as well as putting it in the arcade version), and I also saw this on TV.
Colons: The blue icy-looking stand is way more awesome-looking than the grid-of-holes ones Nendoroids usually come with, and Olaf’s arms and head are posable, so he can look and/or gesture goofily at whatever you care to have him look and/or gesture goofily at. I agree with everyone else, though; she looks… like somehow she falls into the Nendoroid uncanny valley.