Hello, and welcome to All Your Monies, where The Glorio Blog’s resident toy and figure collecting crew (and Iro) will run down the last week’s new pre-orders, turning a loving or scathing all-seeing eye over what’s been put out for you to spend your hard-earned cash on. This week Zigg has stopped crying about how few yen his pounds are now worth long enough to bring you this bumper lineup.
ARTFX J Red with Pikachu (Pokémon)
Kotobukiya, November, ¥8,500
Zigg: I really really like this. The sharper style of the games and manga works really well in 3D format, there’s lots of nice detail (the flapping jacket, the shirt lift, the baggy jeans), Pikachu looks badass as hell and the entire thing has retro style in buckets. A very keen price by today’s standards too. I ordered it!
Iro: I’m all for any official merch actually acknowledging the existence of Pokemon Adventure, the actually-really-damn-cool, long-running manga adaptation that nobody reads. Seriously, it’s pretty good. Oh, and, uh… I guess the figure is cool, too. Pikachu is one of the most well-known mascots in the world, and I’d say his inclusion here transcends the idea that he mostly goes with Ash. That, and he’s small enough to be considered an accessory, unlike say Charizard.
Aqua: Back when Pokémon Gold and Silver first came out, most people around me didn’t really connect the dots to realize that Red was supposed to be the protagonist from Red and Blue. To us, he was just that mysterious strongest Pokémon trainer in the world, who lurked within the deepest crutches of Mt. Silver, ready to kick your ass with his Lvl. 81 (gasp!) Pikachu. In this pre-Internet era of Mew rumours and Hyper Beam being the coolest thing on the planet, he was spoken of in hushed tones, and if you had managed to find him and beat him, you were basically the man. This figure perfectly encapsulates that specifically 90’s kind of cool, with his fierce looking eyes, sweet cap and a Pikachu who looks about ready to murder you, unlike that cutesy critter Ash carried around on television. So yeah, pretty rad.
Nendoroid Luluco (Space Patrol Luluco)
Good Smile Company, October, ¥4,167
Zigg: Luluco is as cute as a button, even if her design is a little stereotypical schoolgirl. Still, the faces and accessories are fabulous and the general adorability of the whole figure makes up for any slight sense of ennui. I will say though that I’m not super fond of slash of colour across her hair. Yes, it’s show accurate but it just doesn’t work as well in 3D as it does on the screen.
Iro: The important thing here is that this comes with Luluco’s disappointed/horrified face from the first episode, which might surpass even Kogane’s angry face for The Best Nendo Face.
Aqua: A nendoroid with accessories? What is this, 2013? Anyway, Luluco isn’t exactly an iconic character design, but Good Smile picked some nice accessories to pair her up with – even if the crystal heart McGuffin thing is a rather glaring omission. Otherwise, this is pretty much a bog-standard Nendoroid: adorable, simplistic, and up to the usual standards of craftsmanship. Now let the cool team-ups we never got to see in the show roll in. In space!
Metamoroid Luluco (Space Patrol Luluco)
Good Smile Company, December, ¥3,241
Zigg: This is not a great figure but it’s a fabulous gimmick, and honestly it’s the gimmick that’s the entire selling point here. Honestly, with it being such a one-note toy I’d have expected a slightly lower price, but it’s still a delightfully weird piece of ephemera. Don’t go in expecting anything more and I think you’ll be alright. The gun form would be a cool thing to display alongside Nendoroid Luluco.
Iro: AWAKE JUDGEMENT GUNMORPHING, F-F-F-FIGHT FOR JU-FI-FI-FI-FIGHT FOR JUSTICE
Aqua: This is not a good figure. Then again, buying this, you probably wouldn’t expect a good figure.
Nia Teppelin Wedding Dress Ver. (Gurren Lagann)
Myethos, January 2017, ¥11,800
Zigg: Great idea, since this a legit excuse to put a character in a wedding dress for a change. The top half is fabulous – I love the face and the hair, the cloth veil and the bunch of flowers. But things deteriorate as we go down, where there’s just not enough life or detail in the cloth to prevent it looking like a slightly squashed blancmange. Not sure I like that pearlescent finish either. The price isn’t bad for something of this scale but it’s certainly and acquired taste.
Iro: I have trouble thinking of Gurren Lagann as terribly relevant anymore, seeing as the show is nearing it’s ten year anniversary, but this seems nice enough. At least I have the cold comfort of knowing Nia actually wore this in the show to get married to Simon, meaning this is marginally less of a random cosplay figure.
Aqua: Wedding dress figures always strike me as lousy wish fulfillment, but as Iro said, at least she actually wore it to actually get married in the actual show in this case, so I guess I’ll give that a pass. Doesn’t really matter, though, because this figure isn’t even that good in the first place. The pink fabric looks like molten goop, the real cloth veil is too tacky to take seriously, and that bouquet is rather embarrassing to even look at. Besides, I prefer spunky, quirky pre-timeskip Nia over boring, domestic post-timeskip Nia anyway.
Ami Futami & Mami Futami (The IDOLM@STER)
Phat Company, December, ¥17,800
Zigg: This is fantastic and adorable. I love the bright, vivid rainbow hues, the energetic poses and expressions and just the overall sense of joy and excitement this figure radiates. It’s nice to see an iDOLM@STER figure that doesn’t look like the prelude to a gravure video either. About the only complaint is the price, which is way too much for a Phat figure, or even a pair.Still, wonderful to look upon.
Iro: This seems pretty good. It’s bright, colorful, and surprisingly low on the skeeve-scale (skeavle?) for something out of Idolmaster. Plus you get the two for one, though since these two are anime twins I assume they might as well be a single character anyway.
Aqua: Absolutely lovely. Colourful, detailed, adorable, dynamic, elaborate, lovingly sculpted, adorable, joyous, did I mention adorable? This figure makes me belief being an idol is actually as fun as The iDOLM@STER makes it out to be.
Homura Akemi and Madoka Kaname (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
Amakuni, February 2017, ¥17,500
Zigg: It’s totally possible to make wideface look fine on a figure, but that hasn’t really happened here, and as a result Madoka looks like she’s got a rather drugged up thousand yard stare going on. The rest of the figure is fine, and Amakuni have a reputation for good quality, but there’s nothing here design or manufacturing wise that should make this figure a pricey exclusive.
Iro: A few years from now, new anime fans will think Madoka Magica was a cutesy yuri magical girl show about girls giggling and eating cake together. Hell, they probably think that now…
Aqua: What Iro says times a million. Puella Magi Madoka Magica was so much more than what cynical commercial exploitation has turned it into, and so many fans just keep happily gobbling it up. It is, frankly, rather disrespectful towards the effort put into making that show the masterpiece it is. Taken as just a cute-girls-being-cute-and-vaguely-gay figure, though, this is a pretty decent sculpt. The fluttery effect on the fabric works really well and nicely conveys Madoka scooting over to Homura’s side. I’m not a real fan of the ribbon’s though – they look too sculpted to convince. Otherwise, a perfectly decent figure if saccharine yuri antics are all you want Madoka‘s legacy to be. You monster.