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 the feature returns after another long absence – real life has been busy! Hopefully we’ll be back on a regular schedule now.
Nendoroid Lillie (Pokemon Sun & Moon)
Good Smile Company, September, ¥4,800
Zigg: Given how good the Sun/Moon characters are it’s no surprise to see them start popping up in Nendo form, and Lillie is the obvious first choice. It’s a simple but effective sculpt that shows off the cuteness of the design, and including Nebby is a no brainer. Still, she seems a little plain for the price, with no particularly notable poses or expressions. As a result I’m a little on the fence.
Aqua: I’ve yet to dive into Pokémon Sun and/or Moon (I know, I know), but I know for a fact that Lillie is about the closest thing this franchise has had to a memorable, iconic character since… Cynthia? (Zigg’s note: Who?) Anyhow, her Nendoroid is up to all the usual contemporary standards, coming with about the bare minimum of accessories and expressions you’d expect and very little else. I find her neutral smiling face to be veering somewhat dangerously close into dope territory, but her two other adoranble expressions more than make up for it. After all, if you’re displaying your Nendos in their neutral poses, you’re not doing Nendos right.
Iro: Lillie is as cute as ever, but the poses and such with this one aren’t that impressive. Nebby is a necessary addition, even if he doesn’t fit in the bag. I assume they’re planning a Z-Powered Lillie one as well?
Jel: Nebby cannot get in the bag, I rate this Nendoroid 0/10 would not recommend… OK it is adorable, especially that “determined” face. I will dock points for no ponytail option though.
figma Red (Pokemon Red, Green, & Blue)
Good Smile Company, December, ¥6,800
Zigg: It seems odd to me that you’d do Red rather than Ash/Satoshi, but then I’ve never really understood the odd tension between the game and cartoon universes of Pokémon. Red here is an excellent sculpt, with good faces and decent poseability. The three starters are all cute as a button, and really make this release stand out from what could have been something quite bog standard. As ever with figmas these days th main caveat is the price, but this comes closer to being worthwhile than some others we’ve seen. Always nice to get another male figma too.
Aqua: Remember when this guy was in Smash Bros.? Good times, eh. I guess the FireRed and LeafGreen design remains the go-to look for Red even after his uncanny appearance in Sun and Moon, but it’s a good look compared to some of Ken Sugimori’s more outlandish, recent designs. The combination of a poseable trainer with three static Pokémon is somehow irking me far more than it has any right to, yet otherwise, this is about all you can expect of a figma in the year 2017. If you’re gonna crank up the prices, Good Smile, could you at least try to put some effort into sculpting faces again?
Iro: The three starters drag this from boring figma territory into pretty-good figma territory, but figmas are so absurdly expensive these days that I just can’t see this being worth it. I do like the Poke Ball, though.
Jel: This is exactly what I want out of a Pokemon figma and if this were still the era of reasonably priced figmas I’d consider buying it. Sadly that is not the case. I know he does come with three pokemon and that is cool but BACK IN MY DAY figmas came with a lot of accessories about the same size and were half the price. Kids these days and their expensive figmas…
Racing Miku 2016: Team Ukyo Ver. (Vocaloid)
Max Factory, March 2018, ¥17,810
Zigg: It’s the use of colour which makes this one stand out for me – the contrast between the black outfit, green highlights and aqua and red hairpiece is super striking and nicely different. The pose is dynamic and suitably energtic for Miku, and the bizarre juxtaposition of moe character design and scrupulously recreated bike racing motifs lends an odd yet pleasant vibe to the whole thing. I’d never buy it in a million years because it’s about the most niche thing you could imagine (and I like bike racing!) but it’s nice to see something so throwaway being given so much care and attention to detail.
Aqua: It’s always weird to see people acknowledging the notion of cycling as a professional sport outside of the bizarre realms I call home, but I guess Miku can sell everything nowadays. If you think about it, she’s basically the Barbie of our generation: a woman of all domains, immediately recognisable yet at the same time so generic she can be co-opted as a mascot for anyone and anything and fit right in. Not even Miku’s body can make a cycling jersey look remotely appealing, however, yet for fans of the sport this is probably the closest thing to a moe mascot they’ll ever get. In that regard, this Miku does a bang-up job, carrying a wheel, a helmet and a bag full of drinking bottles, her lovingly crafted technicolour hair blowing in the wind. Team Ukyo probably won’t ever win the Tour de France, but they sure as hell have the best Miku in cycling history. Then again, knowing Miku, that might not remain true for long.
Iro: Aaaand Miku approaches her starting position for the unicycle race… This isn’t too bad though, especially the wild multicolored hair. Surely that would snap off entirely if this ever fell over?
Jel: They’ve been doing these Racing Mikus for so long I guess it’s good to see they’ve got them figured out. I suppose there”s nothing super fancy about her design this year but they make it up for with a great pose and awesome use of bold colors. I also appreciate they sculpted her to look a bit more errr… healthy than usual but she’s not super sexualized. Nice work as always from Max Factory.
Zigg: Look, I’m as tired of the Love Live figures as anyone, but the problem is they keep making really good ones, and this is Alter so that last part applies even more. These are gorgeous figures, beautifully painted, detailed and posed with care, and just all around fantastic. Now please, please devote such talent to something more interesting.
Aqua: Kinda saying a lot that they’re still making figures of the original Love Live crew. Heck, I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a Sunshine figure on this feature before. On the other hand, all you need to do is squint to make Hanayo on the right there look like Hanamaru, so maybe Alter’ve realised bolting a different haircut on an existing Love Live statuette would be a waste of time? Still, I’m quite digging these two, especially Rin with her (relatively) muted colour scheme and adorable pose. Less bubble gun assault on the senses and more vintage Pintrest showcase, this outfit is one of the franchise’s first that’d make viewers keep their needles out of their eyes. Hanayo’s a bit less of a success, with her large, almost whiteless eyes and the excessive frills making her entire top half look like a freshly-washed peacock. Also, the double lace frills on her kneesocks make her outfit look like gaudy lingerie, and that’s never a good look for a high schooler.
Iro: This is sure some Love Live. Idols are a decent enough excuse to keep coming up with bizarre new outfits, I guess.
Jel: These are two different characters? I’m not trying to be funny, I honestly though they were the same at first glance. I guess Love Live same face strikes again. That said, there’s some really amazing detail work going on here with all the ruffles. I think I prefer Rin strictly for the color scheme, Koizumi’s pink is fine but that awful green inside her sleeves seems like a bad choice. Still, probably not a bad option for your ever-expanding Love Live collection.
Kamina (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)
Emontoys, October, ¥14,904
Zigg: Kind of astonishing that this is only the second major scale figure Kamina has seen (Uplark’s 2008 version regularly goes for more than $300US at this point) so I’m all for it on that level at least. Emontoys is a new company though, so it’s somewhat of a leap into the dark, but I like the look of this thing a lot, especially the magnificently tattered cape. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on reviews to see if these new guys can deliver the goods.
Aqua: Those muscles look hella more toned than they ever did in the show, but Kamina doesn’t lose any of his charm in the transition from cartoony smear to borderline renaissance sculpture. Nevertheless, I get the feeling that whole attention to detail ends around his waist. Kamina’s trousers and especially that rock he’s standing on look like they’re from an entirely different, cheaper figure than his upper half does. In the end, it’s not really a deal-breaker, but I can’t help but feel something is off about this.
Iro: Something’s just… off with that smile, and I can’t quite place it. Otherwise, this seems standard enough, and it keeps with Gurren Lagann‘s thing of actually giving shirtless guys nipples. I’m not sure why I remember that detail.
Jel: I know this is Kamina and that’s really cool and all but I can’stop looking at that really ugly rock. It looks like a badly spray painted foam prop from a low-budget school play. I can’t look away, it’s ruining everything…
S.H. Figuarts Retsu Ichijoji (Space Sheriff Gavan)
Bandai, November, ¥7,200 (Exclusive)
Zigg: I included this because i am 100% for more 70’s fashion in the world of poseable action figures. 70’s hair too!
Aqua: Look, Figuarts of real life, flesh and blood people are never gonna look good, not even if they’re charging you seven thousand yen for them, but come on. The civilian look of any 1970s toku hero is buckets more iconic than any rubber suit of the era not named ‘Kamen Rider Ichigo’.
Iro: That’s about as 70s tokusatsu star as you can get. It’s even 70s-hundred yen!
Jel: I have zero context for this so all I see is a dude in a very 80s outfit making some fabulous poses. Basically, looks great, although that is a LOT of money for a Figuarts.