Princess Milk from Hime to Boin (NSFW)

Princess Milk from Hime to Boin

Of late, collectors of ero figures have much to be happy about. Alphamax has produced a number of quality hentai figures, Native’s goods are now far more accessible (at least to those who live in the countries that they ship to), and Daiki Kougyou is their usual eclectic self. It’s a little surprising, then, that it seems like Orchid Seed has lost a little luster during this interval, at least with respect to their status as a maker of ero figures. For one thing, they’ve shown a surprising reluctance to implement the sort of fully-explicit nudity that Native and Daiki Kougyou are well known for and that Alphamax has, quite surprisingly, energetically embraced. Also, they’ve never been a prolific figure maker, except perhaps in terms of producing recolored variants of existing products, and yet they consistently tease collectors at hobby conventions with numerous unpainted prototypes and artwork of planned future figures. Princess Milk was one such figure; it’s been four years since collectors learned of Orchid Seed’s plans to make her. It feels a little strange that, after she’s manifested merely as an illustration at so many Wonder Festivals, she’s finally here.
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Preorder Outlook XXXVI

This past weekend was Wonder Festival and San Diego Comic Con weekend, which means a lot of cool new stuff was shown off to the world. Accordingly, it seems like a good idea to look at some cool new figures that have gone up for preorder in the last month. Sometimes I include figures in these posts that I give only a marginal chance for me to order, but this month, I’m quite fond of all of the figures listed here, and it’s going to be difficult to pare the buy list down.

A programming note: reviews have been very sparse here the last couple of months. That’s partly due to my innately lazy nature but it’s also due to some real-life issues that unexpectedly popped up early last month. That caused a great deal of stress but fortunately things seem to have stabilized. Unfortunately I have less time to do figure reviews now than I used to, which means that I’m not going to bother with elaborate backgrounds for a number of my figures. This is the way I’d prefer to do it, anyway, since complicated backgrounds introduce a number of problems in taking pictures and divert attention from the figure, which is something I’ve never liked. With this in mind, I’m hoping to get around to some reviews for some older figures; there are a bunch where I had some ideas in mind, but I don’t think they are practicable, and I might as well unbox them and get their photos done already.
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Kamael from Lineage II

Kamael figure from Lineage II

Despite its age, Lineage II has been a popular source of inspiration for figure manufacturers. Thus far, Good Smile Company, Orchid Seed, and Max Factory have made figures of its characters. That’s gratifying to see, as Lineage II has some very attractive character designs. It’s not atypical in that respect; this may be over-generalizing, but I’ve long thought that Korean MMOs – a group that also includes TERA, Aion, Blade & Soul, and Scarlet Blade Online – have some of the best character designs in video games. The Kamael is the latest such figure to be released, and it’s the third Lineage figure to be produced by Max Factory; we’ll be looking at them in reverse order.
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Preorder Outlook XXXV

It is time for that monthly examination of figures that have recently been put up for preorder. It’s a mix of figures this time, with a few of the usual companies – Kotobukiya and Max Factory in particular – unrepresented. Hopefully they have some neat stuff to show at Wonder Festival, which is just a few weeks away already. Where does the time go? (Spent slacking off, in my case.) Anyway, let’s take a look at the upcoming cool things.
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Tomo Asama from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (Zudon Miko Version)

Tomo Asama from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere

As we’ve noted before, there aren’t that many figures of characters from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, and those that do exist are mostly from relatively minor manufacturers. Fortunately, a couple of exceptions have been recently released: Alter’s Kazuno and Tomo Asama by Kotobukiya. This happiness is tempered by the realization that those two figures may be amongst the last figures from the series to be released (Wave has a Beach Queens Kimi Aoi scheduled to drop next month, and Volks is supposedly doing figures of Kimi and Kazuno, but who knows whether those will ever materialize). A sad state of affairs, that, and it appears that figure companies are moving on to the next big thing, such as Kantai Collection, which somehow feels a bit like it’s worn out its welcome before even having arrived. The only consolation is that if Tomo is the last Horizon figure to be made by a major figure company, she is at least a very fine one indeed.
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Tamaki Kousaka from To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers (Kaitendoh Version)

Tamaki Kousaka from To Heart 2 Dungeon Travelers

Amongst anime hobby companies, Tamaki Kousaka’s popularity as a muse is everlasting. This isn’t always a good thing; the esteem in which she’s held by figure makers occasionally seems excessive, and a large segment of the collecting population greets each release of a new Tamaki figure with a collective rolling of the eyes. However, I pay no attention to that; I like Tamaki, and I own a bunch of her figures. It’s actually been over a year since I reviewed one; in other words, it’s been too long since we’ve looked at her. To remedy this insufficiency, we’ll look at one of her newest figures, which squeezes her into her Dungeon Travelers fighting outfit. We’ve seen this before; Kotobukiya made a figure of her in this outfit, but while that figure exemplified why, for a long time, people generally regarded Kotobukiya as a maker of mediocre figures, this one, by Kaitendoh, is quite a bit nicer.
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Dakimakura Review – Suzuka Takasaki from Kokuhaku Lovers (NSFW)

Suzuka Takasaki dakimakura

There is an absolutely gigantic box in my living room. We will examine its contents in great detail in the days to come but first, we’ll take a quick look at a dakimakura cover. This pillowcase is a companion piece to this one of Kanane Kurashiki, which was sold at the same time from the same place. Both pillowcases feature art by Yoshiaki Katsurai, one of the better-known artists in the ero doujinshi industry.
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Alleyne from Queen’s Blade (Orchid Seed Version) (NSFW)

Alleyne from Queen's Blade

When figure companies produce products of characters from shows with large casts, it’s typical for them to make figures of most, if not all, of the principal characters. Such a move is logical; after all, figure collectors are, well, collectors. This figure is anomalous, then, as it’s the first and only figure of a Queen’s Blade character that Orchid Seed has ever produced. It seems like an almost random decision for them to make this figure, as it doesn’t resemble much of their past catalog, but then, when a figure looks this nice, I suppose quality is the only explanation that is needed for this figure’s existence.
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Preorder Outlook XXXIV

It’s time to take a look at some upcoming figures that I’m contemplating ordering. The trend in pricy figures unfortunately seems here to stay, and there are a few figures (such as Max Factory’s Kongo) that I would buy if they were cheaper. I suppose that’s what the bargain bin is for, though. Let’s go ahead and examine the figures that I think are worth full price.
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Psylocke from the Uncanny X-Force (Fine Art Version)

Psylocke from the Uncanny X-Force

As I’ve remarked before, even though Japanese anime culture has a number of parallels with Western pop culture, they don’t seem to intersect that often. This is particularly and peculiarly evident in manga and comics; despite their similarities (and the influence of American comics on the development of manga), I don’t know too many anime fans who read Western comics, and I’m certain that there are many comic book readers (particularly older ones) who don’t care that much for anime.

Despite this separation, fans on both sides frequently share a passion for collecting things, particularly figures. Figures of characters from Western properties often have some differences compared to anime figures; they are often sculpted in polystone, they are typically on the larger side, and they often come from specialist manufacturers unknown to collectors of anime figures. However, that is not the case with this particular figure; this figure of Psylocke comes from Kotobukiya, a company that every anime figure collector knows. Strangely, this figure is not the first, nor the second, nor even the third, but is the fourth figure of Psylocke that Kotobukiya has released in the last four years. Kotobukiya has made some attempts at integrating the two audiences, particularly with their Bishoujo series, which combines Western comic book and science fiction characters with anime-style design sensibilities, but they also make a number of statues targeted squarely at Western comic book collectors. We don’t often look at such figures here but as Psylocke is my favorite character in all of comic books, for her we will make an exception.
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