Year Nine Retrospective

Simone wrapped up in tentacles

Ahem; we interrupt my void elf and lightforged draenei leveling to celebrate this website’s ninth birthday. While the dearth of recently updates here is both embarrassing and regrettable, this site is still operating, at least in a nominal sense. What’s more, I’ve probably actually bought more figures in the last year than in any year that I’ve been collecting figures, and I certainly have no shortage of material to cover. I’m not certain how long that trend will last, though, as figure prices at the 12,000 yen point and beyond are a strong deterrent to purchasing on impulse, and I’m thinking I may be more selective in my preorders this year than my financial discipline typically dictates. But we’ll see if I hold to that; SkyTube and Native are certainly intent on testing my restraint.

Site stats for the preceding 365 days show that the number of users dropped compared to last year but pageviews are up by a couple hundred thousand. I’m not sure why that might be. Total site stats are about 1.8 million visitors, 3.2 million sessions, and nearly 16 million pageviews.

Despite the lack of reviews, this last year has been the best of my professional life and 2018 appears poised to be even better. And while figure prices continue to climb, my review queue has blown past 150 unopened figures and I’ve certainly got enough stuff ready to keep this site going for at least another decade. I just need to log off Warcraft once in a while to get posts up. In that vein, reviews of Matsuri and Rei and that one tied-up Native girl whose name currently escapes me ought to be going up soon.

Oh, and incidentally, my current job devotes an inordinate amount of energy to a slavish devotion to agile development processes, which I loathe and has thus made me question the usage of the term “retrospective” for these posts. Truly a random thought.

A less random thought: this site is really going to be entering its tenth year of existence soon. It’s an auspicious event, and yet it’s frightening how fast time goes by.

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My Five Favorite Figures of 2017 (NSFW)

Here is the fashionably late list of my favorite figures from the departed year. 2017 was a very good year for figure collectors, I think – particularly if you liked your figures raunchy, as there were no shortage of figures of anime girls in skimpy outfits or spread-legged or equipped with accessories that a collector might be hard-pressed to explain to one’s family. Unsurprisingly, this list reflects this trend. What a time to be a figure collector.
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Dakimakura Review – Olga Discordia from Kuroinu ~Kedakaki Seijo wa Hakudaku ni Somaru~ (NSFW)

Olga Discordia from Kuroinu

Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody. Normally the year-end Five Favorite Figures post would go here, but I spent yesterday putting up some new shelving and did not have the opportunity to photograph figures. The activity was well worth it, however, being that one of the most intransigent deterrents to more frequent reviews is the obdurate reality that I have no place to put the figures once I take them out of their boxes. Having more space available should simplify things and that’s all for the good. Meanwhile, we’ll take a quick look at this dakimakura cover. I don’t really review pillowcases much now, partly because I don’t buy as many as I used to and partly because they’re not particularly interesting to photograph or talk about. That said, they’ve generally been some of the more popular posts on this site and as this character – Olga Discordia of the H-game and hentai anime Kuroinu – is quite the fan favorite in her own right, we’ll go ahead and talk a little bit about this pillowcase and Kuroinu itself.
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Preorder Outlook LIII

Happy Christmas everybody. The end of the year is usually a slow time for both figure releases and preorder launches. That’s highly beneficial for me being that my review queue is absurd and even if I decided to stop buying new figures, I’d have no shortage of material to photograph for years. Nonetheless, it’s been a few months since the last preorder outlook so let’s take a look at some figures I’m thinking of buying in 2018. I might squeeze in one more post – maybe the Kuroinu dakimakura cover post that I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months – before the usual five favorite figure post on New Year’s Eve (I think I’ve got my list set; I’m sure it will surprise no one to learn that it’s very heavy on hentai figures).
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Cleric from Bikini Warriors (NSFW)

Cleric from Bikini Warriors

My interest was piqued when Bikini Warriors was announced, being that I have a thing for scantily-clad female battlers. My enthusiasm was dampened when I learned that each episode would be less than five minutes in duration; I anticipated that viewing the show would be both pointless and disappointing. However, having watched the series, it actually works out okay. The truncated run time actually works in its favor as it excises most of the inconsequential filler that constitutes most contemporary anime. Each episode of Bikini Warriors generally comprises a brief action sequence – typically lewd in content – a silly joke that lubricates the progression of the encounter, and then a quick wrap-up, with none of the tedious exposition and anesthetizing monologues that pervade so many anime series. More shows ought to follow this model. The Fate/stay night anime adaptations, for example.

The purpose of Bikini Warriors is, of course, to move merchandise, and that’s why we’re looking at this figure here. This is the Cleric, who didn’t actually appear in the television commercial-cum-anime, but that’s okay since she still looks good and really, that’s what counts here.
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Akane Indou from Homare Art Works (NSFW)

Akane Indou from Homare Art Works

One of the more pleasing developments in figure collecting is that a number of manufacturers are now producing figures derived from the artwork of well-known illustrators, especially those of ero publications. Misaki Kurehito’s artwork has received a number of figure adaptations, Cle Masahiro Murakami Suigun recently got one each, Oda Non’s work is getting a bundle of figures from a variety of companies, and so on – all good stuff. Here we have a figure based off of an illustration by Homare, an artist who has been released image packs on DLSite and similar sites under the circle name FOOL’S ART GALLERY. This is the first figure to be released that is sourced from his work, which is curious as he’s been in the business for years, even designing a Queen’s Blade character, though it never was turned into a figure. A real disappointment, that. I kind of think this costume would have made for a fine figure, even a mainstream one. But although it’s a tad belated, we finally have a Homare-designed figure, so let’s take a look.
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Sasara Kusugawa from To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers (Fighter Version) (NSFW)

Sasara Kusugawa from To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers

It took an extraordinary amount of time – this figure went up for preorder somewhere in 2015, if I remember right – but Orca Toys’s Sasara Kusugawa finally arrived a few months ago. She went up for order at about the same toy that Kotobukiya’s version did, but Kotobukiya’s version came out last year. I haven’t yet reviewed the Kotobukiya figure; while I like it quite a bit, the comparison will have to wait until I do so. Until then, we’ll take a look at just the Orca Toys figure now.
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Widowmaker from Overwatch

Widowmaker from Overwatch

Blizzcon is coming up soon and so now is an apropos moment to take a look at this statue of Widowmaker, one of the most prominent faces in Blizzard’s multiplayer first-person shooter Overwatch. I have not yet played Overwatch, being that it’s principally a multiplayer shooting game and the last title in the genre that I enjoyed playing against humans was Goldeneye. I much prefer to play shooters against the AI and my understanding is that Overwatch’s support for this mode of play is abysmal at best. Nonetheless, I’ve spent a large fraction of my life playing Blizzard games, and my re-subscription to World of Warcraft in late 2012 is the most significant factor in the downturn of posting frequency on this site. Therefore, it only seems equitable to take away from my MMO time to review this statue.
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Slingshot Babe from the Native Creators Collection (NSFW)

Slingshot Babe from the Native Creators Collection

Ero figures are all the rage these days, and Native is amongst the best at producing them. They are apparently not the best at naming them, however, and so this girl is simply known as “Slingshot Babe.” This generic moniker is perhaps not nearly as off-putting as Compact Hog, but it’s still fairly impersonal.
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Preorder Outlook LII

It’s been a few months since the last one. This list is already way too long and I’ve spent a lot more time writing it than I thought it would take, so let’s get to it.
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