The pace of figure releases was rather languid at the start of this year, but now that we’re past Wonder Festival the preorder announcements have been popping up with the quickness. There’s lots of new faces from recent series and a lot of old staples, like Miku, Saber, Sonico, and Fate. No Tamaki Kousaka, curiously – though I’ll be photographing another Tamaki figure soon. As if the world really needs another Tamaki figure review; regardless, it’s coming later this week. But for now, let’s look at some stuff that I’m thinking about buying.
Haruko Amaya from Maken-ki!
First up is Haruko from Maken-ki!, a show that didn’t make much of an impression on anyone or anything other than Haruko’s shorts. Far be it from me to criticize the concept – I enjoy fanservice-centric school fighting shows as much as anyone – but it just didn’t grab my interest. I’m not sure what the difference is between shows like Maken-ki! and High School DxD, but I like the latter a lot and didn’t care for the former. Anyway, Chara-ani has a couple of figures of Maken-ki! girls in the pipeline, including lead girl Haruko Amaya. She’s cute enough and she’s wearing a thong, which is a huge plus. On the negative side, I don’t have much familiarity with the manufacturer’s work, although what I’ve heard isn’t glowing, and her neck looks overly long the longer I look at it. The paucity of preview pictures works against it as well, and absent any convincing prototype reviews I think I’m inclined to pass on this one.
Kodama Himegami from Maken-ki!
The second figure from Maken-ki! features Kodama Himegami. I barely remember anything of the show’s first episode other than that the protagonist had a ridiculous haircut, but I seem to remember we got a good pantyshot while Kodama was sitting in a tree. I don’t think that’s enough reason to buy this figure, but her swimsuit is pretty cute, and 1/6 scale is nice. The face looks a bit frightening, though, and so I don’t think I’m going to pick this one up either. I could change my mind, though; I do really like the pretzel swimsuit she’s wearing here.
Inia Sestina from Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse
Kotobukiya is following up their upcoming Yui Takamura figure with figures of the Scarlet Sisters. First up is Inia Sestina, clad in a school swimsuit rather than her turquoise piloting suit. I’d have preordered this figure except she’s already listed as sold out at both Amiami and Hobby Search. That’s rather strange since I haven’t noticed a great deal of hype or excitement regarding this figure. Regardless, it’s a Kotobukiya product so I’m assuming availability won’t be a major issue.
One of the curious things about the Muv-Luv girls is the inconsistency of their breast sizes. Even in official art, Yui is depicted as enormously racked and with a relatively reserved bust. Inia typically has a small bust – though not as small as Tarisa Manandal’s – but this figure looks a bit enhanced. Not a bad decision, all in all.
Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse is getting an anime this summer, and the show’s website was recently revamped to include some background information and a list of the show’s cast. It also features a picture of Yui and Cryska looking quite cute, though they seem to be in need of hugs. Curiously, nominal lead male Yuuya Bridges is nowhere to be found, though that appears to be his XFJ-01 mech in the background.
Well-known voice actress Mamiko Noto is providing the voice of Inia. Her Wikipedia article suggests that she’s known for voicing gentle and calm characters, but I associate her mostly with her roles as Masane Amaha, the grunting, moaning, orgasming weapon of destruction in the anime adaptation of Witchblade, and as Satellizer el Bridget in Freezing, who was of similar temperament, although minus some of the sexual innuendo.
Cryska Barchenowa from Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse
Unsurprisingly, Kotobukiya is making a figure of Cryska Barchenowa, who appears to share female co-lead responsibilities with Yui. As no manufacturer is inclined to make figures of the Total Eclipse characters in their piloting suits, it is also not surprising that Cryska is wearing a commie-red bikini. She’s also wearing a Santa hat – a bit odd given its summertime release date. Personally I would’ve liked it if she wore a thong as she does in some of Miyata Sou’s artwork, but I like the figure anyway and am looking forward to both it and the anime.
Fate T. Harlaown from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
Alter is making a Fate figure to go with their upcoming Nanoha figure. It seemed unlikely that they would base their figure off of the same source art, given that Fate is turned away and while her rear is very respectable, many collectors would probably rather look at her face. Indeed they’ve gone with an original pose for their figure, which looks pretty good – she looks sexy, confident, and cheerful. Her face probably isn’t the best Fate figure face I’ve ever seen – it seems like they were trying to incorporate the blocky, rectangular eye shape from her anime design, which I’m not a huge fan of – but my main problem with this figure is a few inches lower. Alter’s younger Fate Testarossa figure had a curious bulge in her crotch which I was willing to overlook, but Alter’s gone ahead and done it again.
I … don’t really know what that is. Given that Fate tends to not show much modesty in her choice of working clothes, one must assume that she’s aware of the importance of a trim appearance in that region. This is a Fate figure and I have a mandate to buy every good-looking Fate figure, but I’m hoping that the production figure is, uhh, better-groomed. I’m not even thinking about possible alternative explanations.
Iris from Pieces2
Ordering this figure is a bit like coming full circle; some of the earliest anime figures I owned were Yamato’s small-sized figures of Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell and now, eight or nine years later, they’re making another figure based off of Masamune Shirow’s characters, albeit in much larger size and from a more obscure series. This figure comes from Pieces2, an artbook published just a couple of years ago. It looks great and I’m assuming it’ll be just as good as Heat Blade is.
Masamune Shirow is certainly best known for creating Ghost in the Shell, and Appleseed is also fairly well known, but he’s also created a large body of rather risque work. I’d come across some of it while running “monster rape -male -yaoi -trap” searches on Gelbooru, but I didn’t know that he had whole artbooks with hentai art. Such as here. I’d say I’m a casual fan of Shirow’s artwork but seeing the sort of stuff he’s done lately, I think I ought to take a closer look at the art he has created in recent years.
Megurine Luka from Vocaloid
Probably one of the most anticipated figures of this year, I freely admit that I have no idea who this character is supposed to be. I know that she’s a Vocaloid character – I’ve seen her enough times on Danbooru to know that – but I’ve never heard any songs created with her voice pack nor do I know what her personality is supposed to be like. Then again, being an entirely synthetic character presumably created to sell software, her personality isn’t as important as her commercial appeal. She looks pretty nice, though I’m not too fond of her long skirt or wrestling boots, and I’ll have to think a bit more on this one before making up my mind.
Saber from Fate/hollow ataraxia
One of the most baffling announcements at last month’s Wonder Festival was that Alter is (re-)re-releasing this version of Saber. It dates all the way back to September 2007, so I suppose it gives newer collectors a chance to pick it up, though I think Alter has got a bunch of other figures that would have been more deserving of a second (or third) production run. It would seem more logical for Alter to capitalize on the Fate franchise’s resurgent popularity amongst the anime zeitgeist by looking at Fate/zero or Fate/extra rather than their five-year old back catalog; I think an Irisviel or Saber Extra figure would have been more warmly received. Not that any figure maker cares what I think. Anyway, Good Smile Company is cashing in on Fate/zero’s second season with motorbike Saber; Alter is chucking out this five-year old figure. I’m only getting one of those and it’s not too hard to guess which one I’m buying.
For people who have the Saber Alter maid figure or are planning on buying it, it appears that Alter is making the bases interlock. That’s pretty cute. I’d still prefer to see a Saber Bride figure.
Yozora Mikazuki from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
I very much enjoyed the recent anime adaptation of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai; at the end of the past anime season, I thought it was my favorite show of last fall, though with a little more contemplation, I think I’d now give that title to Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere instead. Haganai has some great characters with great chemistry, with the relationship between Yozora and Sena probably being the best part of the show (though I’m sure there are a lot of people partial to anything involving Kobato). This figure of Yozora seems to be getting a mixed reaction, with her face being a major point of contention. It looks like they were trying to give her an aggravated look, which seems right, but from some angles she also looks like she’s about to cry, which doesn’t really look appropriate. Yozora does have a sentimental side but I’m pretty sure they weren’t trying to bring it out in this figure. I’m not too thrilled with her outfit; I’m probably alone in this but the first thing I’m reminded of are the Zentraedi officer uniforms from Macross and Robotech.
But regardless, I like Yozora so I’ve ordered this figure. I’m looking more forward to their rendition of Sena, though.
Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid
Once again Good Smile Company makes good use of Miku Hatsune’s commercial versatility by casting her as a cheerleader for Japan. And while it’s easy to be cynical about the number of Vocaloid products they put out, this one represents a good cause, with 2000 yen of the sale price going to earthquake relief. That makes its 10,000 yen price tag a bit easier to accept, though let’s hope that they don’t repeat the shipping fiasco they instigated with one of their charity nendoroids last year. Wait, what was that I was saying about being cynical?
Miku looks really cute here, and despite my continued apathy regarding the whole Vocaloid phenomenon, I’m liking a lot of the Vocaloid stuff that Good Smile Company and Max Factory have been making. I’m probably going to order this one, though having to pay in entirety up front is a bit of a drag. If you want one, the order page is here; the process is fairly straightforward and no issues cropped up while ordering Lacia.
Naoe Kanetsugu from Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls
Fresh off of Alter’s first release comes this figure of Naoe Kanetsugu. It’s labelled a swimsuit version, though her outfit looks more like lingerie to me. Unfortunately, it’s a Japan-exclusive, mandating that overseas collectors use a proxy service to buy it. I ordered the version that comes with a luncheon mat; I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. Probably the same thing that I do with all my breast mousepads, which is wrap them up and throw them under my bed (except for the one that came with the Agarest War Really Naughty Limited Edition; I’m actually using that one because the Logitech mouse I’m using now doesn’t track well with the mousepad I’d been using for the past fifteen years).
Super Sonico from Nitroplus
This list wouldn’t be complete without a Fate Testarossa figure and without a Super Sonico figure. This one comes from Orchid Seed and seems to have the same stumpy legs as their bondage figure. Curious. I’m pretty sure I’ll order it anyway, though I’m a bit saddened that while her clothes are removable, she’s not wearing a thong. Sonico used to always wear a thong but now that she’s hit the big time like Jeremy Lin, I guess she’s too good to show off her butt now.
Ai Saeki from Fault!
Now here’s a very surprising figure. Alphamax used to be known for making very expensive polystone statues that nobody actually bought; now they seem to have switched over to making PVC figures of popular characters like Tamaki Kousaka, Super Sonico, and the girls from K-On!, Queen’s Blade, and Samurai Girls. Many of those figures exhibit quite a bit of fanservice but they’re still fairly tasteful, as far as anime figures go. However, here we have a figure from a hentai series with about as blatantly sexual a pose as one can imagine. I’m pretty happy with that, of course; I enjoyed the H-anime and while I’m getting a bit tired of Tony’s work on the Shining series and with the Vocaloid characters, I’ve always felt that his ero work is his best work. I don’t know that this figure bears a strong likeness to Tony’s style, but it looks fantastic anyway. I’m definitely looking forward to it and I hope Alphamax makes more figures from H-anime. It’ll never happen but if they or somebody else manufactures a figure of Brain Jacker, that would make my day.
Reika Shimohira from Gantz
In several of my figure reviews I’ve included a Hot Toys doll that bears a marked resemblance to the president of the United States. I’ve been trying to find him a running mate for a while and I haven’t yet found an acceptable candidate. I’d bought a doll of Deunan from Appleseed a while back to fill this role, but I decided she wasn’t a good fit because nobody knows who she is. I’m wondering if Reika could do the job; she’s pretty sexy and her Gantz suit is easily recognizable. On the other hand, quality and practicality are legitimate issuse: I’ve got a couple of Medicom’s Real Action Heroes dolls – the first-run Rei and Asuka dolls that they manufactured before the movies came out – and they aren’t that great. They’re rather floppy and don’t pose very well; I’m hoping that Medicom’s products have gotten better in the last eight years.
Actually, I think maybe the best candidate for running mate might be Azone’s Erio Touwa doll. The president adds a measure of levity to my reviews and having a bare-legged futon-wrapped girl lending support to his initiatives could be pretty funny. At least, I think seeing a futon-wrapped girl stumbling after the president while he molests my figures would be funny. I might be alone in that, too.