I was surprised when I learned that Alter was making another Aegis figure. They’d already done a figure of Aegis and their current catalog is mostly focused on popular, recent anime – Strike Witches, Bakemonogatari, K-On! and Railgun in their time, and so on. And though Persona 3 is a great game, it feels like it’s been overshadowed and overwhelmed by its sequel. While Persona 3 spawned a derivative and mostly-forgotten anime series, Persona 4 received a direct anime adaptation, on top of getting a fighting game developed by Arc System Works (to be fair, a few Persona 3 characters will be appearing in that game). And while several Persona 4 characters – such as Teddie, Nanako, and every female member of the player’s party – seem to be fan favorites, you don’t really hear anybody wax rhapsodically about Yukari or Ken. Me, personally, I like Persona 3 much more than Persona 4, so I’m glad that Alter chose Aegis once more.
Unlike Alter’s earlier figure, this version of Aegis is made in 1/6 scale – a bit surprising since Alter doesn’t make many figures that large. However, this is not even the first time Alter’s followed up a 1/8 scale figure of a sexy female combat android RPG heroine with a 1/6 scale one; they did a couple of 1/8 scale versions of KOS-MOS before making a 1/6 scale figure of her, albeit in a bikini. At any rate, the big size of this figure is one thing I really like about it. Aegis is about 28 centimeters tall, giving her a very impressive shelf presence.
One of the other things I really like about this figure is that minimal setup is necessary to get her ready for display. She comes with just two parts – the figure and the base. Snap the figure into the base and bam, you’re done. I suppose I wouldn’t have minded if she came with an optional arm accessory to replace her right arm with a rifle – I liked that look for her in the video game – but then again, it probably would look silly given her pose.
As the figure’s title suggests, this figure is based off of an illustration by Shigenori Soejima, the character designer and art director for Persona 3 and 4. I’ve been a fan of his artwork for a while, ever since I saw his illustrations for a relatively obscure PlayStation 2 tactical RPG called Stella Deus. I loved the art style of that game, so much so that I intended to buy it solely on the attractiveness of its cover. However, I was apprehensive of the lack of Japanese voices, and I wrote a post on Atlus’s forum asking whether they’d consider including the original voice track and suggesting that my purchasing decision would be influenced by the voice acting. An Atlus forum rep wrote back and suggested I ought to find a new hobby if I actually cared about voices in video games. Upon its release, Stella Deus received mediocre reviews, with many critiques commenting on the poor voice acting. I didn’t pick it up then; faced with Atlus’s arrogance and indifference, I resolved to boycott their games. I later bought Stella Deus really cheaply out of the used game bin at a local Gamestop.
My boycott lasted only a couple of years, when I picked up Persona 3. While Atlus didn’t include the Japanese voices – and to my knowledge, they generally don’t with any of their games – they did, to their credit, make a much stronger effort at giving the game a high-quality localization. I also picked up Persona 3 FES when it came out and loved it, so much so that it’d probably be fifth on my list of all-time favorite RPGs (right behind Phantasy Star II, Wasteland, Baldur’s Gate, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). I even bought a PSP mostly to play Persona 3 Portable. Conversely, I still haven’t beaten Persona 4 (though I’m pretty close to the end and I know who the boss bad guy is, because it was revealed in the artbook that Atlus included with preorders. Thanks, Atlus.) and I don’t like the characters quite as much; in particular, I dislike Nanako (because I don’t like little kids in my video games) and I really don’t like Teddie. I like the Persona 3 characters quite a bit more – or rather, I like the starting party members quite a bit more, since I never bothered using Ken or the dog. Admittedly, despite my affection for Mitsuru, I frequently rolled my eyes and stared at the ceiling whenever she busted out Marin Karin, which was often at the most inopportune times.
Aegis was my favorite character in the game, though – I have a thing for quiet, emotionless female characters, and I also have a thing for sexy female cyborgs and androids. A lot of people must feel the same way as me because Aegis has gotten quite a few figures – two from Alter, a couple from Cospa – also based direclty off of Soejima’s artwork, a Kotobukiya one, (probably) an upcoming maid figure by REFLECT, and several action figures, including a couple of Figmas. Atlus has also recognized her popularity since she becomes the main character of Persona 3′s epilogue segment, and she was quickly announced as a playable character in Persona 4 Arena.
The character designs for Persona 3 and 4 are heavily influenced by the conventions of anime – big eyes, big heads, relatively small torsos and slender limbs – but this figure of Aegis features much more realistic proportions than is the norm. Aegis’s head is about human-sized and while her legs are quite long, her body build looks much more like a grown adult rather than an adolescent, which is what she resembled in the game.
This realism extends to her facial features as well. While her eyes are still big, she’s unusual in that she has a normally-sized nose rather than a small pointed stub like so many anime figures, and she’s particularly unusual in that her lips are a highlight of her design. Lips are seldom a focus point in anime character design, and they seem to show up most often on older characters. I have to admit, I was quite worried when I saw the painted prototype of this figure; I didn’t think her lips looked very attractive. In fact, I thought some of the promo photos made her look like the Joker from Batman; the red slash of her mouth and the flat look of her face didn’t seem very appealing.
However, my initial impression was as completely wrong as it could possibly be. Aegis’s face is gorgeous and the promo photos weren’t too successful in conveying how beautiful her lips are. Their inclusion here goes a long way in making Aegis look older than she usually does, and though she has just a small smile on her face, her lips are sensuous and her expression is enigmatic. Alter has done a fantastic job with giving Aegis a very unique look.
Another aspect of this figure that sets it apart is its complexity. The level of detail included in Aegis’s sculpt is absolutely astonishing. A cursory glance at pictures shows just how accurate this figure is to her design.
I particularly like how the metallic golden paint contrasts with the matte white color of her body shell.
I also really like how the white covering looks both rigid yet elastic. Wrinkles are visible at her joints, giving it the appearance of clothing, but the damage on her right thigh gives it the appearance of protective polymer.
Even tiny, inconsequential details are not overlooked. This knob on her left forearm is maybe a few millimeters in diameter and one or two millimeters in height – and yet it features rows of knurls on its exterior surface. How many figure makers would go through the trouble of achieving this level of detail and realism? How many even have the capability to do so?
I suppose the one quibble I might have is that they used a faux-transparent material to craft Aegis’s hair. It doesn’t look bad at all in real life, but perhaps a more matte look might’ve been preferable. It calls to mind Alter’s original figure of KOS-MOS; I remember being disappointed that they used a transparent material for her hair rather than the solid powder blue color present in all her promo photos.
I guess another quibble – an unfair one but one that should probably be mentioned – is that her character design doesn’t offer much to satisfy backside fans. Fans of feet aren’t going to be too pleased either, since her feet are more like hooves. I don’t know how many people are fans of feet but I know that there’s one coaching a professional football team in the United States, so perhaps it’s more common a fetish than I imagine.
But in all seriousness, I don’t think there’s anything negative I can say about this figure. It’s amazing, one of the finest figures I’ve ever seen. That it’s of a character that I like is a great bonus, as is its size. I think Alter is the best figure maker out there but with Aegis, they’ve surpassed even their own august standards.
When you’re packing firepower in the form of an M41A pulse rifle – ten millimeter with over-and-under thirty millimeter pump action grenade launcher – who needs Palladion?
The sinuous, slithery, seductive tentacle stand loves all women, whether they be flesh and blood or stainless steel and circuit boards.