Arc Systems Works has been pushing the BlazBlue franchise hard in recent times. Notably, the fifth and most recent console iteration of the game – BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma Extend – is due for release in the North American market in just a few days. In addition, its ofttimes incomprehensible plot has been extended by a dizzying array of multimedia: spinoff games – including, rather incongruously for a fighting game series, some visual novels – manga, light novels, and a poorly-received anime series. Concomitant with this expansion is the sort of product push that the better-known Guilty Gear series never received, comprising a variety of wall scrolls, stickers, hugging pillowcase covers, and of course, figures such as this one. This isn’t even the first Mu-12 figure to hit the market – that distinction goes to FREEing’s version from well over a year back – but being that the last time Alter made a figure of an Arc System Works character turned out quite well, the redundancy is not at all unwelcome.
We talked about Mu-12’s background in the review of her earlier figure, so we’ll just repeat the most salient points: Mu-12 is the true form of Noel Vermillion, the putative leading lady of the BlazBlue series. She is initially introduced as a fearsome antagonist but, in the usual form of these sorts of things, comes to her senses once given a thrashing and reverts to being a good guy.
This figure is manufactured by Alter and represents something of a return to form for them. For one, it’s a very large figure; just eyeballing the figure’s dimensions, Mu-12 is of roughly similar size to Alter’s lineup of Nanoha figures, which are also comparable size to many 1/6 scale figures produced by other companies. It’s certainly far larger than FREEing’s figure, which has dashed my plan to display them together – not that it would have worked out well, as their bases and blade accessories voraciously consume shelf space. The figure itself is about 24 centimeters in height at the top of her head, and its overall height is around 33 centimeters, including the base and the two antenna-like parts of her headgear.
The elaborate base constitutes a major element of this figure’s size. No plain black disc here; Mu-12 stands astride a massive pedestal of sorts, with her legs surrounded by some sort of translucent aqua blue plastic which I suppose is meant to represent fire or energy vortices or something. The pegs in which her feet – or legs, technically, as her mechanical apparatus entirely covers her feet – slot into are made of metal, which will hopefully ward off any leaning, sagging, or warping due to the substantial weight of the figure. At the least it should prevent any peg snapping, which occasionally becomes a problem as figures age. Despite its complexity, the base is quite obviously made of plastic, which detracts a bit from its impact. Eight blades can be arrayed around Mu-12; these formed the wings of the FREEing figure and while I think they are quite a bit more striking as wings than as blades thrust into the ground, they would just impede the view of the figure due to her pose. Indeed, the blades complicate taking pictures of this figure as well as taking up a great deal of space, and I plan to put them back into the box as I don’t have the available shelf space to accommodate them. The base also has some light-up effects but I don’t have the LR44 batteries needed to power the display and no batteries were included, so I do not know what they look like and how convincing they are. The power switch for the lights is on the bottom of the base, which is the very worst place that it could be. It would have been nice if they had incorporated the switch into some unobtrusive element on the upper side of the base.
That said, the figure is spectacular enough as it is. Mu-12 has a very distinctive design, with her bulky shoulderpads, visor, and leg armor contrasting markedly with the skimpiness of the rest of her costume. One drawback of her oversized headgear is that it is quite difficult to see her eyes, though that does emphasize the mechanical aspects of her design as well as accentuating her emotionless nature.
Mu-12’s outfit covers up her sides but leaves much of her front and rear uncovered. In particular, Mu-12 wears a thong that completely exposes her backside. This will obviously be one of the main draws of this figure.
In the great tradition established by figures like Matabei and Metatron, Mu-12’s pose is calculated to give the viewer the best possible view of her ass. Alter doesn’t always go for the sexy – some might term it slutty – look for their figures but when they do, they go all-in.
Mu-12’s bottom is a strapless C-string, soemtimes labeled a crotch plate, which is pretty much what it is. One wonders how it stays on.
Her abbreviated attire highlights another interesting element of Mu-12’s design: the prominence of her pelvic bones. This isn’t something that is at all common; in fact, I can’t think of any other figure in which these bones were so conspicuous. Nonetheless, they do look attractive, perhaps because they attract attention to just how much skin she is showing. I suppose that in a genre in which a character wearing a thin blue ribbon has become the subject of an astonishing degree of infatuation, this sort of thing doesn’t seem too unusual; anime culture has always had its quirky fetishes.
Speaking of which, Mu-12’s breasts are also highly noticeable, with her underboob – also a major characteristic of Dizzy, I-No, Ramlethal Valentine, and a bunch of other Arc System Works characters – being especially apparent. Mu-12’s breasts are quite small and they look a little odd if you study them for a while.
The outer covering of Mu-12’s leg armor suffers a bit from its flat paint job, though to be fair that’s more or less how they look in the game
The part which contacts her legs has a more attractive dark satin finish, which looks a good deal better.
Mu-12’s hair is a large, solid and featureless mass; a bit disconcerting at first but this is also very much how her hair appears in the game so any resemblance to a melting mass of cheese can be excused.
Going back to this subject, the sculpting work done on her abdomen and above her groin really is impressive. There are a ton of swimsuit figures that show just as much skin as Mu-12 but most of them don’t have nearly the same level of detail in terms of musculature and bone structure. The sculptor really did a fantastic job with her anatomy.
And I would say that this is a really fantastic figure in almost all respects. It’s a figure that combines technical excellence, overt sexiness, and the kind of ambition of presentation that only Alter regularly pulls off. It’s a necessary and all-too-infrequent reminder that although Alter’s catalog sometimes seems wan in comparison to their heyday, they are still second to none in terms of quality.