Category Archives: Figure Review

Kozue Sakakibara from T2 Art Girls (NSFW)

Kozue Sakakibara from T2 Art Girls

Many manufacturers have made figures based on Tony’s illustrations, but today we’ll be looking at a figure from a new company that’s never made a Tony figure before. Okay, technically Dragon Toy seems to be affiliated with Daiki Kougyou and that company has been around for a very long time, but I don’t recall that Daiki Kougyou has ever made a Tony figure, either. Admittedly, that’s not all that notable in itself; after all, there are a billion figures of Tony-designed characters from a slew of manufacturers. However, despite the number of Tony figures out there, Kozue possesses a quality that transcends quantity – which is to say, perversity. Indeed, the indecency of this figure is impressive, even by contemporary anime standards, in which the bar is already set very high, or low, depending on one’s viewpoint.
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Alisa Ilinichina Amiella from God Eater 2 (GE2 Version)

Alis Iilinichina Amiella from God Eater 2

Alisa is the most popular character from God Eater, at least amongst figure companies, and it’s not hard to see why. Since Plum released their first version of her, she’s had one more figure released by Alphamax with another in the pipeline, and Volks is apparently doing a big-ass doll of her, which looks nice. This is Plum’s second figure of her, and while it represents a noticeable improvement over their original product, it’s not without its own faults – though admittedly, some of those faults are self-imposed.
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Hakufu Sonsaku from Ikki Tousen (NSFW)

Hakufu Sonsaku from Ikki Tousen

It feels like it’s been a while since a notable Ikki Tousen figure was released. That’s sort of an odd thing to think, as a common complaint from a few years back was that too many companies were making Ikki Tousen figures. However, most of those figures were of fan favorites Kanu Unchou and Ryomou Shimei; nominal lead girl Hakufu Sonsaku never got that many figures. I suppose that’s not that surprising; while she was one of the first characters to be introduced in the manga, she wasn’t really all that interesting, and she never seemed to achieve the sort of popularity that the other characters gained. That alone makes this figure peculiar; what makes it even more unusual is its styling. Ikki Tousen’s character designs don’t stray far from typical anime conventions, but this figure provides quite a different take on Hakufu, so much so that one might not have been able to identify this character at first glance, even if one were familiar with the series.
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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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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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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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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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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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Inia Sestina from Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse (Eishi Strengthening Equipment Version)

Inia Sestina from Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse

Last year, we took a look at Kotobukiya’s figures of Yui Takamura and Cryska Barchenowa. A few months after those figures hit the market, Kotobukiya released a figure of Inia Sestina, which is what we’re looking at here. It appears that Inia closes out the series, which is unfortunate for fans of Tarisa Manandal, Stella Bremer, or Cui Yifei, who seem unlikely to get figures of their own, and I suppose I can also mention the male characters as well, who almost certainly will not ever get figures. It’s a mildly curious situation, as the various Muv-Luv Alternative series have always been accompanied by strong merchandising efforts, but those are just the breaks, I guess.
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