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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Kouko Kaga from Golden Time (PS Vita Version)

Kouko Kaga from Golden Time

Kouko Kaga is the lead female character of the light novel and anime series Golden Time. The show seems to have done reasonably well, having received a full 24-episode run along with the usual array of merchandise – posters, telephone cases, keychains, and so on – that accompany a popular series. However, it has yet to draw attention from figure companies, which is too bad, since the characters are both memorable and attractive. This particular figure of Kouko was not sold by itself; rather, it was a pack-in with the limited edition version of the PS Vita game Golden Time: Vivid Memories. That means that expectations need to be tempered, as such throw-in products are rarely as good as a figure that is sold by itself. However, it is to date the only figure of any Golden Time character, at least as far as I know, and I’m not aware of any upcoming figures depicting any members of the show’s cast. Again, that’s too bad, but I suppose one figure is better than none.
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Ringo Hanamaru from Ane to Boin (NSFW)

Ringo Hanamaru from Ane to Boin

In anime and anime culture, it occasionally happens that some unusual aspect or theme suddenly becomes popular, seemingly all at once. For instance, a couple of anime series centered on futuristic depictions of Oda Nobunaga appeared earlier this year. More broadly, incest has became a strangely persistent and ubiquitous feature of contemporary anime, and I’m at a loss to explain why. Figures are no less immune to this confluence of peculiar themes, and with this particular example, we may observe a tangible specimen of the phenomenon: namely, the toilet bowl seen here. Strangely, girls on toilets have become weirdly visible in figure collecting as of late, with Kaitendoh having released such a figure a few months ago and with Native set to release their own a few months from now. Why is the commode a thing amongst figure makers? Damned if I know. I do know it isn’t the first weird fad we’ve seen, though, and it certainly won’t be the last.
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Iris Hartley from Lorelei; Sea of Stars (NSFW)

Iris Hartley from Lorelei; Sea of Stars

Another day, another Tony Taka figure. Not long ago, seeing so many Tony figures would’ve prompted a collective sigh of exasperation but these days, the way Alphamax does them, I’m very happy to see them. We looked at Velvet a few weeks ago and today, we’ll be looking at Iris Hartley. Iris is grouped under the Skytube label, which means that she has some significant differences from Velvet, particularly in ero content, which I’m sure will make some collectors happy.
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Thalia from ORI Infinity

ORI Thalia figure

Ostensibly, one of the best things about reviewing stuff is getting free figures from manufacturers. Not that I would know for myself; in the first five years of this website I’ve never gotten a review sample. Personally, I think I prefer it that way; as nice as it is to get free stuff, they tend to come with strings attached, whether explicitly defined or merely suggested. I run this website purely as a hobby and as such I don’t like taking on unnecessary work or responsibilities.

A few months ago, a representative of E2046 asked me if I would be interested in reviewing their figure of Thalia. I was a little hesitant to accept, being that I take great pride that this site is completely independent and is, at least in my perception, detached from the larger figure-collecting community, which is how I like it. However, I find it difficult to turn down free stuff, even if strings are attached, and in this case, the only obligation I would undertake would be to photograph and review the figure, which I’ve been doing for years, anyway. Therefore, I agreed that I would review Thalia; they shipped me the figure and here she is.
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Preorder Outlook XXXIII

A number of figures have been announced recently, including many that we saw at last month’s Wonder Festival, so let’s take a look at some that I’m considering ordering. Most of them are very pricy, which unfortunately seems to be the norm nowadays, and for some reason most of the ones listed here have ship dates crammed into August. Happily for me, I’ve got some credit card points and a larger-than-expected tax refund to draw from, and that should cushion the checking account shock a bit. Meanwhile, let’s get going with the post.
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Velvet Batrass from Shining Ark

Velvet from Shining Ark

In the anime figure world, Tony Taka is clearly the man of the moment, with Kotobukiya’s Daisy having generally received positive acclaim and with Native having recently put Touko on the Can up for preorder. Recently, however, it has been Alphamax who has shown the most enthusiasm for bringing Tony’s artwork into the three-dimensional world. In the last few months they’ve released not one, not two, but three figures based on his illustrations, including Iris, Rikka Himegami, and Velvet, the figure we’re looking at today. Velvet stands out a bit from her Skytube counterparts in that she is not an ero figure – unsurprising, being that she comes from a PSP game – and that she’s nominally a bit smaller than her catalog cousins. Nonetheless, I’m a big fan of Alphamax’s recent work, and I had high expectations for Velvet; happily, her quality is well in keeping with the standards set by her forebears.
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Cyril Brooklyn from Pieces 2 (NSFW)

Cyril Brooklyn from Pieces 2

And it’s back to figure reviews – delayed due to an annoyingly persistent case of the flu. Winter’s end cannot come too soon. Today we’ll be looking at Cyril Brooklyn, a character that comes from the artwork of renowned artist Masamune Shirow. Shirow is best-known for creating the series Ghost in the Shell, and his style is perhaps most closely associated with that of the 1980s and 1990s. It seems appropriate, then, that this figure is manufactured by Arcadia – the reincarnation of Yamato Toys, who were well-known for their Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Macross Plus, and Macross 7 toys. Figures based on his illustrations are not all that common, but fans of his art now have this one, the previously-released Iris Hallett, and the upcoming Daiki Kougyou figure of Nanal Grahambury. It’s not exactly an embarrassment of riches, but it’s nice to see his work get some love from the figure makers.
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Year Five Retrospective

Tentacle Armada is five years old today! Hooray! Time sure does fly right by. I don’t know of too many figure review sites that have been updated continuously for five years, and with 263 figure and doll reviews currently listed here, I don’t know of many that have been as prolific, either. I don’t often talk about the state of the site but today I indulge myself: as usual, this post is the post where I pontificate about where this website has been and where it is going.
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