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Kasumi from Dead or Alive 5

Kasumi from Dead or Alive 5

We’ve noted before that fighting games don’t seem to get a ton of figures, at least relative to the number of popular and well-known characters that would seem to make for attractive figures. Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo series has ameliorated this dearth to some extent, though I admit I kinda have a hard time taking that product line seriously. Nonetheless, it’s nice to see some of the girls from Street Fighter and Tekken getting some love from a figure company.

One series that hasn’t gotten much love in terms of merchandising – at least until very recently – is Dead or Alive. It’s an unexpected situation since Dead or Alive’s main appeal stems from its female cast. Street Fighter, Tekken, Soul Calibur, and other fighting games are known for the sophistication and responsiveness of their combat systems, and one can find many videos of tournament matches attesting to their gameplay depth; meanwhile, it is equally facile to find videos of the Dead or Alive girls in their defeated poses, the camera lingering on their succuluent, sweat-streaked bodies. As crude as that may seem, that type of content ought to be old hat for anyone who watches contemporary anime and particularly for anyone who collects anime figures, and it seems like the Dead or Alive series should have more figures than it does. Well, now we have one more, of lead girl Kasumi. Unfortunately, its manufacturer has a reputation that is charitably described as mixed. Seeing the Griffon logo on the box doesn’t engender confidence but it’s not like there’s a surfeit of Kasumi figures to choose from.
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Mea Kurosaki from To Love-Ru Darkness

Mea Kurosaki from To Love-Ru Darkness

It’s almost always a treat to photograph a Max Factory figure, except when they get tossed in the bargain bin shortly after I pay full price for them. Resentment aside, they very rarely disappoint, and it’s particularly appealing when they produce a figure of a character who hasn’t received many figures prior. Such is the case with Mea Kurosaki, and that circumstance is a bit strange considering how popular To Love-Ru is and how attractive and well-known its female cast is. Nonetheless, it’s great to see her getting a figure, particularly when it looks as nice as this one does.
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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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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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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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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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