Tag Archives: Good Smile Company

Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid (Racing 2011 Version)

Miku Hatsune Racing 2011 figure by Good Smile Company

Another day, another Vocaloid figure. The Vocaloid phenomenon offers a little something for everyone. To amateur musicmakers, it is an empowering tool, giving them the ability to add vocals to their instrumental tracks. For artists, it is a source of inspiration for their illustrations. For companies, it’s a reliably fat cash cow – slap a Vocaloid image on a product or insert one of the characters into a video game and watch the units fly off the shelves. A few companies have taken this commercial exploitation to another level; Sega, for example, loves throwing her into games that she has no business being in. And Good Smile Company too, who have made so many products featuring her likeness that she might as well be their mascot. At least in the case of their auto racing team, it seems that this is literally true, as this figure represents.
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Inori Yuzuriha from Guilty Crown

Inori Yuzuriha figure by Good Smile Company

When you get down to it, figure collectors are really just grown-ass men and ladies who buy lots of toys. And of course, one of the best things about having toys is playing make-believe with them. In that spirit, we’re going to pretend that Inori doesn’t come from one of the most wrongfully overhyped shows of the past few years. We’re going to pretend that Inori isn’t a terrible character from an even worse series because Inori, you are so pretty and you don’t deserve all the things that were done to you. You deserved a much better show. You don’t deserve to be the concubine of the Shührer or the wet nurse of a different character. You deserved better writers and a better director. And well, while this figure isn’t bad, per se, you definitely deserved a bigger figure.
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Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid (Cheerful Version)

Miku Hatsune Cheerful Figure Review

Back to figure reviews, and what more appropriate character to feature than Miku Hatsune, that ubiquitous, protean pitchwoman of software products, racing teams, and Toyota automobiles?
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Yozora Mikazuki from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

Yozora Mikazuki Figure Review

The series Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is an unqualified merchandising success, with scads and scads of licensed stuff hitting the hobby stores this past year. Unsurprisingly, figure makers have jumped right in, with numerous figures of Sena and Yozora either already released or in the works (unfortunately, fans of the other characters are left with much slimmer pickings). Most of those figures are coming from makers like Alphamax, Wave, and Kotobukiya, who are good manufacturers, but I would say that Good Smile Company’s products are generally more consistently high quality. So here comes Good Smile Company; they’ll show all the other makers how to make figures of the Haganai characters … right?
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Lacia from BEATLESS

Lacia from BEATLESS

One of the first anime figures I ever bought was Alpha’s Motoko Kusanagi Hard Disk Version. It’s cheaply-made and primitive by today’s standards, and it’s not a scale-size figure, but even so, I still like it, mainly because I like the character design. Scantily-clad female combat androids are a staple of science fiction anime and video games and, having grown up on that stuff, it’s a theme I like a lot. I hesitated for just a moment on ordering Lacia, since Good Smile Company sold this figure only through their online store and I always consider twice when it comes to paying for a figure up-front. However, after seeing her preview pictures, I felt that this was going to be a fine figure, and now that it’s here, my esteem for Lacia has only grown.
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Strength from Black Rock Shooter (Animation Version)

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

As we get older, it seems that time moves quicker and the world changes more rapidly. However, there are some constants that do not change. Death and taxes are among the less comforting, but for figure collectors, there are at least two happy certainties: Good Smile Company will continue to make exceptional figures of the Black Rock Shooter characters, and those exceptional figures will invariably find their way into Amiami’s bargain bin. I initially waffled on preordering Strength and then decided to pass on her. However, after seeing some reviews of the figure, I changed my mind and thought about buying it for full price. I felt a price cut was likely, though, and the maxim that good things come to those who wait sometimes holds true in figure collecting – more so with the BRS stuff. So it happened that Strength got her price slashed by more than half; not quite the 2,500 yen or so that Black Rock Shooter herself went for, but still a very welcome discount.
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Triela from Gunslinger Girl

Triela from Gunslinger Girl Figure Review

It’s girls with guns time. I’m a big fan of the genre in anime but I skipped over Gunslinger Girl entirely. I like girls with guns but there’s an unstated qualifier there – which is to say, I like attractive girls with guns, and the cast of Gunslinger Girl does not exactly drip with sex appeal. However, the boxy heads and rectangular eyes of the characters appear to be peculiar to the anime, and this figure features a more conventional face – a welcome decision that shifts the principal focus from the atypical facial proportions to the attractiveness of the character and in particular, the mood that she expresses.
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Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay night (Unlimited Blade Works Version)

Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay night Figure

The internet is a pervasive force in everyday life. One of the things the internet is good for is finding reviews of stuff. In particular, I find movie and video game reviews to be helpful because people whose tastes are similar to mine generally view games and films in a similar way that I would. Not a long while ago I asked a friend what he thought of the film Sucker Punch and he said he didn’t really like it, and I knew I probably wouldn’t like it much, either. Our subjective tastes significantly overlap, and on top of that, there are objective criteria that one can use to assess a game or movie, such as plot coherence, the quality of dialogue, the quality of graphics, and so on.

Figures, however, are a funny thing because their appeal is so personal, at least to me. Take the Black Rock Shooter figures, for instance. On the surface, they seem to match many of the things I like: cute girls, fearsome weapons, and not many clothes. And yet I don’t particularly like them very much. Or take Miku Hatsune, whose character design I don’t particularly care for either. Certainly her design looks very similar to many characters that I do like and yet I don’t have much affection for her. Or take Yuri from Angel Beats. She’s cute, has a short skirt, and packs a big gun. Okay, I heard Angel Beats got a mixed reception but I haven’t even seen it and don’t plan to, so that doesn’t affect me at all. Why didn’t I buy the figure? Beats me. I’m thinking maybe I should check whether she’s in stock anywhere.

Basically what it comes down to is that every collector is going to decide for him or herself whether a figure is a worthwhile purchase, and that decision is going to be influenced by very nuanced and very personal factors. It’s a decision that really can only be made by the individual.

I’m guessing that a large majority of people reading this post have no idea where I’m coming from with this intro. That’s okay. I wish I were among you, to be honest. But enough of that, we have a figure to look at. This is my opinion of Rin Tohsaka.
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Saber Alter from Fate/stay night

Good Smile Company's Saber Alter

I’m a big fan of corrupted girls in fiction. Kerrigan in Starcraft, Seven of Nine in Star Trek Voyager, Yomi in Ga-rei Zero – love them all. The eroge Fate/stay night has a couple of corrupted female characters who have deserved figures for a while. Dark Sakura has a cool design and Gift has recently released a fine figure showing her in all her evil glory. But as a fan of armored girls wielding big broadswords, I really wanted a good figure of Saber Alter. Good Smile Company has finally obliged, and their rendition of Saber Alter is set to redefine the meaning of badass.
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Junko Hattori from Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou (Queen’s Gate Version)

Junko Hattori figure

One of the nice things about Hobby Japan’s Queen’s Gate series is that it gives a spotlight to a few characters who wouldn’t otherwise get a lot of love from figure makers. Dizzy was one, at least until Alter made their figure, and I’ve also ordered Ivy Valentine’s figure, since she’s only gotten a few thus far. I gave some thought to trying to get the Queen’s Gate figure of Katja from Seikon no Qwaser, but while I like the character, I would’ve liked the figure more if she were in her dominatrix outfit. Curiously, Lily from Namco’s Tekken series stands out as the sole Queen’s Gate character not to get a figure thus far. That’s a shame; I wouldn’t mind seeing a figure of her, especially in her 3P costume. Oh well. Junko Hattori is another character that would seem an unlikely candidate for a conventional, mass-market figure; she’s not generally regarded as one of the best characters from her show, and her show is primarily known for its absurd level of incoherence. At any rate, I do like both the character and the way that she looks, so even though having to go through a proxy service is a bit of a hassle, I ordered her right away and here she is now.
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