Tag Archives: year-end review

My Five Favorite Figures of 2016

And here is the much-belated list of my five most favorite figures of 2016. I have to admit that I was less moved by the selection this year than I have been in previous years, likely for two reasons. One, it’s because I’m not much of a fan of Kantai Collection, Love Live, or The Idolmaster, and it seems like there were a ton of figures from those series. And two, I don’t open my figures until I’m ready to photograph them, and I haven’t done nearly as much of that as I would have liked, which means I haven’t actually seen a lot of the figures I own. Doubtless this list will change as I open up figures; I could see that one Dragon Toy tentacle figure jumping on this list once I see it in person. But there’s no reason to wait until then, as this post has already been delayed more than enough.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2015

The week after New Year’s is the saddest week of the year: the lights go out, the trees get thrown in the garbage trucks and hauled away, the sales go quiet, and it’s months before the next fun holiday. Nonetheless, 2015 has dispersed into the ether of yesterday but before we look forward, I will observe my annual ritual of decreeing which five figures I liked the best from this past year (only a week and a day late). As I always say, the ranking here is based solely on my own preferences, with absolutely zero regard for whether a figure was popular with the masses or came from a popular show or was made by a popular manufacturer. Popular opinion does not move me much.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2014

Here are my five favorite figures of the previous year, fashionably late. The tardiness is only partially due to laziness; I don’t think I felt as excited about many of last year’s figures as I did in prior years. Maybe I’m just getting old or something. I did see a number of figures that I liked in all the Wonder Festival (also known as KanColleFest) coverage this past weekend, so that’s a good thing (most of those figures were from Alphamax/SkyTube, curiously). As usual, the ranking presented here does not reflect the popularity of the figures or the characters they represent, it doesn’t reflect preorder hype or community consensus, and it doesn’t mean that I think the number one figure was the very best figure released in the last year. This list solely expresses my own thoughts and preferences.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2013 & Year-End Thoughts

2013 is on the verge of twerking its way into memory and of course, that means it’s time for a customary year-end list. Such lists often purport to rank the best things of the nearly-departed year, but that’s not the case for this particular list. Rather, this list contains my favorite figures, which means I speak for nobody but myself and I rate solely by a single criterion: how much I liked the figure. Hype, popularity amongst the collecting community, and manufacturer reputation count for nothing here. We’ll also talk a little bit about the year that was in figure collecting; without further ado, let’s jump in.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2012 & Year-End Thoughts

As is traditional during this time of the year, this post will list my favorite figures of 2012. Unlike previous years, it wasn’t easy for me to come up with this list; in fact, I changed my mind once while taking photographs of these figures. Usually, there’s at least one figure per year that I really love, the sort of figure that, if it were to be damaged, I would move the heavens and earth to find a replacement for it. That figure is usually an Alter figure; in fact, Alter has made my favorite figure of each of the last three years. What about this year?
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2011 In Review & My Five Favorite Figures of the Year

2011 has flown right by, and as usual, here is the wrapup for this past year. I’ll start off with my five favorite figures of the year and then talk a little bit about what some figure makers did in 2011.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2010 & Year-End Thoughts

It’s the end of the year and in accordance with tradition, it is time for a list of my favorite figures of 2010. As with last year, this list only includes mass-produced PVC figures.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2009

Retrospective lists at the end of the year are de rigeur for magazines and newspapers and blogs, so I figured I’d provide a list of my five favoritest figures of 2009. This list includes only mass-marketed PVC figures released last year; otherwise, Kenshin would occupy slots one through five.

5.


Alter Narika from Beat Blades Haruka Figure

Narika from Beat Blades Haruka (Alter)

Despite being neither a big fan of twintails or the flat chest, I love Alter’s rendition of Narika. She’s got a great pose and her face expresses sauciness and playfulness in equal measure. Her split-front trousers and that huge weapon – whatever it is – are too cool as well.

4.


Orchid Seed Seena from Shining Wind Figure

Seena Kanon from Shining Wind (Orchid Seed)

Seena was one of the figures I was most looking forward to, and Orchid Seed did not disappoint me. She’s an elegant mix of sexiness and subtlety, of quiet repose and martial prowess. Tony’s designs usually make for excellent figures, and Seena doesn’t deviate from that expectation.

3.


Daiki Kougyou Kanu Unchou from Ikkitousen Figure

Kanu Unchou from Ikki Tousen (Daiki Kougyou)

Daiki Kougyou is one of the enigmas of the hobby; one has to wonder why they green-lit some of the figures they’ve churned out, but when they are at their best, they stand right up there with the big boys. Many companies – including Daiki – have made figures of Kanu Unchou, but their miko version stands out not just as my favorite Kanu, but one of my favorite figures of all time. They’ve done a great job making Kanu look sexy as hell in a sarashi and low-rise hakama combo, and if her fashion sense isn’t to one’s taste, they can be taken off altogether.

2.


Native Collet from Tony Taka Figure

Collet from Tony Taka (Native)

I’ve already noted how this figure answered one of my long-held dreams, but even besides that, this is an incredible figure. Ero figures are usually the province of smaller, less skillful manufacturers or niche garage kit makers, but Native shows us how to do them right. The combination of Tony’s art and Max Factory’s craftsmanship is unbeatable, and sculpting the figure in 1/6 scale elevates Collet from excellent to transcendent. Truly one of the best figures of 2009.

1.

Alter Metatron from Demonbane Figure
Metatron from Demonbane (Alter)

I suspect that Metatron was not one of Alter’s more popular releases in 2009, but of all the figures that they’ve made, she stands out as my favorite. I normally don’t like the looking-back-over-the-shoulder pose, but it works perfectly here, allowing the viewer to admire both her face and backside at the same time. She looks hot, capable, and confident, and she’s the 2009 figure that I like the most.

The most annoying trend of 2009
If I wanted to be snarky, I’d nominate the rampant proliferation of nendoroids for this prize. Instead, I’ll say that the increasing proclivity of figure manufacturers to sell their products solely on exclusive websites or at particular events is the most annoying trend of the past year. This sort of marketing strategy was once principally employed by less-mainstream companies like Volks, but now we see Alter jumping on board with several of their Hyakka Ryoran figures being exclusively sold through a magazine and their highly-anticipated Saber Alter maid figure being a Hobby Channel exclusive. MegaHouse retailed their Kagura and Yomi figures only through Digitamin, and Max Factory packed one of their figmas with a Gantz manga. I’m certain that the various deputy services in Japan are loving this, but for the rest of us, it’s quite the hassle.

Actually, you know, if I really, really wanted to be snarky, I’d claim that the unceasing torrent of Drossel pictures is the most annoying trend of 2009. But that would be unlike me, no? Me? Snarky? Unthinkable.

One thing I don’t ever want to see in 2010 but I know I will
Anything to do with Rin Kokonoe.

Three things I want to see in 2010 but I know I won’t


Two of these three girls have figures but one does not.

Beat Blades Haruka has some of the coolest character designs around, an opinion not lost on Alter, who have put out superb figures of Haruka and Narika. Conspicuously missing from their lineup is Subaru, the third ninja heroine. Now admittedly, she’s a bit quirky compared to her compatriots; Haruka is kind-hearted and loyal, Narika is spastic and mercurial, but Subaru is duty-minded, somewhat humorless, and something of a martinet. None of that is unusual, you say? She is also an amputee who gets a set of tentacles to replace her lost arm, she can potentially violently rape Haruka depending on how good you are at the game (or how sick you are in the head), and she seems to have a thing for pigs – don’t ask about that last one. Just join me in transmitting mental thoughts to Alter’s offices to persuade them to complete the Jougenshuu trio.

Moving on …


One of these three girls has a figure but two do not.

So I was watching Sora Kake Girl, and I notice this thing on the right side of the screen:

See that? Now either Good Smile Company paid money to get their logo up there, or GSC’s chairman has some photographs that Sunrise’s chairman would much prefer to keep secret. Given their sponsorship and also the fact that the cast of the show is composed almost entirely of female teenagers, one would think that GSC would be chucking out Sora Kake Girl figures left and right, no? Or at least, one would think that after they made Akiha, that Itsuki would be next, yes? I mean, they even let her cosplay as this character, whom I’m certain does not need an introduction:


This is not actually who she appears to be.

Heck, I’ll even settle for a cosplaying Itsuki figure. Maybe. Wait, no I won’t. GSC, I demand that you give us Itsuki in her Q-tector suit.


MegaHouse, you are the key that can set Irma free.

I took a look at the Queen’s Blade roster, and of the nineteen characters in the main line, I think only two haven’t gotten figures: Melpha and Irma. Melpha I can understand, she’s one of the more recent characters and she’s fat. Irma’s situation, however, confuses me. She’s not a new kid on the block – she was Queen’s Blade character number three. Her hair and eyes evoke Rei Ayanami, and like most of the lineup, she doesn’t wear many clothes. She received a bit more love (and even more pain) in the recent anime series, so hopefully that raises her profile enough that MegaHouse or Griffon sees fit to give her the PVC treatment.

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