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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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23 Responses to My Five Favorite Figures of 2009

  1. Guy says:

    Martinet is a cute word 😛

    Well, I think the “GSC” appearing in the series is part of the otaku, or geek, or any fan lingo, where you feel approved, that your status is approved when you not only see, but recognize those easter eggs. It’s a self-affirming thing.
    And yeah, Akiha’s rump is one of the best, ever. They should have highlighted it when selling her.

    Dunno, the pose on Metatron and her suit didn’t do it for me.
    Daiki’s Kanu reminds me of Rurouni Kenshin, especially the original design for him with the black hair and the heavily armoured bit, heh.

    What’s the relationship between Max Factory (GSC) and Native?

    Hope to see you here next year, you money spender, we demand to see a photo of where you keep all your figures, the lot of them.

    As for Rin, how can you call yourself an ecchi figure reviewer and then disregard the main pedophile bait? Heh…
    No, I’m right there with you.

  2. Aka says:

    I like the Drossel pictures that are released! I think she’s adorable, and I enjoy seeing her brought to life. Much more so than any other figma. I purchased 3 Drossels! (and have done next to nothing with them, I should get on that).

    The more I see that Narika figure, the more I want to buy her. I’m a fan of Twintails, though not necessarily flat chest, I do prefer some breast there, just nothing so large as Collet’s breasts as nice as they are.

    I too do not want to see anything at all to do with Rin. A friend of mine loves the manga, I almost decided to read it just to appease him, but I couldn’t do it.

    Subaru has tentacles for arms and can tentacle rape the others? count me in!

  3. Ashlotte says:

    Bah you should read it Aka…If you don’t let yourself get too hung up on loli fanservice their is a very deep and interesting story weaved into it honestly.

    Fun choices btw Tier…I’ve almost bought Meta so many times this past year but a lack of familiarity with the character always stopped me short. Maybe after demonbane gets its English release I’ll go back and see about finding her. ~_^

  4. Tier says:

    >> Guy
    I think GSC did actually sponsor the show; if I remember correctly, their logo also pops up after the opening where you hear a narrator talking about grand sponsors. Cospa did as well; they’ve chucked out a few pillowcases and they are very nice (I probably should put Itsuki back on my hug pillow). It’s very strange how little merchandise this show has moved given that, at first glance, it appeared to be all about moving licensed merchandise.

    I think Native is an offshoot of Max Factory; I recall that Kotone’s box made a mention of Max Factory, and it appears that Native’s sculptors have worked primarily on MF products. I remember reading that MF is getting into the eroge business, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Native puts out scale figures of MF-designed characters someday.

    There’s this picture of Rin up on, I bet you know which one I’m talking about. It makes me want to throw my fist through my monitor when I see it. It’s one of the reasons I visit that site a lot less often now than I used to.

    >> Aka
    I liked Drossel when it came out, I had planned on ordering it when it came out in the US. And then everyone got one. Or more than one. And then you started seeing it everywhere. Pictures of it inside the house. Outside the house. On advertisements (I ain’t ordering anything from Otacute unless they’re the last resort). Everywhere.

    Don’t let my hating affect what you like, though. XD I have this curious tendency to hate anything that becomes hugely popular. It’s not even something I consciously think about.

    It’s a bit strange how Narika sort of came and went without much fanfare. foo-bar-baz didn’t even do a review of her. That might not bode well for my hopes of a Subaru figure.

    Subaru gets mind-controlled or possessed or something, I think, and she gets a chance to beat up on Haruka in the game. I hadn’t powered up Haruka very much when I got to that point (mainly because, being Japanese-illiterate, I couldn’t read the menus) so evil Subaru clobbered my ninja and had her way with her. It was really cool, but it did knock poor Haruka out of commission for a while and since I hadn’t used Narika very much, my evil-fighting efforts came to a screeching halt for a while.

    I think you have to defeat Subaru and restore her to being a good guy to progress in the game, and when you do that her arm looks normal (although in some of the CGs I’ve seen, it appears she can turn it into a tentacle arm again. I never got those scenes so I’m not quite sure how that happens.)

    >> Ashlotte
    Thanks, I’ve got the feeling that there aren’t many top five lists with any of the figures that I’ve listed XD I’m looking forward to Demonbane too; after seeing Nitro+ merchandise for so long, it’ll be cool to be able to play one of the source games.

  5. Blowfish says:

    Ahh…You know what?
    I have something right here that may soothe your pain ovr Irma not getting any figure releases so far…
    It should be a definite get for you since its full of Irma Goodness!
    I hope to review it this weekend! 😛

    Your paragraph about Beat Blades Haruka has gotten me seriously interested in the Novel!No other Review has done that before.XD
    Is it actually avaiable in english?

    If id be an amputee id implant some tentacles aswell for uh efficeny reasons ^^

    So Daiki`s Kanu is only one year old?`It feels like im longing to own this figure for an eternity but always pushed her back due to her various color variations.I thought there might be still some avaiable when ill have some spare cash. 🙁

    Thats why I preordered their Ryomou in sexay Yamashita Design the minute preorders opened 😛

    I totally agree on that exclusive trend.Its such a big pain in the butt that some figures require you to spend large sums of cash on something you dont even want or to simply aquire it.
    They should atleast do it like Megahouse with an Exclusive Colour Variarion and Regular Colour.
    That gives you atleast a choice.

    Another thing that annoyed me is that manufacturers focus way too much on nendos/figmas name other cutesy action figure line

  6. Aka says:

    @Ashlotte, he keeps telling me the same thing but I just can’t believe him. Does it start off having a deep story? because if it doesn’t, I don’t think I’m going to be able to justify it.

    @Tier, I can understand when something becomes so popular it loses exclusivity and value, both monetary as well as personal. But I just can’t help but like Drossel, she’s gotta be the cutest Robot I’ve ever seen, I would totally sleep with her, er um… So, Narika, I’ve seen her around, and checked ebay recently, she goes for a lot of money. Did foo-bar-baz pick himself up a copy? and he didn’t review her? That’s awefully strange.

    I think I need to go download to CGs to uh confirm your claims.

  7. Ouroborus says:

    100% Agreed, Metatron and Cammy (Yamato) were my fav figures of 2009. And Yeah!!! we need Irma ASAP, she’s my fav ass on QB. I hope they do this pose 😀

  8. J says:

    You’re killing me. I am a newbie and because I agree with your reviews (taste), I am spending lots of money picking these up. IMHO, they should be giving you these figures for free… but then I suppose that would start to sway your opinion. Hmmmm…

  9. Tier says:

    >> Blowfish

    My interest is definitely piqued now.

    I don’t believe Beat Blades Haruka is translated to English; I use an auto-translator to play it. Most of the text comes out unintelligible, but with a bit of imagination and conjecture you can get a general idea of what’s going on.

    Life would be so much more interesting (and fulfilling) if I were a tentacle monster.

    Technically I think miko Kanu is somewhat older, but the black version only came out this year. Hmm, it was one of the last posts up on Heisei Democracy and that says the red version was scheduled to come out in December 2008, so maybe it’s not as old as I thought.

    I guess one good thing about figure exclusivity is that if you go in for the collectible aspect of the hobby, an exclusive figure is presumably more desirable due to its relative rarity. Me, I just like to buy figures of half-naked (or fully naked …) girls; I don’t really care whether the figure is rare or not as long as I can acquire it.

    Yeah, I really just collect scale-size figures. I guess there’s a few Figmas I like, but they’re a bit more expensive than I’m willing to pay for something so small. Plus if I had a bunch of Figmas, I’m sure I’d lose them; I had this one little articulated Rei figure that came bundled with one of the manga volumes, and I have no idea where it is now.

    >> Aka
    I’m sitting here trying to think of my favorite girl robot and I’m actually stumped; the only one I can think of is Aegis. Does the hucaseal I played in Phantasy Star Online count? I guess Seven of Nine probably doesn’t count. Uhh, gee, was there an android in Haruhi Suzumiya? There wasn’t, was there? I guess I’ll have to finish watching that show to find out.

    I’m not sure if he acquired Narika, but he didn’t review her nor Haruka, so I guess he wasn’t interested in that line. That’s a bit weird, since he seems to cover a lot of the stuff GSC, MF, and Alter put out.

    Go find the CG pack for Alice 2010 too, it’s got some really cool pictures in it XD

    >> Ouroborus
    I surely would approve of that XD The picture even gives them a color scheme for the inevitable exclusive 2P color figure.

    >> J
    Thanks and I am glad to help! I would not mind that one bit XD I just have to think of a way to make it happen.

  10. Lylibellule says:

    Very own personal retrospective.

    On your favorite figures top 5 of year 2009, i have in common Kanu (i have the black version as well), Collet and Seena (even if i don’t have them yet)
    Metatron is really gorgeous…. i had to cancel it back then but seeing it again… i regret.

    Narika, even wonderfully made by Alter, don’t attract me.

    I totally agree on the fact that’s annoying to have more and more exclusive figure only available in Japan.
    We have to spend much more money to get the one we are interested in… personal economy is hurt!

    I would love to see Irma be released as a figure. Would be a great surprise for 2010! 😀

  11. softz says:

    Among your top five favorite figures, I only prefer the sensual Kanu. However, she is quite expensive and my rational mind said no to her. I prefer Haruka to Narika. I prefer bimbos to flat-chested 😉

    And yes! I like your Volks Kenshin very much. She is very nice (gotta admit that)!

  12. Tier says:

    >> Lylibellule
    I was thinking really hard about putting Yamato’s Iroha at #5 but Narika won out in the end. I guess Iroha’s #6, and then the runners-up list probably goes Kotone, Alter’s Yoko, MH’s Sheryl Nome, and maybe Orchid Seed’s Hustler.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed and the reverse mojo going for Irma!

    >> softz
    Yeah, she was crazy expensive for 1/6 scale. Well worth the money though XD I think my BBH order goes something like Subaru, Haruka, Narika. When I played the game, I was macking on Subaru pretty hard. Then Haruka came up and proposed marriage to my character and I don’t know if there was an option to reject her 🙁

    Kenshin is the pride and joy of my collection XD

  13. Ashlotte says:

    @Aka Its their from the start, but more in a more subtle way. Once you get to one of the later chapters that hits you like a sledgehammer emotionally that almost made me cry was my turning point where I thought “Oh this isn’t just silly fanservice manga is it”. But then I guess “your mileage may vary” as with anything.

    @Tier Yea I’m hugely excited for it too…Nitro makes some great games and the chance to play them is going to be quite enjoyable I’m sure!

  14. Marcucho says:

    Woow obiously metatron win! jakjakjak I have it and i love her, definitely one of my favorites fiures. i completly agree with your top site Tier.. i hope this year keep appearing figures so cool iqual the past year.

    2010!! give me more georgeus figures!!! jajajajaja


  15. Tier says:

    I hope so too! I’m hoping we get some more figure announcements too, the first few months of this year seem sorta weak as far as figure releases go.

  16. Smithy says:

    Also wondered why Good Smile Company/Max Factory so actively sponsored ‘Sora Kake Girl’ and then only did an Akiha figure, very odd…

    However there are Itsuki figures!
    Wave did an Itsuki bikini version:
    There’s even one as her Mutsumi Shimoyama alter ego:

  17. Tier says:

    Yeah, I’m pretty disappointed that it seems they’ve stopped at one figure (plus the Imo nendoroid, which doesn’t count). Takane deserves a figure, too.

    I would’ve gotten one of those Wave figures if they were a bit bigger … 1/8 scale is about as small as I like to go. Although admittedly, if they had put her in her Q-tector or her bondage meat costume, I think I might’ve bought them anyway, 1/10 scale or no.

  18. totally agreed with you, how come we got 5 to 6 figures of Leina, but none of Irma, especially since she’s one of the early series character…

    is she that bad? I meant, she’s really been underrated by the figure industry, meanwhile she got a huge fans out there waiting for her figure who collected her games book, her posters, trading card and etc

    sigh, it’s been half way of the year 2010, and we haven’t heard bout that good news yet… even Kaiyodo already released almost all of the main character of Queen’s Blade series in their Revo line, but still no Irma…

    let’s keep our finger crossed for the rest of this year,yet again ^^’

  19. Tier says:

    I’m still hoping, though it looks pretty grim seeing as how all these new Queen’s Blade Rebellion characters are getting figures now. I don’t understand it. I mean, she got some good screentime in the second season of the anime, and she has a strong relationship with Echidna and she’s gotten a lot of figures over the past few years. The only thing I can think of is that figure manufacturers can’t get the rights to create a figure of her, but that would be a very strange thing, since it seems the whole point of the Queen’s Blade franchise is to sell merchandise.

  20. could it be like a license problem with the character’s designer? or even with the Seiyuu or some sort? I’m way off huh -_-‘

    yupes, especially seeing her “special” relationship with Echidna, kinda strange why no manufacturer won’t release her figure yet, so the fans could recreate a certain scene using them both ^^’

    let’s just keep our fingers crossed then

  21. Tier says:

    It could be, I’m not really certain what the deal is. I need to find someone who can read Japanese to run a Google search and see if any Japanese sites or message boards have some information on this. Though it comes to mind that there are a few products with Irma on them; I saw a deck of trading cards on HLJ, some of which had Tsukasa Jun’s artwork of Irma.

    Yeah, if there were an Irma figure out there, I’d probably have to get an Echidna figure to keep her company; I’m not the biggest fan of Echidna’s character design but I’d feel bad about keeping them apart. I’d especially get Revoltechs or Figmas of both, even though I’m not a big action figure fan, either.

  22. oh, I believe the TCG Card Deck name’s is Kiba Assassin deck
    but there are more of Echidna’s card within that deck, and Irma’s only got some common cards that we could easily got from the booster packs -_-‘
    even the rarest card included in that deck, the one with Irma and Echidna doin some stuff together, is actually Echidna’s action card, not Irma’s

    I could read basic Japanese, including some basic Kanjis, but from the Japanese forums that I already googled, lot of them just asking the same questions like we did ^^’

  23. Tier says:

    Ah, okay, that is not so promising then. I meant to pick up the deck when HLJ was running their free shipping deal and I guess I could pick it up now that they’re doing another shipping discount, but ehh … I’d really just be getting it for the couple of cards with Tsukasa Jun’s art. I’ll have to think about it, I guess; Irma merchandise is hard to come by.

    It’s good to know that there are Japanese people wondering about this, since undoubtedly they have more influence as to what gets produced, but it’s also disappointing to hear that since it means there’s no good explanation for the lack of Irma figures.

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