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.

#5. Tamaki Kousaka

Tamaki Kousaka by Max Factory

Max Factory has mainly manufactured Figmas this year and Tamaki Kousaka is sort of an oddity in their lineup. However, it turns out that Max Factory was prescient as their product presages a deluge of Tamakis scheduled to drop in early 2011. However, none of those upcoming figures can match Max Factory’s. It combines cuteness, seductiveness, and innocence all in one beautiful figure.

#4. Momohime

Momohime by Alter

Momohime’s unpainted sculpt didn’t attract much notice but her painted sample set the collecting community on fire, and the love she’s received is well-deserved. One of the most attractive sculpts Alter has ever produced, she combines the dynamic appeal of an action girl with the classical elegance of a Japanese princess.

#3. Velvet

Velvet by Yamato

Many figure collectors hoped that Bubba’s superlative sculpt of Velvet would be produced in PVC format but few anticipated – or preferred – that Yamato would be the ones to do it. However, Yamato has surpassed themselves with their adaptation, crafting a beautiful figure that even offers an attractive castoff option. And yet, in defiance of my usual practice I’ve never removed her skirt other than when I did my review because displaying such an elegant figure in her underwear seems overly crass, even for me.

#2. Vivio

Vivio by Alter

With her tight bodysuit and her action pose, Vivio’s design hearkens back to the late 1980s and 90s anime that I grew up on. It seems that she may be the last of Alter’s StrikerS line, although I wouldn’t mind seeing Ginga get a figure and I’m hoping that they look at the characters of Force, particularly Isis Egret, whose official art shows that she has some attractive qualities. Vivio does as well, with her dynamic look, but unfortunately she’s been consigned to the bargain bin of just about every major Japanese retailer. More the shame, that, but the least I can do is honor her with runner-up status. When I got her, she was set to take the crown, but another figure that was released only recently has surpassed her to claim the throne.

#1. Buddy

Buddy by Alter

I was surprised when Alter unveiled their prototype of Buddy, as she’s an obscure character from one of Leaf’s most obscure properties. I’m very glad that they did, though, because I loved her character design from the moment that I first saw it. Is she the most exciting figure of the year? No way. Is she the most impressive? Probably not. But like Metatron from last year, Alter has plucked a character from an ero game and done a wonderful job in bringing her to three dimensions. Her enigmatic expression, her fearsome scythe – and yes, her lack of pants – all come together to make for a gorgeous sculpt, and Buddy is my favorite figure of 2010.

Thoughts on 2010
Anime hasn’t changed much in the last few years. Studios still make shows based off of the same tired tropes and cliches. Goods manufacturers still pump out merchandise. Every season is more of the same thing. If you look at a list of the 2011 winter season shows, I bet you can make reasonably accurate guesses as to which series will succeed and which will fail just based on recent history. And yet, it feels like 2010 was a year of transition for the figure collecting hobby. There were a number of shifts that occurred and progressed this past year, some of them subtle and some of them readily apparent.

It was common to speak of Alter, Good Smile Company, and Max Factory as the Big Three of the figure manufacturing industry, but that Big Three has now become the Big One. Max Factory has become mostly an action figure company, with their scaled figures mainly comprising some Shining Wind girls in swimwear and a couple of undersized Vocaloid figures that rapidly hit the bargain bin. Likewise, Good Smile Company mainly chucked out nendoroids, even though they produced arguably the two most anticipated figures of this year. However, their Black Rock Shooter figure was marred by a very peculiar production error and their Dead Master figure seems to have not made so much as a ripple in the collecting community despite the number of people who bought her.

Alter had a typically superb year, producing a number of beautiful figures. I really hope they don’t ever get into the chibi figure business. Unexpectedly, Yamato also had an excellent year, with Velvet being a product that any manufacturer would have been proud to call their own. They teamed with REFLECT to make a couple of fine figures with their Shunya Yamashita-inspired Asuka and Kiriko Hattori, and they also further established their commitment to their doll line by introducing a number of new vmf50 products. Their Compact Hog was a bit of a miss and it’s disappointing that Heat Blade got kicked back into 2011, but overall, they did very well.

Another noticeable change has been in the figure collecting community itself. It seems like the community has become markedly stratified, with nendoroid, Figma, scaled PVC, and doll collectors consolidating their collections and focusing on their respective core interests. It also feels like that the scaled PVC market is the loser out of all of these niches, with more companies introducing chibi-style products and getting into the action figure market at the expense of their PVC figures.

Doll collecting took off this past year, and it’s not hard to understand why. Dollfie Dream dolls in particular became very popular, although they’re really not my thing and the proliferation of Dollfie Dream stuff on figure.fm is a major reason why I don’t often visit that site anymore. I do like Yamato’s vmf50 stuff though, and you’ll be seeing more vmf50 stuff on this site soon. However, I’m still mainly a scaled figure collector, and that will always be the focus of this site.

Speaking of figure sites, a whole bunch of them withered and died or are on long-term hiatus. Even foo-bar-baz wasn’t immune to ennui, having taken a couple of long breaks through the latter half of the year. Back when I was scrabbling for traffic, I used to try to get my pictures done and my review up as quickly as possible with the expectation that being first would lead to more hits. These days, I don’t really care about being first and yet, my posts are sometimes the only English-language reviews of a figure up on the web. Sometimes I feel like the guy at the party who doesn’t realize the music’s been turned off. Sometimes I feel like the hobby’s hit a saturation point where people see so many new figures and products coming out that they start to tune the coverage out.

However, 2011 is already off to a bright start, with GSC’s Saber Alter and Rin Tohsaka and Alter’s Dizzy looking to be instant winners, and undoubtedly there is more high-quality stuff yet to come. 2010 was a year of change and not all of it was for the better, but 2011 is looking very good already. Here’s hoping all its promises are golden.

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55 Responses to My Five Favorite Figures of 2010 & Year-End Thoughts

  1. Kman says:

    Good post. My favorite by far this year is Monohime. Just the detail and the colors make it a very special production. Vivio was a nice unit (and I snagged it on clearance) but it just didn’t have the production quality I saw in Monohime. With limited production, sometimes it’s hard to get my hands on some of the figures. I guess it’s snooze, you lose.

    I’m bummed that the PVC market is the loser since I find Figma figures to be a little small- and I’m not a big fan of the joints. Nendoroids are definitely cute and have been amassing some of them- the Haruhi and Angel Beats pieces. Dolls? Well… whatever floats people’s boats I guess. I’m the same way as you- not a big fan. When I think doll, I think Chuckie or Cabbage Patch dolls. (or the 2nd to last episode Ika Musume dolls). There’s a bunch of PVC figures that I have on pre-order that I’m looking forward to in 2011.

    • Tier says:

      Momohime is indeed a great figure. It used to be that you almost had to preorder any popular figure to be assured of getting it, but these days, it almost seems like it’s a better idea to hold off and wait for it to hit the discount pile.

      For the life of me I cannot understand the appeal of nendoroids but I’m sure other people cannot understand a lot of the things that I like. I’m actually a fan of dolls – I’ve noted that I’ve been a doll collector for much longer than I’ve been an anime figure collector. However, I’ve got this peculiar tendency to dislike things that become mainstream and Dollfies have become so mainstream that there are bunches of people on figure.fm asking for advice whether they should buy one. That always cracks me up … it’s like, you need help deciding whether you want to buy a doll? And the implicit question isn’t even about buying a doll, it’s about being accepted into a community. Personally, I think buying one’s way into social acceptance is a strange way to meet people.

  2. Luth says:

    I’m a little sad that none of your top 5 are in my own collection, although I did debate long and hard about Velvet and Buddy. But looking at my collection, I’ve only gotten 7 from this year so it isn’t totally unfeasible.
    Most of my purchases this year have been figmas and its been a great year with lots of awesome characters getting released. However 2011 seems a bit anemic compared to 2010 with Max Factory concentrating on lines I don’t really care for like Kamen Rider or on generic looking characters and I find that a lot of my pre-ordered list seems to be scaled figures, which seem to be getting even more intricate and detailed. Heres to a great 2011

    • Tier says:

      Figmas are a little smaller than I would like but you sure can do some creative stuff with them. I really suck at photographing poseables though, so I usually don’t even try. I’ve taken pictures of Figmas, 1/6 scale dolls, and 1/3 scale dolls and I’m not very good at it at all. Regardless, I’m still thinking about picking up the KOS-MOS Figma (still wish she were in her version 1 outfit, though) and there are a bunch of others that I like, but I think I know what you mean when you mention them doing some unusual ones. There was this one maid Figma that I recently saw that was all kinds of WTF … I don’t even remember what series it was from but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

      • Luth says:

        Haha, I actually like the smaller scale. For one, its cheap, and then theres the bonus of being able to fit more in your shelves/desk.
        The KOS-MOS is probably my most anticipated 2011 figure, even more than the scaled stuff, it looks like they went all out on her and her cost mirrors it.
        I’ll have to admit, the maid figma from Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru is one of the fringe ones I actually preordered. Its not a beautiful figure by any means, just one that will be really really fun to pose. If you have the time, at the very least watch the OP sequence.

        • Tier says:

          I am very much a bigger-is-better person, which seems to be the minority opinion because I haven’t seen too many people who prefer 1/4 and 1/6 scale over 1/8 scale. KOS-MOS definitely looks great, maybe I’ll have to think harder about picking her up.

          That looks like a fun show, though I’m not going to ask why it looked like there was an old man wearing a maid uniform. When it comes to anime, you just accept certain things without asking why. Girl pulls a guitar from a little boy’s head? It’s anime. Twin sister shags her twin brother? It’s anime. Old man dances in a maid uniform? It’s anime.

          • The Endless General says:

            I agree on the bigger is better thing. Although I think I prefer 1/6 scale to 1/4, only because it’s far easier to find a spot for them lol.

  3. The Endless General says:

    I totally agree on Vivio; she’s one of my favorite figures. The reasonable side of me wishes I had waited until she was discounted, but I rarely listen to that side anyway.

    • Tier says:

      Nothing good ever comes from listening to that side anyway. Admittedly, if I knew how fast and how far her price was going to plummet, I’d have held off too <.< She looks great though, so I don't mind. Not too much, anyway.

  4. Chag says:

    The fact that only 3 pvc figures are present on GSC and Max Factory’s list of 28 top-selling products of 2010 proves your point. To make things worse, I remember you tweeting about the GSC Saber and BRS (two of the three that made it on the list) landing in amazon.jp’s bargain bin. If this trend continues, I will hardly be able to blame them for sidelining their PVC figures — they ARE a business, after all. This makes me pretty worried, as even though I like me some figmas here and there, my top squeeze when it comes to bishoujo stuff will always be PVCs. I wonder what GSC and MF is doing about this trend. Dropping the prices a little would be nice, but I’d also think they should stop releasing the PVC, figma and the nendoroid of a single character around the same time — they can at least TRY to avoid over-saturation.

    Perhaps I am making too big of a deal of it all. As long as Alter doesn’t start to crank out fathead gremlins of their own, there is hope yet! Happy new year, Tier, and may the coming year continue to bring figures to your doorstep and fantastic photos to your site =)

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, those two GSC figures hit the bargain bin fast and hard. I saw that list and I was a little bit surprised, though I’m guessing that nendoroids get larger production runs so they sell more volume. I’m really hoping that they don’t further reduce their PVC production, though the early signs seem to be encouraging. Sort of, anyway; I mean, they’ve got some good scale-size stuff in the pipeline, but most of it is dropping around April and May. That’s a lead time of nearly half a year. I guess we’ll be preordering their end-of-year products by the middle of June.

      It seems like GSC and MF are more interested in properties these days, with respect to their scaled stuff – BRS for Good Smile and Shining Wind and Vocaloid for Max Factory – and I’ve got the feeling that market saturation is their goal. It seems like they like to push as much product into the marketplace as they can before the trend burns out and consumers move on to the next thing. I won’t be too surprised if MF mainly concentrates on Amagami stuff for 2011.

      Happy new year to you too! Man, New Year’s Day is really not one of my favorite holidays – it reminds me of all the things I didn’t do that I meant to do during the previous year, football is almost over, the weather always sucks, it reminds me that I’m going to turn a year older, it means I have to go back to work where I don’t get any more holidays until May.

  5. Ashlotte says:

    Yea I’m in the same boat as you Tier…Tried to get into Nendo and Figma, but its just not my thing…Still with the quality of Griffons Touhou figures finally going up a notch and other manufacturers getting in on the fun looks like I’ll always have something worth getting for the foreseeable future. :p

    Has the review community really dried up that much? I don’t much feel the inclination to visit anywhere but here and Aka’s for quite some time so I guess I don’t really have much of an idea of whats going on out there…

    • Tier says:

      Touhou always seems like a strange franchise to me. In contrast to BRS and other creator-made properties, it seems to be following a slow-burn style of marketing and product distribution. I’m still trying to learn whether Touhou is the most unknown mainstream franchise or the most popular underground franchise in all of anime culture.

      I think it has; most of the sites I visit have either slowed down drastically or basically shut down. It could just be the holidays, I guess; I know I started feeling really lazy right around Thanksgiving and it’s carried over all the way up till now. It sorta sucks since I’ve got these ideas I want to put into effect but all I did this last week was play Sengoku Rance and Forza 3 and catch up on porn.

  6. Thank you for this article! It was more informative than I had expected. I especially remember Velvet and Kousaka, those two caught my eye as well.

    • Tier says:

      You’re welcome! I enjoyed writing it … twice, as it turned out, because my frippin’ text editor crashed and I didn’t save the first version of this post -_- I really wish Notepad++ didn’t put itself in the right-click menu for AVI files cuz there is no reason I’d want to open Shion vol. 3 in a text editor.

  7. super rats says:

    Figure review blogs were never really that plentiful. At it’s height there were maybe a dozen prolific figure bloggers who established a large catalog of reviews. Most blogs last about two years, so unless new blogs come to replace them we get what we have now. Besides, there’s not much incentive for figure snappers to do their own blog when they often get more views and responses on myfigurecollection.net or even figure.fm, so why bother? Other than presentation control, there isn’t a lot of reason to do your own blog.

    As for my lack of activity…a combination of working 16 hours a day since mid-October and really just not feeling all that creative anymore. I reviewed two of the last ten figures I bought.

    I really should get Velvet. Enough people have said Yamato did a good job.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, that’s all true. I probably see Tsuki-board and figure.fm differently than a lot of people because I never used Myspace and I do not use Facebook. I’m not a big social media person. If I’m going to put reviews online, it’s mainly going to be on my own site. Here, I run a website … there, I’m just one guy amongst thousands.

      I haven’t been running a site nearly as long as you have but I think I know how it feels when a figure review seems more obligatory than fun. I’ve got a few figures on my shelf that I have no clue how I want to photograph but I feel like I ought to review them because that’s what I do.

      You totally should get Velvet, she’s a great figure. The only thing I’d knock on her is she’s kinda wobbly on her base which sucks if you’re moving her around while taking her pictures. I kinda wonder if Alter’s going to put out a Velvet of their own; there’s a big gap in their Odin Sphere line but I guess that’s nothing new for Alter, seeing as how they left out Subaru from their Beat Blades Haruka series and they never put out a Crueltear to run with Exelica.

  8. R-Dog says:

    Just wanted to say: Keep up the good work! I don’t talk much, but your site is still one of few that I visit regularly. I enjoy your photography and reading what you have to say about the figures.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! I am always glad to hear that people like my stuff. I should be getting back to the review stuff shortly, starting with some of the new dakimakura covers I’ve gotten. Man it’s been a long time since I’ve done a dakimakura review.

  9. Flushot says:

    Tier, I’ve been a long time lurker and I have only just purchased my first PVC after over 2 years of following the scene. Rico, Aya, and you were the main blogs I followed when I first started getting information, so I have to thank you very much for keeping up with the frequent and detailed posts and pictures.

    I look forward to your reviews of your 2011 purchases and I hope you stay with the blogging for years to come.

    • Tier says:

      Congrats on your first acquisition! And thank you for the kind words. I know I’m not going to be reviewing figures forever but I’m sticking with this for as long as it interests me, and as I’ve been collecting figures for a while I’m not planning on stopping any time in the near or far future.

  10. Shashin says:

    It’s a real shame that I only have 1/5 of the figures you’ve posted here. It makes me regret even further that I canceled both Buddy and Velvet; though I definitely regret canceling Buddy more. Of course, I don’t regret it as much, since the money that would have gone to these figures went to dakimakura covers instead, but it’s still saddening.

    Your shots of Vivio make me want to scoop it up while it’s still available in the bargain bin, but I’m sad to say that I definitely can’t afford it now. I guess me picking up this figure will depend on finances in a few months, and if I’ve been blacklisted from AmiAmi for lack of payment on a few orders. Still, it’s beautiful photography of a beautiful figure.

    I like the Tamaki figure a lot, and she has a great ass, but those boobies are just a bit too big for my tastes. They’re actually not too bad, but it probably would have kept me from picking up the figure over another.

    Despite not having the money, I’ve decided to go in a bit more credit card debt and pick up a few covers with the rush of C79 covers; though neither are exclusively from C79. The first was an あんこ工房 cover, done entirely at a spur of the moment “that looks like a good price” decision. It was bid up at last minute, and without even thinking I upped the bid. That’s a mistake too, as the ending price was 1000 yen more than what it’s going for on Mandarake. So after SMJ fees, it’s a nasty mistake. While on the subject of あんこ工房, I really like their C79 Nanoha cover. The other isn’t in the bag yet, but I’m hopeful with an hour left on the auction and a fairly high bid; the Qwaser cushion cover from Illust Guerrilla. Was able to see a fairly decent shot of it on Mandarake, so I decided that if it came up again, I wanted it despite what it may cost. I’m also tempted to buy the Illust Guerrilla Oremo cover, but at a minimum bid of 15000 (quickly surpassed), I probably won’t be picking it up now. Shame too, because according to the website, if I’m understanding it correctly, they only had about 20 at the event.

    I also got a payment notice for my two NoReal Azusa covers, so I’ll be looking forward to that in a few weeks after I get my next batch of purchases, but probably right before Nymph releases. And a last little bit on dakimakura covers, I still haven’t had any luck picking up the two must haves; fwisy is still the only seller of the first, and since I lost a bid on the second, I haven’t seen it listed again.

    • Tier says:

      Vivio’s been in every store’s bargain bin for months so I’m guessing picking her up after a few months shouldn’t be a problem. The cheapest place I’ve seen her at is HLJ; they’ve got her for like 3,100 yen now which is a big huge steal.

      Yeah, Tamaki’s breasts are a bit too large than what I usually like. BEAT’s Tamaki has similarly large breasts and I’m thinking I only really need one Tamaki with a gargantuan bust, so I’m probably going to cancel that one. Well, that and also because I don’t think it’s going to turn out very well.

      I haven’t actually seen most of the pillowcases that got shown at Comiket. Man I wish Anko Koubou would change up their website, I remember back when I saw their Saber/Rin pillowcase I went there looking for some bigger pictures and they had a tiny picture stuck in that little frame. You’re right about that Nanoha pillowcase though, she looks really cute in a wedding dress. Or veil, anyway. Speaking of Oreimo, I had this idea to watch the first few episodes and write a post about it, but I’m not sure I’m going to get to do it now that the holidays are over. I guess it probably wouldn’t have been a good idea anyway since I’ve already get a firmly set reaction to the show.

      I bought Evening Call’s Panty & Stocking pillowcase and now I kinda wish I hadn’t for a very specific (but unfortunately not unprecedented) reason. I also ordered one more pillowcase, of Eva from Agarest Senki 2. I’m really looking forward to it even though it’s not explicit. I hope you have more luck with the two that you want.

      • Shashin says:

        Yeah, their website is extremely troublesome to navigate if you’re looking for sample shots; more circles should adopt a website similar to Illust Guerrilla, in my opinion. At least when it comes to displaying the goods, anyhow. All of my information on their upcoming covers has come from a dakimakura blog that posts a fairly small, but full view, sample image. Clicking through just usually takes to the main page of their website, where they may or may not have a larger picture available for viewing.

        Why are you regretting the Panty & Stocking purchase? I like all of the Agarest Senki covers I’ve seen, even though none of them are explicit. I might have eventually purchased one or two of them given the opportunity.

        • Tier says:

          Yeah, I had to resort to the same to find their Comiket stuff. I shouldn’t have checked on it because now there’s a bunch more pillowcases I want to buy.

          Stocking’s got a problem with her feet on one side. At least one side, anyway; there was actually a problem with her feet on both sides but the artist may have corrected it on one.

          • Shashin says:

            Pretty much. I’ve added at least two more to my “must buy” list since this morning. Such a shame because I honestly can’t afford it at this point, and I still find myself searching YHJ a couple times a day for new covers/ones I’m looking to purchase.

            Heh, no idea why they have such a problem with reversing the order of the toes, but it does seem to be a weirdly common issue. I still love the art work though, and it wouldn’t be enough of a detriment to stop me from picking up the case… if I could afford it. >_>

          • Tier says:

            Yeah, I’d think that’s one of the things I’d check if I were drawing these. Heck, I shoulda checked while I was shopping for it and the funny thing was, I was chatting with a friend and right before I bought out the auction, I mentioned to him the Tony Taka pillowcase with the reversed feet problem and that I ought to do an anatomy check to make sure the Evening Call one didn’t have any problems. I guess I wasn’t nearly as thorough as I should’ve been.

  11. Tian says:

    Great retrospective! I only got into collecting this year but got a lot of quality figures, including Momohime and Velvet. I totally agree with their inclusion in your top five.

    I’ve been impressed by Yamato, as I also really like their Asuka and Mercedes figures. Anyway, keep up the good work and I hope you have a great 2011!

    • Tier says:

      Thanks! I’m kinda thinking about picking up Yamato’s Kiriko Hattori now, since I skipped it, hoping they’d do an alternate color version, but I’m guessing they probably aren’t going to any time soon. Their Asuka is very nice though, as you say, so I’m thinking Kiriko might be worth the purchase.

  12. MONOLITHIC says:

    Great post that’s made even better due to the fact that I own the bottom three of your top five list! 🙂 That said, the only figure I have displayed is Velvet… Many many months of having her and I’ve yet to remove her skirt, probably for the same reason… And you’re right about that damn base! I’ve gotta lean her against whatever so she won’t topple over! If you’ve got any suggestions/remedies for this problem, please let me know ’cause I don’t really like the idea of glueing her down.

    • Tier says:

      Thanks XD I haven’t come up with a good solution yet, other than leaving her alone so she doesn’t wobble. She seems to be okay if I’m not moving her around but one of her feet doesn’t seem to stick on its appropriate peg. Maybe I’ll try wrapping some masking tape or something around the peg to add a bit more bulk and friction to it so that it doesn’t keep popping off of her foot.

      • MONOLITHIC says:

        I’ve got some double sided Scotch tape I’ll add to the pegs when I get the chance… So far, she’s free standing, but who knows how long that’ll last…

        I wonder if a problem like that is inherent throughout the product run or if it varies like 1 out of 10 figures or something like that.

        • Tier says:

          I think I’ve got some mounting tape around here, maybe I’ll try that. It seems like a lot of recent Yamato figures have had leaning problems, my Amanda Werner figure is leaning and I heard Kiriko leans a bit. I guess none of them are as bad as my two worst-leaning figures, though – Wind Goddess Rafale is like 15 degrees off-axis and Alter’s swimsuit Saber leaned forward so bad she snapped her pegs and fell over.

  13. Cantan says:

    Was kinda surprised you didn’t put Yamato Asuka in there – thought you really liked her. Your pictures were pretty impressive and I am still tempted… quite sorely – so maybe it’s because I liked her I thought you should have included her.

    I also own only 1 of those figures and am not that taken with Buddy. Think she’s cute enough but I was hoping for a bit more. Vivio seems to be a permanent fixture of the bargain buckets and Velvet seems to be heavily discounted everytime HLJ does a discount run so it’s quite a coincidence that these are still available at pretty reasonable prices.

    Would be curious how much your shortlist of all your 2010 favourites (not just mass-prod pvc) would differ. Am assuming your custom Fate would feature highly (I’d certainly hope so anyway!)

    • Tier says:

      I think Asuka would’ve been in the top ten. Let’s see, #6 is Sora Kasugano, and it was a tough call between her and Tamaki for the #5 spot. That was the only spot I had a tough time deciding on. Tomomi Aizawa might be #7 – I really gotta re-do her photos, the ones I used are terrible. Yamato Asuka would be #8 then. Kakouen Myousai would probably be #9. I’m not sure who takes the tenth spot; it could be Kotobukiya’s Dizzy, I guess, since I really like Dizzy, but Alter’s vastly superior figure overshadows it. Maybe it would be test suit Asuka. I guess if you included all other figures that were made in 2010, the two Keumaya figures I purchased would place highly, and so would Cobra Kai Fate, though she wouldn’t be in my top five. I think my top six would remain the same and big Fate would be seventh.

      I have seen very, very few reviews or other pictures of Buddy so my opinion might be in the minority. I’ve got unusual opinions when it comes to figures; I don’t think many people would’ve picked Metatron to be their favorite figure of last year but that was a pretty easy decision for me. Next year my top five will probably be much closer to the mainstream, though.

  14. BioToxic says:

    Buddy is an excellent choice, I’m a little disappointed I decided against getting her myself. Looking at Velvet I still totally love those purple eyes.

    I’ve not got too many scale figures this year, most notably Queen’s Blade Rebellion and the Shining Swimsuit girls. What I’m missing from the blogs is all the Queen’s Blade figure coverage that seemed to be popular back in 2009, but then the amount of quality QB figures coming out now has dropped. I really enjoyed all the reviews and attention they got. Maybe we’ll see more in 2011 what with the OVAs and new Rebellion characters appearing.

    • Tier says:

      I’m guessing Rebellion may be less popular than the original Queen’s Blade franchise; characters like Menace, Airi, Risty, and Nanael are big fan-favorites but there don’t seem to be many Rebellion characters that can say the same, even among people who like Queen’s Blade. Heck, even Cattleya has a bunch of fans, if the amount of doujinshi she gets is any indication. I went looking through the Doujinshi & Manga Lexicon looking for Irma doujinshi, but it seemed like the huge majority of books had Cattleya. Astounding. I’m hoping MegaHouse goes back and does more figures of the original characters; I’d like a newer and better Nyx figure and of course, there’s another character who I’d really appreciate a figure of.

      • The Endless General says:

        I’m gonna take a shot in the dark and say that figure would be Irma……..although I could be mistaken lol.
        I really don’t understand all the love Cattleya gets; she’s just too……big, for my tastes. I feel like there isn’t a really good figure of Nanael, which sucks because I kinda like Nanael.

        • Cantan says:

          Nah it’s Leina. I’m pretty sure Tier keeps banging on about there only being about 40,000 figures of her.

          (a nice Elina would be good though – Griffon’s and Revoltech’s suck arse)

          • Tier says:

            I enjoyed Elina’s interaction with Leina, but her subjugation and beatdown of Nyx kinda soured me on her. I guess I have mixed feelings about her. On the other hand, I heard she’s like one of the Gestapo in Rebellion now so if Nyx shows up and gets beat up by Elina again, maybe we can get some good-ass doujinshi out of that.

        • Tier says:

          A valiant stab in the dark! I guess the heavy girls need love too but Cattleya is a bit too heavy for me. Okay, way too heavy. However, I’m sure people look at some of the things I like – like tentacle rape and maggot birthing – and are like “WTF mang” so while I don’t have a thing for Cattleya, I can understand that everyone’s got their fetishes.

  15. Arrrrrrrgh… I still haven’t finished my Buddy review! I had the pictures ready for ages, but due to the holidays, work, getting a new PC (playing games) I lost the momentum I had going writing the reviews. I had a bunch of pictures all prepared of different figures but lacked the time to get the reviews up. Too many hobbies I guess – glad your site is still going strong though. It’s a good motivational reminder. =) I’ll need to RMA my power supply though – so I guess that’ll give me a break from PC gaming to focus on the figure reviews again. LOL

    I really don’t think you need to get a figure review up first to receive hits – your site is one of the most popular English figure review sites (IMO) and people just flock to it no matter what. I can have reviews up first on a figure, but hardly any traffic or comments at all. 😀 So I guess that’s one thing that slowed down my reviews, no point in constantly pumping out reviews if no one is reading it – I just write the reviews for fun and when time allows. The lack of creativity in finding suitable backgrounds that I want for my shoots is also a thorn in my side every time…

    • Tier says:

      Haha, yeah, I know how it is … you take some time off and then you take a little more and all of a sudden the days fly right by and you wonder where they went. I’m picking up the gaming too; I played a ton of Sengoku Rance over the holidays and now I’m trying to finish up Magna Carta 2.

      Yeah, I know how that is too … this site got almost no traffic when I started it and it took me months just to get my first comment. It can get discouraging when you feel nobody cares about your stuff. A Warcraft blog I read once suggested writing for yourself; if you do that, the traffic will come. I found that advice to be very helpful and it’s what really motivates me to run this site.

      I’ve also been stressing pretty bad the last few weeks about some backgrounds I want to build but I’m not sure how to do it. I’ve also been really dang lazy but hopefully with the MLK day holiday coming up I’ll have some time to get them done.

  16. Aka says:

    Really?! Buddy’s your #1? Did you do that just to mess with us? Because of that list I’d say Momohime is easily takes the top spot. Easily.

    Personally, I’ve tuned out the hobby almost entirely. I think I’ve gotten a little bored with it, or perhaps as you say, it hit a saturation point and I just fell away. I still follow new releases, but I’ve avoided much of the hype these last few months and I think that’s for the better in some ways. Certainly my wallet will be happier, hell, I just threw a couple k’s at my car and paid it off. The slow down is helping for me I think.

    That said, I still enjoy purchasing and owning great sculpts and haven’t cancelled anything on my order list, though I’ve considered cancelling one or two items. But I just don’t feel as enthused as I once did about posting reviews. I’m not sure if that’s due to the entire community seeming to die off reducing my enthusiasm or just me being bored.

    To me it feels as though my enthusiasm grew from 2008 and my first purchase and anger, through 2009, and perhaps peaking mid-2010 somewhere and then dying off with October being where I hit a low and a point where I just stopped. I don’t know if it showed in my reviews or not, but I had little enthusiasm, and it felt very much like a chore or work to get a review out the door by that point. Perhaps I did it to myself, having forced myself into a weekly schedule that I just couldn’t sustain with my work schedule.

    That’s my excuse for the extended hiatus anyway.

    Over this hiatus I’ve thought a lot about what I should do with my site and I’m really not sure. I feel like a direction change in some ways might help out, but mostly when I look at my site I feel a design change is in order. Something a little more substantial than my last change with the wider reviews, but really just an extension of that idea. One of the initial problems with this idea has been some complaints of friends that I want to make the site too wide. Somewhere in the vacinity of 1280px wide, which looks spectacular on my 1920×1200 monitors but, not everyone had such large monitors. Regardless, it’s my assumption that most people have 1280px in width so it should be fine.

    As for the new direction, there are other projects I want to tacle, I’d like to play with video more and have been looking into that a lot. I’d like to mess about with some timelapse and figure out how to produce something people actually want to watch. Maybe I will, maybe I wont… It’s hard to say right now, and even harder to do since I have no camera capable of video yet. But hopefully it’s safe to say my site isn’t dead and hopefully that’s one less site on your list of the dead.

    Back to figures… 2011, I look forward to finally receiving my Senjougahara from GSC, but I also look forward to them painting and releases Hanekawa finally. Rin, Saber Alter and Dizzy of course as well. But I also hope that for 2011 I can reduce the number of purchases, 2010 saw the arrival of a figure a week nearly, actually more, 53 figures arrived at my door step last year. A literal inversion of my 2009 number of 35 figures. One a week is simply too much at an average cost of $86.92 after shipping, that’s a lot of money.

    • Tier says:

      Yep, Buddy’s my #1 favorite figure of the year! And no, I am completely serious about that. I know Momohime is the consensus favorite but I view things my own way.

      Yeah, I can dig that; I’ve seen so many Tamakis and Sabers and BRS-derived characters that after a while, I’m kinda like, “Ehh, another one?” Or when I see nendoroids over and over and over, it makes my blood pressure rise. The other part of it is that figure reviews take up so much time to do; I always feel like I have to try something new whenever I photograph a figure and when I start writing, I wind up writing the same thing for every review. And yeah, it’s dampens one’s enthusiasm when you don’t see a lot of other people online sharing that enthusiasm.

      The only blog advice I have is don’t ever write a post saying that your blog isn’t dead and that you’ll start posting again shortly. Any time I ever see someone say their blog isn’t dead, that means their blog is dead.

      Speaking for myself, I’m not a big fan of sites that extend past around 1100 pixels or so in width. I run 1920 x 1200 resolution but I keep my browser around 1100 pixels wide and I tend to avoid sites that have a scrollbar at the bottom.

      I’m thinking I ought to cut back on figure purchases as well, not only because of money but because I am out of space. I think I’m going to box up a bunch of older figures and stash them in the closet or something. Or maybe I’ll just hock them.

      • Aka says:

        I think I’ve been spoiled having multiple monitors, my browser window is always open in full on one screen. So ~1280px seems totally acceptable for a width.

        I will refrain from writing such a post save for perhaps parody in the future.

        Yeah that’s definitely another issue for me, running out of space, I’ve still got some left, but I also have ~16 figures still on order, some of whom look as though they’ll take up a great deal of space. I’m also considering selling a few I don’t like, a few more than originally thought. But no one really seems interested in buying that Corti of mine heh.

        • Tier says:

          I wish I had room for a second monitor; I’ve got two monitors at work and it is much, much nicer than using just one display. I’d still probably keep my browser windowed though, since it strains my eyes when windows are too big.

          I’ve got a ton of stuff coming in soon that I didn’t actually expect to get this month so I really need to figure out where I’m going to put them. Maybe I can clear a bit more space if I scoot my figures closer together.

          Poor Corti 🙁 Wait, it says here that she displays tsundere traits. Haha, screw you you stuckup redheaded tramp, you deserve no love.

          • Aka says:

            Yeah I realized after paying for Senjougahara that I had 6 other figures that are to ship this month and quickly emailed AmiAmi asking them to group but I think they’d already thrown her in the ship pile because I got an email later saying that she’d be shipped that day and no reply from AmiAmi about grouping.

            It’s my leaning Corti, the most anyone will pay seems to be $25.

          • Tier says:

            I got this terrible Kanu Unchou figure, the Griffon Dragon Sword one. I would really like to get rid of it because it looks bad and it takes up a lot of room but it’s so ugly that I don’t think I could get more than ten bucks for it, not to mention I broke off part of the hair and did a pretty bad job trying to glue it back on.

  17. Q says:

    Hiya, came over here from gundamjehutykai’s post, and I thought I would leave a few words here even though I am not big into figure collecting.

    Not surprising that Alter got at least 3 out of 5 of your top choices there, and Yamato’s Velvet being included is a pleasure surprise for me (again, I am not big into figures so I see many things as if they are new to me). You have a point about how things have becoming to hit a saturation point nowadays; I browse through Japanese hobby sites daily, and lately I don’t find many things that tickle my interest, and same goes with anime as I have effectively halted watching any TV series ones (movies and OVAs aside) after Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has ended. I just do not know what kind of things will be right for me, and the appeal of stuff nowadays seemingly to get people to buy their merchandise can be… “Questionable” (let’s put it that way for now).

    Hatred for somethings like nendoroids is understandable; they can be a bit too mainstream and this puts a negative response to people who are not interested (I guess this is the thing that got me not fond of iDevices etc). In Japan and other parts of Asia where there have been significant influence from Japanese culture, chibi, Q-version, or even SD (super deformed) are something not of strange sight, like in mascots etc. I guess our preferences and tastes do depend on our culture that we grow up from as well. Hating each other’s tastes may not be such a fabulous thing to do; if I don’t appreciate or understand something (e.g. another Tamaki or Evangelion girls figure etc), I guess we just respect each others’ tastes and mind our own business. Though some people’s indecision or actions over things like the recent trend of Dollfie Dream stuff can get some to get on their nerves, which I can feel it too. More and more people can’t think for themselves and for their hobbies, and are ‘consumed’ away by the marketing and consumerism stuff.

    I guess I am one of the few here who rather likes to go to bigger stuff, I tend to stick with smaller or even simpler stuff nowadays. Before figmas, or even Gundam models, I collect 1/144 scale military tanks (and still do actually). I just love how much details people are able to put in a size of a rubber eraser. It has become more and more of a niche hobby nowadays as people tend to like bigger and bigger stuff it seems. Just bought a gashapon with a fellow Gundam blogger a few weeks ago from those gashapon machines, and the feeling of getting the ones we want on the first try is such a funny and exciting feeling. Even though the quality and paint is nowhere to what high quality “big three” figures are like – I have found out that being able to enjoy even such little simple stuff is what I am happy with the hobby I am carrying on with.

    Okay this is digressing a lot, but I will leave it here for now.

    • Tier says:

      I’m seeing this oversaturation phenomenon in a ton of other things that I used to like. Like video games – I’ll play almost anything if it looks fun but I can’t stand seeing anything related to the Call of Duty games because of the retarded advertising they used and all the hype it’s gotten (even though the game looks terrible to me, whenever I see the gameplay in those ads). I don’t like watching college football, even though I went to a lot of games back when I was in school, because the season drags out so damn long. I can’t stand LeBron James because of all the news coverage he got even though he’s on the team best positioned to defeat the Lakers, the sports team that I hate the most in the entire universe. I can’t watch a lot of anime just because there are so many tropes I despise and they keep popping up. Like in that Samurai Girls anime; I really wanted to like it, I’ve got a bunch of figures from the show and given my propensity to like scantily-clad fighter girls, it should be something I like, but it is so freaking bad. Senhime is a stereotypical stuckup bitch, Yukimura is a stereotypical snotty flatchested bitch, Jubei is a stereotypical airhead with secret powers, and Muneakira is a stereotypical milquetoast invertebrate male whose secret terror is tits. I wanted to like it, I watched halfway through the third episode before I decided I couldn’t take any more of it. A fifth of a season is a fair shake, but it is so bad and it’s such a damn shame, not only because it sucks but because there are so many other shows just like it that are also so damn bad.

      I can understand that people aren’t comfortable having something they like insulted by somebody else, but I am not concerned with offending anyone’s sensibilities. If I hate something, I have no problem saying so – I’m not going to be overly crass, combative, or puerile about it, nor will I attempt to convince anyone that I am right and everyone who likes it is wrong, but if I don’t like it, I don’t like it, and as this is my own site, I’m going to say so here. If you or anyone else don’t agree with me, I’m perfectly fine with that – two problems in this world are that people are too afraid to say what they really think, and too many people simply nod and agree if someone with a soapbox says something, even if it’s completely idiotic.

      I’m very much a bigger-is-better person when it comes to toys. 1/4 scale is my favorite scale, and I was unhappy that Yamato went back to 1/60 scale for their Macross toys after producing a number of 1/48 scale valkyries. I will admit that neither 1/4 scale nor 1/48 scale valkyries are all that practical, though; I’ve only got a couple of places I can even fit a 1/4 scale figure.

      Incidentally, I should point out that I am not a white person – I’m ethnically Japanese-Korean and I grew up in Seoul.

      • Q says:

        Thank you for taking the time and responding. It does appear that we walk on fairly different routes here. I don’t mean to come here and comment in an ill-mannered way, but just to express my opinions and point of view, perhaps as an outsider. You express your opinions, and you pay for your own site here, so I respect them. It does intrigued me the way you are willing to express your dislike on things directly; perhaps I simply come from a very different place from you and look things in a different way. Understanding and respecting each other is a good thing most of the time, especially when we do not have something in common.

        Back on the topic, let’s do hope 2011 is a good year for our hobby, be it figures-related or not. There are some promising upcoming releases as you said though GSC’s stuff can wobble a bit recently (and how it’s going more and more towards the nendoroid route). Now thinking about it, WonFes Winter is not too far away. It should be a good time to reignite the collectors’ and fans’ interests despite how things are going through a time of transition recently.

        • Tier says:

          Thank you for your comment and I definitely did not take it as ill-mannered or discourteous or anything. The way I view my site is that this is a platform for me to share my pictures and express what I think, and I think it would be very silly if I chose not to be honest on my own site. Now, I’m not going to go someplace else and say that something sucks; I’m not going to go find a website that focuses on nendoroids or whatever and write a comment saying, “Jesus Christ I hate nendoroids, I hope to God that somebody flies an airplane into the nendoroid factory.” But if someone comes to my site and reads what I write or follows me on Twitter or something, I’m assuming they are interested in my opinions. Sometimes my opinion is negative; I think it’s okay not to like something.

          I’m optimistic about this year since there are several figures that I’m really looking forward to, and I’ve got some ideas for how I want to photograph a lot of them. I’m sort of hoping that as the year goes on we see less Tamakis and Sabers and Vocaloid things (even though I’ve got preorders for every one of those characters still outstanding) just so some new faces can get the PVC treatment. I’m also still hoping to get into garage kit building but that’s probably a long ways off. And I really, really hope Irma finally gets a figure but if I held my breath on that, I’d be decomposed already.

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