Action figures are a very popular segment of the figure market but I haven’t ever reviewed one here. That changes today as I’ve finally gotten around to taking some pictures of Good Smile Company’s Nanoha. This is part of their actsta line, which curiously has been restricted only to characters from the Nanoha franchise. Oddly, this is also the first figure I’ve gotten of the white devil magician girl, despite having several figures of her blonde counterpart.
Nanoha Takamachi is of course the protagonist of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and this particular rendition comes from her movie incarnation. Manufactured by Good Smile Company, she is ostensibly 1/8 scale, standing about 14 centimeters tall, not including her white hair ribbons. That puts her character’s height at under four feet tall, which seems too short even for a nine-year old. She’s probably closer to 1/10 scale.
Like her smaller-scale Figma counterparts, Nanoha comes with a ton of stuff in the box. She’s got a base, a stand to prop her up, several versions of Raising Heart – including the basic device form and parts to make its shooting and sealing forms, three faces, three right hands and four left hands, and wings that attach to the soles of her shoes. She also comes with rodent buddy Yuuno, who has some limited articulation himself, and several strips of plastic meant to represent magical circles. I’ve misplaced the supports for them so I didn’t take any pictures of them. Incidentally, I’ve managed to lose tons of figure parts in recent weeks, a sure sign that I have too many figures.
Speaking of the box, here’s Nanoha’s box. I don’t normally care much for figure boxes but it’s important to note it’s a lot bigger than a Figma box and thus will cost a lot more to ship. That’s a significant consideration when assessing this figure’s value.
The actsta line purports to combine the larger size and attractiveness of scaled figures with the poseability of action figures but Nanoha falls short in several respects. Most notably, her flexibility is quite limited. The movement range of her legs is badly restricted by her dress, which probably comes as no surprise. She cannot bend much at the waist; she can bend backwards a bit but not forward. That’s a bit odd because she has a big balljoint in her waist that connects her upper and lower body. It does give her the ability to swivel her torso left and right, though. Curiously, she also has balljoints in her toes; I’m not quite sure what those are for. However, she lacks a balljoint in her neck, so her head cannot tilt backwards, which is regrettable since she’s pretty short and would look cute staring up at taller figures.
She comes with three faces but the choices are limited. You get one happy face which features closed eyes, one angry face, and one angrier face. Nanoha is an irrepressibly effervescent girl and it would’ve been nice to have had a happy face with her eyes opened. On the plus side, the two angry faces work reasonably well for action poses. On the negative side, her limited poseability reduces the number of action poses she can assume.
Like many action figures, she comes with a number of extra hands. Oddly, she only has one left hand configured in a pointing gesture; there’s no right hand counterpart. Like Figmas, the hands are prone to slipping out of the wrists and Nanoha has a difficult time supporting Raising Heart’s weight when held in one hand.
The base is a bit odd. It’s a big pink disc with this strange looking support strut. The tip can be removed to reveal a peg that slots into a hole in the figure’s back. The two curved segments only pivot in one axis – forward to back – which makes the strut really unwieldy to use. Also, the hinges on the strut are not very tight and Nanoha’s weigh tends to collapse them, making airborne poses more difficult than they ought to be. I dunno, maybe I’m not doing something right. Nanoha can also fit into a standard Figma stand, which may be a better option, as it’s more compact.
Here’s Nanoha compared to a 1/12 scale Figma. This isn’t the most reasonable comparison, since Meiya is presumably a grown adult and has a relatively realistic body build while Nanoha is a kid with anime proportions. However, there’s no getting around the fact that Nanoha is pretty small.
Nanoha’s sculpt and painting are pretty decent but in the end, it’s hard to get past her price tag. She’s not much larger than a Figma but she costs about three times as much as one for arguably less satisfaction. As a static figure, she has all the negatives of action figures, including exposed joints, small size, and loose parts, and as a toy she suffers from an exorbitant price, limited mobility, and fewer display options than I would like. She’s got a few things going for her – I kinda dig her angry loli look and she makes a cute partner for the president – but it’s hard to recommend her to anyone who isn’t a Nanoha fanatic or doesn’t have a requirement that this actsta is uniquely qualified to meet. For her cost, one could instead order Alter’s 1/7 scale Nanoha figure and get a much better product, and if one wants a poseable, there are numerous alternatives, from Figmas to Dollfies. I’ve got actsta Fate preordered and I’m hoping that she’ll be more fun as a toy – she should certainly be more poseable since she’s wearing fewer clothes than Nanoha – but frankly, my expectations are tempered.
Incidentally, these pictures should confirm me as being the worst photographer of poseable anime figures on the planet. I have a much greater respect now for people who do cool things with toys and dolls, because I’m no good at this. I’ve got a few Figmas that I’ve been thinking about reviewing but I’m reconsidering that plan.
Action figures! Yeah!!
It’s a shame that this one didn’t deliver on its promises, though you can’t expect too much leg articulation since she’s wearing a dress. Judging by your review I think Figmas are till the best, or something from Hot Toys if you want a larger scale. I think you could also do some pretty hilarious stuff with Evolution Toy’s Full Puni figures.
Yeah, I’m thinking Figmas are probably the best bang for the buck for action figures, particularly since they also have a lot of interchangeable accessories. I’m hoping Fate Testarossa is more fun to play with. Hopefully she doesn’t fall over quite so much, too.
I kinda like Hot Toys’s upcoming Jill Valentine figure; I’m gonna have to give it some thought. The Master Chief is a decent partner for the president but he needs a 1/6 scale female enforcer to run beside him.
I really have to thank you for this review. I found Actstas somewhat tempting, but couldn’t justify the price when they didn’t look too terribly different from figmas. This really helped me to get over them and move on.
I was really tempted by the novelty of having poseable 1/8 scale figures; I’m not sure if the StrikerS actstas were actually 1/8 scale but Nanoha is pretty short so I’m a little disappointed by that. I guess I don’t enormously regret her since I can take pictures of her with the president and I’ll be able to make her and Fate battle each other once the latter is released, but she’s a terrible value, even as figures go.
Oooh, a TA action figure review. Love that Obama, he looks so badass. That last picture particularly made me laugh. Pity about the Nanoha being so small and restrictive. The stiff dress that hampers movement is a frequent complaint I have about figmas with long dresses but at least they’re cheap. I like the look of her accessories though, the quality on them looks a lot higher than ones you get with figmas.
Her stand looks similar to a figma stand, I find that you can stiffen up those marvelously by slightly tweaking the screws with a small screwdriver. For some heavier figmas in crazy airborne poses, I almost have to tighten them to be unmovable.
I gotta admit, a big part of the reason I bought Nanoha was in the hope of using the president in her pictures. It’s probably a pretty dumb reason but I enjoy featuring the president and I don’t get to use him nearly as much as I’d like.
I’ll probably try to tighten up her stand when I clear off some shelf space to properly display Nanoha. I had thought about doing it for these pictures but I left my small driver set in my car and didn’t feel like going out and retrieving it.
You know, in retrospect I’ve got some ideas for photographing Meiya and the two se.kirara Figmas I have. Maybe I’ll give action figure reviews another shot after I clear out some of the figure review backlog.
I’ve yet to find a good anime poseable figure. Figuarts feel too flimsy and my Ginko figure from Real Action Figures is hard to pose and has a weird sway in his back. Even my Obitsu has a limited range of motion. The wooden artist’s model I own is more flexible and sturdier than anything else I’ve found. My dream is to find an anime action figure that I can pose like my wooden doll. (I like to sketch things.)
As always, great review and pictures. I was seriously looking at this Nanoha figure. I’m glad I passed her up.
I’m trying to find someone to run with the president and I’m having a tough time. Hot Toys’s Deunan Knute was my first choice but she’s a bit obscure and I’ve already damaged her. RAH Rei and Asuka are out as well because their articulation is pretty bad, though that’s more because of their inelastic plugsuits.
I’ve found that dolls have better articulation than Figmas and this actsta, but I haven’t seen a ton of 1/6 scale anime dolls that I really like. I’ve got a few ideas for a partner to run with the president but the few that seem acceptable are really expensive.
Ah, that is cool XD I used to love drawing in my youth, but I drifted away from it when I entered my teen years. I really wish I had kept at it; not being able to draw is one of the two great regrets of my life.
Thank god I didn’t buy this like I was tempted to at one point!
Really absurd how much they charge for the things in this line compared to what you get with a regular ol’ figma.
Loved some of those poses though! Unexpectedly cute of you Tier. :p
Yeah, if she were larger, or if she were maybe 4500 or 5000 yen, maybe she’d be reasonable but what you get doesn’t match what you spend.
Unexpectedly! You sound as if you clicked on this post with preconceived notions already set in mind :O Are my themes really pigeonholed so easily? :O
Thanks for the review! I was tempted by the Fate version for a bit, so it’s good to know I’m likely not going to miss out on anything compared to the figmas I already have.
Pic 10 is pretty awesome with Obama holder her off with his arm, couldn’t help but laugh out loud once I saw it. 😉
Yeah, I think you’re good with Figmas, unless you need a 1/10 scale action figure for something. I’m not expecting much from Fate but I’m at least hoping she has better articulation that Nanoha, since she doesn’t have as many clothes to get in the way. Fate or Nanoha might be a decent buy if they hit the bargain bin, and there’s probably a good chance of that since the two StrikerS ones had extended stays in the discount pile.
Thanks, I was laughing to myself while I was setting that one up XD I had a few more ideas for funny pictures that I completely forgot about, so I’ll have to remember to use them with actsta Fate.
I loved these shots — the last one is too cute. Awesome as always!
Thanks! I wish I’d taken more cute shots. I’ll have to remember to write down a shot list for Fate, whenever she’s released.
Man, those stiff-looking promo shots weren’t joking around — it’s pretty shocking to hear how limited the articulation is. I’d take a couple of jabs at you on the poses, but given the articulation, I really can’t blame you — without the legs, waist and a pair of flexible shoulders, it’s helluva hard to convey any kind of body language. Also, 14cm, eh? A bloody crime, that is.
Still, thanks for finally getting around to review her! I’ve never seen an actsta review before, and this has been most informative. Besides, the president makes a bad thing good and a good thing amazing!
I’m really hoping Fate turns out better, particularly since I can’t cancel her, and I suppose I like her character enough that I wouldn’t cancel her anyway. I’m also hoping Fate’s shots turn out better; I figure I’ll be able to do more things with her since she ought to be more mobile and I’ll be able to have her interact with both the president and the white devil magician girl. I’m hoping she balances a bit better than Nanoha, too; I had a tough time keeping Nanoha upright because of her small feet and her billowing dress.
I admit I was intrigued by the Actsta line with the whole “1/8 scale super poseable action!” thing, but ended up passing because of THAT PRICETAG. Still, if I ever found one in the bargain bin I would’ve considered getting it…
But man, there’s nothing worse than paying top dollar for something only for it to be lackluster. Nanoha looks nice enough but the smaller-than-expected size and limited articulation are huge letdowns. ;_; Speaking of Nanoha, I still don’t have a figure of her despite having a glorious Fate adorning my shelf.
That’s what drew me in as well; I was disappointed to see that she was so small. I would overlook the limited mobility if she were a bit larger. And also if she were a bit more interesting to play with; it would’ve been nice if she could assume a flying pose without collapsing the stand.
I curiously don’t have a Nanoha figure either, despite having five scale-size Fates and Vivio. It kinda seems like I ought to get one just to complete the family. Maybe Alter’s Nanoha would work, though I think I actually like Cospa’s upcoming (and overpriced) one a bit better.
Oh too bad that she turned out that bad.
I guess I could live with her restricted moveability, but the reason why I hadn’t ordered her were her faces, they don’t look bad, but as you’ve said a happy face with open eyes is missing somehow. anyway I like her outfit. last year I was interested in the Nakajima Subaru ACTSTA, but never bought her.
“these pictures should confirm me as being the worst photographer of poseable anime figures on the planet.” haha don’t be too harsh with yourself, your pics aren’t that bad, Nanoha and Obama are an interesting combination. posing poseable figures is really a bit difficult when you are not used to it.
Yeah, I really miss having a happy face; the one with the closed eyes is a lot more limited in what you can do with it. And curiously, looking at Fate’s promo shots, she only seems to have two faces with no happy face at all.
Haha, thanks XD Yeah, I need to get a lot more practice with it; I don’t actually play with my action figures all that much so I don’t even know how to pose them. I probably look at what other reviewers do, just to get an idea of where to start.