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.