Another day, another figure from Sega’s Shining franchise. Personally, I’d like to see figures of Tao and Anri and Amon and May, but I’m quite certain they are never going to be made. It’s a shame that the figure hobby didn’t really take off before the last few years; maybe Sega could’ve saved their hardware division with their figure licensing profits.
Maxima comes from the PSP game Shining Hearts, the most recent game in the long-running Shining series. I’ve not played the game and don’t plan to, but Wikipedia tells me that it’s a role-playing game and that it has something called the Mind Over Emotion System, or MOE system. Yep. I normally wouldn’t blame Sega for selling out and ditching the gameplay and styling of the early games to conform to current convention, but given that they’ve destroyed almost all of their franchises – from Sonic to Phantasy Star to Streets of Rage to Golden Axe – I don’t think they deserve indulgence. Anyway, a bunch of figure makers have lined up to make Shining figures; this particular one comes from Kotobukiya and is sculpted in 1/8 scale, standing around 22 centimeters tall not including the base. Maxima doesn’t need a great deal of assembly out of the box; she’s attached to her base already, and her sword and card easily fit into her hands. She can separate at her midsection to give her a more modest look. More on that in a bit.
Maxima’s character design was done by Tony Taka, who seems to be a busy man, having done all of the character designs for Sega’s last three Shining games. He’s also done artwork of Miku Hatsune which was adapted into both a figure and a curious Westernized illustration which Toyota is using in a marketing campaign. Bizarre. His character designs have also entered the realm of anime, albeit in niche format, as the hentai show Fault! recently saw the release of its third episode.
Quite a few of Tony’s Shining characters look absolutely generic – generic elf archer girl, generic white-haired sorceress girl, completely generic male heroes. Maxima is much more distinctive, principally because of her outfit. She’s wearing a distinctive dress with blade-shaped ends flared out in a dramatic, eye-catching manner. Or maybe they look like neckties – appropriate, today being Father’s Day.
Unlike many of the other Shining girls, Maxima’s color scheme is monochromatic and muted, with lots of black and white and earth tones. While not visually arresting, it is still attractive in its simplicity.
Also attractive are her breasts, which are supported by some unseen force. Maxima’s costume is one of my favorite aspects of her design.
At a normal viewing distance, Maxima looks pretty good. Get a bit closer, and you start seeing problems. Get real close, or look at her through a macro lens, and you see how uneven her construction is. Kotobukiya is a decent maker but is certainly not top tier, and after having reviewed a bunch of Alter, Good Smile Company, and Max Factory figures in recent weeks, I was surprised by just how rough she looks up close. The tips of her hair, the area around her nose, and the frilly elements of her clothing around her neck and gloves look a bit like they were sandpapered. My version also has a few noticeable scratches, with a very prominent one on her left shoulder.
Her card is easy enough to get into her grasp. Keeping it there is another story; there isn’t anything that actually holds it to her fingers unless you glue it down yourself. If you’re inclined to clumsiness as I am, you might want to keep it in the box unless you’re displaying her in a safe area.
Maxima separates at the waist and you have the option of adding this translucent underskirt to cover her up a bit.
Or you can choose not to and have her proudly displaying nothing but her underwear beneath her dress. Maxima has very commendable taste, with her undergarment showing this rather peculiar but very sexy cutout. It’s a bit reminiscent of something you might see in a high school health class textbook.
And here is the back side. Tony’s art shows her wearing a bodysuit rather than panties, though you can’t tell that on this figure since her dress is not removable. I vaguely remember seeing something indicating Kotobukiya might make a version of Maxima sans dress, though.
Maxima’s expression can be interpreted many ways. Maybe she looks wry, or shy, or flirty, or content. In other words, it’s a pretty typical Tony face that doesn’t really express any strong emotions. She’s definitely quite pretty, though. Incidentally, I found it a bit hard to get pictures of her looking directly at the camera; her gaze is offset a bit to her right, but part of her hair gets in the way and shadows her right eye.
Getting back to her dress, the splayed ends dangle somewhat loosely so you can arrange them in overlapping patterns if you desire. They’re still stiff enough to hold their shape, which gives them their distinctive look but also restricts her optimal viewing angle a bit. Because Maxima is leaning back a little bit, she looks a bit fat or pregnant from the side, the way the ends extend out in front of her. Not the most flattering look for her.
Maxima is one of about a billion Shining figures out in the market and if anyone is getting tired of them, I wouldn’t blame them. Heck, I’m getting tired of them myself. It’s obvious that the Shining series seeks to supplant Ikkitousen and Queen’s Blade as far as figure proliferation goes and while the latter franchises incorporate a diverse range of poses and art styles, no maker of Shining figures seems inclined to deviate from Tony’s art. But Maxima herself is a nice figure. She’s got some quality issues which militate against me having very warm feelings for her like I have with many of my recent acquisitions but she still looks nice. Somehow I can’t help but think she looked better in the promo photos than in real life, though.
Check out foo-bar-baz for another review of Maxima. I think he liked this figure better than I did.
“Itâ€™s a bit reminiscent of something you might see in a high school health class textbook.”
The side and back views of her dress definitely took me by surprise, as the neatness of the front view takes a significant hit when you turn her around. I still like the dress a lot, though. I never realized how high the slits run up, and that makes her legs seem longer than they actually are. Because of that I’m kind of curious about this no-dress version you speak of, but then again, I can do without another Tony figure on the radar. The man needs to put more work in his comiket books. As nice as his characters look, I think I’d like them better if they’re in a greater degree of undress.
Yeah, I got zero beef with his pr0n. I mean, except when he’s doing dakimakura covers with screwed-up feet. I’m still really hoping Sora no Iro, Mizu no Iro gets an uncensored release someday. Though I’d rather see Shoujo Senki Brain Jacker and Wa Wana and Taimanin Asagi get one first. The collapse of the R1 hentai industry is one of the great tragedies of this young century.
The textbook comment made me LOL too. As always, great writing and photography. How do you make those stained glass window backgrounds? Is it real stained glass?
This one was just a piece of acrylic – from a really cheap poster frame, I think – with a piece of window film laid over it. It’s really easy to use and gives an interesting and attractive look, but the place I got it from seems to have gone out of business in the last year. The one I used for Saber Alter was just me painting right on transparent acrylic; I’m not very good at painting at all so I’m glad that idea worked out reasonably well.
I can’t say that I’m 100% happy with Maxima, but I am glad I did get her. I really like her dress though. And like you said, she looks much better when not closely looking at her.
Yeah, I do like her up on the shelf; she’s got a pretty unique look, particularly for a swordsgirl. I’ve got ninja swordsgirls, schoolgirl swordsgirls, and bikini armor swordsgirls, but few look as elegant as Maxima.
I’m not too surprised at the fact that this Kotobukiya figure looks a bit rough (from what I hear, their recent figures are on the rough side of things these days). Though from your photos, the company seems to have gotten their colours right this time round, compared to their pre-release photos that is… Anyways, another nice review.
I have to ask; despite your obvious viewpoint of Tony Taka character figures (ie, getting tired of the sheer multitude of them…?), I’m rather curious as to whether you will be reviewing Max Factory’s Xiao-Mei? I recall that was sold-out pretty quickly, and when I first saw it on preorder I had to zoom in a bit to realise it was another Tony Taka figure (though this time round it’s sculpted by a lady).
Nah, I’m not ordering that figure, not so much because I have too many Shining figures (I’ve actually got one more on order, Kotobukiya’s Blanc Neige. Despite being a Tony-designed character from a Shining game wearing a swimsuit from a mid-tier manufacturer, she’s wearing a thong, and that mitigates all of my issues) as much that I this thing against catgirls. Or any anime girl with animal ears and tails. I dunno why I don’t like them but it’s something that I’m really not a big fan of. I’ll make exceptions in certain cases, though; I’ve got one Strike Witches figure on order just because she’s carrying a big-ass gun.
But girls with animal ears and tails are so hot though. Just imagine fucking a hot cat-girl or dog-girl while yanking her tail and stroking her ears and hearing her mixture of human and animal moans.
Well, I guess it boils down to personal taste between different types of women who are very sexy.
Yeah, I’m not loving the paint scratches and edge problems with this figure. The costume is cool–looks like something out of BlazBlue–and the expression is pretty nice. But when you get in close, that would really bug the hell out of me. It’s all I’d be able to see, honestly. I’m surprised it’s a Kotobukiya product…they’re kind of my favorite publisher right now precisely because none of my Koto figures have these problems (some have different problems, but we’ll get into that on the new blog). It’s odd to see these issues from them at all.
Oh well. Great review anyway. I hope to have one up today, myself.
Yeah, I normally try not to get too caught up in the manufacturing tier thing – I have some great figures from Yamato, Daiki Kougyou, and Orchid Seed – nor do I spend a lot of time talking about paint or seam lines or whatever, but Maxima’s technical issues seemed very glaring to me. Heck, look at the first picture, where Maxima’s glove attaches to her arm. It’s kinda like they misaligned something there.
Maxima looks really nice overall. I like the style and colouring of her dress – it looks quite gothic to me. The multiple sword shapes her dress is made of make her look deadly, I bet she’d look awesome spinning in circles. Admittedly she’s not so hot up close. The paint clumps and jagged edges make her look tacky. Still, from a distance it’s unnoticeable.
Haha, from the side she does indeed appear to have a bulge. Maybe if the bell of her dress started further down it wouldn’t have been so bad.
I was going to get Maxima myself, but decided against her in the end. If I did get her I knew I’d end up wanting to get the other Shining Hearts girls. When can we expect the Shining Hearts swimsuit line-up? xD
Speaking of Fault I believe the VN is being re-released in a few days with animated CG this time round. I’m not sure how well Tonys’ illustrations will turn out when moving, guess we’ll be finding out soon enough.
I’m sure it’s not far off at all. I can only hope that they give the girls some proper swimsuits when they start sculpting. By which I mean thongs.
I kinda wanted Kaguya but while she’s pretty cute, I wasn’t too enamored with her outfit and color scheme, which looked sorta like an overly patriotic hippie. I think I’m gonna skip the Blanc Neige clone too, though it looks like her outfit is removable so that decision is still pending.
Ah, right, I remember hearing about that. I wonder how well it will turn out? The anime was pretty enjoyable – I think I liked Sora no Iro, Mizu no Iro better but as far as Tony adaptations go, it was pretty good.
Hi! I’m a spanish girl (from Mallorca) and I’ve been reading this blog for a long time: I’ve just decided to leave a post ^^ I have a small and modest figure collection (compared to yours!) but I love them! The best pieces in my showcase are Momohime, Yagyu Jubei and Dizzy (all of them from Alter) so I hope my collection get larger… soon Âº3Âº
Anyway…I just wanted to congratulate you for your figures, your blog and your awesome photos! 😀
See you soon!
PS: sorry for my bad english u//////u
Those are great figures and centerpieces for any collection. Thanks for dropping by! And your English is fine; I’m always amazed at how well people speak and write English as a second language. Makes me really wish I’d spent more time studying a foreign language when I was in school.
It’s a nice figure! And yes, it seems she doesn’t look good from some angles… I didn’t notice the bad nosejob and hair at first, so it was good that you mentioned it! I tend to not like Kotobukiya figures, but I was almost giving Maxima a shot…. which I won’t be doing anymore.
But i’s still a nice figure!
I cancelled my Kaguya by Kotobukiya and Alters Homei (also shining something), long ago, to buy Izumi Tsubasu which I adore! Homei was too expensive, and Kaguya was… Kotobukiya…
By the way, how do I do to have a picture next to my comments like you and Biotoxic do have?
I don’t want to rag too much on Kotobukiya, since they’ve done stuff that I like a lot and I try not to characterize a company’s quality based on one figure (I’ve seen a bunch of people do that with Yamato, which is annoying since I like a lot of Yamato’s stuff). But yeah, Maxima is a bit ragged. Probably would be a decent purchase if she hits the bargain bin, though. Or if Kotobukiya distributed her in the US at a cheap price like they used to do with a lot of their figures.
Uhh, gee, I think I signed up for something at Gravatar … at least, I think that was the site. I uploaded my picture there and I think it automatically shows up on the WordPress sites I post and comment on.
That’s true, I’ve become too picky lately with the figures.
Yes, she’s still a good figure. I’d definately pick her up if she’d be in a bargain bin sale!
Am scaling down abit on my fig but more on the fact that am running out of shelf-space for my figs XD. Over all I like Kotobukiya figs although some of the designs are a bit plain but at least solid. Am still on the fence here in collecting the Shining Hearts figs From Kotobukiya as I just got my own Max Fac. Swimsuit xecty and am dreading the day max fac. releases the swimsuit line of shining hearts Xp
Yeah, that’s how I view Kotobukiya; they aren’t the most ambitious figures around, but they’re generally decent quality and they do a lot of figures of characters or designs that I like. I’m kinda thinking I’d be inclined to skip such a line if Max Factory made one, but who knows; I thought I’d skip the BRS figures and I’ve got two of them now.
Oh wow, I had read another review of her before and was regretting not getting Maxima but seeing these close up shots, that would bug me. Admittedly, I don’t own any Kotobukiya figures so I’m not sure if this is what they’re usually like but wow. She does look nice from a decent distance though and her unique character design is what drew me to her originally. Makes me wonder how awesome she’d look in a really dynamic pose. I’m really looking forward to whoever does figures for Nellis and Airy, I keep hoping its Max Factory or Alter.
That picture of the translucent underdress made me laugh a bit, at first glance I thought it was a lampshade on a very peculiar lamp. And good to see the portrait lighting again; even for a fall-back lighting solution, it still looks fantastic.
Yeah, this is about what Kotobukiya figures look like really close up. Admittedly, they look fine on the shelf … the quality doesn’t bug me a lot in general viewing since my eyes are bad and my figures are far away enough that I’m not gonna notice the jaggy hair (though I’ll probably notice that scratch on her shoulder) but it’s definitely a step down from Alter quality.
I must admit I had very few ideas for Maxima and this was the sort of review I put up to buy me some time to photograph something that interests me more. I’ve got some other ideas for general portrait lighting that I’d like to try out, though; it’d be nice to mix up my fallback background rather than use the table mats all the time.
Awwwwwww… another figure I was looking to review (which will probably never get done). You got a lot of the same figures I got lately. ^_^ I really like Maxima for her simplicity and an aura of elegance to her design / demeanor. The base for this figure is a little disappointing though, typical Kotobukiya bases – but at least it has some height dimension to it and not just a flat disc. The next figure I’m looking forward to is Kaguya – are you going to get her as well? But with the stupid postal strike lately who knows when I’ll get the rest of my packages. =(
It’s funny how the figure looks okay normally but when you zoom up close with the macro lens, the world changes. It looks to be typical Kotobukia quality, though I think they have improved quite a bit since I started collecting.
P.S. Where are the tentacles?! LOL
We do! We have great taste. Yeah, Kotobukiya’s bases aren’t really that imaginative … well, I guess Kyou had an imaginative base, she had some gym equipment and a soft cushion. But most of them seem to have white discs. Nah, I’m not getting Kaguya.
A postal strike in the US would definitely be very problematic for me. I’m making it a personal crusade to keep my local post office operating through my expenditures. That’s why I spend so much money on figures; it’s because I care.
I took a lot of figure photos with the cheap 50mm lens (as a lot of beginning photographers do). When I upgraded to the long macro lens, I remember being stunned at how much more awful my figures looked. I saw dust and scratches and paint defects that I would’ve never noticed with the normal lens.
No tentacles today! They’re a bit big for Maxima, she only being 1/8 scale. I figure I’ll break them out for the figures I really love. If you see the tentacle stand, you know that’s a figure I like.
I like the design of the shining heart characters a lot, a friend gave me a lot of info about the game and the girls in it, as he was playing it. The characters I liked the most were Nellis and Melty. Kotobukiya will make figures from both and Im looking forward to see the prototype of Nellis.
Even though I haven’t ordered Maxima in the end, I was quite interested in her. She looks very pretty with her interesting designed and dark colored dress, also her face with the cool face expression seems to be interesting. The pose looks cool with the card between her fingers, but I agree that she looks pregnant from the side 😀
On your figure all the details look nice, I haven’t noticed the earings before ^^
On the downside Kotobukiya isn’t well known for very clean manufactured figures.
Even though Maxima appears like a pretty figure, at some small areas she looks quite rough.
Ahhhhh … see, when I think of the Shining games, I think of centaurs and ninjas and robots and birdmen and stuff. Now it sounds like the games are harem RPGs or something -_-
Hehe, yeah, I remember looking through my shots and going like, “Whoa, is she pregnant?” When I do those 360 degree shots, I’m sometimes not even really looking at the figure, I just go into a shoot, rotate, shoot motion so I didn’t even notice it until after I uploaded the shots.
It’s ironic… saw Baz’s review of her when he uploaded it and received my figure about 3 weeks ago, but haven’t got round to unpacking her yet. Did think she looked cute as hell, but my display is getting kinda full.
Guess she got kinda overshadowed by my first E2046 figure which arrived around the same time. Must get round to unpacking her soon – she does look pretty damn cute.
Took me about that long to take her out of the box, too. I’ve got like a half dozen figures here that need to be taken out, once I clear off some space. It doesn’t help that I really want to photograph some older figures in my collection, so I’m not going to unbox some of those newer figures till I’ve got time to shoot them.
This one captures the cuteness of the Tony face better than the other Shining figures I’ve seen, although Max Factory’s upcoming Xiao-Mei will probably outdo this one.
One thing that bothers me is the area where her feet connect to the base. The way they designed it makes her feet look really fake. But I’m quite fond of the rest of the figure. I wish the color scheme wasn’t so dull, but I do love the dress design and her face.
Yeah, she comes attached to the base and her feet look sorta odd. The soles of her boots really don’t look right. I also hope she doesn’t suffer from leaning problems; Kotobukiya’s Kotonoha Katsura figure also came attached to the base and she’s got a serious leaning issue going on.
I have to agree as a whole, though you’re much wordier about it and take vastly superior photos compared to mine (which is why I like your reviews).
The quality issues surprised me; I have some other Koto figures and never noticed such roughness in them, but when I was first taking pics of her upon the unboxing I started noticing all sorts of flaws. And I didn’t even have my macro lens then, I dread to think what it would show me. But I don’t need to take pics of her since you’ve done such excellent ones, as with Dizzy and Rin. Saves me having to take mine out and set them up for shooting. ^^;
We seem to share some common ground in figure tastes, though your collection is quite a bit larger than mine. This is good because it means I don’t have to bother taking pics of them, if people want to see the figures I either show photos of my display or can link to your reviews. 😀
Though I still haven’t unboxed my Rin, I really should… I just lost motivation to (usually unbox and get pics) after seeing your pictures. ;.;
Yeah, I don’t think I noticed this level of roughness on other recent Kotobukiya figures, like samurai Tamaki. Okay, samurai Tamaki had some uneven paint in her bustier but overall I thought she looked great. Kyou Fujibayashi also turned out really well. I was kinda surprised at how Maxima turned out, particularly since I was really looking forward to her.
You should take pictures anyway! Man, I remember when I started this site, my main inspiration was Happy Soda and I was thinking that I would never get anywhere close to that level (I didn’t know about foo-bar-baz then). Heck, I remember there was this guy named seijuro who posted really nice pictures on Tsuki-board; I really liked his work and thought I’d never get anywhere close to that level of quality, either. I wish he’d post more, since I still think he makes great pictures.
Any idea how much work a colour resin kit takes to make up?
Am tempted by this:
I am not sure; that looks pretty complicated though … lots of little parts, waterslide decal … might be worth a try, though, if you enjoy building stuff. In my limited experience, even repairing minor damage to a figure is a very time-consuming and painstaking experience, so I’d imagine building a prepainted kit still requires quite a bit of effort.
Never planned to get her but get her I did. Mine just arrived today and dare I say it………she is a rather pretty/classy looking figure. Not too ecchi but not too conservative if you know what I mean. And yeah, the pattern on her abdomen sure looks a womans cervix/fallopian tubes and ovaries ( Tony what the heck have you been smoking )
Btw Tier, what kind of hi def lens are you using to see the minute blemishes on this beauty?
A curious pattern indeed. But cool as hell. Sometimes I disparage Tony for not being particularly original but I have to give him praise for this.
I’m using a 100mm macro lens; it’s a great lens but is quite unforgiving.
Sometimes too high the definition, too much knowledge hehehehe.
And yeah, Tony really is a pervert, okay a highly talented pervert. I give Maxima a 4.9/5.0
True indeed, sometimes you’re better off not knowing. I probably could’ve backed off on the lighting some, too, so it wouldn’t have been as noticeable. I’ll have to remember that in the future.
I am starting to regret now that I’ve canceled her. I impulsively ordered her because I really like her face, not to mention that she’s designed by Tony Taka – one of my favorite artists. Thanks for the review. It’s enough to rekindle my interest in her.
It appears she’s getting a re-release, so if you’re still interested in her later this year, it looks like you’ll be able to pick her up without any trouble. She must have sold pretty well; that’s probably the quickest re-release announcement I’ve seen.