As is traditional during this time of the year, this post will list my favorite figures of 2012. Unlike previous years, it wasn’t easy for me to come up with this list; in fact, I changed my mind once while taking photographs of these figures. Usually, there’s at least one figure per year that I really love, the sort of figure that, if it were to be damaged, I would move the heavens and earth to find a replacement for it. That figure is usually an Alter figure; in fact, Alter has made my favorite figure of each of the last three years. What about this year?
If this post were titled “The Five Best Figures of 2012,” Inori would have no place being listed here. She’s got a bunch of problems – very small size and a corpse-like skin tone being amongst the most prominent – and could be charitably described as a missed opportunity. Nonetheless, I like this figure, even as I admit that I like this figure much more because I like the character design rather than the product. In my view, Inori is one of the prettiest characters in anime, and as this is the only figure to date that puts her in her combat leotard, it’s a figure that I like a lot. If the figure were a proper 1/8 scale, it’d almost certainly be the #1 figure on this list. Unfortunately, it’s not, and so my enthusiasm for this figure is greatly tempered by my disappointment.
I did not have high expectations for this figure, so I was very pleased that Noel is an excellent sculpt. She has a dynamic, eye-catching pose and a design that looks like her video game appearance, even though this figure is based off of her Queen’s Gate design. There are many fighting game characters who deserve figures and while Noel doesn’t have many, Hobby Japan has done a fine job paying homage to her. Being that Dizzy is also a Queen’s Gate character, hopefully Noel’s alter ego Mu-12 – an analogue to Dizzy in many ways – will get a combat book and a figure as well.
#3. Saber from Fate/zero
Surely one of the most anticipated figures of this year, Good Smile Company’s Motored Cuirassier Saber definitely does not disappoint. Their previous Fate/stay night figures have been uniformly excellent, and bike Saber is perhaps foremost amongst them in terms of sheer visual appeal. Of course, a great deal of that appeal is generated by the motorcycle rather than the figure, and I have to admit that this Saber is perhaps the most masculine figure in my collection, but nonetheless, this is an amazing product.
Curiously, this figure appears to still be in stock at Amiami.
I’m not a Metroid fan at all, being that I haven’t ever played any of the games, but I can still appreciate Samus Aran’s design. She’s an atypical character to have a figure made of, being that most figure companies go for visual novel, RPG, and fighting game characters, but I’m glad that Max Factory chose her, and I’m particularly happy that they did a great job of it. Samus looks fantastic, combining sexiness, confidence, and deadliness in a way that doesn’t often happen. (It certainly did not happen in the game that she comes from, from what I understand.)
Although I have a reputation for preferring explicit figures (I’m not sure where this comes from), I’ve never included an ero figure on this list. Chie came closest last year, and if I were to re-do that list perhaps I’d place her on it. However, this year, Ai takes the honors as my favorite figure of 2012. Alphamax has made a great figure – which is quite surprising, as Alphamax isn’t really known for making either great figures or ero figures. Her sculpt is great, her paintwork is great, her breasts great – there isn’t anything I would change about Ai. Hopefully they’ll keep making ero figures, and figures of characters from ero properties.
So there’s not an Alter figure on this list; I think the one I liked best is Kanetsugu, and if I thought about it some more, maybe she might be sixth or seventh (speaking of which, I wonder if anyone can guess which figure got bumped off of this list while I was photographing it; I’ll give a hint that it is not a figure I have reviewed yet). The white swimsuit version of Jubei was pretty good too, though that is obviously a repainted version of a figure released a while back. Besides those figures, they didn’t release a whole lot that I loved. I guess the two swimsuit Nanoha figures are pretty good, though I think Nanoha is clearly better than Fate. Aegis is pretty good, too. They didn’t release as many figures as they have in years past, and many of their 2012 releases were re-releases rather than new figures. They seem to be making more male figures than just about anyone else, which is a good thing as those products cater to an audience that has traditionally been ignored by hobby goods manufacturers. However, those are also products I have no interest in buying, for the most part (I did think about buying MegaHouse’s Kenshin, though).
Compared to previous years, there were a lot of really nice figures but none that I really loved. For example, all five figures I listed last year (Sasara, Lacia, Saber Alter, Rin Tohsaka, and Dizzy) would’ve been listed ahead of Ai in my esteem, and I’d probably also put Chie and Fate ahead of her, too. Next year seems to be looking better as far as figures that I’m really excited about, which include Kotobukiya’s Yui and Cryska and FREEing’s bunny Fate. However, the figure I’m really excited about will be coming from MegaHouse, and it’s one that I’ve been wishing for for a while:
Who says wishes don’t come true?
Anyway, happy new year to everyone. We’ll get back to figure reviews shortly; I’ve certainly got no shortage of stuff that needs to be shot. Heck, there’s one in this picture.