A figure that is released late is nothing new; many collectors breathed a happy sigh the other day as Alter finally shipped the figure of that one Steins;Gate girl with the bicycle, nearly fourteen months after it first went up for order. A figure that goes almost two years between availability and shipment, though; that’s a bit more uncommon. Looking through my e-mail, I found that I originally ordered this figure on January 31, 2012, and I received it on October 30, 2013 – a time span of 638 days. Putting up money nearly two years in advance for a little plastic doll might seem insane to many people, but I suppose it’s something that figure collectors are perfectly accustomed to. We’re an odd species, being like that.
Horizon on (or in) the Middle of Nowhere is a fun, quirky anime populated by likeable and attractive characters. However, there haven’t been that many figures produced of the show’s cast, particularly Horizon, the titular lead girl. Thus far, she’s only gotten a couple of figures – this one and Wave’s earlier figure. Further, both figures were sold solely in Japan, making it more difficult than it ought to have been for foreign collectors to acquire either figure. Further compounding this aggravation is that neither Wave nor Volks are what one would label top-flight figure makers. It’s one thing to pay a premium for a product from a premium maker; it’s rather less exciting to pay a higher price when one expects mediocrity, or when one does not have any expectations at all. Volks is hard to gauge, since they are famous for their mecha model kits and their big-ass dolls but are less known for their PVC figures. I’ve had a few that were okay and a few that I don’t particularly care for.
At first glance, Horizon makes a decent first impression when compared to Wave’s figure. The Wave figure was rather small, and while Volks’s Horizon is smaller than her nominal 1/7 scale size, she ought to be able to fit in with Kotobukiya’s upcoming 1/8 scale figures. Her body build is, however, substantially slighter than Max Factory’s Tomo Asama and Kotobukiya’s Total Eclipse pilot suit figures, who are all 1/7 scale and share similar design aesthetics. Volks’s Horizon is about 21 centimeters tall, though that includes the small offset in her base. She comes with no additional accessories; just put her on the base and she’s ready for display.
This figure presents Horizon in her usual outfit, which is very similar to the uniform worn by the female students at Musashi Ariadust Academy, though she doesn’t enroll there until a bit later in the story. It is a very attractive uniform, revealing and accentuating her body line. Her leggings or pantyhose are painted with a very glossy texture, which focuses attention on her upper thighs and buttocks. Sadly, her rear isn’t all that large, and from some angles it looks even smaller, thanks to an optical illusion caused by the seam that runs down the rear of each of her legs.
Other highlights of her outfit include the way her breasts are raised up and divided into black and white hemispheres, looking a bit like frosted bon-bons, as well as the mechanical bits attached under her bust and along her hips.
Aside from her body-hugging costume, perhaps the most obvious element of her design is her hair. Horizon typically has gray hair, but Volks has elected to use a transparent silver-white plastic for her tresses. I am not really a big fan of this sort of thing; I recall being quite disappointed when I received Alter’s first figure of KOS-MOS, which had solid light blue hair in the promo photos but transparent blue hair in the production figure. Here, I guess I’m a little more ambivalent; it doesn’t really look that bad, and it opens up some photographic possibilities as far as getting her hair to glow.
Horizon doesn’t show much emotion on her face, which is only appropriate as she seldom shows any kind of expression in the anime. Her slightly-parted mouth and body posture give her an ethereal look, which also seems appropriate given her role in the show. Her skin tone is rather pallid and pasty, but perhaps that too is appropriate, since she’s something of an android and not a human being. (Fans of the show might note that her shoulders and upper arms are actually her bare, synthetic skin and her skin tone there seems realistic enough.)
Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere features an impressively large cast, and its female characters span the gamut of body builds and sizes. As the main character, Horizon occupies the average position, more or less; she has a slim body build that is more developed than Nate or Suzu but not quite as curvy as Kimi or Mary Stuart, and her breast size is fairly large but not quite as large as Tomo, Juana, or (I think) Gin Tachibana. Notably, this figure’s body sculpt is not nearly as exaggerated as Max Factory’s Tomo, though I don’t doubt that the shape of Horizon’s breasts might look a little strange to some collectors.
Horizon’s body build does look quite nice, with her wide hips being balanced by her slender waist. Fans of thigh gaps will also like the way her right leg curves inwards, leaving a small space under her crotch.
Overall, this figure is the very best figure of Horizon Ariadust, though it wins that title by default, as the Wave figure isn’t that great. This is a good figure, and I like it, and I can’t find much fault with it, other than that it wobbles a bit too much for my liking (I hope that doesn’t develop into a problem down the line). I suppose it would be nice if she had a bigger backside, too. That said, I think a manufacturer like Max Factory or Alter or even Kotobukiya might be able to better this figure, and I’m hoping that none of them give up on Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere; it might be out of mind, but it’s still a great show that deserves more figures than it has gotten.