My Five Favorite Figures of 2013 & Year-End Thoughts

2013 is on the verge of twerking its way into memory and of course, that means it’s time for a customary year-end list. Such lists often purport to rank the best things of the nearly-departed year, but that’s not the case for this particular list. Rather, this list contains my favorite figures, which means I speak for nobody but myself and I rate solely by a single criterion: how much I liked the figure. Hype, popularity amongst the collecting community, and manufacturer reputation count for nothing here. We’ll also talk a little bit about the year that was in figure collecting; without further ado, let’s jump in.

#5. Irma from Queen’s Blade

Irma from Queen's Blade

I could probably select from a half-dozen figures for this slot, so why not go with the one that I’ve been anticipating for years. Irma’s action pose looks great, her fierce expression is striking, and her outfit is, of course, agreeably abbreviated. It was quite the wait for her but it was worth it. Sympathies to any Melpha fans that might be out there.

#4. Yui Takamura from Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse

Yui Takamura from Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse

Kotobukiya has made figures of many of the girls from Muv-Luv Alternative, but my favorite is Yui Takamura, the only one of the group – for some reason or another – to be posed standing up. Her sleek, glossy, impossibly-tight bodysuit sheathes her body perfectly, and her nonchalant expression suitably reflects her no-nonsense attitude. All of Yui’s best aspects are on full display here, and it’s hard for me to find anything I don’t like about her.

#3. Dark Elf from Lineage II

Dark Elf from Lineage II

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a figure from Lineage II. For years, Orchid Seed has been teasing us with concept art of a dark elf figure, but this year Max Factory has hoisted them by their petard, releasing a figure that few companies could match in both overall quality and aesthetic appeal. I really only played Lineage II because I liked the dark elf character models so much, and so it should be no surprise that I like this figure very much as well. Her outfit is particularly appealing, but her cold, enigmatic stare is just as attractive. She’s certainly not a typical figure from Max Factory, but I think she’s one of their best.

#2. Kuroyukihime from Accel World

Kuroyukihime from Accel World

The total quantity of figures released in a year must number in the hundreds, and yet every now and then a few will come along with will raise eyebrows and cause collectors to murmur, “Oh my.” Kuroyukihime is surely among that select group. For one thing, she can be displayed in two very different ways, and each of those modes is spectacular. Me, it’s quite obvious which look I prefer. Not only does Kuroyukihime look beautiful, with her lithe body all but entirely exposed, but her photo shoot was a lot of fun as well. The sheer wrongness of this figure is stunning but she looks so right nonetheless.

#1. Peace Keeper Daisy from Tony’s Heroine Collection

Daisy from Tony's Heroine Collection

I had to think hard about this one. If this were a “best of 2013” list, I don’t think she’d be in this spot; in fact, I’m not sure she’d be on this list at all. She’s got at least two peculiar issues, one of which is such an obvious problem that I don’t know how she made it out of the factory in her current state. But on the shelf, looking at her with my eyeballs rather than through a viewfinder, I think she looks great. I really like her cute pose and her palpable effervescence. I also quite like the fact that she’s wearing just her panties; it’s one of my favorite aspects of this figure. Another thing that I very much appreciate is that she is really big, being 1/6 scale. When I evaluate a figure, size is an important quality in itself; taken with everything else, Daisy is my favorite figure of this past year.

A Note on the Ranking

Aside from being entirely personal, this list is also very much fungible; I’ve got a bunch of figures here that I haven’t even opened up, which is why figures like Lucifer and Ignis aren’t on the list. There were quite a few figures that I liked, but not many that I loved; my own five-favoritest-figures-of-all-time ranking remains unaltered from this time in 2012.

Speaking of Alter …

Like a lot of figure collectors, I’d label Alter my favorite manufacturer. Their quality is consistently excellent and they’ve made numerous figures of characters that I like. I trace my entrance into this hobby to one of their earliest figures (KOS-MOS from Xenosaga; technically, I collected figures earlier than that but KOS-MOS was, at that time, a huge jump over my other figures in terms of sculpt quality. The other two figures I received at around that time were Yamato’s Kanu Unchou and Max Factory’s Kasumi.). For Alter fans, 2013 had to have been rather depressing; they put out a fairly small number of figures, only a few of which were notable. They did, at least, get out that long-awaited figure of the Steins;Gate girl with the bike. It also feels like that, of their new figures, they chucked out more figures of dudes than female characters. I can’t fairly criticize that; anime in general caters heavily towards horny, hormone-driven men and if I didn’t fall into that category myself, I’d resent that reality. It’s nice to see that female collectors (and other collectors who want figures of male anime characters) have some options. Selfishly, though, I hope Alter does make more notable figures of female characters, because it feels strange that after having bought so many of their figures, I don’t care much at all about their entire last year’s worth of releases.

How Max Factory gots its groove back

A lot of people would also label Max Factory as one of their favorite manufacturers. In previous years, I hadn’t bought very many of their products and I had felt that they were becoming mostly a Figma maker, leaving the scale-size figures to Good Smile Company and its partners. However, I’m very pleased at how many fantastic figures they’ve released this past year. Tomo Asama, Kuroyukihime and the two Lineage II dark elves are personal favorites, of course (I didn’t get the brown-skinned dark elf but I do like it a lot), and I’ve also got the Lineage II regular elf, Medaka, Nozomi Akiyama, and Nyarlko here, awaiting their respective turns in front of the camera (Nyarlko is particularly nice, nice enough that I thought about putting her at #5 in the list above). Had Sheryl Nome made her original October release date, I’m sure she would have been a contender for the top spot on this list. Next year is looking just as strong, and I can probably already pencil in Sheryl, Momo Deviluke, and Tharja for spots on next year’s list.

Old is the New New

The figure industry seems to be fairly stable; nobody notable exited the business and not a whole lot of companies got into it. Dragon Toy seems to be composed of industry veterans, Orca Toy seems to have ties to Okayama Figure Engineering, and I guess Vertex/Dwell is the only other company I can think of that entered the market this last year (though technically, I think their Eva cockpit Asuka figure was released in late 2012). However, there was still some flux in the industry from existing companies. When I started this website, Alphamax was a niche maker of really expensive polystone statues that nobody seemed to buy. I eventually bought Mai Shiranui – one of their final polystone statues, if memory serves. Soon after, they started making less-expensive PVC figures and now, they seem to be making a little bit of everything. They’ve got ero figures (previously the province of makers like Native), a couple of Saber figures (a character perhaps most associated with Good Smile Company), bunches of swimsuit figures of popular characters (mirroring Wave’s Beach Queens line), and so on. It’s really impressive how rapidly they’ve transformed their product range.

In contrast, Kotobukiya is one of the biggest companies in the hobby, and they’ve always had a very diverse range of products, from PVC figures to mecha toys to polystone statues of American comic book characters. I own a number of their figures and generally speaking, I’d say most of them are pretty average. However, it appears they are trying to elevate their profile; Daisy is a very nice figure, and their upcoming figures of Olivia, Sakuya, and Tomo Asama look just as nice. As they should, given the price tags they are sporting. It’ll be interesting to see if they continue trying to make higher-quality figures than they have in the past, and if they succeed in doing so. (Also, a few years ago, I remarked to another figure reviewer that I’d like to see some Mortal Kombat bishoujo figures. He didn’t think there was much of a chance of that, as Kotobukiya is a Japanse maker and Mortal Kombat’s popularity is almost entirely Western, but being that it’s clear that the Bishoujo series is firmly targeted at the North American audience, I wonder if we might ever see some Bishoujo figures of the Mortal Kombat girls. I think they’d make for a nice addition that would fit well with their Street Fighter and Tekken figures.)

The Internet is for Porn

Back around when I started collecting, it was very difficult to find a figure with exposed breasts. It was unthinkable for a figure to have exposed genitalia, aside from certain model kits, and those were typically very limited items sold only at Wonder Festival and other model kit-related conventions (anyone remember when Wonder Festival was mainly a garage kit thing?). However, in this past year, Native has opened up orders to international customers, Alphamax has made a number of fully-explicit figures that are distributed through normal retail channels, and Dragon Toy seems to be trying to out-do everyone in terms of mainstream, high-quality ero figures. For anyone who happens to be an enthusiast of porno figures, this past year was a happy year.

Tony, Tony, Tony has done it again

This part year was also a happy year for Tanayuki Tanaka, better known to international fans as Tony Taka. Some artists have styles that don’t seem to work as well in three-dimensional works as they do in illustration; Redjuice, Nishieda, and Raita come to mind. Tony’s style, however, works so well that almost no manufacturer has difficulty interpreting his (admittedly not at all inimitable) style in plastic. Alphamax made a number of ero figures based off his work; Daisy is based off his work; Native and Dragon Toy both have ero figures in the works based off his work; and there is the usual litany of figures from Sega’s Shining series that are, of course, based off his work. I’ve written in the past about being a bit tired of all the Tony figures but when they look this nice – and lewd – I hardly have cause for complaint.

Dollar Dollar Bill y’all

Perhaps the best trend of all doesn’t even directly relate to figures. It is, however, of great concern to overseas figure collectors:

American figure collectors may remember just how much it sucked when the exchange rate plummeted to around 75 yen to the dollar. Happily, the rate has hovered around 95 to 100 yen to a dollar for most of the year, meaning that figures are around 20% or so cheaper than they would have been not much more than a year ago. It seems that market analysts expect the exchange rate to improve (in the eyes of overseas figure collectors) in 2014, so that’s great news for most of us.

And that wraps up this post. Happy New Year and we will resume normal posting shortly, in the next year.

This entry was posted in Random Thoughts and tagged , .

32 Responses to My Five Favorite Figures of 2013 & Year-End Thoughts

  1. Asa says:

    All good stuff. I was a little worried as I scrolled down, as your first three girls all had ginormous breasts, then you listed Kuroyuki. All is well.

    I don’t have any of your listed figures, but you do make some good points about the companies, and the industry as a whole. Exchange rates have also been nicer (though dropped a bit for AUD unfortunately) but it sure beats 2011-12.

    I have very few preorders left over the next few months, as I’m out of space and as I am unable to sell figures I have simply stopped buying all but my most beloved characters. The money can go toward other things, at least. I’ll still follow the market, industry, and your blog because I love the pretties, but I have to take a step back from collecting. It’s a bummer, but space is space.

    When are we going to see a full review of Daisy, anyway? I was tempted by her but gave her a miss, so I’d like to see some nice shots.

    • Tier says:

      Kuroyukihime is a great figure indeed! If she were 1/4 scale, she’d be amongst my favorites. Shoot, maybe she’d be a contender for second place.

      Ah, that’s unfortunate, a little bit, anyway. I remember the AUS dollar was more valuable than the US dollar not long ago (I even remember reading an article not long ago about ex-US military personnel who went to go serve in the Australian Defence Force, since the exchange rate meant they’d make even more money after converting their pay to US currency). I see the exchange rate has gone sharply the other way in recent times.

      Yeah, I’m finding that space concerns are playing a role in which figures I buy – which is to say, I do not know if I will buy many more (or any more) of FREEing’s 1/4 scale figures that are reclining or lying down. I just don’t have room for them. I do think I need to get rid of some figures that I don’t like as much, even if it means listing them at cut-rate prices.

      Probably fairly soon; I only got the figure last week and I need to get her background constructed (which isn’t very elaborate, since she’s got an outdoor theme and I don’t have the capability to mimic an outdoor set on my desk).

  2. bear says:

    What peculiar issues did you find with Daisy? Is it the variable skin tone thing? I’ve only heard about it but not seen any pictures of the severity. Or is it something else?

    • Tier says:

      Her eyes are slightly misaligned. The promo photos don’t show this problem, oddly enough. I’ll talk a little more about it when I do her post.

      • bear says:

        That’s a new one. Is it a design or production issue? Can you throw a couple of quick photos of the problem on MFC or something?

        • Tier says:

          It’s both, I suppose, though the issue doesn’t show up on the sample figure. I’ll mention it when I do the post; I don’t really interact with the Tsuki-board community.

  3. nuo2x2 says:

    yay for Irma!! \^0^/
    I totally understand you bro, all of these years waiting… waiting… and waiting, heheh

    Hopefully the global economy could be better within this year

    • Tier says:

      Indeed! And yes, that would certainly be nice. An end to sequestration would be nice too, as my day job is in the defense industry. Hopefully this will be a great year.

  4. Adam says:

    I would also list Yui among my favorites for the year. Kotobukiya did a great job at winning back my business this year and Yui was the best example of that effort. Cryska and Meiya were also quite nice and I have a couple more promising Koto figures on order. Daisy was not among them, as the prototype didn’t quite sell me, but I’m thinking now that was probably a mistake to be corrected in early 2014.

    I agree that Alter had a disappointingly quiet year. Suzuha (bike-girl) turned out very nicely, but technically she opened for preorder in 2012. Aside from the exciting unveil of Range Murata’s Muse in the past month, I can’t think of many notable bishoujo figures from Alter this year.

    It’s nice to see the dollar rebound after having a couple of historically bad years. I seem to recall it being about ¥120 to the dollar when I started collecting and it feels like it’s done nothing but tumble ever since. I also feel like the median price of quality bishoujo figures has risen, even disregarding the exchange rate, a bit in that same time, which is interesting considering that Japan has supposedly been in a deflationary state for years now. I don’t see the Japanese pricing going down, so hopefully the dollar situation will continue to improve to counteract that effect somewhat.

    • Tier says:

      It feels a little odd to put Kotobukiya on this list. Aside from making nicer and pricier figures, I’ve noticed they’ve also been putting more effort in some of their product photos; I was surprised they went the way they did with the promo photos for that one Bakemonogatari girl. I don’t often see promo photos with heavy rim lighting like that.

      Suzuha does indeed look quite nice, though I suppose I’m going to have to roll with an outdoors-style set for her. I also have their Saber figure here, the one in the white dress, which is nice, but it is just another Saber. I heard they might have had some production issues earlier in the year so perhaps that accounted for the slower and more limited pace of releases.

      The exchange rate really did suck; I remember I asked a proxy service by buy some doujinshi for me during summer Comiket last year and the bill was something like $500. I placed another order this year and the bill was nearly two hundred dollars less, even though I ordered about the same number of books. It also makes ordering porno pillowcases a little more palatable; I have to admit I felt pretty silly spending about the same amount of money as the cost of a PS3 for each dakimakura cover.

      It does seem like figure prices have been going up, and it kinda seems like, at least until recently, not too many big-hype figures have been hitting the bargain bin. At least, I haven’t been tempted by much in the bargain bin this year. It also seems like there are more premium products out there, like Sheryl Nome, Tomo Asama, and Signum. I remember when gangsta lean Saber went up for order and people were agog at her price; I hope that that sort of pricing doesn’t become commonplace.

  5. Cerberus says:

    Wow, can’t wait to see your Daisy and dark elf review! I purchased neither of these two. struggled a lot to make the decision. They are excellent figures no doubt but somehow I didn’t quite want to keep one of my own. Now I start to think about getting one again after seeing these pictures!

    • Tier says:

      Both of them look great! I’m kinda thinking of getting the brown-skinned elf now, even though I have the blue-skinned one. I didn’t think about it but her color scheme matches GSC’s old dark elf figure, and it’s interesting to compare the two.

  6. Dvalinn says:

    I’d put a combination of Yui and Cryska on my list as well. They were two of my most anticipated figures this year, and they didn’t dissapoint in the slightest. I mean, what’s not to love about them? They’re quite big, I love their colouring, their detailed suits make them stand out quite a lot, Yui had an awesome base, they’re all shiny and their, ah, behinds are quite nice to look at. They’re the kind of figures that remind why I’m shelling out so much dough for these pieces of plastic. Koto’s best work this year, in my opinion.

    You’re also right in saying Alphamax is on a roll nowadays. They keep churning out awesome figures with reasonable price-tags, and I found myself pre-ordering quite a bunch of them this year – swimsuit Ichika, swimsuit Yami & Momo and Kurousagi – and I got my hands on their older Haganai figures as well. I’d put Yami in my favourites list as well, cause she turned out gorgeous, and way better than the preview pics (always a nice surprise). I really like Ichika too. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can come up with next year.

    They make me more enthusiastic than Alter nowadays – the male figures don’t bother me too much (even if I do like them making girls) but their poses have issues, as a lot of their figures are, well, really boring. GSC isn’t impressing me too much either, especially not with how dissapointed I was with their Tenshi. At least MF is still going strong.

    And of course, hooray for the yen. When I started out I had to count around 10-15 extra euro’s with every order compared to the yen, so I had to pay around E65 for 5000y. Nowadays it’s the reverse – everything costs 10-15 less, sometimes even more. It’s basically like I’m getting free shipping everywhere now. Hooray!

    Finally, figures really have become quite explicit, haven’t they? Not just regarding the availability of porno figures, mind you. Maybe it’s just me, but the industry seems to have gotten a love for detailed underwear and whatnot, complete with cameltoes, even on otherwise innocent figures (like GSC’s Ichika). Or really low-cut bikini bottoms that pretty much show off everything but the lowest area, like on Kuroyukihime or Yami. It’s like they’re trying to see just what they can get away with.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, the Muv-Luv girls were all great. I gave Yui the spot on the list since she’s standing up but I probably could have also just put her, Cryska, and Inia all together in one spot. That would’ve felt kinda cheap, though XD (On ESPN’s basketball website, they occasionally present a controversial assertion to their analysts and ask them if it is true or false, and sometimes they will say it’s both, and I always want to call them a bunch of spineless wankers when they do that.)

      I’m surprised and happy at Alphamax’s stuff. FREEing’s stuff too; it kinda seems they put out a lot more figures this year than they did in the past. I’ve thought before that I’d be a big Beach Queens collector if they weren’t 1/10 scale, but it seems like I can just buy Alphamax’s stuff instead.

      Yeah, a lot of Alter’s stuff doesn’t excite me too much … Saber Alter is pretty boring (I dunno why their Saber figures are always kinda boring, except maybe that one in the dress). I like some of GSC’s stuff but they seem to make a lot of figures of characters I don’t care too much about. Not that I can really blame them; a lot of those characters tend to be really popular elsewhere, like the Vocaloid characters, the Bakemonogatari characters, and so on. Of course, my distaste for Nendoroids is still as strong as it ever was.

      It is like extra money! It’s great. Plus at least with US currency, it makes it pretty easy to calculate the dollar value, since I just have to divide by 100 to get a ballpark idea. That the US dollar is actually a little stronger is an even nicer bonus.

      I’ve noticed anime in general has gotten much more sexualized in the last few years. I remember back in the day, Ninja Scroll was considered really, really raunchy; nowadays, shows like Seikon no Qwaser basically show the same type of content in broadcast TV. I have no problem with it myself – well, sort of. I don’t mind fanservice but I wish it didn’t come at the expense of intelligent plots and likeable characters, and it seems that it often does. I do wonder whether they’ll keep pushing the line; it seems like they’re practically showing everything but insertion these days, and I know there’s at least one title which shows even that.

      • Dvalinn says:

        Freeings stuff has issues though, in my opinion. Hell, they’ve started hiring sculptors that worked for Taki corporation, of all things, leading to some really derpy sculpts and they’re always so damn overpriced. Though their 1/4 stuff still looks nice.

        Alphamax are like their opposite in that regard. Their sculpts look interesting, their price is fitting and yet they’re still bringing out a lot of stuff (though lately original stuff I don’t care about, but eh). And I tend to get Alphamax swimsuit figures instead of BQ’s as well (I only get the latter if they make characters nobody else does). Hell, I have to say I’m not even that interested in swimsuit figures, as I generally prefer more normal atires, but the Alphamax ones always manage to attract me for some reason. Too bad their presence on Wonfes always tends to be small, would like to look forward to new sculpts there.

        I personally dislike unneeded fanservice as well – fanservice has a time and place. In some types of series, mostly comedies, it fits the mood, and some shows make no secret out of being entirely built around it. But then there’s also shows like, for example, Suisei no Gargantia – which was at first a story about a clash between cultures, with eldritch horrors leering in the background, and which took itself quite seriously. Cue episode six and we have all the female characters shaking their asses in a bar while wearing skimpy clothing, out of the blue, while the main character is still trying to have a serious conversation in the background. To say it was jarring was the understatement of the century. I mean, c’mon, it feels like an insult to the audience. What, are they assuming we wouldn’t be invested into the story otherwise? Ugh. Waste of screentime too.

        But I digress. Which shows are you referring to, by the way, Yosuga no Sora?

        • Tier says:

          Yeah, their product range isn’t particularly consistent. Usually their bad stuff is pretty easy to pick out, though. Oddly, their 1/4 scale figures are very consistent; I usually get exactly what I expect with them.

          Haha, I like fanservice, though I tend to watch shows where fanservice is generally expected. I don’t actually watch a ton of anime – my confidence in the capabilities of the anime industry is at a low point – but I haven’t seen a lot of shows where fanservice would be unexpected. I guess it was a little odd in Total Eclipse, after the first couple of episodes, but then, I had already seen the promo art and kinda knew what was coming. It was a little jarring in Guilty Crown too, since Inori’s outfit stands out so much, but I like her character design a lot so it didn’t bother me in the least, particularly because so many other things about the show annoyed me.

          I was thinking of, uhh, Kodomo no Jikan? I think that’s the name. I really don’t want to look it up since that’s one of those shows that I stay the hell away from. If I remember right, they showed a cross-sectional view of a tampon being inserted into one of the characters. Or somesuch.

          • Dvalinn says:

            Oh right, I heard the OVA’s of KnJ had something like that (I’ve only seen the tv show myself). Kind of gratuitous, though the show isn’t as bad in general as you’re probably thinking. It treats its subject material more seriously than you’d expect, anyway.

            Speaking of pushing the line, the first ep of one of the new series in the season had a scene where the little sister character got raped by a female ghost. And it was played for laughs. So yeah, that is a thing that exists.

          • Tier says:

            Well, at least the main character of Kodomo no Jikan isn’t a tsundere; for some reason I was thinking that she was. I probably got the show confused with the billion other anime shows with tsundere female main characters.

            Haha, yeah, I did see that; I heard about that scene and had to see it for myself. I guess … gee, I dunno; words fail me when I think about that scene. I suppose that I take from that is that whenever I think this site is getting too perverted, it’s just reflecting what’s becoming normative with anime in general.

  7. NegativeZero says:

    You didn’t review #3 right? Or am I missing something? I own it but would love to see your pictures of her.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, I haven’t reviewed the dark elf yet. Her turn will come pretty soon, though.

      • NegativeZero says:

        Sweeeeet! As some one who owns all of your top 5 for this year, I must say you have great taste. Keep up the good work and all the best to you and yours in the new year!

        • Tier says:

          You have great taste as well! And thanks very much for the kind words. I finished paying off my college loan late last year and my car hasn’t had any problems in the last few months, so this year is already shaping up to be better than the last.

  8. Wieselhead says:

    Congratulations Daisy ^^
    I really wish I could also overlook this new funky skintone Koto used for some new figures, there was nothing wrong with the regular one, I hope they didn’t change it to save money.

    ALTER is a sad case, their figures are sweet, but their delays are garbage, they get nothing done on time, if this goes on I fear that they won’t be there for much longer.

    Kuroyukihime would have made me really happy, as well, her face is beautiful with these dark strands around and look at her body. Hehe maybe this presentatiion is a little wrong, but sexy.

    At first I found these Elfs a little scary, Im more interested in the cuter kind of elf, on second look these “bad” Elfs look stunning and just beautifully sculpted. Their bodies are very attractive. I can’t really decide between snurf and the brown beauty, though

    • Tier says:

      Hooray for Daisy! Yeah, when I received Daisy and saw her in-person, I think I understood what you were talking about with Kobato. It doesn’t bother me but it definitely stood out and I wonder why they changed it from what they used to do.

      I hope Alter is in good shape; they didn’t have much that interested me in 2013 but hopefully 2014 is better. Which is to say, hopefully they don’t re-release so much older stuff, being that I already have most of the figures that I want.

      I’ve sort of noticed that this more realistic type of fantasy artwork seems more common in Korean and Chinese anime-influenced art than in Japanese. I do like that they project a lot of attitude, and I do like that they look really nice, overall; I’ve also got Max Factory’s regular elf and one reason I haven’t reviewed it is because I don’t think it looks nearly as good as either of the dark elves. (Though maybe that means I should do its review.)

  9. John says:

    The dark elf is amazing indeed. I got the normal version and cancelled the brown pre-order, but I am constantly thinking that was a mistake. Its not a simple recolor, its a whole new experience of chocolate flavor.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, I kinda wonder if I should’ve gotten the brown-skinned one as well. I think it’d look pretty neat standing next to the old GSC dark elf, which is a figure that I still like very much. Plus I could pretend that the two Max Factory elves are long-lost twins or something.

  10. Tsunami3k says:

    I must admit that I found Irma was a surprise pick; your review of her, while positive, didn’t strike me as 100% sold on her. Then again her pose is undeniable cool and fitting and we don’t often get to seen such lithe sinewy badassery so she’s destined to stand out on a shelf on those merits alone.

    Glad Tony Taka got some representation here and Daisy is a figure I hope to have very soon. As stellar as the man is at portraying more hardcore material, he is at least as talented at pulling off the cute’n’sexy look and Koto’s faithful rendition of Daisy pretty much nails it.

    I’m also glad to see Kotobukiya taking home a pair of wins since they’ve made so many great strides as a figure company over these last few years yet most of their line remains fairly priced and top quality without having to resort to tactics like limiting production runs to prop up higher asking prices and whatnot. Once upon a time GSC and Alter sparred for top spot on my list but somewhere along the line Kotobukiya blew past them.

    Thank you for putting together this year end list. I doubt these sorts of things flex your creative side as much as, say, a good photo shoot but, despite their simplicity, these are always a blast to read through and inspire me to reflect on the year in a way I wasn’t likely to otherwise.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, that she’s a character I like a lot tilts the ranking in her favor. It’s the same reason I rate Dizzy so highly even though I could level a few criticisms about her figure, too. I remember that year I rated her over Rin Tohsaka, even though I think Rin’s figure is nearly flawless; the trouble is, I don’t like Rin Tohsaka much as a character.

      Tony is a very talented artist indeed (well, at least when he doesn’t mix up feet …). It’s great to see this sort of design get a figure, and I’m also looking very much forward to both Alphamax’s and Native’s ero figures, though I wonder what the Native figure looks like under the blazer.

      Kotobukiya has had some great stuff; I’m expecting that Olivia is going to be well-liked as well, unless they make some monumentally grievous error, I guess. I’m really hoping that Tomo Asama comes out nicely as well (as well she should, with that price tag). And I’ve even got their big 1/6 scale Psylocke statue ordered; I don’t have any of their polystone statues so it’ll be interesting to compare it to the Sideshow and PopCultureShock statues I have.

      Thanks very much for the kind words! I do enjoy writing these sorts of things, even though there’s not a lot of imagery involved; actually, i guess one reason I do enjoy writing these sorts of things is that there isn’t a lot of imagery involved, since I only had to build a couple of backgrounds (I’m happy with the green background behind Daisy; I’m not quite as happy with the one I built for the dark elf, which isn’t the one I used in the photo up there).

  11. super rats says:

    I have this peculiar habit of drawing the line at the wrong time. It seemed like every figure was a Tony thing. It was like everything is Saber, but you know 3x that, so I said enough at Peacekeeper Daisy. I kind of regret it now. It was the wings too. Enough wings! Also with Alphamax on a Tony tear it just seemed like all I was buying was Tony stuff. I’m dumb like this sometimes.

    i am also kicking myself for not ordering Kuroyukihime. Didn’t realize until way too late she had legs. Not so fond of the half girl in the tub config, but the full body config is pretty hot.

    My favorites for 2013 are Max Factory’s Hacker, Native’s Cat Lap Milk, and Alter’s Strike Witches. The Strike Witches look better to me the more of them you have together. Individually some of them can seem not great.

    • Tier says:

      I kinda had the same thing happen earlier this year; I saw that Good Smile Company was chucking out another Black Rock Shooter figure and I was like, “Oh man, not another one.” Then I was like, aight, she looks okay but I know she’s going to get a huge price cut, since nearly every Black Rock Shooter figure (and a bunch of GSC products in general) have gotten big discounts after release. So I decided not to buy it and now I’m kinda wondering if maybe I should have, because it’s a pretty nice figure. It is kinda funny how wings are such a big thing, too; I didn’t really notice Daisy’s wings all that much, and I remember everyone kept talking about Dizzy’s wings, and Tenshi’s wings. Me, I didn’t get the Tenshi figure but the main thing I noticed was that she was dressed in a little baby doll-like dress.

      Kuroyukihime seems to still be in stock, oddly enough. I’ve got this bad feeling (well, bad for me) that she’s going to be one of those figures with a 4500 yen price tag really soon.

      Yeah, I would agree with that. Their Nanoha figures seem better when they are grouped together, too, especially when the characters have relationships with each other. I’m thinking I ought to get Lucchini just because of that.

  12. Nightmare says:

    Looking back at last year’s purchases, Orchid Seed, Alter, FREEing and Native are tied at two figures each. I think most manufacturers are putting out good figures these days while a few (Alter, Native, Max Factory) excel on a regular basis. Where Orchid Seed seem to have stagnated a bit, Alphamax/SkyTube have risen to the challenge.

    Personal favorites from covered figures would be Alter’s Kongiku, Max Factory’s Belldandy and Native’s Gamer Girl. Non-purchase picks would be Alter’s Suzuha Amane and Orchid Seed’s Asmodeus.

    It would be convenient if Native would ship to more than a whopping nine countries but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

    • Tier says:

      It’s pretty awesome how great figure collectors have it now, relative to the not-so-distant past; a lot of manufacturers are producing consistently good products, the yen is getting weaker, and there doesn’t seem to be as many figures that get tremendous delays as there were just a few years ago. Though admittedly, it would be pretty nice if Native did business in more countries XD Being that I grew up outside the United States, I should probably remember that the international market doesn’t comprise just the US.

      I’m still waiting for Gamer Girl here; I’m looking forward to seeing what she looks like, whenever I do get her.

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