2013 is almost over, which means that the usual end-of-year favorite figures post is due soon. Being that I’m still not sure which figures belong on the list or in which order I should place them, we’ll first take a look at some figures that I’m thinking of ordering.
Tomo Asama from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
Holy crap Asama ain’t cheap. Kotobukiya seems to be trying to elevate their profile, with Daisy and Olivia being highly-anticipated products with premium prices to match, but Tomo is half again as expensive. Regardless, Tomo is my favorite Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere character so I’m going to order this figure. This figure doesn’t go quite as far as the Max Factory version, but it’s still very hard to say no to this.
Francesca Lucchini from Strike Witches
It seems like we’ve been expecting this character forever, but finally Alter has made Francesca Lucchini. She’s one of the show’s higher-profile characters, so it’s a little surprising that it’s taken this long to roll her out. As anyone who has read this website knows, I’m not very fond of anime girls with animal ears or tails, which is why I’m hesitant to order this figure. On the other hand, I do already have Charlotte, so I’m not above making exceptions, and as Charlotte and Francesca are often depicted as best pals, it feels like I ought to complete the pair. Further, Francesca has a lovely pose in which her crotch is clearly the center of attention. I’m thinking about this one and leaning towards picking it up; though if I do, then I suppose I’d also feel compelled to look for Gertrude, I guess.
Margit Suzuki from Native’s Creator’s Collection
I already own Hotori Yoshii, so getting Margit is pretty much a no-brainer. International customers interested in this figure can preorder it directly from Native’s web store.
Charles D’Artagnan from Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls
There have been a ton of the characters from Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls but strangely, Charles has been left out. Finally, someone is releasing one and it looks … rather odd, to say the least. Rather than adapt her anime appearance, MegaHouse is going with this version by Raita, the artist whose work was also featured in Native’s Sister Misa figure. It’s a very unusual concept, reminiscent of MegaHouse’s earlier version of Sen Tokugawa in that both strongly depart from their usual design. I kinda like it, though I think I would have preferred it if she were wearing a leotard rather than a free-hanging flap wedged between her legs. Unfortunately, this figure is a Japan exclusive and the Hobby Japan preorder period is closed, so I’ll have to find some other store to order her from.
Charlotte Dunois from Infinite Stratos 2
Azone has picked some obvious (the Madoka girls, Inori Yuzuriha, the Haganai girls, etc.) characters for their 50 centimeter tall doll line, and a few not-so-obvious ones (Sigui, Girlfriend, Saber – though only because Volks had already done several dolls of her). As one of the fan favorites from Infinite Stratos, Charlotte falls in the first group. She looks really cute here, with an appealing smile and a nice uniform. I’m thinking about picking her up, as I’m fairly happy with the way Inori turned out, but I might wait a bit more to place an order, just so I see some owner pictures of their recently-released Yagyu Jubei doll; Azone’s promo pictures tend to feature considerable variance from the final product.
Akane Isshiki from Vividred Operation
I got interested in Vividred Operation because of this promotional image. I figured a fanservice show predicated on cute schoolgirls in booty shorts would be a good thing, but I suppose one should never underestimate the tenacity and ability of anime studios to screw things up. As it turns out, the show is some sort of magical girl show, and I thought their magical girl outfits were pretty silly, so I lost interest. I do like the character designs otherwise, though, which is why I’m thinking about picking up this figure, unless Good Smile Company’s version gets a big discount, which I’m kinda expecting. Even so, I think there would be room for both on my shelf.
Kozue Sakakibara from T2 Art Girls
Tony has had a great year, at least in terms of figures; Alter’s done a couple, Alphamax has done a bunch, and now Dragon Toy is adapting his work. They appear to be trying to out-do everyone else in terms of lewdness and Kozue is no exception, given the way they modeled the fluid dripping onto her lowered underwear. I ordered this figure right away and I’m very much look forward to getting her.
The Muse of Range Murata from JC.com
Like quite a few people, I became acquainted with Range Murata’s artwork through Last Exile. I loved the aesthetics of that show, except for perhaps the vanships, which I thought could stand to look a little more aerodynamic and less like a flying Twinkie. Last Exile did get a sequel or follow-up but besides that, it seems he’s been editing a series of artbooks titled Robot. At any rate, I’m glad that Alter is making a figure based on his art; it reminds me of the figures that Alter put out more often in the past, and it reminds me of some of the anime I watched in the early 2000s, which is when I got back into the medium after having ignored it for a few years. The fact that she’s 1/6 scale makes her even more perfect. The only thing I’m wondering about is what the significance of JC.com is; punching it into a web browser takes you to the Journal Communications (publishers of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) homepage, who certainly have nothing to do with Range Murata or anime in general.
Yae Shoubi from T2 Art Girls
Having already made a number of ero figures based on Tony’s work, Alphamax is set to do it again. I wonder if they’ll ever go back to Fault!! and do figures of Mio and Rika but well, this isn’t bad, either. Yae looks great but what really gets me is that puppy dog look. I’ve liked all of Alphamax’s ero figures and I’m sure I’ll like this one as well.
Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid
It appears that these racing Miku figures are an annual thing, and why not? Miku is always a popular character and they generally look good, though I wasn’t too enamored of last year’s version. I did like the 2011 version, though, and this version a lot like her, with a high-cut leotard and sleekm glossy gloves and socks. She was apparently designed by Saitom; he’s known for his ero work but he’s also done the character designs for the upcoming CG anime movie Expelled From Paradise, which will undoubtedly lift his profile. Anyway, Miku looks nice here, nice enough that I’m considering ordering her. Three things give me pause, though: I hate her hat, I’ve got too many Mikus (I’ve still got that Love Is War figure in my closet, unopened; it’s been sitting there for around two years), and it seems like every Good Smile Company figure gets a big discount if it doesn’t sell out right away. In rebuttal, “too many Mikus” is a very arbitrary argument and if price were a significant rationale, then I ought to own a lot fewer figures than I do. That leaves just the hat, which I truly do not like. We’ll see.
Naoe Kanetsugu from Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride
At first glance, this figure looks very similar to the one Alter released some time back, except she’s standing up and she’s a lot larger, being 1/6 scale. Those two things go a long way in perking my interest. On the other hand, her face looks a little off, and that’s problematic. This is a figure where I’m going to need to see more pictures to decide whether I want it or not.
Mio Kisaki from Walkure Romanze
I expected Walkure Romanze to be Princess Lover! with jousting lances. Being that I didn’t like Princess Lover! very much, I wasn’t inclined to like Walkure Romanze much, but to my surprise, I enjoyed it very much. I liked all of the major characters, even Mio, the epitome of the noob-shielded-by-plot-armor archetype. Her figure interprets the phrase “bikini armor” in a literal sense, and she looks great. I’m very much looking forward to this figure.
Ryuuko Matoi from Kill La Kill
I haven’t yet watched Kill La Kill, mainly because of its anachronistic production values, but I do like the character design concepts. Phat Company is rolling out this figure of lead girl Ryuuko Matoi and I very much like the way it looks. The trouble is, I’m sure it won’t be the last figure of Ryuuko, and I don’t have tremendous confidence in Phat Company’s capabilities. I don’t think I see anything objectionable about this figure, but I also think I’m going to need to see some more pictures to make a final determination.
Saber Extra from Fate/Extra CCC
Saber is one of the most popular characters around. What’s more, her portrayal has usually been dignified; she’s usually refined, elegant, conservative in sexualization, and even androgynous – all anomalous traits in today’s hormone-charged anime culture. But now, we’ve got Saber with tits! And a wedding-themed bondage catsuit! And a cutout that shows off her ass crack! And even better, this is a different Saber, even though she looks just like the other Saber, aside from the tits, so the old Saber’s purity is still inviolate. Isn’t this Japanese anime thing awesome? Ahem, anyway. I figured somebody would make some figures of Saber’s new PSP-based alternate universe persona, though I thought that there’d be more figures of Red Saber by now (there’s one by Clayz, which seems mediocre, and I passed on it because I thought Good Smile Company would inevitably make one, but that hasn’t come to pass and now I wonder if I should have bought it). I like this design even better, though. The only thing I would prefer would be that this figure by 1/7 scale to fit in with Good Smile Company’s figures, but regardless, Saber Bride looks fantastic.
Cammy from Street Fighter
Cammy was one of the first figures I purchased, and I’ve been waiting for someone to make a version of her in her Delta Red outfit. I didn’t think I’d be waiting this long, but finally Kotobukiya is making a PVC version of her in her original outfit. She looks great, though she doesn’t look at all like her Shunya Yamashita-designed concept art; rather, she looks a helluva lot like Panty. Being that the Bishoujo lineup is aimed at Western audiences, I’ll probably pick up this figure from an American retailer.