Arc System Works’s BlazBlue is the spiritual successor to Guilty Gear, and on the whole both series are quite similar. Both are fast-paced 2D fighting games; both feature a colorful cast of eclectic and memorable characters; both feature awesome instrumental rock and heavy metal soundtracks. However, there is one area where BlazBlue diverges from its forebear and that’s in how it has been marketed. Guilty Gear is by no means an obscure series but it has always been something of a niche game; furthermore, its popularity has always been keyed by the game itself. With BlazBlue, however, Arc System Works is evidently trying to expand its appeal beyond its core fanbase. The most obvious attempt is its recently-concluded anime adaptation, titled BlazBlue: Alter Memory. BlazBlue has also been the subject of a heavy merchandising effort, including the usual telephone cases, telephone cards (often depicting Noel being molested by Rachel, or vice versa), soundtrack collections, and dakimakura covers – Arc System Works released the first dakimakura cover of Noel Vermillion way back at Comiket 76 in summer of 2009, and apparently she’s getting another one next month, and several other characters (including Jin Kisaragi, which surely made the ladies happy) have gotten or will be getting immortalized on a pillowcase. And of course, BlazBlue has gotten a variety of figures, including one of protagonist-turned-antagonist-turned-protagonist-again Mu-12, which is what we’ll be looking at here.
Returning to their similarities, one other aspect in which Guilty Gear and BlazBlue are alike is in the design of the final boss of the second game in each series. In Guilty Gear X, the final boss is Dizzy, and in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, the final boss is Mu-12. Both characters have a number of stylistic resemblances, both thematic and in the way they play in their respective games. Both characters can deliver a barrage of ranged attacks, with Dizzy deploying a variety of flying, icy, fishy-looking projectiles whereas Mu-12 can position laser-emitting satellites around the game arena. Visually, Dizzy and Mu-12 feature impressive wings. Both also float off the ground. In terms of their clothing, both characters share a complete lack of modesty, though while Dizzy’s outfit is reminiscent of a black leather bondage suit, Mu-12’s is more along the lines of a mecha musume costume. Accordingly, both show the same fondness for showing much underboob and thigh.
While their designs may parallel each other, their established dispositions are polar contrasts. Dizzy is a nice girl who dislikes fighting; Mu-12 is a cold, ruthless automaton who desires nothing less than the obliteration of all life. Also, Dizzy is a single person – albeit with two sentient, squabbling personalities sprouting from her back – while Mu-12 is actually Noel Vermillion. In BlazBlue: Chronophantasma (the most recent version of the game; it’s not coming out on the Xbox 360, which annoys me greatly, as I have all the other BlazBlue games on that console), Noel gains the ability to control her powers, thus suppressing her homicidal instincts.
The BlazBlue story is astonishingly convoluted, filled with grand themes, long and elaborate histories for the principal characters, and a bewildering amount of made-up vocabulary. I had hoped that the anime would clearly explain the story; unfortunately, the show drops viewers right in without clarifying a thing. On one hand, that sort of approach minimizes tiresome exposition; on the other hand, it obviously makes things quite confusing. Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere did much the same thing, but the difference is that the Horizon characters were very likeable and the characters of BlazBlue’s anime adaptation are not. Ragna doesn’t do much but growl and get his ass kicked, which does little to endear us to him. Jin is already insane, which makes him a poor foil to Ragna, and Noel is annoying as hell. Further, the anime really could have used a larger budget for its action sequences. I’ve only watched the first few episodes, so perhaps it gets better, but I really doubt it.
Noel has gotten a few figures before, notably one by Hobby Japan that shows her in her old uniform, and one by Vertex which shows her in her new, sexed-up outfit, of which a nice review can be seen at Reflective Boundary. This figure is by FREEing and is sculpted in 1/8 scale; she stands about 23 centimeters tall from base to the top of her head and about 35 centimeters in height from base to the uppermost tip of her wing blades. Her body is a bit smaller than most other 1/8 scale figures, but this figure will still demand a lot of room. Her wings may present a concern to shelf space-strapped collectors, as they are quite large; they’re about 38 centimeters across. However, she can be displayed without them, as we shall see.
Mu-12 is posed in an aggressive stance, as if she were jumping into a fray. One of the concerns I had regarding her pose is that the way her back was bent looked highly unrealistic, as if her spine had snapped in half. Seeing the figure, it’s not really that obvious, or even all that pronounced; her spine does have a strong curve, but it’s not anything that would look out of place in a fighting game or an action anime. Instead, her posture gives her an appearance that is simultaneously feminine and menacing. It also has the benefit of pushing her breasts out, and being that Mu-12 retains Noel’s modest rack, she needs all the help that she can get.
However, while Noel’s cup size is the subject of frequent jokes throughout the BlazBlue series, it’s hard not to look first at her stomach and her hips. While her upper torso is relatively slender – a trait she shares with the Hobby Japan Noel figure – her hips are exceptionally broad. This figure presents a rather stylized take on her design – her game sprites depict her as having a fairly normal body build for a young, athletic woman – but then, much of BlazBlue’s merchandise and official artwork deviates wildly from the in-game appearances of the game’s characters. With her small upper body, tiny waist, big hips, and thick thighs, the way Mu-12 is sculpted reminds me a bit of Hyung Tae-Kim’s style, which is interesting as I’ve long thought that his artwork was poorly suited for translation into PVC.
She has a toned tummy with a cute bellybutton. Her stomach is rather elongated, which gives her a much more adult appearance than Hobby Japan’s version of Noel, which made her look kind of like a pre-teen.
Moving further down, she wears her famous crotch plate. There’s a small painting error here; the little stud on the upper corners of the garment should be colored in metallic silver rather than gold, but it’s such a small area that I suppose that it’s forgiveable. The little blue part looks like it might be some kind of manufacturing flaw but it really is part of her design.
From the rear, we can see that Mu-12 wears a thong which leaves bare her nicely-shaped backside. Mu-12’s costume design is definitely one of the best in all of fighting games.
The figure comes already attached to the base, which is hopefully rigid enough to prevent leaning. Mu-12’s typically hovers off of the ground and her outfit hides her feet, so the base adds a fiery blue flamey thing to keep her attached, rather than using a big, conspicuous support pylon.
That’s obviously not the case for her wings, which are held aloft by a couple of transparent plastic rods. The longer rod goes on her left side, where the additional length is needed to keep the wing clear of Mu-12’s hair.
Speaking of her hair, it is fairly faithful to her design. The ends of her tresses look a little strange, like a big sheet of torn-up Swiss cheese, but that’s really how her hair is supposed to look.
Typically a figure’s face is the element that I place the greatest importance on. It’s difficult to evaluate Mu-12’s face, though, since it’s mostly hidden by her hair and visor. It seems to adequately convey her customary indurate nature; but then, this figure’s box has the BlazBlue: Chronophantasma logo, so presumably this is really Noel, in firm control of her more violent impulses. Maybe she’s just lost in thought or daydreaming about something.
You don’t really expect a character with smallish breasts to show attractive underboob and sideboob, but Mu-12 definitely does. It’s also cute how she wears a shortened version of her necktie with all this highly-revealing, high-tech armor.
The figure shows this peculiar line where her right leg joins her torso. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if it’s a manufacturing issue that they could not resolve. In a typical viewing position, it’s not that noticeable, but it looks a little out of place.
Collectors with limited space might be happy to learn that she looks fine sans wings. Indeed, as impressive as her wings are, removing them focuses attention on Mu-12 herself, accentuating the contrast between the soft, curved form of her body and the high-tech, rigidly geometric shape and hardness of her armor and outfit. I might actually prefer to display her this way.
I was rather surprised when FREEing unveiled Mu-12. Many of their earlier figures haven’t shown a great deal of ambition in terms of complexity, and Mu-12 is a very complex figure. I think they’ve done a great job with her; not a perfect job, of course, but I really like the way she looks. Obviously, I’m a big fan of her outfit, and it’s rendered very well here, showing off much of her body to great effect. I also very much like the way her aggressive pose is complemented by her impassive expression; it gives her the implacable bearing of an apex predator, which sharply contrasts with how scandalously skimpy her clothing is. Overall, I’m very pleased to have this figure in my collection.
(Well, sort of, anyway; this figure has gotten a big-ass discount at Amiami so I wouldn’t have minded saving some cash. This figure is also getting a recolored variant which looks nice, but when I play fighting games, I almost always pick a character’s original colors, so I prefer this version. Finally, it appears that Alter is also going to release a Mu-12 figure, which muddies the waters a bit for anyone thinking of picking this figure up; it’s almost certain that Alter’s figure will surpass this one in terms of manufacturing quality. However, if they base it off of the artwork they’ve exhibited, their figure will feature a highly ass-centric pose, which means a collector could display FREEing’s and Alter’s figures together and get a front and rear view of Mu-12 at the same time. This seems to be an ideal solution, both sides of Mu-12 have much to offer.)
I’d have liked some wing-less shots from her left :3
I’m given to understand that BlazBlue is much more popular than Guilty Gear, being more “modern” and “welcoming”, so that’s one reason it gets more merch – rather than merely used to push the game, the game is more popular already so it’s expected to sell better. Guilty Gear is getting a brand new game finally, for the first time in many years, and apparently they will also have an anime for it. I hope it won’t be a travesty like the BB anime had been, which made me sad. Slavishly adapting the original game isn’t always a good decision, and the characters and story fell flat, and as you said yourself, the action sequences left a lot to be desired. Only the music was great, and that came from the game…
How likely is something to happen and cause the wing pylons to snap? If you remove the wings, how likely is the leg-pylon to hold over time?
Anyway, I usually prefer original colour schemes as well, but I looked it up and I like the alternate colour scheme a bunch more here, the silver-yellow-blue is a bit garish (it shouts out at you), and the white hair in the alt scheme really strikes my fancy, though the original colour scheme is 43% cheaper than the alt colour on AmiAmi right now…
Finally, I really like her face, the aloof and imperious expression she has. That too seems to be focused on more in the alt-scheme :3
Maybe I’ll have to shell out the big bucks.
The idea of a Guilty Gear anime fills me with dismay. The best thing I’ve seen in Alter Memory (through the first three episodes) was the joke about Ragna praying that the show would break the jinx on fighting game anime. I think the consensus is that it did not, and I do not expect a Guilty Gear anime to do better. Seeing a developing romance between Ky Kiske and Dizzy – and I have to imagine that it would be a core part of the story – might give me an aneurysm.
The pylons are not very rigid – they wobble a ton when the figure is moved, and I was glad that I use flash rather than light bulbs for my photos, as there would otherwise be a ton of motion blur in these pictures – but they seem more than sturdy enough to hold up the wings, as they are not at all heavy, even though they look quite large. I’m not as sure about her leg, but she doesn’t wobble when you shift the base, so I’m cautiously optimistic that she’s not going to keel over in the future.
One other reason I like the blue and yellow is that those colors are sometimes associated with heroism and basic goodness. The Alliance faction in Warcraft uses those colors, and they’re also the main colors of Saber, for instance. I generally cheer for good guys over bad guys (a friend of mine always cheers for the evil characters; I once recommended the A Song of Ice and Fire books to him, knowing that he’d love them), so this color scheme appeals to me, moreso than the other one, which is much more overtly sinister.
Cool shots as usual. I am surprised how tall this figure is looking at it side by side with Dizzy. The skin and muscle curves of the belly and back are great for a 1/8 scale figure. The glossy paint on the armor parts and that little blue specially effect part on the base are also beautiful. The only thing I don’t quite accept about it is the use of supporting rods for the wings. I always wanted to get rid of those supporting rods whenever a figure comes in with them, but I guess for this one there’s no better way since the wings are not attached to the body. They remind me of similar supporting parts in figures such as MaxFactory’s Miku Tony version and Alter’s Kanetsugu. The use of those pillars in your background actually minimizes the distraction from those supporting rods. I don’t know if you did that on purpose, but it fits this figure quite nicely.
Yeah, the pylons are a necessary evil. They don’t bother me when I look at the figure, especially since they are transparent rather than metal, but when I was photographing them, they were annoying as hell, particularly because the rim lights often blew them out to pure white.
The pillars were an experiment that didn’t quite work out the way I wanted them to. I was hoping for something a little more formally geometric but the positioning was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It didn’t help that the wood wasn’t actually flat on the ends, so that they were fractionally crooked when placed vertically.
Wow! So, as it turns out, I just ordered her last night! I’ve been on the fence about her for a while, largely because she appears to need a lot of space to display well but having seen her get the deluxe treatment by you, I have no more doubts that she’ll be anything shy of amazing.
I’m extremely curious as to how the upcoming figure of her by Alter will come out.
I wonder if they really will use that pose in the illustration. I would be pleased if they did, since it puts her ass squarely in your face, but that might be reason for them to go with something else, too. They seem to often go their own route instead of duplicating artwork, too. Still, I’m hoping they use that illustration, since then I can display both Mus together.
I have to admit that I’m a little worried. More than a few of Alter’s recent figures have had some tragically simplistic standing poses. I really hope they avoid this when crafting her. The stand-in artwork would be great as it’s standing but not simplistic and because of the portrayal of her exceptional assets as you noted. I can also see them doing something clever to obscure the means of support for her wings in lieu of plastic rods.
If they do well with their rendition then I’m definitely ok with getting another Mu-12 as I’ve warmed to her character design quite a bit in recent months.
Yeah, they’ve had some rather unexciting figures recently; quite a few of them, too, as you say. I’m cautiously optimistic, since they’ve done a lot of really ambitious figures, and they have a few scheduled to come out soon, like Signum and Kazuno (at least, I’m assuming Kazuno hasn’t come out yet, but I kinda forgot about that figure). I wonder how big she’ll be? I’m assuming she’ll be 1/8 scale, but part of me hopes that she’s on the smaller end of that scale, to better fit with Dizzy (but then, another part of me hopes that she’s really, really big).
The BlazBlue anime was cool, at first I was lost , I was so lost that I thought Dizzy would appear XD The two games are really similar for noobs. After the confusion I started to enjoy BlazBlue and it’s different approach of storytelling, the voice cast and the music were also cool. Noel was not very useful in her job, but she was an enchanting petite girl.
The only thing I hated was the scene where the green haired freak pummeled squirrel girl really badly, after she was already immobilized, that excessive act was super disturbing, I couldn’t sleep well that night ;(
Never was a fan of too serious looking figures, but the figure has an fantastic ass!
The design is impressive she looks stunning as a whole, good that Frreing finally made a good, and a rather complex 1/8 scaled figure, this sounds mean, but the 1/8 scaled figures before seemed to be not that great. Her mouth looks really good and the whole body.
Haha, yeah, the games and their character designs are quite similar. Ragna is a much cooler dude than Ky, though. I have not gotten to that scene, and I’m unsure if I will continue with the show (though then again, I don’t have much else I want to watch right now), but that scene sounds pretty awesome XD This sounds messed up but I enjoy watching cute anime girls getting clobbered. This of course does not extend to real life people.
Yeah, I’d agree with that; I was going to make a mention about how their figure quality is wildly inconsistent, but then their 1/4 scale bunnygirl figures are the very model of consistency and I don’t think I own any of their smaller figures aside from Mu-12. I should be getting a couple more soon, though, so I guess I will see how they turn out.
lol Tier, squirrel girl nearly died ãƒ½ï¼ˆã‚œãƒã‚œ), I don’t think it would have been much enjoyable. Actually I’ve rarely scene such violent scenes in an weekly aired anime where a girl really got beaten up in such a onesided way. Such things make feel very unwell. They should have better invested this effort in the other fights as well..
Their 1/4 stuff is cool, at least ^^
That sounds sexy XD Maybe that’ll motivate me to continue on with this show. I haven’t seen much from this season that interests me so maybe I’ll continue with BlazBlue and hope that it gets better.
Nice series of Photos am Still on the fence with her esp after finding out that Alter is doing their own of Rendition of her so will have to wait and see 😕
A good plan; this Mu-12 is great but I’m certain Alter’s won’t disappoint. Hopefully we get to see it soon; at Wonder Festival, perhaps?
*Crosses Fingers* just 1 week away I both dread and Anticipate wonfes weekend 😀
I usually see a figure good or not, is based on its face. In contrast with Dizzy’s face which is cute, Mu-12’s face seems to be a bit bland. I cannot even see her eyes in normal condition. Even if they want to make her more predatory looks, she is not intimidating at all. I think her wings will be even better if they make it just like bandai strike freedom perfect grade, where every single wing can be placed freely, so even though Mu-12 stay put like that, the view can differ just by change the position of wings. Well, there are still some good aspects in her, especially: dat ass!!
Being able to shift the position of the wings would’ve been pretty neat. I’d like to display the wings in a more symmetrical manner, rather than having the left wing skewed upwards like it is. We’ll see what Alter can do with this character design; I’d guess that their version won’t have her face quite so obscured.
To be honest, when i was taking photos of this figure the first thing that came into my head was “that headgear needs to be removable”
Are you also looking forward to Alter’s Mu12? Seems like they’ll go for the in-game illustration, and since it’s alter we can be assure of the quality and the ummm assets involved.
and that peculiar line where her right leg joins her torso? I dismissed it as ‘baby fat’ ^^
Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it, and I was disappointed that they didn’t show any of it at Wonder Festival (I didn’t even see a placard for it, though perhaps nobody bothered photographing it). I’m assuming it’ll be great; Alter’s Metatron figure is still one of my favorites, and her showy pose has a great deal to do with that. Hopefully we’ll get to see it soon, and hopefully when it goes up for order, the price won’t be too insane; it’s a little concerning seeing all these new figures go up for >15,000 yen, even 1/7 and 1/8 scale ones.
Every time I look at her I can’t help but see two Orochimaru snake heads resting on her shoulders 🙂 That being said she’s not exactly my cup of tea though I found it very interesting to learn that she is Noel’s upgraded form. I have no knowledge of the game or anime but finding out a little kernel like that on your sight does increase my overall interest towards her.
Great shots as always and happy new year!
Haha, I hadn’t noticed that but now that you mention it, it does look like a couple of big-ass snakes are trying to cuddle up with her. I must admit that despite owning the first three games of the series (and somewhat resigned on getting the fourth, though maybe I’ll wait for it to get a discount), I know next to nothing about its storyline; it’s incredibly dense and I’m not sure the game’s designers weren’t intoxicated when they drew it up.
Happy new year to you as well!
I thought long and hard about this figure but ultimately decided against getting her cos of the company history. FREEing did absolutely terrible jobs on Rachel and Makoto. Looks like they’ve improved for Mu but I’m still on the fence. It also didn’t help that they shrunk the costume down a few sizes to sex her up more…
Still prefer the original Noel design tho.
But I want an Izayoi figure… She’s a terrible character to play as but she’s such a great design!!
Yeah, I was less than impressed by those two other figures. Rachel I didn’t care too much about because I don’t really care about her character, and I guess I wasn’t going to get Makoto given my dislike of animal ears, but I thought she looked kinda bad anyway. Mu-12 had the potential to turn out poorly as well, since her back looked painfully contorted, but I’m glad she came out alright.
Izayoi is pretty cute; I hadn’t seen her design before but I didn’t care much for Tsubaki’s playable character design, but I like the magical girl look. Though it’s kind of concerning how there’s not one, but two magical girl-type characters in BlazBlue now.