Here are my five favorite figures of the previous year, fashionably late. The tardiness is only partially due to laziness; I don’t think I felt as excited about many of last year’s figures as I did in prior years. Maybe I’m just getting old or something. I did see a number of figures that I liked in all the Wonder Festival (also known as KanColleFest) coverage this past weekend, so that’s a good thing (most of those figures were from Alphamax/SkyTube, curiously). As usual, the ranking presented here does not reflect the popularity of the figures or the characters they represent, it doesn’t reflect preorder hype or community consensus, and it doesn’t mean that I think the number one figure was the very best figure released in the last year. This list solely expresses my own thoughts and preferences.
There are a few figures that I could place here, but why not go with Tomo Asama, one of my favorite characters from a show that didn’t get quite as much love from figure makers as one might have thought it would. Tomo looks great, particularly with her combination of a dynamic pose and a sexy suit. Again, it’s unfortunate that the characters from the show haven’t gotten many great figures (particularly Horizon, curiously enough; all she got was a Beach Queens figure and a couple of subpar and overpriced figures from Wave and Volks, if I remember right), but at least this figure shows why Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere’s design sensibilities are so nice.
I’ll be honest; when I think of Orchid Seed, I tend to think of figures that are undersized and underwhelming. However, Alleyne was a very welcome surprise; she’s far larger than I thought she would be, and her quality is superlative, particularly in the detailing of her body. It’s a bit of a shame that many of Orchid Seed’s products aren’t as good as her.
This one is partially because I like the character and the series that she’s from, but mostly because this figure is really, really big. This is really one of those figures one needs to see in real life, next to other figures, to appreciate, I think. It’s also a shame that Gift doesn’t make more 1/4 scale figures, particularly being that Takayuki Kondo is one of the more skilled sculptors in the business when it comes to working at that size.
#2. Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier
There were two figures last year that I really looked forward to. This is one of them, and it’s not hard to see why; the combination of the bondage theme and Sheryl’s thong suit is highly compelling. Moreover, Macross – in the form of Robotech’s first set of episodes – was the show that initially got me into anime, and so anything that has to do with Macross carries personal meaning with me. That Sheryl looks very sexy is a very nice bonus. I could probably flip a coin to determine the ranking of this figure and the next and feel comfortable with either outcome. But regardless …
#1. The Muse of Range Murata from JC.com
After an absence of a few years, an Alter figure returns to the number one spot on this list. The visual attraction of this figure is obvious, with lots of exposed skin, a nicely-arched back, and a charming smile, but the appeal of this figure to me goes further than that; one of the things that pulled me back into anime about twelve or thirteen years ago was Range Murata’s design work on Last Exile. If I hadn’t gotten into that (along with a few other anime series, including Noir and Angelic Layer), I probably wouldn’t have gotten back into anime after having lost interest in it during the mid-90s, and I probably wouldn’t have started this website or gotten into photography, either.