Welcome to the >10,000 yen edition of the preorder outlook, in which almost every figure here sports a five-digit price tag, even though none of them are particularly large or overly elaborate. Indeed, quite a few of these would’ve cost perhaps 7,500 yen a few years ago – but then, the USD-JPY exchange rate was far worse, so I suppose it works out to about the same cost. It doesn’t quite feel that way, though. Regardless, if I’m disinclined to pay those prices, there’s nothing to do but to quit the hobby, and since I’m not about to do that, let’s take a look at some of the figures that have caught my eye in the last month.
Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell
Despite being amongst the most famous of anime series, there have not been many figures made of the characters from Ghost in the Shell. This figure is thus a welcome sight, even though it comes from a company I’ve never heard of. A quick glance at their portfolio shows that they’ve made figures of male characters and of Calne Ca, the bizarre and horrific Miku Hatsune-derived cyborg, and so it’s hard for me to gauge whether this figure is going to be good. The promo photos look nice, although the design has its quirks, amongst them a very long body build and big poofy hair, the sort of hairstyle that was fashionable in anime back in the 80s and 90s. I’m probably going to buy this figure, and it’ll be something like traveling in a full circle for me – Yamato/Toycom’s old Motoko figures were amongst the first anime figures I ever bought. Oddly – and somewhat depressingly – this figure is also the only one on this list that is listed at under 10,000 yen, which I suppose is a dubiously positive endorsement.
Golden Darkness from To Love-Ru Darkness
Announced just in time for the anime debut of To Love Ru Darkness’s second season, this figure presumably represents Konjiki no Yami’s perverted/homicidal/slutty side. It’s a good-looking figure for sure, though the high price tag and small size of the figure give pause. I think I may buy it, as I missed out on the Good Smile Company figure from a while back, and this one has a much better costume, though I don’t really care for the horns.
Sena Kashiwazaki from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Most of the things that apply to Yami are also relevant to this figure. It looks good – Sena wearing a sarashi and thong is a winning combination – but it’s ridiculously expensive for a 1/8 scale figure. Particularly disconcerting is the figure’s listed height of 26 centimeters, which must include the hammer, and if it does, this figure would only be about 18 centimeters tall. That’s a tough sell. The outfit really is neat and so I can’t completely dismiss this figure but it’s difficult to justify paying that much money unless the figure is larger than I expect it to be.
Saber Extra from Fate/Extra
Some time back, I bought a Saber figure from E2046. It depicted her in a little dress, carrying a parasol, flashing lithe and long legs. I liked the figure a lot but I thought it was a strange take on a popular character and I never intended to review it, particularly since much of Saber’s popularity stems from her dignified comportment and presentation. Since then, she’s been seen riding a motorbike in a decidedly non-ladylike business suit, wearing booty shorts, or squeezed into a bondage bodysuit (and for the insipid, tiresome preachers of the Fate/stay night mythology, yes, I am aware that those last two characters are not the Arthurian Saber). And now we’ve got this figure, which has a few similarities with that E2046 figure. I think I’m going to get this one, as I have a fondness for buying wacky-looking Sabers, and now I think I’ll review the other one as well. In fact, I have this idea to do Wacky Saber Week, as I never did review bondage bride Saber, motorbike Saber, or gangsta lean Saber.
Dark Elf from Bikini Warriors
I was excited when I heard about Bikini Warriors, as I have a thing for bikini armor in role-playing games and the character designs looked uniformly excellent. I was particularly elated to hear that figures and an anime series would comprise a core part of the project. Then I heard that the anime’s episodes are five minutes long and that the figures would be sold through MegaHouse’s online store which, of course, does not receive orders from foreigners. Sigh. The figure looks spectacular and so I think it will be worth the effort of tracking down anyway, but I need to find myself a new ordering service as the ones I’ve relied upon before – Tokyo Hunter and Yokatta – are not around anymore, apparently.
Charles D’Artagnan from Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls
I’ve lost almost all my enthusiasm for this figure after waiting for such a long time, but now that it’s available for order, it seems desultory to write about it. It’s a good-looking figure, though I think I would have liked it more a couple of years ago, and seeing as how it’s yet another Hobby Japan exclusive, I think I’m inclined to pass on Charles.
Hestia from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Hestia seems a likely candidate for the next It-Girl of figure collecting, thanks to her typically sunny appearance, large breasts, and that peculiar ribbon. She might also be a good character – I wouldn’t know, as I haven’t seen the anime, and even though I’m curious as to what it’s about, its light novel origins and the absurdity of its title put a damper on my interest whenever I think about watching it. Hestia does look good, though, and I think I like this figure of her better than Kotobukiya’s – I prefer the upright pose seen here and I definitely favor its 1/6 scale size. Unfortunately this is yet another Hobby Japan exclusive and I’ll have to find some place that is taking orders for it.
Momohime from Muramasa: The Demon Blade
And same deal here – Hobby Japan exclusive, going to cost more money, but it’s a naked version of Momohime, whose earlier figure was so popular and well-received. Can’t really say no to that.
Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay night
I think much of Type-moon’s success is owed to the respect that they accord to their characters and to the worlds that they inhabit. There’s a sense of significance to their stories that transcends the sexualized titillation peddled by so many other titles and franchises in anime culture. Their characters are treated with rarefied dignity and their plotlines manifest a consequential gravity – which sometimes veers into banal pretentiousness. Nonetheless, their treatment of their properties is both distinctive and admirable.
And then you see something like this and you gotta wonder. Perhaps they knew that Good Smile Company’s Rin set a high bar and they weren’t inclined to attempt to best it – or perhaps they knew that this sort of look, with Rin’s awkward and vulnerable expression combined with a skin-tight crop top, black panties, and thigh-high fuck-me boots would occupy a space that no other Fate/stay night figure does. And while I appreciate the decorum showed to the Fate/stay night characters, even when being productized, I certainly prefer this sort of marketing instead. If nothing else, it reinforces the fact that, for all the plaudits bestowed to Fate/stay night and its literary qualities (vastly overstated, in my opinion), it is, from its heritage, a porno game. This is all to say that I think Rin looks great and I’m certainly going to order her. She’s not available at the usual retail websites but for those in the United States (and perhaps elsewhere), she can be ordered from the retailers listed on the Aniplex website.