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.
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Preorder Outlook XXXI

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.
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Kuroyukihime from Accel World (Death by Embracing Version)

Kuroyukihime from Accel World

Sometimes, I buy figures because I like the character, or because I like the series or game that she comes from. Those figures tend to be the most meaningful to me, but that’s not to say that familiarity automatically elevates a figure in my esteem. As an example in counterpoint, I know a bit about Saber, I’m a fan of Saber’s personality and I have a ton of Saber figures, but while I like them, I wouldn’t really describe any of them as treasures of my collection, aside maybe from gangsta lean Saber, and that’s mainly because she looks so damn peculiar. (Speaking of Saber figures, I’ve got that one with the motorbike still boxed up in my closet, where it’s been sitting for around 17 or 18 months.) Also, that’s not to say that not knowing much about a character means that I view it with less warmth than would otherwise be the case – even if I loathe the game or show that she stars in. Indeed, if the figure looks really cool, unfamiliarity is no impediment to appreciation. Which brings us to this figure of Kuroyukihime, a cute girl from a show I disliked so much that I dropped it fifteen minutes into its first episode. Despite my contempt for Accel World – or at least, its anime adaptation – I was very much looking forward to this figure. It’s not hard to see why.
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Rias Gremory from High School DxD (Pole Dance Version) (NSFW)

Rias Gremory from High School DxD

High school harem shows are a dime a dozen in anime, and most of them aren’t particularly memorable. That’s not to say that I think that most of them are bad or that I dislike them, though; actually, I’ve wound up liking quite a few such shows, even though I’m often predisposed to think of them as stale, generic, and vapid. One such show that I’ve taken a liking to is High School DxD, which, admittedly, includes many aspects I do not like about anime but leaves out a couple of notable tropes, greatly improving its standing in my view. Furthermore, it features an engaging cast of attractive characters – particularly female characters. One such character is Rias Gremory, the lead girl, and that’s who we are going to look at today.
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Kitana from Mortal Kombat (Pop Culture Shock Version)

Kitana from Mortal Kombat

As an even cursory inspection will make obvious, this site focuses mostly on figures from Japanese anime culture, and so we don’t spend too much time looking at figures made for white people. Every now and then, though, we’ll make an exception. Today is such a day; here we’ll take a look at Kitana, the ten thousand-year old princess of Edenia and leading lady of the Mortal Kombat series.
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Irma from Queen’s Blade (NSFW)

Irma from Queen's Blade

The Queen’s Blade series has come a long way from its humble, game book-based origins. Over the last few years, it’s gotten several anime shows, a number of artbooks, numerous fan-made doujinshi, a few large-scale dolls from both Azone and Volks, and of course, a ton of figures. MegaHouse has been the most prolific producer of these, and their releases have progressed in roughly chronological order, starting with the original Queen’s Blade girls, moving on to the characters of Queen’s Blade Rebellion, and continuing with Alicia from the ongoing series Queen’s Blade Grimoire. Notably, they skipped over Irma, much to my chagrin, being that she is my favorite character in the Queen’s Blade series, and for a while, I thought that they would never make a figure of her. Happily, and much to my surprise, they reversed course earlier this year and finally released her and now I can stop whining about how figure makers don’t love Irma. (Figure collectors who happen to be Melpha fans, I know your pain and feel for you.)
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Rika Shiraki from Bible Black (Dragon Toy White Version) (NSFW)

Rika Shiraki from Bible Black

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow fat Americans out there, and for everyone who lives elsewhere in the world, I wish a happy day to you, too. It’s a busy time for many people, with the holidays coming up, with school and work projects to finish up, travel to plan, and shopping to do, but we’re going to take some time to look at an ero figure. We’ve looked at a few such figures here before, but this one stands out, not just because of how nice it looks, but also because it has a detachable vagina. What a strange and remarkable world we live in, that such a thing could even exist.
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Yuki from Maid Bride (NSFW)

Yuki from Maid Bride figure

We’ll take a break from the sci-fi bodysuits and turn instead to everyone’s favorite figure type: ero figures. This particular figure is named Yuki; she’s a character from the ero-manga Maid Bride, which can claim the impressive feat of having spawned three figures from just the artwork on its dust jacket. I’m a big fan of the artist, as are a lot of people, so it’s great to see more of his art getting the 3D treatment; let’s take a look at how this figure turned out.
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Meiya Mitsurugi from Muv-Luv Alternative (Kotobukiya Version)

Meiya Mitsurugi from Muv-Luv Alternative

Continuing with the tight bodysuit theme, today we’ll take a look at Meiya Mitsurugi, the heroine from Age’s eroge Muv-Luv Alternative. Kotobukiya, of course, has made a number of figures of the characters from Total Eclipse – quite probably the best-known property of the Muv-Luv franchise, thanks to its recent anime adaptation. It’s a little bit surprising that Kotobukiya has gone to the older title, since few manufacturers aside from Volks and Good Smile Company have ever shown interest in making figures of its characters. Nonetheless, I’m glad that they have, since its character designs are quite appealing, particularly because of their pilot suits.
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Horizon Ariadust from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere (Volks Version)

Horizon Ariadust figure by Volks

A figure that is released late is nothing new; many collectors breathed a happy sigh the other day as Alter finally shipped the figure of that one Steins;Gate girl with the bicycle, nearly fourteen months after it first went up for order. A figure that goes almost two years between availability and shipment, though; that’s a bit more uncommon. Looking through my e-mail, I found that I originally ordered this figure on January 31, 2012, and I received it on October 30, 2013 – a time span of 638 days. Putting up money nearly two years in advance for a little plastic doll might seem insane to many people, but I suppose it’s something that figure collectors are perfectly accustomed to. We’re an odd species, being like that.
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