Mai Shiranui from The King of Fighters XIII (Hipline Version)

Alphamax Mai Shiranui from KOF Figure Review

Back in my review of Kotobukiya’s Dizzy, I lamented that fighting games aren’t a more popular source for figure makers. That hasn’t changed at all in the year since I received that figure. In fact, I can think of only a few figures of fighting game characters that have been released since then – A-Label’s Vanessa, and I suppose the Noel Vermillion nendoroid, if you count that as a figure. 2011 isn’t looking any more promising, with the major ones being another Dizzy, a peculiarly pachycephalic Kasumi, and this figure right here. With a bunch of fighting games – Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the two Tekken and Street Fighter crossovers, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, and the 3DS version of Dead Alive – scheduled for release, and with Super Street Fighter IV and BlazBlue still going strong, hopefully the situation will change and the girls of these games will grace us with more figures.
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Dakimakura Review – Nanoha Takamachi from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS (NSFW)

Cyclone Nanoha Takamachi Dakimakura Review

If you collect anime stuff, it’s hard to avoid getting stuff from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Unless you really dislike that franchise, that is; I know a couple of people who fall into that category and I can certainly understand why they feel that way, since I tried to watch the show and found it a bit difficult to get through. Nonetheless, I do like the character designs a lot, particularly Fate’s, and while my collection of Fate figures isn’t particularly large, I seem to have a lot of them given that I don’t have a strong affinity for the show. Curiously, for a long time I didn’t have anything featuring the lead character, apart from a couple of doujinshi. I’ve ordered her actsta figure but while I wait for that, let’s take a look at another thing that I’ve recently acquired that features her likeness, though perhaps not in a way familiar to fans of the show.
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Doll Review – vmf50 Yumi (NSFW)

Yamato vmf50 Yumi Review

I’m a big fan of Yamato’s vmf50 doll line. They’re fun to dress up and display and not too many people buy them or even know about them, and as I’ve got this odd tendency to dislike anything that becomes mainstream, that’s a big plus in my view. I bought Yumi a couple of months ago but she got ensnared by the printer ink cartridge bomb scare fiasco. Fortunately that blew over reasonably fast so we can take a closer look at her now.
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Kaguya Nanbu from Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier Exceed (NSFW)

Volks Kaguya Nanbu from Super Robot Wars Figure Review

There’s been some supposition that every figure I buy winds up in the bargain bin. I guess that’s partly a function of me buying a lot of figures and is also indicative of a curious trend in the figure hobby. In recent times we’ve seen VN02 Miku Hatsune, the first and the latest Black Rock Shooter figures, Dead Master, Vivio, and tons more figures receive huge price cuts and I’m not sure why so many high-profile releases are getting their prices chopped so hard. I’m sure this situation pleases collectors worldwide but I’m still a moron who pays full price for everything so I seldom get to partake of this happy occasion. I wonder what it says about the health of the industry. Regardless, here we have a figure that I’m sure won’t end up in a discount pile any time soon.
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Tamaki Kousaka from Manaka de Ikuno!! Final Dragon Chronicle – Guilty Requiem

Kotobukiya Tamaki Kousaka Samurai Figure Review

One of the more lamentable trends in entertainment media during the last couple of decades is the phasing out of the action girl in the battle bikini. They used to be commonplace, particularly in video games, where examples include Golden Axe’s Tyris Flare, SNK’s Athena, the valkyrie in Gauntlet, Sheena in Contra Hard Corps, and a bunch of characters from the early Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games. Nowadays, not only are they not nearly as common, you often see a peculiar aversion to sexiness on the part of female characters. World of Warcraft hasn’t had adequate bikini armor for two expansions now, much to the lament of my four paladins. I hear that the people running Tomb Raider want to place less emphasis on Lara Croft’s appearance, which explains why Square Enix can’t make good games anymore. Sonia Belmont got torched from Castlevania continuity altogether. This trend may be due to an attempt to be more inclusive and more appealing to larger audiences, or a desire to create more realistic characters, or a perceived lack of maturity associated with creating scantily-clad warrior girls. Whatever the cause, it sucks. Fortunately, Kotobukiya and Leaf agree, so here we have Tamaki Kousaka, the first of many Tamaki figures scheduled to drop this year.
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Dakimakura Review – Black Rock Shooter (NSFW)

Black Rock Shooter Dakimakura Dakimakura Review

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you, without a brand new dakimakura review. I’ve had a couple that have been paid in full for months but I didn’t get them until just a few days ago, no thanks to Japan Post and the US Department of Homeland Security. But that’s all in the past now and brighter and happier days are ahead. Has it really been seven months since my last dakimakura cover review? Why, yes, yes it has. New year, new pillowcase, let’s kick off 2011 the right way.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2010 & Year-End Thoughts

It’s the end of the year and in accordance with tradition, it is time for a list of my favorite figures of 2010. As with last year, this list only includes mass-produced PVC figures.
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Asuka Langley Shikinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion (Test Plugsuit Version)

Alter Asuka Langley Shikinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Alter released their second Rei Ayanami figure back in 2008. Collectors waited for an Asuka counterpart but none was forthcoming. That was strange because when you have Rei, you have to have Asuka too. They need each other, like Mario and Luigi, peanut butter and jelly, Asians and rice, schoolgirls and tentacles. Time passed and Alter’s Rei faded from memory until they finally got around to making a movie version of Asuka. And yet, it doesn’t really feel like a counterpart to me. She’s stylistically dissimilar from Rei – she’s got a perch of stone and twisted metal rather than just a flat black plate to recline on, and from observing her, it’s easy to discern how Alter’s production quality has improved since Rei’s release.
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Preorder Outlook VIII

It’s been a while since the last one so it’s a good time for me to collect my thoughts on some figures that I’ve either already ordered or am thinking of ordering. 2011 is looking like an excellent year for figures, and there are a few in this post that have already shot to the top of my wishlist. The pictures here are from Hobby Search, as always my favorite place to buy figures from. I don’t have any advertising on this site and I probably never will, but if I did, I’d roll with Hobby Search. Speaking of Hobby Search, they did send me my Black Rock Shooter stickers – for free, even including EMS shipping – but I haven’t gotten around to slapping one on her butt yet; when I do, I’ll get pictures up here right away.
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Kagari from Ninja Girls

Embrace-Japan Kagari from Ninja Girls Figure Review

Back in the day, it was all too common for US anime and video game companies to westernize Japanese titles to make them more commercially viable. Mazinger Z became Tranzor Z, Space Battleship Yamato became Star Blazers, and a whole bunch of titles were rolled into Robotech. My personal favorite title change is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, which translates to “The Eternity You Desire” but was localized as the much less poetic and much more hilarious “Rumbling Hearts.” The first time I saw the new title, I thought it referred to a wrestling anime. Thankfully, with anime becoming more acceptable, if not mainstream, title and content changes have become much less frequent. However, Del Rey Manga reminds us of history by bringing us Hosana Tanaka’s series Rappi Rangai as “Ninja Girls.” Seriously, that’s the best title they could think of? One of the “girls” isn’t even a girl so what the hell?
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