Retrospective lists at the end of the year are de rigeur for magazines and newspapers and blogs, so I figured I’d provide a list of my five favoritest figures of 2009. This list includes only mass-marketed PVC figures released last year; otherwise, Kenshin would occupy slots one through five.
Narika from Beat Blades Haruka (Alter)
Despite being neither a big fan of twintails or the flat chest, I love Alter’s rendition of Narika. She’s got a great pose and her face expresses sauciness and playfulness in equal measure. Her split-front trousers and that huge weapon – whatever it is – are too cool as well.
Seena Kanon from Shining Wind (Orchid Seed)
Seena was one of the figures I was most looking forward to, and Orchid Seed did not disappoint me. She’s an elegant mix of sexiness and subtlety, of quiet repose and martial prowess. Tony’s designs usually make for excellent figures, and Seena doesn’t deviate from that expectation.
Kanu Unchou from Ikki Tousen (Daiki Kougyou)
Daiki Kougyou is one of the enigmas of the hobby; one has to wonder why they green-lit some of the figures they’ve churned out, but when they are at their best, they stand right up there with the big boys. Many companies – including Daiki – have made figures of Kanu Unchou, but their miko version stands out not just as my favorite Kanu, but one of my favorite figures of all time. They’ve done a great job making Kanu look sexy as hell in a sarashi and low-rise hakama combo, and if her fashion sense isn’t to one’s taste, they can be taken off altogether.
Collet from Tony Taka (Native)
I’ve already noted how this figure answered one of my long-held dreams, but even besides that, this is an incredible figure. Ero figures are usually the province of smaller, less skillful manufacturers or niche garage kit makers, but Native shows us how to do them right. The combination of Tony’s art and Max Factory’s craftsmanship is unbeatable, and sculpting the figure in 1/6 scale elevates Collet from excellent to transcendent. Truly one of the best figures of 2009.
Metatron from Demonbane (Alter)
I suspect that Metatron was not one of Alter’s more popular releases in 2009, but of all the figures that they’ve made, she stands out as my favorite. I normally don’t like the looking-back-over-the-shoulder pose, but it works perfectly here, allowing the viewer to admire both her face and backside at the same time. She looks hot, capable, and confident, and she’s the 2009 figure that I like the most.
The most annoying trend of 2009
If I wanted to be snarky, I’d nominate the rampant proliferation of nendoroids for this prize. Instead, I’ll say that the increasing proclivity of figure manufacturers to sell their products solely on exclusive websites or at particular events is the most annoying trend of the past year. This sort of marketing strategy was once principally employed by less-mainstream companies like Volks, but now we see Alter jumping on board with several of their Hyakka Ryoran figures being exclusively sold through a magazine and their highly-anticipated Saber Alter maid figure being a Hobby Channel exclusive. MegaHouse retailed their Kagura and Yomi figures only through Digitamin, and Max Factory packed one of their figmas with a Gantz manga. I’m certain that the various deputy services in Japan are loving this, but for the rest of us, it’s quite the hassle.
Actually, you know, if I really, really wanted to be snarky, I’d claim that the unceasing torrent of Drossel pictures is the most annoying trend of 2009. But that would be unlike me, no? Me? Snarky? Unthinkable.
One thing I don’t ever want to see in 2010 but I know I will
Anything to do with Rin Kokonoe.
Three things I want to see in 2010 but I know I won’t
Two of these three girls have figures but one does not.
Beat Blades Haruka has some of the coolest character designs around, an opinion not lost on Alter, who have put out superb figures of Haruka and Narika. Conspicuously missing from their lineup is Subaru, the third ninja heroine. Now admittedly, she’s a bit quirky compared to her compatriots; Haruka is kind-hearted and loyal, Narika is spastic and mercurial, but Subaru is duty-minded, somewhat humorless, and something of a martinet. None of that is unusual, you say? She is also an amputee who gets a set of tentacles to replace her lost arm, she can potentially violently rape Haruka depending on how good you are at the game (or how sick you are in the head), and she seems to have a thing for pigs – don’t ask about that last one. Just join me in transmitting mental thoughts to Alter’s offices to persuade them to complete the Jougenshuu trio.
Moving on …
One of these three girls has a figure but two do not.
So I was watching Sora Kake Girl, and I notice this thing on the right side of the screen:
See that? Now either Good Smile Company paid money to get their logo up there, or GSC’s chairman has some photographs that Sunrise’s chairman would much prefer to keep secret. Given their sponsorship and also the fact that the cast of the show is composed almost entirely of female teenagers, one would think that GSC would be chucking out Sora Kake Girl figures left and right, no? Or at least, one would think that after they made Akiha, that Itsuki would be next, yes? I mean, they even let her cosplay as this character, whom I’m certain does not need an introduction:
This is not actually who she appears to be.
Heck, I’ll even settle for a cosplaying Itsuki figure. Maybe. Wait, no I won’t. GSC, I demand that you give us Itsuki in her Q-tector suit.
MegaHouse, you are the key that can set Irma free.
I took a look at the Queen’s Blade roster, and of the nineteen characters in the main line, I think only two haven’t gotten figures: Melpha and Irma. Melpha I can understand, she’s one of the more recent characters and she’s fat. Irma’s situation, however, confuses me. She’s not a new kid on the block – she was Queen’s Blade character number three. Her hair and eyes evoke Rei Ayanami, and like most of the lineup, she doesn’t wear many clothes. She received a bit more love (and even more pain) in the recent anime series, so hopefully that raises her profile enough that MegaHouse or Griffon sees fit to give her the PVC treatment.