Well, 2015 saw an all-new low in terms of blog activity, but I wanted to take a brief moment to highlight the purchases I was most pleased with over the past year.
Alter – 1/7 Mu-12
Outside of spin-off works like this figure, I largely lost touch with the BlazBlue fighting game series after the eponymous first game, where I enjoyed playing Nu-13 and Taokaka. Mu-12 bears obvious visual similarities to Nu-13, though she seems to have long surpassed her forebear in popularity. With a character design that can produce stunning sculpts like this Alter masterpiece, it’s not hard to see why. Alter officially lists Mu-12 at 1/7 scale, but that designation undersells how massive this figure feels in person. I had to remove half the protruding blades from the display base just to fit this figure in my IKEA Billy bookshelves with the doors closed, which is fortunately an option. Said display base even lights up, given appropriate batteries (sold separately), though I haven’t personally used that feature. Alter has produced a lot of real quality work over the years, but Mu definitely stands as one of their more impressive examples.
Amakuni – 1/7 Satan ~Santa Claus no Setsu~
Hobby Japan’s Seven Deadly Sins figure series has pretty much run its course in terms of with all the characters getting figures in their canonical outfits which simply means they’ve moved on to fetish outfits instead. Amakuni’s oddly appropriate Santa-themed Satan has been the only figure from the extended 7-Sins lineup to catch my interest thus far. Like Mu-12 above, this Satan is noticeably larger in person than her scale would suggest, which was a pleasant surprise. Amakuni’s paint and sculpt quality has generally been good and Satan continues that trend while improving nicely on Leviathan’s cast-off foibles. Indeed, this is one of the better-fitting cast-off implementations I’ve seen and the lone difficulty I encountered was getting the dress-holding left hand’s peg seated properly. Amakuni promised a wicked blend of cute and sexy with this figure and I’m happy to report that they delivered the goods.
Wing – 1/6 Sonico ~Rock ‘n’ Roll Valentine~
It seems like every year there’s about one figure that flies under the radar initially only to draw my attention and become a priority some time after release. For this year, that figure was Wing’s chocolate guitar-toting Sonico. Much like Hatsune Miku before her, Sonico has been the recipient of numerous figures, so it was likely only a matter of time before one of them drew sufficient interest. Wing’s version has Sonico looking lively in a polka-dot bikini, her trademark headphones, and the afore-mentioned choco-guitar. My only prior experience with a Wing figure was last year’s Muramasa, which I found rather lovely and Sonico similarly impresses. My only complaint, and a rather trivial one, is that the peg for one of Sonico’s feet is too short to stay secured consistently.
Vertex – 1/7 Selvaria Bles
The Valkyria Chronicles series, which started off so strong, is now looking like yet another neglected Sega franchise. The series hasn’t seen a new entry in almost five years, the most recent two games were relegated to the niche PlayStation Portable platform, and the third game never made it out of Japan. Leave it to figure makers to keep hope alive with a slow, but steady flow of Valkyria merchandise. Selvaria has received the lion’s share of recent Valkyria figures and I feel that Vertex’s example here is the best yet. I find Vertex’s rendering of Selvaria’s features–based on Raita’s original artwork rather than the in-game or anime designs–superior to the older Alter version, which is well-regarded in its own right. Vertex even slipped in a surprise cast-off allowing Selvaria’s skirt to be removed; an option I don’t recall seeing advertised prior to release.
Orchid Seed – 1/8 Mammon
I didn’t find Mammon’s character design particularly appealing when Hobby Japan’s 7-Sins character designs were first unveiled, so it comes as somewhat of a surprise that this Orchid Seed design has emerged as one of my favorites from the lineup. Mammon represents greed, as the pile of gold upon which she perches might suggest, but her other assets are more likely to interest onlookers. Indeed, a quick eyeball test suggests that Mammon has the largest cup size of any of the 7-Sins girls and yet Orchid Seed elected to emphasize her backside instead. A curious decision on the face of it, but with some skillful sculpting and the right pair of panties, they really make it work. PVC butt cleavage doesn’t get much better than this.