I felt it would be a dubious achievement to go a full year without a new review, so let’s pick up where we left off with the next girl in the Seven Deadly Sins series: Lucifer, the image of Pride, by Orchid Seed.
The Seven Deadly Sins is the latest Hobby Japan original content production and follows the same basic ecchi harem blueprint laid out by prior HJ projects Queen’s Blade and Hyakka Ryouran. We have seven demon girls that collectively represent the seven deadly sins: Asmodeus (Lust), Beelzebub (Gluttony), Belphegor (Sloth), Leviathan (Envy), Lucifer (Pride), Mammon (Greed), and Satan (Wrath). Esteemed Nitroplus artist Niθ has reprised his role from Hyakka Ryouran by once again providing character designs for the new HJ franchise. An anime production was announced in October, but the first products to bear the standard for the 7-Sins project will be a line of scale bishoujo figures, starting with Amakuni’s Leviathan, which is the subject of today’s review.
Remaining loyal to the North American anime industry is an exercise in perseverance. One must repeatedly endure the inevitable time lag between a series airing in Japan and seeing it licensed, localized, and ultimately released on domestic DVD and/or Blu-ray. At best, this delay is measured in months; at worst, years. Shakugan no Shana is a series that had it worse than most. Its fate was tied to the sinking ship that was Geneon, which was responsible for releasing the first season of SnS on DVD years ago. Despite the apparent transfer of numerous Geneon licenses to Funimation back in mid-2008, which presumably included the Shakugan no Shana rights, the second SnS TV series from the Fall 2007 season did not make its NA debut until December 2012. The 2007 feature film and Fall 2009 OVA series followed in January and the third, and final, TV series is promised for next month. At least Funi is making up for lost time by releasing all of SnS in rapid succession.
As part of the NA Shakugan no Shana (re)launch, I have been re-watching the series starting from the first season, which I already had on DVD from the Geneon days, and proceeding through the newer content. As such, I thought it would be a good opportunity to dust off one of my figures of the eponymous loli-tsundere heroine for review, while the series is still fresh on my mind.
I had the opportunity to watch the anime adaptation of the Hobby Japan original franchise Hyakka Ryouran earlier this year and found the experience rather trite. I went in expecting an ecchi harem anime and that’s pretty much what I got, which would be fine if the series just wasn’t so damn generic about it. Where something like Sora no Otoshimono managed to feel fresh and hilariously over-the-top, Hyakka Ryouran felt formulaic and, ultimately, forgettable. I had expected much the same going into the Queen’s Blade anime only to come away pleasantly surprised to find a serviceable fantasy/action anime underneath all the overt sexualization, so I had hopes that Hyakka Ryouran would also exceed expectations, but alas, no.
Whatever Hyakka Ryouran‘s failings as an anime, the franchise has at least produced a small bounty of quality figures, which I think owes to the skillful character stylings of Nitroplus artist Niθ and the fact that Hobby Japan partnered with Alter for the majority of those figures. I have rarely been so tempted to pick up every single figure from one particular series as I have with Alter’s line of Hyakka Ryouran figures. They’ve been exceptionally good.
Naoe is my third Alter Hyakka Ryouran figure after normal and swimsuit Jubei, which I’ve previously reviewed. Naoe is introduced fairly late in the series as a comically inept henchman and she is painted as a bit of a self-important dunce. I found her to be one of the more likable characters in the anime, so when Alter unveiled an attractive Naoe in full combat regalia as their latest non-exclusive figure it wasn’t hard to commit to a preorder. Continue reading →
The first scale PVC figure I ever purchased was Yamato’s 1/8 Aoyama Motoko, of Love Hina fame, back in 2005. It was cheap, poorly detailed, required a ridiculously ugly support arm, and was generally terrible all-around by today’s standards. Despite her failings, Yamato’s Motoko acted as my gateway drug to the figure scene and I appreciated her for what she was, at least until I knew better. As an unfortunate side effect of that experience, I’ve tended to associate Yamato with cheap, ugly figures ever since and generally wouldn’t give them the time of day.
Enter Iris Hallett as the 32nd entry in Yamato’s Creators Labo series, based on the iconic artwork of Masamune Shirow. It’s rare that Yamato figures manage to really get my attention, but Iris did the trick well enough to overcome my reservations with buying Yamato and committing to what was a pretty pricey offering for a non-exclusive, non-limited PVC figure. Continue reading →
Alter recently reissued their goth-punk take on one of my favorite tsundere heroines, Louise Françoise Le Blanc de la Vallière–a mouthful of a name if there ever was one–from from the light comedy-meets-Harry Potter anime series Zero no Tsukaima. This particular figure is one of four unique designs–six counting re-colors–from Alter to carry the likeness of Louise. I elected to pass on this figure the first time around, much to my later chagrin, so I was thrilled when Alter announced their plans to re-release goth-punk Louise late last year. Was she worth the wait? Read on to find out. Continue reading →
Kaname Madoka, heroine and main character of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (aka Puella Magi Madoka Magica in the US), arrives as the first in a rapidly expanding line of Madoka figures from Good Smile Company. The series is notable for winning a number of awards in Japan, breaking Blu-ray disc sales records, and generally receiving a lot of positive buzz from the community. It is no big surprise, then, that GSC has moved quite aggressively with the Madoka franchise, pushing out a complementary set of the four core heroines in the first half the year and unveiling a second Madoka design–colloquially known as “Goddess Madoka”–as an unpainted prototype, presumed to be released later this year. Continue reading →
Next on the review pile for 2012 is Shining Hearts heroine Neris! She’s another one of those pesky Gemaga exclusives and the first figure from Kotobukiya to roll through the review queue. See how she stacks up below the jump. Continue reading →
First up on the review pile for 2012 is Max Factory’s Asuka, which features the legendary fireball wearing her new test plug suit duds from the recent Rebuild of Evangelion movie remakes. Continue reading →