Last year, around this time, Clayz announced a figure rendition of an eye-popping Tony Taka original artwork featuring two nekomimi maids (see below). As I seem to recall, it took all of a couple seconds to decide I would be ordering this figure.
Unfortunately, this figure was also a an E2 (Etsu) and AmiAmi exclusive, which complicated the ordering process somewhat. AmiAmi hadn’t gone international yet, so I went ahead and made arrangements to procure this figure through my usual proxy service, Celga. Ordering this figure via proxy meant I would end up paying full retail, plus shipping within Japan, sales tax, and proxy fees. AmiAmi opened their international site a few weeks after I had already locked in my order, which had me kicking myself for not waiting a little longer as I could have saved a good chunk of change by ordering this figure through them instead of Celga. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 and all that.
Clayz announced this figure in mid-October 2009–right about now, conveniently enough–and I received mine in late April of this year. [Yep, I’m pretty far behind.] There were no significant delays leading up to the figure’s release that I can recall. So, how does it stack up against expectations?
My only previous experience with Clayz was their 1/6 Saber from Fate/stay night–the blue dress version, not their swimsuit Saber–which was one of my earliest figure purchases and also the first time I was disappointed because a figure I had received didn’t look as awesome as the official product photography. Since that time, I’ve learned that this isn’t such an uncommon thing in the figure world and I’ve also come to appreciate the unique charm of the Clayz Saber despite its faults. Still, the experience didn’t exactly set high expectations in terms of what to expect from Clayz out of the box.
Fortunately, Clayz probably exceeded my expectations a bit with their Nekomimi Maids figure. My initial impression after unboxing the figure is that it looks almost exactly like what I had seen in the official product photography, which is a welcome turnabout from the Saber experience. The paintwork is largely matte, with relatively little tonal gradation, except for the stockings and shoes, which have a nice, glossy finish. The sculpt is solid, if unspectacular in terms of quality. A detailed inspection will reveal some rough patches here and there, but nothing that would be readily apparent to the casual observer. The base is a simple plastic design with a black & white checkerboard pattern that complements the girls’ outfits well enough. The figure comes fully assembled out of the box. There are no cast-off features despite the figure’s borderline ecchi content. [Yay!]
I did become aware of some significant issues with color consistency in the paint work while working with this figure for the review. This is most evident when looking at the girls’ arms and hands, which feature tones ranging from pale to sunburned orange, which leaves one wondering whether our catgirls were sneaking Cheetos prior to work. To be fair, this issue comes out more in photos than it does when examining the figure with the naked eye under normal light.
There’s also the lesser question of how well Clayz succeeded in translating Tony’s work to figure form. While this figure is clearly an attempt to realize a particular piece of Tony’s art in three-dimensional space, one doesn’t have to look too hard to see that some of his individual style was lost in the conversion process. Perhaps this is an inevitable consequence of going between two vastly different mediums, but I wonder if they couldn’t have done better. To my eye, our catgirls look rather generic/cutesy/could-be-anyone’s anime characters here in figure form. Without the original artwork as a reference, I doubt anyone familiar with Tony’s drawing style would make the association between the two.
- Based on Tony’s work
- Two figures in one
- No surprises between previewed version and final PVC
- No “me too”/poorly-implemented cast-off features
- Looks good on the shelf
- Poor color uniformity in the skin tones
- Some of Tony’s style lost in translation
- Exclusivity headaches
I think this is a pretty solid figure from Clayz and I definitely don’t regret picking the figure up, despite paying through the nose to do so. Taking advantage of the AmiAmi discount would have been nice, but there was really no way to know what they were going to do at the time. Interestingly, Clayz has a couple color variants out now, so if the traditional black & white maid outfit isn’t your thing, maybe pink or blue will be more your speed.
- Purchased from: E2 (Etsu) via Celga
- Order date: 19-Oct-2009
- Receive date: 28-Apr-2010
- Base price (USD): $174.00
- Shipping cost (USD): $36.00
- Proxy Fees (USD): $34.00
- Total (USD): $244.00
- Package dimensions (width): 180 mm
- Package dimensions (height): 265 mm
- Package dimensions (depth): 160 mm
- Shipping weight (figure + base + accessories): 310 g
- Shipping weight (packaging): 290 g
- Shipping weight (shipping box): N/A
- Shipping weight (total): 600 g