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.
The enduring popularity of the landmark 1995 series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and it’s subsequent movie spin-offs and remakes has ensured a steady flow of merchandise for as long as I’ve been collecting, but I’ve thus far managed to not pick up a single figure out of what must surely be hundreds of options at this point. Rei and Asuka are two of the most iconic heroines in the history of anime and I’m big on iconic character designs, so picking up an Eva figure or two seems like a natural development, but for whatever reason I haven’t been all that enthused by the offerings we’ve seen up to now.
Alter’s test suit Asuka came close. She made it onto my wish list and I had sincere intentions of picking her up, but poor timing of her release relative to other preorders and my budget situation saw that it never happened. Perhaps it is fortunate that I waited, because I think I prefer Max Factory’s version in large part. She’s bigger, cheaper, and wears a more character-appropriate facial expression. I would give Alter the nod, though, for a more elaborate and appealing display base.
Max Factory’s Asuka stands an impressive 275 mm (10.8″). She’s officially a 1/6 scale, which seems accurate given that she dwarfs Max Factory’s own bikini-clad Clalaclan, who’s only 240 mm (9.4″) at 1/7 scale. I like my figures about as large as can be reasonably fit on my shelves, and Asuka is just about the perfect size.
From most angles, Asuka’s facial expression and body language suggest a girl nervously playing with her hair while exchanging glances with a (presumably male) onlooker (see pic #11). Move to Asuka’s left side where you begin to catch her in profile and she begins looking decidedly less vulnerable and considerably more pissed off (refer to pic #13). Both extremes strike me as more character-appropriate for Asuka than the placid smile seen on Alter’s version. Yes, it’s a pretty static pose, but it looks good and sends the right signals, so I’m not going to get too hung up on what Max Factory might have done here instead.
Then there’s the question of Asuka’s outfit. Obviously, this figure features the new test plug suit design from Evangelion 2.0 rather than the classic plug suit design from the original series. I’ve seen a fair number of comments from people who seem to dislike the new design for whatever reason, but personally I quite like it. I feel the test suit has a more contrasty color scheme and better accentuates Asuka’s curves than the original design.
Paint and sculpt detail are excellent. The glossy finish on the plug suit is gorgeous, if annoying when snapping photos. Asuka’s hair sculpt is wonderfully detailed and the subtle definition of her midriff through the skin-tight, semi-translucent plug suit is a visual treat. 100% zoom and a macro lens might reveal some flaws in the finish, but I was hard-pressed to discover anything amiss when inspecting the figure in normal light.
If this Asuka falls short of expectations anywhere, it’s in the display base. It’s a flat, circular design of clear plastic featuring a large NERV logo. In other words, boring as hell. 😐 Some buyers seem to be perturbed by an apparent wobbliness of Asuka on her base, but I inspected the connection between the figure and the base and I’m confident that it’s quite secure and satisfactory to my expectations.
All in all, I’m quite pleased to finally have a proper Eva figure and I think Max Factory’s take on Shikinami Asuka came out quite well. She’s pleasantly large, quite well-made, very attractive, and a relative bargain considering the aforementioned qualities.
- Iconic character design
- Relatively inexpensive for the quality and size
- Character-appropriate expression and body language
- Exquisite craftsmanship
- Unambitious display base design
As usual, I’m not the first to review this figure. Check out these other reviews for an alternate take:
Seeing Asuka turn out so well also reminds me that I’m still annoyed that Max Factory decided to transition from being a major player in the scale figure market to being a major player in the posable figure market and a niche player in the scale figure market several years ago (2008, I believe). Yeah, they throw us a bone every now and then, but figmas are very much Max Factory’s bread & butter these days.
Don’t mind me, I’m just bitter. 😐
This review marks my first time using off-camera flash. Can you tell? I picked up a could Nikon SB-700s around Christmas in order to explore the world of shooting Strobist-style and hopefully up my lighting game a bit, which I feel has been a weak point in my photography up to now. Credit to the Strobist blog and guys like Tier over at Tentacle Armada for showing what you can do with really nice light.
- Purchased from: AmiAmi
- Order date: 20-Oct-2011
- Ship date: 13-Dec-2011
- Receive date: 14-Jan-2012
- Base price (JPY): ¥5,780
- Shipping cost (JPY): ¥1,180 (Unregistered SAL)
- Total cost (JPY): ¥6,960
- Total cost (USD): $89.67
- Package dimensions (width): 150 mm
- Package dimensions (height): 340 mm
- Package dimensions (depth): 150 mm
- Shipping weight (figure): 286 g
- Shipping weight (figure + display box): 543 g
- Shipping weight (total): 1,115 g