Preorder Roundup: 2012.03 Edition

Periodically, I like to take a look at new figures that are available for pre-order. This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list, but rather a selection of new releases that I personally find interesting or notable.

It’s been over five months since my last preorder write-up, so there’s a lot of ground to cover. Let’s get started.

March

Alphamax – 1/7 Astraea ~Swimsuit ver.~

Alphamax should be releasing this bikini-clad Astraea from Sora no Otoshimono later this month. The pose reminds me strongly of Kotobukiya’s Corticarte, which I own and don’t think particularly much of (for reasons that have nothing to do with the pose), so I would consider selling Corticarte and buying Astraea to take her place. I like the wings, which help differentiate Astraea a bit from legions of other swimsuit-ed heroines, and the ice cream, which helps Astraea appear as though she’s doing something other than just looking pretty. She’s also wearing an impish expression that I find charming. All told, the prototype shots look great and the price is pretty reasonable, but Alphamax is another manufacturer that I don’t have any previous experience with and perusing their back catalog on MFC doesn’t inspire confidence. 😐

Unfortunately, Astraea’s pretty low on my list compared to the rest of the options here, so it’s unlikely I’ll be picking this one up with the release so close at hand. 😦

Alter – 1/6 Aegis ~ART WORKS~

Alter is releasing a rendition of Persona 3’s Aegis based on the cover art from Shigenori Soejima’s ART WORKS: 2004-2010 artbook. I love Aegis’s character design, though I did find myself a bit disappointed by her personality–or lack thereof–when playing through Persona 3 FES. Admittedly, I only played up to the point where I had unlocked her, but not fully explored her relationship arc, so maybe it gets better at some point. Anyhow, this figure looks absolutely amazing. The pose has a lot of the same qualities that made Momohime so epic and the detail in the hair and all the mechanical pieces is just gorgeous, plus she’s 1/6 scale which is practically unheard of from Alter.

She’s already on order, of course! And I’m so late in doing the preorder write up, that the actual release is right around the corner. 😯

Kotobukiya – 1/7 Takamura Yui

Kotobukiya will soon be releasing Takamura Yui from Muv-Luv Alternative rendered in 1/7 scale PVC. I’m not familiar with the source material, so I can’t comment on how accurate or not this interpretation of Yui is, but I totally dig the kimono and traditional Japanese umbrella theme she’s sporting here. The pose is also a great tease, showing a good bit of skin, but not too much. I’m also pleased to see that Koto appears to be including a non-standard base with Yui. The big question mark in my mind is what kind of craftsmanship is Kotobukiya going to bring to the table? Admittedly, Yui’s a good bit less of an investment than Neris was–I’m seeing US shops list her around $70, which isn’t bad at all–but I’ll take one expensive top-quality figure over a couple cheap average figures any day.

Still on the fence about this one. The problem is that her release coincides with the preorder windows for a bunch of recent exclusives that I’m interested in. 😐

Max Factory – 1/7 Muramasa Sansei

Max Factory is due to release this 1/7 scale version of Muramasa Sansei (aka Muramasa III or Sandaime Muramasa) from Full Metal Daemon: Muramasa later this month. This is one of the few cases where I felt disappointed upon seeing the full color samples after having seen the unpainted prototypes. It just seems like there’s something a bit off in the head area. Either the facial expression isn’t quite right or the hair seems kind of flat. On the other hand, Muramasa’s got those elf ears and dark-skinned exoticism going for her. Plus, this is Max Factory, so I’m confident they’ll do a good job here.

I don’t know… it’s awfully close to release at this point and Muramasa’s sold out at most shops. Think I’m going to pass. 😦

April

Alter – 1/8 Louise Françoise Le Blanc de la Vallière ~Gothic Punk ver.~

I like Louise a lot as a character and I enjoyed the first season of Zero no Tsukaima far more than the sum of its parts. I’m not sure how accurate this outfit is–I don’t recall seeing it in the first season or any official artwork–but it’s rather fetching all the same, plus we have the benefit of seeing user reviews from the first run, which were pretty good. I really wanted this figure the first time around and I regretted not picking it up at the time. I think this might actually be the first time I’ve been the beneficiary of a re-release.

She’s already on order with AmiAmi. 🙂

Alter – 1/7 Selvaria Bles ~Swimsuit ver.~

Alter is giving Valkyria Chronicles fan–or maybe just Selvaria fans–more love with another Selvaria figure, this time with the tragic heroine trading her military uniform for a skimpy swimsuit. I picked up Alter’s first Selvaria off Mandarake last year, so I guess you could say I already got my Selvaria fix. Honestly, I would really rather Alter put out a nice figure of Alicia in her uniform than another Selvaria figure–no offense to Selvaria, she’s great and all. That said, I do like the elaborate display base, which adds some visual flair and helps set Selvaria apart from other, more generic swimsuit figures. The swimsuit design, itself, seems fairly appropriate to the source material, though Selvaria’s proportions manage to make it a little outrageous. Underboob fans should have a field day with this one. 😉

I’m sure Alter will do a great job with this one, but she’s riding pretty low on my wish list at the moment, so I don’t really expect to fit her in with all the other options available at the moment. Hmm… 😐

Phat Company – 1/8 Totooria Helmold

Atelier Totori‘s main character, Totori, will be getting a 1/8 scale PVC release from Phat Company. My JRPG playing has fallen way off in recent years, so I can’t comment on the game, itself, or Totori as a character, but the art style coming through in the figure has a nice otherworldly quality that I liked a lot in the Odin Sphere artwork–another JRPG I never played :-|. Totori, herself, looks cute enough, but I think it’s really the base that makes this figure interesting. Phat Company went out of their way to provide an elaborate base full of fanciful props that help set the tone for the entire figure.

Phat Company, itself, is an unknown to me, other than the fact that they’re part of the GSC family. It seems like they’re pretty new to the scene, so there’s not much history to draw on when making a buying decision.

Honestly, I think the figure is interesting, but Totori’s pretty low on my list out of all the figures in this post, so odds are I won’t be picking her up. Too bad. 😦

May

Alter – 1/8 Panty Anarchy

Alter will also be releasing their first entry in what appears to be a growing lineup of characters from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. The series comes from the legendary GAINAX studio and has garnered some good buzz, so I’m definitely planning to watch it at the first opportunity. Panty is dressed up in regalia resembling a Greek goddess, which is a bit unusual in the context of anime, but something I can appreciate. I like the metallic finish on her sandals and armbands, and it looks like they’ve done something different to achieve the finish on her hair. The pose is stylish, but a bit static. Nice colors. Pretty solid, all-around.

Not sure what I think about this one. She’s still a couple months out and I trust Alter to do a good job, but the figure doesn’t particularly move me like some of the others here do. Hmm… 😕

Gift – 1/8 Saber Extra

Those eagerly waiting for scale versions of the new Saber Extra form will rejoice to see Gift’s latest entry in their line of Sabers. The first couple Gift Sabers had just horrible face sculpts that looked both ugly and nothing at all like the Saber we’ve come to know and love. This latest attempt still doesn’t quite like Saber, but it is at least attractive. The previous Gift Sabers were also notable for having highly elaborate sculpt and paint work and their Saber Extra appears to continue that tradition. One negative that I see to this figure is that it’s on the small side (180 mm) and pricey (¥9333) considering the size. I guess you’re paying for all the detail, which is certainly worth something.

I was feeling pretty indifferent when Gift’s Saber Extra was first unveiled, but the design has started to grow on me over the past few months to the point where I’ve considered ordering her. What I really want to see, though, is a Saber Extra from Good Smile Company. Given their recent track record with Fate-series characters, I think they’d do a bang-up job.

Good Smile Company – 1/8 Saber ~Motored Cuirassier~

Good Smile Company is expanding their Fate lineup with a new Saber figure based on her motorcycle scene from Fate/Zero. Wow. As good as Alter’s Aegis (above) looks, GSC’s new Saber is positively epic. 😯 Motorcycle designs are quite rare and historically quite costly. The detail on the bike looks amazing and Saber herself looks completely badass wearing her black suit and a determined expression. Wonderful dynamism in the pose. I really can’t say enough to express how much I like what I’m seeing here. She is still on the pricey side (¥13143) and I am a little disappointed that they didn’t do her in 1/7 scale to match their other recent Fate-series figures, but such complaints are trivial in the face of such awesomeness.

Good Smile Company will have to seriously drop the ball with moto-Saber for this not to become the new favorite figure of my entire collection. Preordered at the speed of light! 😀

July

Alter – 1/6 Saber Alter ~Maid ver.~ and 1/6 Saber ~Maid ver.~

Alter is re-releasing both of their Saber maids in July. These two are actually sold separately, but they’re related in a lot of ways, so I’m going to talk about them together. Also, I apologize for the quality of the above image. I almost didn’t include Saber Alter in the write-up because all the official images are pathetically low-res.

Saber (right, above) was originally released in 2007 and Saber Alter (left, above) was originally released as a Hobby Channel exclusive in 2010. Both are large at 1/6 scale and both obviously cater to the maid fetish. I’m not particularly a maid fan, but I am a Saber fan and I think the poses here work pretty well for the theme. Of the two, I think I prefer the original (non-Alter) version, though I have noted the glowing reviews of the Saber Alter (9.80 rating on MFC!), which make me more than a little curious about that version as well. Unfortunately, Saber Alter’s still a Hobby Channel exclusive (again), so there’s that hassle to deal with. The non-Alter Saber maid is also being dubbed “Ver. R”, which from the official shots makes me think she’s getting a new base to match Saber alter (as shown above)–the original issue had a circular, plain white base.

I don’t have either of these maid Sabers on my wish list right now, but they’re both tempting in their own ways. It’s an issue of timing and budget management, as is usually the case for me.

Native – 1/7 Elfriede

Native will be releasing a new entry in their Creator’s Collection series based on an original character design, Elfriede, by Hiroe Rei. Native is known for being the ero figure arm of Max Factory. Between the fact that I don’t buy many ero figures for various reasons and the fact that Native releases all their figures as exclusives of their online shop–which doesn’t ship internationally–I haven’t had much occasion to deal with them in the past, but I have been very curious about their work for a while due to the great deal of positive feedback surrounding their figures from the community at large. I think Elfriede is pretty tame, content-wise, which is a plus for me, and I find the pose and the unusual soldier gear appealing.

I don’t have Elfriede on order yet, but she’s very high on my wish list, so I think it’s only a matter of time.

Yamato – 1/6 Iris ~Creator’s Labo 032~

Yamato is releasing a new entry in their Creator’s Labo series based on the artwork of the legendary Masamune Shirow. It’s pretty rare that Yamato really manages to get my attention with a figure release, but they’ve done so with Iris. It’s also surprisingly rare to see figures based on Shirow’s work given his status as a mangaka, but outside of a handful of figures of the major from Ghost in the Shell, I’ve seen very little of his work make its way to PVC. I really like what we’re seeing here: a heavy sci-fi influence with a splash of sex appeal that Shirow always brings with his designs. She’ll be 1/6 scale, too, which is always good. The major negative on this figure is that she’s quite pricey for a non-exclusive PVC (¥12800), which puts her in the same ballpark as Motored Cuirassier Saber only without the fancy bike.

Despite the price, I’m planning to pick up Iris right after Elfriede. I’ve viewed Yamato as sort of a low-tier figure company for a long time, but looking at some of their recent work in light of the Iris unveiling, I see that most of their more recent work, like Velvet and Compact Hog, has been received quite well by the community. Hopefully, the final Iris PVC will look as good as the prototypes.

August

Alter – 1/8 Kanetsugu Naoe ~Swimsuit ver.~

Alter is releasing yet another exclusive-run Hyakka Ryouran figure in collaboration with Hobby Japan; this time featuring Kanetsugu Naoe in her rather skimpy swimsuit. I recently watched the anime and I have to admit it wasn’t all that great, but I still enjoy the character designs and I think Alter has done a great job with their figures from the series. Naoe is pretty much a complete dunce and a little too arrogant, but I liked her character in spite of that. Naoe was in disguise for the beach episode, as seen in AmiAmi Zero’s Naoe, so I’m not sure where this particular swimsuit design comes from, but it is fetching enough. The green and black go well with Naoe’s purple hair and the rollerblades (barely visible in the shot provided) are a nice touch. The Hobby Japan exclusive aspect is a continued annoyance–I swear, if we could just get them to open up their store to international orders, half our problems would be solved–but I know enough shops that will step up to act as proxies that it’s just a minor cost issue at this point.

Naoe’s currently third on my priority list, but she might get bumped down if something else comes along. 😕

Kotobukiya – 1/8 Hinanai Tenshi

Kotobukiya is releasing an exclusive-run scale figure of Hinanai Tenshi from the Touhou Project in collaboration with Hobby Japan. The Touhou Project has produced a huge and motley assortment of characters, which in turn has given rise to some great fan artwork focused around the series. Despite the potential of the source material and a significant volume of releases, few, if any, have managed to really pique my interest. Tenshi here is probably the first where I said to myself, “Wow, that actually looks pretty good.” A lot of the Griffon Touhou girls have had very conservative, static poses while Tenshi looks more alive and purposeful. She features great blues and rainbow-colored highlights, plus it looks like the base will be something a bit more interesting than the standard fare. Unfortunately, she comes right after my receipt of Neris, which I view as a high-priced disappointment, so I’m feeling a little gun-shy about buying from Kotobukiya again, let alone on another exclusive.

5 thoughts on “Preorder Roundup: 2012.03 Edition

  1. I always follow a lot of upcoming figures all the time, on most I pass, some will be preordered and some will bebought after the release if I have the opportunity, of course ^-^

    Astraea looks good featuring her funny mischievous face expression from the anime, but the impressions about Alphamax products is just too mixed, you don’t know what you’ll get in the end.

    Aegis in 1/6 will look awesome, I don’t know her but the design is very nice.

    I also was more impressed by the prototype pictures of Muramasa Sansei, she looks still great, a dark skinned elf maid with a thong is somethimg Im missing in my collection, but somehow I don’t want to preorder her without seeing pictures or better reviews of the final product. I believe and hope they’ll get the skin tone right, maybe I’ll get her at an local dealer if she turns out nice.

    Louise is my second favorite 2d character next to Soniko ^^ So far there was no figure I liked enough, the goth punk version is very close, but she doesn’t blush enough and the °.° mouth isn’t the way I want it on my Louise figure.

    Totori is cute, but Phat Company? I don’t trust them to be honest, I don’t think they will produce something as lovely as the prototype with all the shading and stuff.

    The Panty&Stocking anime appeared a bit too americanized to me, but a few eps were quite funny. Panty looks nice like that, but I prefer ALTER’s Stocking, I liked her character more and her prototype had awesome curves 😄

    Saber on the bike is the essence of awesome, it looks so cool. Anyway I decided to pass on her since I don’t like Saber enough for spending this amount of money.

    Native figure are great, but most of the time just a bit too raunchy, I like a bit ecchi figures, but Native figures are mainly one step too much for me 😄 Well, I ordered their Soniko cause she was still tame enough.

    The exclusive Nao is so nice, I really like the design and the pretty face. I don’t know what other nice figures might appear until September and I already have two exclusive preorders. I want to maintain my budget for normal run figures a bit longer.

    Another Koto exclusive huh? Without question the figure pictures look great, the pose, the boots etc, but you should take into account that there will be flaws like rough edges and areas with rough paint.

    • Astraea, Yui, Totori, and Tenshi are good examples of figures where I see potential in the prototypes, but I don’t feel very confident in the manufacturer. When the budget for preorders gets tight, I tend to pass on such figures in favor of options from manufacturers that I trust more.

      Unfortunately, if you like Louise but you’re not happy with the figures released to date, you may be out of luck. There haven’t been much Louise-related merchandise in the past 2-3 years because the last anime season aired in 2008. On the plus side, the new series is going on now, so that might kick-start some new designs.

      The price was never an issue for me with moto-Saber. I understand that it will deter some buyers, but I think she’s pretty aggressively priced considering what you get and I don’t see how they could have lowered the price further without drastically cutting back on the ambitious design work.

      Native’s work is usually a tad too risqué for my collection, too, but one of the reasons I like Elfriede is that she’s fairly tame when fully dressed, unbuttoned shirt and exposed pantsu notwithstanding.

      I’m struggling to fit Naoe into my budget as well. I’m all but ready to order Elfriede and Iris now and that pretty much locks me up until next month and I’m not sure how long Naoe will be available for preorder. Plus there’s Hatsune Miku ~Cheerful ver.~ which just went up on the GSC site and her preorder window closes before the end of the month. Ugh. 😦

      • I already preordered the Hatsune Miku ~Cheerful version, paying upfront hurt a little bit, but at least I don’t have to think about paying for her in August anymore ^^

  2. Thanks for commenting om my blog! =D. It’s hard to find time to work on it. but this summer should be a good for some work with the blog ^^.

    Aegis looks really good. very nice detail. I was initially not so interested in her, due I first thought her looking somewhat tomboyish. but it’s strange how my opinions change while reading other’s pre-order posts and thoughts about the figures. 1/6 Alter is really unheard of! How she floats in the air looks like a mystery for me btw. =O

    I’m unsure about Kotobukiyas Yui quality, but I still really like Yui’s pose, theme, character design. I’d be peeking at such legs all day! But I get the feeling that says: I wish Alter made her!”

    Though I’m not thinking of buying Sandaime, I still get a good/happy feeling because figure companies are making dark colored characters. (But that might be because there are so few Dark colored anime characters to begin with. Hope there will be a nice one of Yoruichi, or Final Fantasy XII Fran some time in the future! Or maybe a dark skinned Castanic/Amani race from Tera online ^^.

    I agree on you about Selvaria. I don’t see why nobody has made an Alicia figure or one of Rosie. But the figure is of course nice. I think the legs are too long also.

    I actually like Panty. She looks really attractive and well made. If you’re planning on stocking which I think looks equally nice, it would be a nice duo! Don’t have anything particular to complain about other than that I don’t like their shoes xD. The heels look wierd (for both figures) but looking at the anime pictures, I see thats the way they’re supposed to be. So they’re keeping it faithful to the original at least =P

    Looking at the Fate Extra, I feel a sudden interest like I did with Aegis, while reading this post. But as you also mentioned, I hope to see a GSC one. So I’ll use that as an excuse to save me some money for now.

    Saber on her bike on the other hand, I couldn’t agree less. I pretty much wrote al my opinions on my own pre order post… But even though I wrote it: I even didn’t really realised she was a 1/8 (and not 1/7) until now, and getting all WTH?! She’ll probably end up in a separate shelf other than my two pther fate/ figures for that reason -_-.

    My favourite on this whole page, is the probably most pain-in-the ass figure to get from your picks: Naoe Swimsuit version. I got really nothing to complain about. Her hair is really beautiful, and I like her design. I think I’ve stated somewhere before that I don’t collect swimsuit figures (think it was at tentaclearmadas review of swimsuit Jubei) but Alters Hyakka Ryoran swimsuit line so far makes me want to take back my words so far. Especially Naoe which I have to say is the nicest swimsuit figure I’ve seen. Perfect! The swimsuit design doesn’t come from the anime btw. It is based on an artwork pic (Don’t remember the artist).

    In my opinion:
    1. Naoe
    2. Saber
    3. Panty/Selvaria/Aegis

    • My pleasure! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment on my blog, so I try to return the favor when I can. 🙂

      I’m fortunate enough to already have Aegis in-hand and I’m happy to report that she’s pretty much perfect. I was a little miffed at first that Alter slightly changed the way her mouth looks in the final PVC, but after a few weeks her expression has grown on me to the point that it’s a non-issue now. I’ll get around to doing a proper review at some point.

      I passed on Yui, but I’ve read a couple reviews that lead me to believe she may have turned out better than your average Koto figure. She’s still in stock at some US shops for not too much money, but I’ve got a ton of higher priority purchases at this point, so I doubt I’ll ever see Yui for myself.

      There actually are two Alicia figures that I know of: one by SEGA and one by Kotobukiya, but neither looked as good as something I think Alter is capable of. I’m actually not a huge Rosie fan, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a nice Edy figure, while we’re on the subject.

      I suspect that GSC opted to design moto-Saber as a 1/8 scale figure to keep the price somewhat reasonable. I suspect bumping her to 1/7 scale would have probably added 25% to the cost and she’s already on the high end of what is acceptable in the scale PVC market. Granted, I would have been happy to pay for the extra size and detail, but GSC probably made the safe play.

      I’m not overly fond of swimsuit figures, myself; mostly due to past disappointments. I’m fortunate enough to have the original, red swimsuit Jubei and she’s my favorite swimsuit figure by far. I just hope Naoe turns out as good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s