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.
Alter – 1/7 Saber ~Dress Code~
As much as I like TYPE-MOON’s Fate franchise and Alter figures, the two never seem to mate up quite the way I would like. I think Alter could pull off a pretty badass sculpt that would nicely capture Saber’s image as a hero of legend, but instead it’s GSC that delivers such designs (see Triumphant Excalibur and Distant Avalon) and Alter usually takes aim at the softer side of the Fate heroines.
I wasn’t initially enthused with this “Dress Code” variant of the ever-popular Saber when I spotted it among the recent WonFes coverage, but the figure has grown on me with repeated viewing. I did not initially notice the metallic sheen of the dark blue ribbons that adorn her dress, nor the fact that this is one of those rare non-1/8 scale Alter figures. The pose is nice and lively, but it’s also kind of low-key compared to aforementioned GSC Sabers. I like the figure for what it is. I just wish Alter would go for a moonshot every now and then with this franchise.
MegaHouse – 1/8 Irma
I keep hoping to see a Risty re-release from MegaHouse, but Irma here looks pretty fetching, so I guess I can’t say I’m sorry to see this new design. I like action poses as a general rule, which we can see in full force here, plus I tend to get more interested when a girl’s got a weapon or two in her hands, which Irma also has covered. Add your obligatory skimpy female fantasy armor and Irma’s exotic dark skin and you’ve got a pretty appealing package.
Max Factory – 1/7 Kuroyukihime & Black Lotus
Well, you don’t see this every day: a naked loli having her modesty protected by a scary-looking mecha dude. Most of the Kuroyukihime figures up to this point have played up her cutesy butterfly form and featured pretty uninteresting poses, so it’s nice to see Max Factory giving us a wildly different look for her character. My big reservation with this figure is that it’s essentially a bust (i.e., it looks like her legs are cut off). Yeah, you can technically remove Kuroyukihime from Black Lotus’ embrace and attach her legs, but the result isn’t terribly interesting.
MegaHouse – 1/8 Yamamoto Akira
The rest of MegaHouse’s Yamato 2199 figures have been a complete snooze-fest to me, so it’s a bit surprising that I should find this Akira so singularly interesting. Her dark-colored garb and moody demeanor contrast the other girls’ sunny hues and bubbly expressions. The helmet and flight jacket she carries indicate a certain command of fast-moving heavy machinery, and the associated cool factor therein, that the other girls can’t claim. Finally, her partially unzipped flight suit adds a splash of overt sex appeal that the other girls can’t match. All in all, it’s an attractive package that I would like to add to my collection if AmiAmi ever reopens preorders.
Alter – 1/8 Kazuno
Kazuno is probably the most ambitious sculpt to come out of Alter’s winter WonFes showing. There’s some nice dynamism in Kazuno’s sculpt and what looks to be a nice diorama base, but the real highlight here is the enormous suspended blades. I find the blades somewhat of a divisive feature in that I want to like them on principal, but they introduce a number of downsides due to their nature. The size of the blades (400 mm) will likely make them impractical to display and difficult to photograph in their entirety while also driving up the cost of the figure (¥12,000) and shipping (EMS almost certainly required). The blades will also require visible support which I frequently find to be an immersion-breaking eyesore and Alter did a less-than-stellar job of achieving even a minimally functional design with Naoe’s hammer support. Unlike Naoe, Kazuno doesn’t look completely silly without the added props, but you’re paying a lot for their inclusion, so it seems a waste not to use them.
Alter – 1/8 Maeda Keiji
The pairing of Niθ’s Hyakka Ryouran fetching character designs and Alter’s masterful approach to figurecraft has been unusually productive, at least from the standpoint of putting out figures that I’m likely to buy. Charles d’Artagnan is still mysteriously MIA, but we seem to be into characters from the second season, as evidenced by Silver Jubei from a few months back and now Maeda Keiji.
As usual, bold colors; sexy, stylized feudal fashion; and dynamic modeling make for an attractive figure. Keiji prominently wields a traditional Japanese umbrella, which is a design I’ve always been rather fond of. I suspect that the umbrella factors into the retail price of ¥10,800, which makes Keiji the most expensive figure in this lineup to date. As usual, she’s also a Hobby Japan exclusive.
They’re not my usual proxy, but I’m giving Nippon Yasan a shot with this figure, as they’re one of the few shops that proxy HJ preorders without a deposit. I got burned to the tune of $30 by exchange rate fluctuations on my purchase of Amakuni’s Leviathan, so I’m not eager to see that happen again if I can help it.
Kotobukiya – 1/7 Mitsurugi Meiya
I’m really pleased to see Meiya from the original Muv-Luv VN arc getting a similar power suit treatment to the recently popular Muv-Luv Alternative heroines, Yui and Cryska. I’ve long found Meiya’s sharp, angular features and bold blue hues the most appealing of all heroines sourced from the Muv-Luv franchise, but her storyline had its hey-day years ago now, so she just doesn’t get much attention anymore. Given that I was pleased with how Yui turned out, I’m thinking that Meiya will easily earn a preorder spot.
Max Factory – 1/7 Sheryl Nome
I’ve always regarded bishoujo figures as works of art rather than toys, but few figures can make that case so strongly as Max Factory’s new Sheryl Nome of Macross Frontier fame. This ridiculously elaborate sculpt is perhaps the single most ambitious design I’ve ever seen from a mass-produced PVC figure. And it’s a beautiful piece of work, too. Gorgeous, flowing hair and clothes; cables snaking everywhere; and one very fancy display base/prop.
As wonderful as all those traits are, it starts to go a little too far into the impractical. For one, there’s the price, which at ¥18,857 is just absurd for a standard run PVC figure. Granted, we can all see why she’s so expensive, but you have to think at some point that you get more bang for your buck with two other simpler, quality figures instead of just this one. Then there’s the space issue. At 320 mm, Sheryl doesn’t fit on my standard shelf, so I would be looking to make other accommodations Finally, I also expect that this will be a more delicate figure than most. I’m somewhat afraid I’d break this figure at some point, because I have experienced such tragedies within my collection in the recent past. :-\
Amakuni – 1/8 Dark General
Although they’re not directly related, there are obvious thematic similarities between Hobby Japan’s Seven Deadly Sins project and this Hobby Japan exclusive from Shingeki no Bahamut, which is apparently one of those card battle games that I never play. The Dark General features fell horns and wings, a nice action pose, and skimpy fantasy armor textured in a style that reminds me of the Daedric material from recent entries in the Elder Scrolls series of CRPGs. The obvious annoyance is that she’s a Hobby Japan exclusive, as presumably all Amakuni products will be, which will necessitate the use of a proxy and the additional costs therein. I quite like the look of this figure, though, and I was pleased with how Amakuni handled Leviathan, so I’m leaning toward ordering.
Kotobukiya – 1/8 Honda Futayo
So, let’s recap the recent Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon figures and conclusions one might draw about the heroines from said figures. Tomo must be the clumsy, but well-endowed mecha pilot; Kazuno cosplays as a maid; and now Futayo looks like some kind of futuristic samurai. Just what is this show about?
I certainly don’t know, but I don’t really need to in order to appreciate Kotobukiya’s Futayo. A cool pose, cool weapons, vivid colors, and a detailed terrain base are all good things. Good enough to preorder? Probably.
Max Factory – 1/7 Sallya (Tharja)
Ah, the rare bishoujo figure of Nintendo origins. Kotaku jokingly pointed out that Max Factory’s portrayal of Fire Emblem heroine Sallya, who was renamed Tharja in the US localization for some reason, is noticeably sexier than one might expect of Nintendo, who has built a reputation in recent years as the conservative, “family-focused” video game company. Given that Nintendo of America went so far as to censor Sallya’s bikini shot for the US localization of the Fire Emblem: Awakening DLC, I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow tried to block the import of this figure.
Jabs at Nintendo aside, Max Factory has once again offered up a gorgeous scale. Sadly, I haven’t played any of the Fire Emblem games, even though they should be right up my alley, but I love the seductive pose, detailed props, and general fantasy theme that this Sallya brings to the table, which makes her an easy preorder target. Now, I just wonder if they’ll be handle any of the other Fire Emblem heroines later on.
Orchid Seed – 1/6 Alleyne
Alleyne was one of my favorite character designs going into my viewing of Queen’s Blade. She didn’t get a lot of screen time or memorable moments, other that the revelation that she wears leaves instead of panties, but I still hold her among my more favored heroines from the show. Apparently, she also likes wearing leaves instead of a bathing suit, which is why Orchid Seed is here to bring us a PVC rendition of this official pinup art. Swimsuit figures are really hit or miss for me, but overall I think I like this one enough to buy. I think the pose is what really makes or breaks such a figure, and I find the way that Alleyne is playing with her hair more visually interesting than most.