Figure Excite: Cute but is it enough?

 We have quite a few cuties available for pre-orders this time. But is simply being cute  enough to warrant a purchase? Hit the jump to check out the figures I’m talking about today.

Misaka Mikoto

Origin: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun

Scale: 1/10

Manufacturer: Wave

Sculptor: Hiroshi

Release date: Mar 2011

RRP: 3800 yen

Notes: Normal verision ncludes optional troubled face. Exclusive version comes with an extra face.

I was never a fan of swimsuit figures. It’s not that I don’t like how they look, I simply find them pointless. Unless it was officially worn by the character at some point in the original story I firmly believe it adds nothing to the characters and are a waste of money. Well, that was my chain of thought until recently. I remember the first swimsuit figure I’ve ever wanted to own was Alter’s Swimsuit KOSMOS back at the start of 2009, KOSMOS’s phenomenal body and unique swimsuit haunted my dreams for the next few nights. I really did want it but convinced myself otherwise to save money for future buys. Time passed and my want for the figure began to slowly erode from the depth of my consciousness. For a while, I was content with the belief that I had made the right decision. Fast-forward to this year with the market constantly flooded with a slew of Beach Queens figures by Wave I was doing well to hold my ground and repressed my desire to own any of them. Then came GSC’s Seena. From her announcement to her final production my once impenetrable and collected thought was overwhelmed and came to a crashing mess. I never looked at swimsuit figures the same again. I began to want other swimsuit figures that I gave a pass to previously like Konata & Kagami.

So it seems I am finally charmed by Wave’s never-ending beach queens series. It’s almost as if they planned to draw me in with the non-beach themed bra and apple-bottom jeans Asuka to ease the transition in to this adorably frilled skirtini. Biribiri’s radiance really speaks for itself. You can truly see that she is having loads of fun at the beach with her default face. I much prefer the troubled expression on the alternate :s face though, it’s certainly an expression I’ve never seen on a figure before so that’s a big plus! I am almost overloaded by cuteness every time I look at her. Wave deserves a round of applause for a masterful implementation of seam lines in Misaka’s hair, although it could be her hairstyle that makes it possible. There’s one thing I’m a little irked about and that is how thin her thighs are, or maybe how they are positioned. It looks a little too CLAMP from the photos IMO.

With summer approaching, I can see the Beach Queens figures being very “in season” for me. Just as well because I’m already stocking up those instant noodles to free up more mulla to acquire these gems. I’ll dedicate a level or two on the shelves just for the beach goers.

Nanoha Takamachi & Fate Testarossa

   

Origin: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha the Movie 1st

Scale:

Manufacturer: Kotobukiya

Sculptor: Kerorin

Release date: Jan 2011

RRP: 5800

Origin: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha the Movie 1st

Scale:

Manufacturer: Alter

Sculptor: Kajio Munetoshi

Release date: Jan 2011

RRP: 6800

It has been quite interesting for the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha franchise with the recent announcement of two casual clothed girls from the series (+1 mosaiced Fate by Koto). These “casual/plain clothes ver.” figures are a breath of fresh air in the now played-out over-the-top action posed MSLN figures from a number of companies. I think both Kotobukiya and Alter have priced their figures at the right amount. For less than 7000 yen RRP those who find it hard to throw down 10,000+ yen on a MSLN figure can indulge on these cute pancakes without breaking the bank. For those who already have multiple 10,000+ yen MSLN figures will consider this to be a pretty cheap price and probably wouldn’t mind paying that much for a bit of variety in their MSLN collection.

With the difference in price, it’s a personal choice which one you prefer. I know they are two different characters but it’s only a matter of time until they are paired up by the other from the same company. For a little more, alter’s almost guaranteed higher quality at a bigger rated scale will be a justified purchase. On the other hand, Koto’s Nanoha looks well made too. Personally I will be buying neither because there’s no excitement when I look at these figures, I barely feel anything much at all other than – yeah, cute.

Kirino Kousaka (Left, right)

   

Origin: My little sister can’t be this cute

Scale: 1/8

Manufacturer: Toy’s works

Sculptor: Sugawara

Release date: Jan 2011

RRP: 5696

Origin: My little sister can’t be this cute

Scale: 1/8

Manufacturer: Kotobukiya

Sculptor: Takaku & Takeshi

Release date: Feb 2011

RRP: 5800

With the announcement AND release date of both figures so close together it is inevitable to draw comparisons between the two. Much like the MSLN figures above, the difference between quality between the two companies should be the biggest consideration. Because even if one may prefer the looks of either, whether or not the company is capable of pulling it off is another story. I am of course talking about Toy’s works’ infamous lack of ability to deliver where it counts. I wouldn’t say they are as terrible as Taki Corporation but they certainly are below Kotobukiya in my books. Releasing a once exclusive figure for mass manufacture without changing much is a great way to piss off those who supported Toy’s works’ “exclusive”. If you bought TW’s ver. at twice the price + shipping from a proxy, I feel for you and understand fully if you so choose to boycott Toy’s works/Chara-ani.

When it comes to aesthetics I think Kotobukiya overshadows Toy’s works again. Given the negligible price difference we have from Koto a figure that will absolutely liven up the space around her no matter where she will be displayed versus TW’s plain looking cute girl doing…nothing. The sheer amount of cheerfulness I feel every time I look at Koto Kirino’s expression accompanied by her wind blown sailor uniform and carefully exposed belly puts a smile on my face.

With that said, I’m surprised by how famous MLSCBTC has become. With the premise of such a generic plot in addition to uninspired characters, I am unable to grasp the reason of its popularity. It’s full of things we have seen so much of already. Tsundere, cute-moe, sailor uniforms etc. Why should one watch MLSCBTC over other moe-blobs/highschool dramas like K-On/Toradora? This unoriginal mix has a lot to do with my hesitation to order Koto’s Kirino. The anime better not turn out to be awesome or I’ll have to eat my words and order Koto’s version.

Ritsu Tainaka

Origin: K-On

Scale: 1/8

Manufacturer: Alter

Sculptor: Numakura Toshiaki

Release date: Feb 2011

RRP: 9800

We all saw her coming from a mile away. Alter’s being sneaky with the pricing IMO. Sure it seems like the drums will require a tiny bit more material to make but not 2700 yen more. I can’t shake the feeling that Alter’s trying to cash in on the completionists who were eagerly waiting for her in order to complete the set. I was never a big fan of Ritsu because I think she’s just an annoying side character so it’s very easy for me to say no here.

I can’t imagine Ritsu fans are totally happy with how she turned out either. I’m not fond of how she’s sitting there with her legs symmetrically wide open and holding her sticks up in the air like that. While it gives off some energy there’s no sense of movement and I think Ritsu will agree with me in saying that the drums is ALL about movement. At least make it look like she’s about to do something like how it’s apparent on the rest of the Alter K-On girls. Position her arms so it looks like she’s starting the song with a “one-tsuu-sulee-four” or give her a determined expression with one arm lowered hitting a drum with the other reaching for the high-hat. So much potential existed for Ritsu’s grand entrance, instead we got a “safe” pose with no soul. This is not the Ritsu we all know.

After note:

It appears I like to ramble on about matters that are slightly irrelevant to the actual figure under discussion. However, I do believe it serves as good background information to help make aware to you where I’m coming from. I’m interested in what kind of experiences you’ve had with figures: How do you make your purchase decisions? Which one of your figures has the most interesting story about it? How do you plan the budget? Which meals do you cut from your daily nourishment in order to own these tantalizing delicacies? etc.

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7 Responses to Figure Excite: Cute but is it enough?

  1. Fabienne says:

    Well Im no Nanoha fan but this figure was an instant preorder for me.
    I always searched for such a simple yet cute character with casual clothes.
    I found it amusing that many people said I will wait for Alter’s version.
    looking at their Fate figure says me that theres is no need to wait for Alter’s Nanoha.(a little bashing XD)
    Well in general there are nearly no flaws in Alter’s production quality but that isn’t everything what lets appear a figure nice.

    I like Ritsu, but not in this pose and not in that outfit.
    In the show shes much more energetic and looks much cooler.

    I passed on so many nice figures this year but nevertheless I ended up ordering quite a lot ;(

    • sloth says:

      You know, after I gave it some more thought I do agree that there’s more personality and cuteness in Kotobukiya’s Nanoha than Alter’s Fate. I’m more inclined to believe Alter will go for another “safe” pose and expression with Nanoha as well. So I fully understand your reasoning in choosing Nanoha here.

      You’ve no idea how hard it’s been for me to not order every single figure I like in this past year. But now that I am on a tight budget I can no longer pull the trigger as easily. 😦

  2. Fabienne says:

    thx for sharing my opinion about that =)
    Alter should have put more effort into the posing, first time I saw their Fate figure I thought “oh looks like Banpresto” 😄

    When I pass on a figure, normally I don’t really regret it a lot.
    Its more regrettable for me when I see a lovely figure for the first time in a review or a picture and then have to notice that the figure is aleady sold out everywhere.

    • sloth says:

      Yeah, I normally don’t regret passing on ones that I had a chance to buy unless it turned out TOO good to pass – but that has yet to happen 😉

      I know exactly what you mean by seeing a figure for the first time but not being able to buy it. I had this situation with Alter Gwendolyn, I was sad and looked everywhere. Eventually I found her for sale at an obscure location and after days without sleep thinking about it, I took a leap of faith. What do you know? It was actually a legitimate sale and I recieved the figure brand new without damage for a very good price. But here’s the punch line: 2 months after I got her, Gwendolyn’s October re-release was announced. :S

  3. Fabienne says:

    Oh you have the lovely Gwendolyn congrats 😉

    I don’t trust re-releases, some months ago I wanted the Lynette Bishop from koto, but as soon as I heard of the re- release the figure was sold out again *damn*

    • sloth says:

      Thanks 🙂

      I don’t understand, why don’t you trust re-releases? Do you mean you knew about her re-release too late and her pre-order had already closed?

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