Skip to Content

archive

Monthly Archives: November 2009

post

Review: 1/7 Saber Lily ~Distant Avalon~

GSC Saber Lily Distant Avalon-025

In the midst of a global economic recession, common sense dictates that prices should drop or at least freeze to accommodate for the reduced spending power of consumers. Unfortunately, the otaku population is not known for being too keen on the concept of common sense. After all, these are the sort of people who would be willing to spend around 5,000 yen on a two-episode DVD of Endless Eight. With this in consideration, it’s hardly surprising that figure companies are ramping up their prices after seeing their goods being gobbled eagerly regardless of price. At the forefront of this movement is Good Smile Company, who not only ramped up their prices in accordance to the trend, but has also launched an ambitious rush of new products backed with a robust promotion effort.

The Good Smile Company 1/7 Saber Lily, along with the 1/8 Black Rock Shooter are Good Smile Company’s flagships for the year 2009. Fans have been salivating over Saber ever since the unpainted prototype was revealed in Wonfes Winter 2009. When the painted prototype was revealed, anticipation was at a feverish pitch, the heat of which seemed unaffected by its hefty 9800 yen price tag or its two production delays. As the released date neared, all the spotlights were pointed on this particular figure. And naturally, after 9 months of anticipation, no amount of button mashing on Fate/Unlimited Codes Portable is going to subside my bursting excitement.

When the fated package finally arrived, I carefully opened the package as if it was some sort of ancient treasure, half-expecting something to happen. But nope, no golden rapturous light enveloped me, whisking me away to magical lands far away. No influx of sensations flooded my brain, sending my body convulsing on my carpeted floor. I finally calmed down and came to my senses: it’s just a figure. Is it a nice figure? Yes, undoubtedly. But after all that hype, it’s hard to not to be let down somewhat. Both its promotion and its price led me to expect a distinctly new standard of figure production, but that expectation was proven false. The flaws of the figure are made even more glaring due to endless number of spotlights raining down upon this figure, and as much as I would like to, I cannot join the chorus of praise for Saber Lily and must opt for a slightly milder opinion. Read more »

post

Review: Figma Drossel

DSC_9392

There are times when a toy explodes into popularity by riding off the the momentum of the series from which it came from. There are other times when the toy finds success by virtue of its design and aesthetics. The subject of the review — Max Factory’s Figma Drossel — is an exemplary case of the latter.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Fireball was ever significantly popular amongst audiences. It is a 13-episode series of CGI shorts produced by Disney and Toei featuring Drossel, a sassy robotic duchess, and Gedächtnis, her hulking quadruped robot servant. The series is quite surreal, full of loopy dialogue chock-full of strange references and puzzling puns, while the setting is always a giant room within Drossel’s manor. I cannot speak for the Japanese anime community, but asides from the initial remarks on Drossel’s striking similarity to another certain pigtailed gynoid, Fireball received little attention in the English-speaking anime community.

Of course, with the announcement of Drossel’s Figma treatment, there was a boom of interest. Regardless of whatever reaction (or lack thereof) Fireball received, toy collectors were quickly captivated by the initial promo shots of the Drossel Figma. Not only did the character’s sleek design and striking blue eyes catch the attention of collectors, Drossel marked a rare departure from the Figma line’s often criticized tendency to release only schoolgirl variants. Thus, for the first time even strict fans of the Revoltech line of robot action figures were taking interest in Figma.

As the result, the rabid demand for this toy caused the initial release to slip through my fingers while I was still contemplating the purchase. Thankfully, indecisiveness did not afflict me a second time as I quickly secured a preorder of the initial re-release, which was also quickly gobbled up. When Drossel finally arrived at my doorstep around two weeks later, I had the pleasure of being able to discover the source of the toy’s burgeoning popularity — a pleasure I intend to share with you. Read more »

post

New Layout

“Santa Claus exists, and she is a design student.”
Christmas came early this year as no amount of prior warning could have braced me for the surprise that overtook me this morning. Endless thanks to my dear friend Alicia for burning the midnight oil in order to make this happen!
post

Review: 1/8 Hatsune Miku

To many strangers, the lucrative Vocaloid scene in the Japanese internet community probably seems incomprehensible. To them, a sold-out concert of 25,000 featuring a virtual idol with a strange and often emotionless synthesized voice is nothing short of bizarre. To this puzzling fandom I can offer you with no clear explanation. Like various other memes, the Vocaloid 2 series – beginning with Hatsune Miku – just exploded onto the scene out of nowhere. Supported by a host of talented illustrators, musicians and composers, Hatsune Miku is not only a legitimate music idol with a portfolio of albums being sold, but also the icon of a vast wave of merchandising.

The company who tapped into the Vocaloid goldmine with the most success is undoubtedly Good Smile Company. The nendoroid and figma incarnations of Miku has flew off the shelves in its initial release and even its re-releases. Similarly, the 1/8 scale version of Miku was also met with considerable success from the meteoric Vocaloid hypewagon, and as I will argue in this review, it is a success well-deserved. Read more »