Chag: I’ve been banging my head against the commenting system this last week. After much deliberation between the status quo, switching to self-hosted wordpress, and switching commenting services. I decided to switch to Disqus. Hopefully this solves the problem of comment length limitations that’s been plaguing the site. These guys seem to have a strong customer service and stronger conviction in addressing complaints than the IntenseDebate team.

You might have noticed that all the comments made on posts from last December to the present have vanished. This is due to recent change to the IntenseDebate export file, which means the Disqus guys have to change their importer as well. They did answer my questions within a day (both over their support site and proactively over twitter after I mentioned Disqus in a tweet). Maybe I’m being foolhardy by placing my trust in them, but I have a feeling that the Disqus team will update their importer soon, at which time the currently missing comments will return. As for now, I hope you’ll enjoy the new system’s potential in fostering conversations between us! =)

Acsta Takamachi Nanoha

Scale: 1/8 Origin: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical nanoha The Movie 1st
Maker: Good Smile Company Sculptors: Akeji, Oguma Shimon
Retail Price: ¥9,800 Release: December 2010

Chag: Hum, the Actsta line is still alive? Granted, I have no idea how well they’re selling (though I did see Subaru in Amiami’s bargain bin a while back), but I always thought the Actsta line has been coughing up blood from the beating from the Nanoha Figma counterparts. When I saw the Figma Teana being announced before the release of the Actsta Teana, I thought that was it for the Actsta line – the Figma Teana had more accessories and looked more poseable than the Actsta version. The only advantage the Actsta was its size and production quality, but was that really enough to combat the established edge of the Figma line in the poseable bishoujo figure market?

Well, apparently so, because Good Smile Company decided to roll out a third Nanoha Actsta figure, this time depicting the titular character of the franchise’s first feature film. To make things more interesting, the Figma counterpart has already been released a while back, so the Actsta is already under a disadvantage. So what does Actsta Nanoha have to compensate? Raging Heart effect parts… and an articulated ferret. Okay, it’s not much, but it certainly beats being one-upped by Figmas in terms of accessories like the previous two entries to the Acsta line… but once again the question remains: is this enough?

Ashlotte: Subaru has been in everyone’s bargain bin at one point in time, it seems. Really brain dead of GSC to try and kick start a brand new line of figures with two barely popular characters – they shoulda started with Nanoha and Fate from the start. *sigh*

Anyway, putting aside my grumblings, I really, really dig the spell effect bits. It’s one of those things that you never think about, but once you do you start wondering why the hell this is the first time you’ve seen it done (Looking at you Alter, Mr. “I only know how to add wings”).

Now if only they went the full mile and gave me a giant pink ball of death to reenact my Starlight Breaker fantasies, she’d be perfect… >_>

Chag: I’m glad you mentioned Alter, because that’s another stiff competition that Actsta is going up against. Beset by Figma on one end and Alter on the other, I’m really having trouble imagining a scenario where the Actsta line actually takes off the ground. I hate to make a general assumption, but I’m guessing that those accustomed to static scaled figures would not be all that enthusiastic at the presence of visible joints on their figures. Furthermore, the articulation enabled by Actsta figures is not enough to match the complex sculpts of figures today. No matter how I look at it, the Actsta line is trying to carve out an extremely difficult niche.

Though if anyone would be interested in the Actsta Nanoha, it would be you, Ash – you did mention last week that you’re sick of Alter’s high-flying action poses. Despite everything, the Actsta Nanoha seems very capable of pulling off a tame pose perfectly (if you don’t mind the joints, that is). So, what do you think? Deal or no deal?

Ashlotte: I want to buy her…Hell I want to buy *something* getting tired of having an empty “on-order” field on MFC, but I’m still gonna pass…The comment you made to me about limited posing is the real problem for me. If the skirt was made of something more pliable that allowed for sitting poses I’d be all over this like a fly on a zapper, but being restricted to just standing poses is a little too disappointing for what I would want to use her for. >_<

I still do like the general idea of Acsta being well sculpted premium priced action figures since I dislike the cheaper ones, but still waiting for the right character…

Chag: Seeing that neither of us have any real experience with the Actsta line, we’d like to hear from you: what are your impression of the Actsta figures? Do you think the line will fare well in the future? What would you like to see from it?

Figma Dead Master

Scale: n/a Origin: Black ★ Rock Shooter
Maker: Max Factory Sculptor: Asai (APSY) Masaki
Retail Price: ¥3,000 Release: October 2010

Chag: Moving right along… Though we’ve already talked about the GSC Dead Master figure in a previous rant, I don’t think we can avoid talking about the Figma version – after all, it’s kind of the elephant in the room this week.

I’m really impressed at the weathered effect on her scythe and skulls. I don’t think we’ve seen this effect employed on any Figmas released so far, so I’m going to be curious as to how they it turns out in the final product.

As for playability, judging from this magazine scan, Dead Master will come with 10 hands, including two pairs of scythe-gripping hands at different angles (much like Saber Alter). Two-handed weapons are always a bitch for action figures to handle, but I think Dead Master has a really good chance to pull it off well. With an open shoulder design, slender arms + slender torso, a well-placed torso joint, as well as a wealth of optional hands, the Figma Dead Master is shaping up to one fun-looking toy on par with the Figma Michael Jackson – seriously, what the fuck Max Factory, still no word on MJ’s annoucement?

Ashlotte: Is there some reason why poseables get all the great faces? Honestly, why can’t bring that playful sadist look from this figure and used it on the full-sized one? It’s sad that this little action figure has more life and personality in it then something you pay quite a bit more for. Judging by the poses they chose in some of the promotional images, GSC obviously knows how awesome the alternate face is, so why can’t they bring some of that emotion into the full scales that are best described as -_- in emotions displayed?

How awesome would it be to have the two GSC anime version BRS figures posed like the teaser image from Mikan-tan’s blog? Imagine, Dead Master drawing her clawed hand across Black Rock Shooter’s cheek, while her victim looks glares at her adversary with a tense expression while tightly gripping the Black Blade. For an added touch, a half-destroyed Rock Cannon could be placed in the foreground. The bases of the two figures could be designed so they fit together, and it wouldn’t be hard to make the pose of each figure work alone. A set like that would just ooze delicious tension!

Anyway, as much as I love that extra face and Dead Master in general, she certainly feels like a step below BRS in the looks department when you go below her torso for sure. The flat black look they gave her dress just feels really cheap, especially when she’s in the same picture as BRS with her awesome high gloss outfit.

Chag: Hmm yeah, I can see your vision as something in the same vein as this illustration, along with some interchangeable parts to make the figures look presentable even when displayed alone. It certainly would make a dynamic set – much more so than the flying contortionist we have now.

I’m guessing the reason behind the flat colour of the Figma’s dress is the need for the dress to be flexible. However, if that doesn’t turn out to be the case, I’d be pretty disappointed in Max Factory for cutting corners. Somehow I doubt that is the case, though – if I had to cut corners on this figure, I’d axe the floating skulls before ridding the glossy sheen on her dress. (EDIT: I must have been high when I was writing this, because the 1/8 Dead Master does not have a glossy finish on her costume either. So I guess it’s less of an issue about cutting corners but rather about Chag wanting shiny things.)

I didn’t have a problem with the GSC Dead Master’s face initially, but after seeing the Figma, I’m kind of cursing at the wasted potential in that figure. Actually, I bet this was done on purpose, because what better way is there to sell multiple products of the same character than by throwing in that bombshell face in the second installment? Hell, it almost made me want to order Dead Master all over again… almost. Though not having the tongue face in the 1/8th scale version is a major bummer, I think I can settle with my epic ass in the end.

On a side note, I can’t help but to poke fun at the recently announced Dead Scythe charm – seriously, what in the world would you put this on? If you use it as a cell phone charm, this prickly metal trinket will scratch up your phone in no time; if you strap it to your bag, it’ll inevitably catch onto some other guy’s clothes/bag on the train; if you wear it on your person, there would always be the risk of being stabbed by the damn thing. Don’t get me wrong – the Dead Scythe charm looks cool and all, but it’s also one of the most impractical pieces of merchandise I’ve seen a while.

…Then again, when did the otaku crowd ever care about practicality in anything?

Ashlotte: A marketing ploy, is it? Sadly, I can accept that at this point – Good Smile Company knows how to play it customer all too well.

As for the charm: meh, honestly I’d never actually wear any of those…Being the type that likes to stick lots of crap on my keys, wallet chain, etc etc they tend to get beat up in fast order so I’d be sad to waste such a nifty looking thing… >_>

Chag: Indeed, and the little charm sells for more than the Figma itself! Imagine that!

And to deviate even further from the original subject, the rerelease of the 1/8th scale GSC Black Rock Shooter figure is up for preorder! Time to hop on the bandwagon if you haven’t already, because come this December everyone and their moms will have one of those.

…Man, my eventual review of that figure would be as unnecessary as her bra.

 

And that’s it for now! Look forward to our WonFes reaction entry next week. In the meantime, try out the new commenting system and leave some feedback if you would be so kind. Until next time~