Chag: Wow. Ash and I may have taken a break last week, but the figure scene sure as hell didn’t. The preorders for the figures we saw from WonFes have been popping up like acne on a greasy teenager’s face. We won’t be able to get to all of them today, but here are a few that were at least moderately interesting to rant about!

1/8 Kousaka Tamaki (Samurai ver.)

Scale: 1/8 Origin: Dragon Chronicles/To Heart 2
Maker: Kotobukiya Sculptors: K@Z
Retail Price: ¥6,800 Release: December 2010

Ashlotte: Yea, thanks Kotobukiya – make the cute loli witch an exclusive and leave the rest of us poor international slobs with Tama-nee figure #1218. As for Tamaki herself… I say leave the half-naked warrior girl figures to Queen’s blade and MegaHouse.

Chag: Energizer should consider changing their mascot to Tama-nee, because she just keeps going and going and going…

You know, I can’t even be bothered to be annoyed at the announcement of yet another Tamaki figure. I mean, just LOOK at her – she looks like some sort of confused 3-way love child between a Samurai Girls character, a beach queen, S&M dominatrix. It’s just impossible for me to take her seriously. I don’t think she’s a very appealing figure (especially when compared to the witch Konomi), but as always, Tamaki’s signature pair of assets are looking nice. As long as there is love for big breasts amongst figure fans, Tamaki figures will continue to be made… so I guess you just gotta DEAL WITH IT, Ash. =P

By the way, I just found out that To Heart 2 was originally released as an all-ages game. Un-fucking-believable.

Ashlotte: Yes deal with it… Is it just me or are most of Koto’s exclusives flat-chested? Taiga… Mikoto… Konomi… This is not a trend I’m enjoying!

The shading on Tamaki’s body and hair looks damn nice, especially for a Kotobukiya figure, but her face just doesn’t work for me. It’s not really bad, but she just doesn’t look much like Tamaki to me, or at least the Tamaki I know from the To Heart games.

Like Key and 5PB, Leaf also releases all-aged galges. Heck, even the currently airing anime Amagami is based off an all-ages game. When you take the mostly pointless porn out of these games, it forces the makers have to actually focus on the story and presentation yea?

Chag: See, that’s the thing: when I think of To Heart 2, I don’t see “story and presentation” – only Tama-nee’s bountiful melons and Sasara’s ridiculous swimsuit maid outfit. Sure, I’m being presumptuous since I’ve never played the games or watched the anime, but surely you can’t blame me too much for assuming that To Heart 2 is a wank-off game, right?

You know, someone should conduct a research on the preference for chest sizes amongst figure fans. The DFC fans are very vocal, but I’m not sure if they are majority. If we think about it symbolically from a reproductive standpoint, smaller chests represent youth (an arguably universally desirable trait, though exactly how young is subjective) while larger chests can be interpreted as fertility symbols. However, given the choice between Tamaki and Konomi, most people in our present-day society would probably choose Tamaki as the more sexually attractive choice. But hey, figure fans are not “most people”, and I’m pretty damn confident that there would be a significant deviance from the general ratio between big and flat. I wonder just how far we deviate… hmmm.

Actually, come to think of it, it’s kind of risky to deconstruct everything down to sexual attraction, because God knows that it’s not the only thing we look for in a figure. Still, the question stands: DFC vs. HEALTHY, which do you prefer, our dear readers?

Ashlotte: Ha, To Heart 2 is not really a wank-off game. Most of the girls stories are actually really quite nice and stand fairly strong as good wholesome highschool love yarns without the need to be raunchy. Heck, even the H-content added in the PC versions are mostly sweet.Trust me: I’ve played enough fap games and this isn’t really one of them.

As for Konomi vs. Tamaki… Meh, I pick neither. It’s all about Lucy (And to a lesser extent Maaryan-senpai) for me! :p

Funny that Tamaki’s voluptuous frame came to be meme’d as “Healthy” when to me a nice slender girl (read non-loli) gives me more of a sense of “healthiness” then some fat-chested gal… Maybe I’m too much of a realist though… >_>

Chag: “Realist”? Are you sure you don’t mean pedophile? =P

Ashlotte: It’s Anime’s fault… I once was normal… I just liked Slender girls (think Ryouko from Ookami-san), but noooo the Japanese only gives loli’s flat chests! So really it’s Japans fault… Curse you Japan and your delicious art..!

1/8 Saten Ruiko

Scale: 1/8 Origin: A Certain Scientific Railgun
Maker: ALTER Sculptors: Mumei
Retail Price: ¥7,140 Release: December 2010

Ashlotte: I dislike her for the same reason as Alter’s Sanya. Her head looks like a misshapen fruit from certain angles. But then unlike Sanya nobody seems to mention that and all seem to praise her… maybe it’s time to get my prescription checked?

Anyway, seeing as Ms. Flower Head is coming up next, all I can hope is to see a Kuroko figure from ALTER at some point (although Wave’s upcoming rendition of her may satisfy my desires in that area depending on how it turns out…).

Chag: Ha, I wouldn’t call them “misshapen fruit” per say, but I think I get what you mean. The cheeks are more pronounced on these two figures than usual. I don’t have an issue with that, though. Her grin is also pretty unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen toothy grin like that from any other figure, and it really adds a lot to the figure’s personality.

But Jesus, look at that fucking hair sculpt. That is the most badass hime-cut sculpt I’ve ever seen (okay, her bangs aren’t really hime-cut bangs, but close enough). If this were any other manufacturer, I’d start to spew doubts about the moulding detail of the final product, but since this is ALTER, they’ll probably pull it off. So much for hime-cuts looking like boiled seaweed – this is the beginning of a glorious chapter in figure hair history.

Ashlotte: Aye you can always rely on Alter to give ya great hair. I’m not sure if this is a by-product of all those action poses they crank out, but they seem to put a lot of attention into that aspect most of the time.

Chag: Hmmm, pretty odd of ALTER to start with Saten (assuming they actually get to all the Railgun heroines), now that I think about it. I haven’t watched Railgun yet, but judging from those threads on /a/ during the months when Railgun aired, I’d think Saten is a pretty hated character. Oh well, hated or not, this figure has aroused my interest in Railgun once more. Time to find out myself whether or not I’ve been trolled or not!

Ashlotte: Well your first mistake was using /a/ as a metric =P. Among other things, due to her skirt-flipping antics I’d say she’s a fairly well-liked character.

As for ALTER’s choice… Meh, they seem to like to dodge other companies in general and seeing as many figures exist of Mikoto already, especially the recently released GSC one, it feels like a rather typical ALTER move to sidestep any confrontation for now and focus on the other underrepresented girls first.

Chag: Another skirt-flipper, eh? I can see why you’d like her already =P.

I can’t blame ALTER for wanting to avoid a fight with GSC, but I bet they can pull off a Mikoto better than what GSC came up with (which is neither flashy or particularly cute). There are currently 11 Mikoto fixed-pose figures on MFC, but none of them seem to be particularly memorable (other than the cockmongler Kotobukiya version, which is memorable for all the wrong reasons). If anyone can make Mikoto’s drab uniform exciting, it’d be ALTER.

 

1/8 Kanbaru Suruga

Scale: 1/8 Origin: Bakemonogatari
Maker: Kotobukya Sculptors: Nakamura Hirotoshi
Retail Price: ¥6,800 Release: December 2010

Chag: Oh god, this figure is so exploitable it HURTS. I can hear the figure modders smacking their lips already. I’m surprised Kotobukiya didn’t go ahead and add a camel toe on this figure. Decency? Fuck that – nothing could be as irrelevant as the concept of decency when you have a pose like THIS.

I’m surprised Kotobukiya decided to include the monkey arm. It’s nice of them to go the extra mile, but I don’t think pretty girls and HAIRY ARMS go together all that well.

Ashlotte: Except that arm looks anything but hairy! Boy, you can just feel the limitations of Koto’s sculpting/moulding capacities looking at that thing. The tights and in-your face pose really remind me of my Sanya figure from them. Sadly, it’s not a figure you’d want to remember much.

Like you said during the Wonfes article, this pose certainly does feel more “Kanbaru-ish” than the one GSC is making no matter how awesome that one appears. But honestly, as I said in your Hitagi review, I really don’t like their school uniform. It’s boring and maybe one of the reasons I gravitate towards Mayoi and Nadeko (Ok that and the DFC…). If only ALTER announced a figure of Kanbaru in her tomboyish casual clothes from the first Nadeko Snake arc episode with exposed midriff and a ball cap, I’d be all over it.

Chag: Hmmm, speaking of Nadeko, Kotobukiyia will probably make their own version of her too, won’t they? And chances are it will actually have the baggy pants that you love so much. You’ve been hard Kotobukiya’s quality (for good reason), but would you still be excited at this point if they unveiled a Nadeko figure?

Ashlotte: Haha I’m hard on Koto because they are a maddening company…They are capable of creating great works on par with Max Factory and ALTER, yet then they turn right around and throw out something you could only call garbage…

Excited for a Nadeko figure? Eh, while I do like to go on about her baggy outfit, if they were ballsy enough to do one of their signature “pillow figures” of Nadeko in her nightgown from the Tsubasa Cat arc… Yea, that would be something actually worth buying. Will it happen though? Doubtful…

Actually I wouldn’t terribly mind her in her school uniform either. Unlike the horrid looking high school uniforms, her middle school uniform has quite a bit of charm in its simple cooler scheme and slightly different from the norm design.

Chag: Man, you sure love going for those obscure costumes that barely appears in the TV series at all, don’t you? I couldn’t even remember what Nadeko’s school uniform looked like, much less Kanbaru’s casual outfit. However, despite how brief its appearance was, I think it’s pretty safe to say that everyone who has watched Bakemonogatari remembers that nightgown. Idea swiftly seconded – want to have a fighting chance against the big bad GSC, Kotobukiya? Here’s your chance!

 

1/6 Eris (Fruit Bikini ver.)

Scale: 1/6 Origin: Asobi ni Ikuyo!
Maker: Alpha Max Sculptor: 2 percent
Retail Price: ¥16,800 Release: January 2011

Ashlotte: Nice job Alpha Max, you captured her balance of cute and sexy nicely! I do wish she had a bigger smile, but there’s something very charming about that small smirk just the same… But damnit, why does it have to be resin coldcast?? Putting aside the issue increased cost, I just dislike resin as a material in general. It’s far too brittle for my tastes.

But still……. Eriiisss… muuu… have to think on this one…

Chag: I dunno dude – what that kind of money you could get a couple of those Max Factory Shining Wind swimsuit figures, and Seena is looking mighty fine from the reviews I’ve been seeing~

Have you had any lousy experiences with resin figures in the past personally in the past? I know they have to be packaged like live explosives in order to even hope to avoid breakage, but I haven’t heard any horror stories thus far. Granted, I probably don’t lurk hard enough across figure blogs, so do you have any stories to share, Ash?

Ashlotte: I could do that with that amount of money, except I don’t know a damn thing about the Shining series while I adore Eris… But I guess I’ll just wait for the slightly less ero figure CM is gonna put out. Still, the tropical feel of this one is so nice!

Horror stories, eh? Meh, I guess I do have my share of of those. The only two resins I own were both broken in at least half a dozen spots each and both required repair, as well as light drilling to open up holes that pieces wouldn’t fit into, or extensive gluing for holes that were too big. My Hydorana was done by an individual and my Ruri was mass-produced. Both were extremely well-packaged, but broke just the same. So yea, the material is just really annoying to deal with and I have no idea why companies still use it… Very heavy, very brittle, and very expensive.

Chag: Yikes! Given your previous experience with resin figures, I’m surprised you gave this Alpha Max Eris thought at at all. You must love this character immensely in order to bypass the nightmares of yesterday… here’s hoping that more makers pick up on Eris in the future!