Chag: You know, for a segment titled “weekly highlights”, it sure hasn’t been very weekly these few weeks. At least I have a semi-legitimate reason for missing last week’s rant this time around thanks to FanExpo! You can find the photos I took here and here, but you are not here for that, are you? So without further ado, we bring you what you’re here for: another dose of nerd-ranting, huzzah!

 

Nendoroid Hatsune Miku (HMO Edition)

Scale: n/a Origin: Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku Orchestra
Maker: Good Smile Company Sculptor: Oda Tsuyoshi, Takano Meishi
Retail Price: ¥4,000 Release: December 2010

Ashlotte: TOO MUCH MIKU!!!

Haha, no I kid I kid – I actually dig this quite a lot, believe it or not! I like that GSC is doing something slightly different with these more full action Nendos. One of the things that I was never fond of in general with them was how generic they look (although that very fact did help make their parts swappable, so I guess this would be an instance of necessary evil). But this little rendition just oozes style and charm the likes of which I haven’t seen from Nendos yet.

I tip my hat to GSC for innovating when they just as easily could’ve sat on their asses and crank out another few hundred of the little trolls and watch the sales roll in!

Chag: It’s articulated, comes with a boatload of accessories, and has a display base that doesn’t suck balls, so I should have every reason to love this latest plastic incarnation of Miku. Yet somehow I can’t bring myself to be excited over the Nendoroid HMO Miku.

I think the main reason behind this its “messy” appearance. Her twisted twin-tails/ahoge, her overkill arm warmers, the wires popping out of her head, the numerous joints littered all over her body, an even the electronic drum set – they all have a very messy look about them. I agree that it’s great of GSC to get a little creative with the Nendoroid line, and I’m sure the messy look is cute to a lot of people out there, but I can’t get used to Miku’s super-busy new look.

On a side note: The box for this Nendoroid is going to be freaking gigantic, isn’t it? With five faces, alternate arms, a pair of negi, an entire drum set, megaphone, sunglasses, a recorder, and the new-style display base, GSC is really going to town with this release. Normally I’d shake my head at the asking prices of these little plastic gremlins, but hell, you could do a lot worse with 4000 yen.

Ashlotte: Gigantic by Nendo standard, maybe (which isn’t saying much)! Hah, but you don’t like all the doodads, eh? Well, I can see how while charming to me might be off-putting to others. But yea, that 4k is gonna buy you quite a bit it seems!

Chag: This figure feels like the Nendoroid equivalent of those se:kirara figmas – the accessories alone can be enough to warrant a purchase. While I’m not crazy about the figure itself, I look forward to what people can do with all these new toys come December… or January… or whenever the hell GSC feels like releasing this.

 

1/10 Shikinami Asuka Langley (Apron ver.)

Scale: 1/10 Origin: Rebuild of Evangelion
Maker: Wave Sculptor: Ogawa Youzou
Retail Price: ¥4,725 Release: January 2011

Ashlotte: Win… so much win it actually broke my months-long streak of not ordering any standard figures! However, it’s figures like this that makes me lament the fact that Wave nothing but these piddling 1/10 scale stuff lately. This Asuka really truly deserves the full 1/8 treatment…

Chag: Looks like Wave has completely shifted away from making “normal” scale figures, instead opting to sidestep the competition by offering smaller figures at a smaller price bracket – and in an era of continued economic uncertainty, this is probably a good decision on their part.

As for the figure itself, it’s a prime example of what Wave does best by combining simplicity and charm. Asuka’s body language effortlessly captures the stubbornness of her character in a way that mere facial expression cannot, and sometimes this alone is enough to warrant a purchase. Wave’s smaller-scale figures may not have the same production value as the others, but to those who collect figures out of their love for the characters, the Wave Asuka offers all of the tsundere goodness at only around half the price – not too shabby at all!

Ashlotte: Aye, the shading for the final product might not be quite as nice as we see here, but the sculpt usually survives intact, which means at the very least I can look forward to a nice pouty face and a cute butt being hugged by some nice daisy dukes! And really what more could I ask for… :p

 

1/6 Fujibayashi Kyou (Gym Uniform ver.)

Scale: 1/6 Origin: Clannad
Maker: Kotobukiya Sculptor: Fio
Retail Price: ¥8,800 Release: December 2010

Ashlotte: …And here’s the flip-side of the Tsundere coin… Honestly, I have no idea why they chose this pose (or the subject, for that matter – do we really need yet another gym uniform Kyou?). The description says it recreates the gym closet scene except she was never posed like this! If the numbskulls at Kotobukiya had put her sprawled out on her back or shly curled up looking as sexy as she was during the show, then this might have actually been worth buying…

As it stands for this figure, Kyou looks like a show dog or something being awkwardly put on display instead of an absurdly hot girl in full-on dere mode…what an utterly wasted opportunity…*spits in Koto’s general direction*

Chag: I wouldn’t go so far as to spit at Kotobukiya for this effort, but this figures just doesn’t excite me at all either. I just never understood the gym uniform fetish to begin with – maybe it’s a culture-centric thing? Maybe when Japanese fans see a gym uniform figure, they are reminded to their blissful high school years? On the other hand, without the help of romantic goggles, I only see a very, very plain outfit. Sure, it’s got a generous helping of THIGH on its side, but there are a tonne of sexier/more revealing outfits to be found in the bishoujo figure world. (On second thought, I really shouldn’t dismiss those thighs – I know my grade-A thighs when I see ‘em.)

Putting the choice of subject aside, there is evidence of some effort towards the technical aspects of this figure. Darker tones can be found on the sole of her shoes, the edges of her thigh-highs, her hair, and the backside of her bloomers. The vaulting box is a nice touch, and her slightly distressed face looks spot-on. Sadly, no amount of technical details can overcome either the boring subject for me. If Kotobukiya is adamant about going down the bloomers route, at least give it a more exciting pose as Ashlotte suggested… Oh well.

By the way, have you noticed that Kotobukiya and Wave are the only two major figure makers to have picked up on the Clannad franchise? What’s up with that? For an all-time otaku favourite, it sure is getting very little love from figure makers. Is it the Hinoue Itaru art style? Does KEY keep a short leash on the licenses of its characters? What gives?

Ashlotte: Mmm now that you mention it, I have no conceivable idea of why it’s been limited so far… odd. God knows every company out there has jumped on the Little Busters! bandwagon, which hasn’t even gotten an anime adaptation yet! Could be Kyoani’s doing? *shrug*

It’s just frustrating to see so few figures really get to the awesomeness that is tsundere Kyou…Wave got close with that slightly grumpy face on their rendition, but that was about it. Where’s the genuine pissed off look? The flying kicks? The flying dictionaries?!? It’s called personality Kotobukiya – try putting that in your stuff with once in a while..

Chag: While the personality in this figure isn’t really unique or unique, and even though there are definitely a few missed bases in this figure, I think Fio has done a good job with Kyou’s face. And while I would love to see a figure Kyou in the midst of launching her deadly hardcover projectile, I think some attention is due to the rest of the cast, especially Fuuko, who is energetic enough to make any hunk of plastic come to life. And before anyone points out – no, that previous Kotobukiya Fuuko atrocity doesn’t count. Some Mei or Ushio would also be nice… oh my, I better stop myself before to tumble even lower on the age scale.

 

1/7 Akiyama Mio (School Festival ver.)

 

Scale: 1/7 Origin: K-ON!
Maker: Max Factory Sculptor: Nakayaman
Retail Price: ¥7.800 Release: January 2011

Ashlotte: This figure reminds me of what I hate about Mio – she has such an awesome basic character design, a fantastic voice, and the skills to rock a bass, but then you remember she’s just a blubbering moeblob that gets embarrassed over anything and everything. The EDs in the anime add insult to injury by giving us a glimpse of just how awesome a cool and confident Mio can be. And of course, Kyoani, being the cunts they are, has a death grip on those designs and strips them of all their awesome, making them the same plain stuff we’ve all seen from the show proper… BAH! If only Mio looked a little more like serious musician-type character, what a wonderful would that could have been?

…Time to go punch a hole in the wall… with my head.

Chag: …Complaining about moeblobs in a moeblob show? Oh Ash, you crazy… Though I do admit that Mio’s antics are getting old to me – Ritsu’s where it’s at, dawg.

My thoughts are mixed on this figure. On the one hand, I really wish figure makers would give the school festival outfit a rest, because I don’t like its flat appearance. On the other hand, whether you like it or not, the sculpt simply oozes the shy-shy personality of Mio. The way she is holding her Fender looks really unstable, and I’m not entirely sure about whether it’s a good idea to have her obscure half of her face with her right hand, but if judging from character alone, this Max Factory version definitely soars over its ALTER and upLark counterparts.

Kyoto Animation sure has picked a good time to break into the figure business, didn’t they? While other figure makers fight for the precious droplets of the K-ON! cash cow, Kyoani is able to make figures of their original designs without fear of direct competition. While I’m no fan of their “Don’t be Lazy” set, I’d kill for a decent captain Mugi figure – I’d be her first mate, if you know what I mean.

Ashlotte: Meh I wouldn’t have bitched about it if Kyoani hadn’t cockteased me with those incredible EDs … But they did, and then basically monopolized it while simultaneously corrupting it with moe, which is just adding insult to injury. Ah anyway, hairband-less Ritsu or Mugi are where it’s at for me.

As for the figure itself (Oh yea I was supposed to be talking about that wasn’t I… *cough*)… Meh, it’s Max Factory. I may hate the concept, but you know it’s gonna ooze great quality in any case.

Chag: I was about to ask “How the hell do you corrupt a moe show with moe??”, but I think I get what you mean now. The Kyoani K-ON! figures lack the cool feel from the girls in the EDs. Well, they still have the second season’s EDs to prove themselves – let’s hope that they don’t screw those up as well.

Ashlotte: Wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you… I honestly have nightmares of them announcing a “Death Devil” version of Sawako except she’s kicking her leg in the air randomly with a silly half vacant smile on her face… *shudder*

 

1/7 Alfin

Scale: 1/7 Origin: Shining Force: Feather
Maker: Orchid Seed Sculptor: Kousuke Arai
Retail Price: ¥8,000 Release: December 2010

Chag: Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Looks like someone took the term “bubble shorts” a little too literally.

Alfin’s got quite the outfit here, and I have to say it’s probably one of the most uncomfortable-looking get-ups I’ve seen yet. A halter top plus arm warmers, furry wings and greenhouse shorts? That’s about as temperature-clashed as a bikini model wearing a full fur coat. There’s a palpable charm to the goofiness of the character design, but I’m not sure how many people would be willing to spend 8,000 yen for that reason alone.

…I wonder of those inflated shorts helps her fly, because I sure as hell can’t imagine her WALK in those.

Ashlotte: Haha, why the hell did you pick this figure? Ugh yea… I have no idea. Usually Noizi Itou is an awesome character designer, but this one is… yea… Haha, I just don’t know where to start when it’s such a clusterfuck of random elements like you said.

The sculpting looks pretty half-ass in that Orchid Seed kinda way. The colors are awkward, and the transparent parts just look terrible because they’re far too conspicuous and plastic-looking. You know it’s a bad sign when she’s already pretty harsh on the eyes in the promo photos – one can only imagine what she’ll look like in the real deal.

Chag: Speaking of QUALITY, those arm warmers look like a pair of meatloaves around her forearms. But hey, at least she’s great for poking fun at! I think it’s easier for me to talk about crappy/weird figures than genuinely good figures, because it seems I have nothing better to do than making mean-spirited comments about inanimate plastic girls.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll drink myself to sleep.

Ashlotte: Hey, there’s a reason why Mystery Science Theater 3000 only picked on really bad movies ya know! :p

 

Chag: Annnnnd I that’s it for this week – another review-less week, I know. But on the bright side, not only have I been working my the Real Grade Gundam and Master Grade Master Gundam reviews, Ashlotte is cooking up something special as well! Look forward to a surge of content here at Hobby Hovel in the upcoming weeks… before the next dry spell takes over.

By the way, you might have noticed a new Hobby Search Banner to at the bottom of right sidebar. Yes, it’s the 10% commission program that Hobby Search has been promoting for a while. No, I don’t really expect it to make much (if any) money whatsoever. However, if you DO feel like buying from Hobby Search, Ashlotte and I would be super grateful if you did so through that corny box.

…Actually, I wonder if this means that I would be able to get 10% (well, my share of that 10% between Ash and I) of my money back if I buy something from Hobby Search through that link – bah, I’m falling for their tricks already!