Chag: So, looks like GSC dun goofed with their Black Rock Shooter figure. To be honest, it really isn’t all that big of a blunder. If I got the figure, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the missing star unless someone pointed it out. Besides, a missing star isn’t going to break the figure in terms of aesthetic appeal. To me, Saber’s mouth is a far more serious issue, but as a sweeping and easily identifiable production error that is acknowledged by GSC, this star fiasco is bound to become an embarrassing pee stain on GSC’s blanket. I wonder what the GSC fanboys are saying right now.

Ashlotte: I’d say the real rub is the fact this happened to all of them. I mean, all of us have seen our fair share of screw-ups on individual figures, but something of this scale and so obvious? Bleh. Oh well, GSC hasn’t made any figures I’ve wanted for quite a while, so this doesn’t affect me – I just find it fun to discuss! =P

Chag: Yeah, when you don’t have $100+ riding on this figure, the debacle is kind of fun to watch. It’s kind of like America’s Funniest Videos – a lot of the blunders caught on tape are just downright painful, yet to the audience it’s the greatest of low-brow comedy. And hey, though I doubt a public shitstorm would cripple the GSC giant, it would be nice for them to be on their tippy-toes with their future releases!

Source of header images: 1, 2, 3

1/7 Kasumi ~Cherish~

Scale: 1/7 Origin: Dead or Alive 4
Maker: Kotobukiya Sculptor: M.I.C. Inc.
Retail Price: ¥8,190 Release: April 2011

Chag: Oh boy, remember that weird Aisaka Taiga Kotobukiya released a while ago? Well, it looks like the Martians have launched a second invasion. I’ve always liked Kasumi’s white and red costume, and since this IS Dead or Alive, I certainly don’t mind the gratuitous breasts, even if they are a little exaggerated. But seriously, what is up with her giant hairdo? It looks like a tentacled face-hugger trying to chomp her head off.

Ashlotte: Ya know, there are some things that don’t translate well to 3D, and Ooyari Ashito’s illustrations are one of those. He’s done some absolutely beautiful stuff, but his distinct style just really doesn’t work too well it seems when given that extra dimension. Sadly, what looks charming on the page quickly seems to turn awkward fleshed out like this.

I do absolutely love the paint job on her hair, although I’m rather doubtful that rich complexity of shading is going to make into the final production version…Call me a skeptic. >_<

Chag: Yeah, since we don’t have a lick of artistic talent, we wouldn’t know the nuances of making 3D figures out of a 2D illustration. I’m sure the folks at Kotobukiya aren’t blind, so they probably noticed the same thing as we did and decided against augmenting it for their own reasons. I’m still iffy on her chin, though – it kind of juts forward in a way that is a little reminiscent of a certain inbred Spanish king (just look at that sexy motherfucker – that’s six and a half generations’ worth of inbreeding, man).

Ashlotte: ….And this suddenly took a turn for the weird. I’m amazed you can even see her chin with that ribbon in the way.

It’s times like this that I really want to know how these figure makers decide on which characters/illustrations to tackle…I honestly, truly do. >_<

1/8 Celty Sturluson

Scale: 1/8 Origin: Durarara!!
Maker: Kaitendoh Sculptor: Abe Takumi
Retail Price: ¥6,980 Release: March 2011

Ashlotte: Hmmm…mmm…hmmm…Kind of want…

Geh, I’m honestly not sure. It is Celty, and there are boobies – well-sized boobies that hit that sweet spot Aka likes so much between “big as her head” and “flat as a board”. But the sculpt is pretty out of character… But then there are the boobies…

Wish Kaitendoh hadn’t done such a horrid job with the helmet-off look, which really makes me question the quality of the figure in general. Also what the hell is the difference between the two versions other than the lighting they were shot with? *boggle*

Chag: Argh, I think your fondness of the character is blinding you, dude! Never mind the plain pose and sculpt (though that latter is hard to avoid), there are a few things that set off my alarm bells. The neck on Celty is as thick as a log. I don’t have the firmest grasp on human proportions, but her neck just doesn’t seem feminine to me. The scythe looks goopy, and the “head” looks like a black ice cream swirl more than anything else. I can kind of forgive them for the “head”, because I really can’t think of a way to reproduce the mist effect seen in the anime. But as for the scythe — come on, you can do better than that. For a weapon made out of twisting shadow, the sculpt just looks way too…harmless.

I was skeptical about Celty as a figure subject, and Kaitendoh’s offering doesn’t change my opinion. There is a desperate want of personality here, and the only remedy I see is her bike — she needs that bike. Just as Rocky without his boxing gloves is just an Italian with a speech impediment, the headless rider really falls flat without anything to ride on.

Ashlotte: Heh, it wouldn’t be the first time for me to lose my head. Mah, she is a bit plain for sure, but I still think an incredible figure can be made of her sans the bike (it would be way too costly…). As for the head, that would have been extremely easy to manage if they just used semi-transparent material and thinned it out so it actually looked like, ya know, smoke. Oh well, I’m pretty sure Durarara!! was fairly popular so I’ll hold out for a better rendition.

Chag: Hmm, the Durarara!! light novels are still ongoing, so there may be hope yet for you headless fetishists out there. I don’t doubt the possibility of an exciting Celty figure, but given the rate at which bishoujo figure releases are hitting the bargain bins recently, would any manufacturer with the means of making the possibility into reality be willing take the plunge? My prognosis: doubtful~

Ashlotte: Aye, you always have to wonder. What seems popular in the west probably isn’t always true for Japan, so all I can do is hope. As far as bargain binning, eh, I have no idea what Amiami is playing at. Not sure if it’s the strong yen tanking their international business driving this discount frenzy or not.

Chag: It’s not just Amiami, though – Hobbysearch is also pretty aggressive with their bargain section lately. I haven’t been a sale hunter for very long, so I don’t quite know what to make of this. Are sales like these the norm? Or has there been a recent dip in sales? Is it simply a response to the value of the yen, or has the moe bubble popped? What do you guys think?

1/6 Makinami Mari Illustrious

Scale: 1/6 Origin: Rebuild of Evangelion
Maker: Max Factory Sculptor: Chieri
Retail Price: ¥7,429 Release: March 2011

<REBUILD OF EVANGELION 2.0 SPOILERS>

Chag: The Evangelion franchise has got the Midas touch, and if anyone needs proof, he needs to look no further than Mari. For a character who barely did anything in the movie, Mari sure is getting a lot of figure love. Yet when  you put a pretty girl designed by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki in a hot pink rubber suit, the successful of the character really is a forgone conclusion. I just wish she spent less time talking to herself and more time tearing Angels up. As cool was ZA BEASTO gimmick was, Mari didn’t actually get to fight any angels in the pumped-up Eva-02 – nay, she spent the entire time fighting polygons. The most she did was take a few chomps at Zeurel’s AT-field, and by the end of the movie, EVA-02 looks pretty damn totaled. I’d be pretty damn pissed if that’s the last we see of ZA BEASTO.

<END SPOILERS>

Plug suit figure are kind of like swimsuit figures in that they both have relatively few opportunities to interact with the costumes. But since characters generally sit still in the entry plug while donning the plug suits, it’s much harder to think of an exciting pose for them as opposed to a bunch of frolicking bikini-clad lasses. Still, despite those difficulties, sculptor Chieri certainly did a good job here. Mari’s posture and smile are brimming with the character’s confident personality, and she’s got a great-looking bottom to boot. While I’m not the biggest Mari fan out there, this figure certainly has me curious about the other two Eva girls Max Factory is planning to release. If they look as great as this, then my long-standing quest for an Asuka figure may be at an end.

Ashlotte: You should know by now Chags that Shinji is the only one that can actually get anything done at the end of the day! The girls are there more for decoration (and massive marketing pushes) than anything else. =P

But yawn…yet another plug suit figure…joy. Where’s my Catholic school girl Mari figure replete with naughty face and/or torn stockings? Honestly, for all the personality Mari exuded in her short screen time, these figures of her are so awfully dull. If they must do the pink plug suit can’t I at least get some berserker mode up in this joint? Some glowing green eyes, maybe? Something!

Meh whatever, I hate pink in anyways…

Chag: Oh Ash, always going for the long shot, aren’t you? Let’s hope the folks at Khara will give her more love in the last two movies… Oh who am I kidding? You know they’re totally going to pile it all on Rei (and maybe a Kawrou as well for the manservice).