Chag: We were going to have a proper introduction this time around, but Ash and I are an organizational disaster(as usual). So instead of the usual BS, I’ll speak on both of us in wish you all a super-duper holidays! See Ash, that wasn’t so hard! I’m going to make  you write the intro next time if it’s the last thing I do, mark my words!

Hope you enjoy the goofy post header, because it cracks me up every time I glance at it. Oh Mr. Choo, you are a dashing devil.

Source of header images: 1, 2, 3, 4

1/7 Ayanami Rei (Plug Suit Style)

Scale: 1/7 Origin: Neon Genesis Evangelion/Rebuild of Evangelion
Maker: Kotobukiya Sculptor: Migizou
Retail Price: ¥6,800 Release: April 2011

Chag: Another month, another Kotobukiya Evangelion figure. Even though their figures are never too high-profile, this sustained onslaught of Eva girls must be working out pretty well for them. While I don’t care much for the sillier costumes, I am digging this latest take on the tried-and-true character. I don’t know if it’s just the photos, but this Rei seems to have a warmer complexion than the rest, which balances her rather cool colour scheme. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Rei figure with eyes as striking as this one, which is a good thing, since the redness of her eyes has always been my favourite aspect of her character design.

However, my favourite thing about the figure is definitely the expression. I think the vacant gaze and the parted lips capture her character perfectly. As nice as Rei’s smile is, I never thought it was something that truly represents the character. Rather, it’s her ephemeral feel that makes her memorable for me, and I think this figure is the closest anyone has every gotten to achieving that.

On the flip side, I’ve seen a bunch of comments that aren’t all that fond of the face. What is your take on it, Ash?

Ashlotte: Zzzzz…

Oh what? Sorry…another Rei plugsuit figure is it? Hah…

I suppose her pose is vaguely interesting and that base is especially nice(especially those rust stains on the concrete, which is a great touch), but yea, I’m one of those people who aren’t very fond of the face. Then again, I’m not a Rei fan (more Mari figures please — bonus points of causal wear version) so I may be biased.

Just can’t see how people can get any kind of excitement out of what ostensibly feels like the same figure…Even as a fan of Nanoha I don’t really get terribly excited at seeing the same looking figures of her made over and over and over again, so I guess I fail to see the appeal…*shrug*

Chag: You know, I’m surprised that the Khara crew didn’t take the chance to put Rei in costumes other than her plug suit and school uniform in the new movies. People love TEH REI, so there will always be demand for more Rei figures. But to satisfy this demand, what else can figure makers do but make more plug suit Rei figures? Sure, there are a whole bunch of non-canonical costumes floating around, but since they are usually very out-of-character, I really doubt they have the level of appeal as the tried-and-true white plug suit.

I can see where you’re coming from when you complain that she feels like the same figure. She’s definitely along the same lines as the original Rebuild Kotobukiya Rei figure, but what made me happy over this figure is that (at least in my eyes) they took the same right direction as the previous counterpart and added some perfecting touches. So yes, in many ways she does feel the same, but the few differences really shine in my eyes. Hell, I can almost say the looks to be the *gasp* definitive Rei figure, but I must wait for the Max Factory version to be revealed before running my big mouth.

Speaking of mouth, what does everyone think about this Rei’s face? Am I alone in my admiration, or what?

Figma Suenaga Mirai

Scale: n/a Origin: Danny Choo
Maker: Max Factory, Good Smile Company Sculptor: ?
Retail Price: ¥2,800 Release: June 2011

Chag: Sweet Jesus, it’s actually here. I’ve always through this would be produced in limited quantities or as an exclusive, but nope — Danny Choo’s mascot is now unleashed on the entire world. God help us now.

Mirai looks plain as plain can be, but since she’s supposed to represent the image of the quintessential school girl character, this is only to be expected. However, behind her pretty looks, I just can’t shake the image of Danny Choo’s goofy smile from my mind when I look at her. The camera and laptop certainly don’t help in that regard, and the faceless mini-Choo accessory is all sorts of unsettling. Can you imagine Danny Choo carrying around a doll of himself? ARGH!

I haven’t been following Danny Choo for quite a well, but judging by the official announcement of the Figma for his mascot, he must be as popular as ever. For a blog mascot to become mass-produced toy…does the empire of Choo knows no bounds? How long before the we all begin to address one another as “comrade” and the word “dolphin” officially becomes a synonym of“penis”?

Ashlotte: I’m in the same boat as you…When I first started out I followed his site pretty frequently, but as I grew to have less and less time I rarely ever visit anymore these days…

That said, I think it’s pretty nifty for an English blog to get this kind of recognition from figure makers. It at least tells me that they acknowledge the existence of their foreign fan. Now if only they’d stop making so many fuxxing exclusives…

Chag: Yeah, Danny Choo is a great springboard into the hobby, and he takes great-looking photos, but when you’re already in too deep like us who follow a slew of other figure-related sites, the shortcomings really start to show. He’s not very comprehensive in his coverage, and he’s not really all that in tune with the otaku sphere. I think he doesn’t even have time to watch anime anymore, save for the occasional heavy-hitters like K-ON. Also, although the posts about Japan were somewhat interesting in the early days, I find myself just getting annoyed at seeing them later on…

…Oh god, I hope people don’t have the same reactions towards these rants. “Oh great, it’s just those two reposting pictures from Amiami and HobbySearch again.”

1/8 Dark Sakura (Makiri’s Grail Ver.)

Scale: 1/8 Origin: Fate/Stay Night
Maker: Gift Sculptor: Toda Satoshi
(Principality of Kagutsuchino)
Retail Price: ¥9,333 Release: May 2011

Chag: A 9,333 yen figure of the least popular Fate/Stay Night heroine? What could possibly go wrong?

Before I bitch and whine about the price, I have to say this Sakura looks mighty spiffy. The departures from the original character design such as the exposed shoulders and under-boob windows are very pleasing to me. If Sakura looked like this in the visual novel/anime, I bet she wouldn’t be as overshadowed as she is. From the murky tendrils that serve as her clothing to the yandere look in her eyes, the menacing feel of the figure is palpable. She looked great a couple years back when she was supposed to have been released by Solid Theater, and she still looks good to this day.

However, as great as she looks, the figure seems to be doomed tor failure. Sakura has never been very popular; while the GSC renditions of Saber, Rin and Rider sold out like hotcakes, the GSC Sakura shelfwarmed for years. Furthermore, it seems that most fans aren’t terribly fond of corrupted girls. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments against GSC’s Saber Alter, and the figma of the same character ended up in the bargain bin to my great surprise. Besides, 9,333 yen is a lot to ask from a 1/8th scale figure. In a time when figure makers are easing up on the prices, this is not going to score any points in Sakura’s favour. But hey, if this means she’ll end up in the bargain bin as the result, then maybe it’s a good thing!

Ashlotte: Determined to pick figures I have little interest in aren’t you Chags! Ah well,I’ll play along. Hmmm Sakura, Sakura…

Ok, nothing comes to mind but penis worms and cooking (not an appealing combo…). Honestly her douche brother Shinji left a bigger impact on me then she ever did.

She is rather delicious here in her mistress of the dark appearance, though, and her pose is pretty nice, but yea, I just can’t bring myself to care much about anything doing with the character in general. Can I has a decent Ilya figure now to erase the sorrow of seeing her killed in the movie now? Oh god I feel sad just thinking about it again… ILYA!!!!!! T_T

Chag: Whenever we talk about Fate figures, it always ends back at Ilya, doesn’t it? If she had a role in “Unlimited Blade Works” besides being horribly killed, maybe she would’ve received a figure treatment in the recent wave of Fate/Stay Night merchandising. But alas, it seems like we’ll have to hope for a “Heaven’s Feel” OVA/movie/series. Maybe the reason behind Gift’s decision to revive this dark Sakura/Saber combo is some sort of insider knowledge of such an animated project in the works? Ohohoho, I can’t wait to see what the Tokyo Anime Fair has in store for us.

Ashlotte: *mumble* She also deserves it for being screwed out of a proper route…

1/6 Rachel Alucard

Scale: 1/6 Origin: BlazBlue
Maker: FREEing Sculptor: ?
Retail Price: ¥12,800 Release: May 2011

Ashlotte: *In his best Vader voice*

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Ah geez…come on FREEing…really? I’ve been wanting some BlazBlue figures since the game first came out and especially a Rachel figure and this is what I get? An overpriced piece of junk?

The molding and details is meh at best, the paint is as basic as a prize figure, and her face couldn’t be any more bland. At least you got the pose right, but with everything else working against her…ARGH! She could have been oh so so SO much better…

Now If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sob in the corner like a little girl…

Chag: Yeah, I know for certain that you’re not the only one who’s been pining for a Rachel figure. But this…is far from something to write home about. FREEing’s strategy once again confounds me. Like those dubious gym uniform Lucky Star figures, the only thing Rachel has is her size (which is sure to make for a fearsome shipping charge as well). Asides from the reasons you cited, the shape of her head is really, really strange to me. I’m not sure why FREEing made the back of her head so pointy — it’s as if she’s some sort of alien. Pretty sloppy, dude.

Speaking of sloppy, do you get the feeling that the photographer for these shots isn’t even trying? I’m no good with constructive criticisms, but Rachel looks really flat in these photos. Besides, that pink backdrop looks just as cheap as the figure itself. I’m inclined to believe the actual figure must look better than these photos would suggest. It’s as if FREEing is trying to keep people away from their products.

Ashlotte: Meh, FREEing has been putting out a lot of mediocre nonsense lately, it seems…which is a real shame considering they made quite a few lovely pieces in the past (the Haruhi bunnies and Kenshin) and that they are technically in the GSC “stable”, which is generally know to produce quality works (GSC’s little QC hiccups aside).

Maybe somebody from Max Factory needs to go down to their offices and smack some sense into ‘em…

Chag: Amen to that.