Chag: Hello there, and welcome to the most difficult installment of Anime Wishlist to date! The Canadian winter is a bleak season, and sadly, the same could be said for the last ~12 weeks’ worth of anime. I’m hesitant to dismiss Winter 2011 as a shitty season because I haven’t watched everything, but there just weren’t many showed that I could latch onto. So tell me Ash: have I been missing out?

Ashlotte: Yes and no, I’d say. While there was a great many disappointments ranging from Dragon Crisis to Fractale, the season did manage to sneak in some genuinely nice softer shows like Kimi ni Todoke and Hourou Musuko. I guess in the end I can best say that the season was disappointing for its otaku-oriented fare, but there was still some genuine enjoyment to be found in the right places!

Chag: Hmmm, a total shoujo series and a non-fetishized series about a bunch of sexually uncertain middle-schoolers…not exactly the kind of material to expect figures from. But hey, being reasonable was never part of our agenda – let’s see what we can squeeze out of this season!

Everyone! (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)

Chag: Without a doubt, Puella Magi Madoka Magica was most generally well-received anime last season. A dark psychological coming-of-age story disguised as a typical magical girl anime, Madoka gave me the Evangelion shiver all over again. Naturally, being the consumer whore that I am, Madoka’s place on this season’s Anime Wishlist was a foregone conclusion. Even if Aoki Ume’s wideface style in the character designs isn’t the most figure-friendly look out there, I still want a batch of Madoka figures. So what’s on top of your Madoka list, Ash?

Ashlotte: All of them! I want an entire set! A genuine set that actually looks like they belong together in the same scene when lined up on the shelf! I Of course it ain’t gona happen, but as always, I shall dream…

Specifically though? Mami. I want my Mami figure in all her beret-wearing, musket-toting glory! I wouldn’t mind Madoka either with her more traditional magical girl attire…I love me some cute shoes and frilly dresses, oh yes!

Chag: Ha, a combinable set of the entire cast? Unreasonable as always, I see! =P

I’m really looking forward to the inevitable Akemi Homura figure. I like the fact that she fights with normal firearms and explosives, because it captures the fantasy vs. reality them in the series perfectly. Homura initially came off as somewhat of a bitch, but if you’ve watched episode 10, you would appreciate how much of a badass she is. Girls with guns are hot, and girls who mow motherfuckers down with a LMG are even hotter. I like Mami’s outfit more than Homura’s (I even convinced a friend to cosplay as her!), but Homura manged to edge it out in the end.

By the way, speaking of Kaname Madoka and the “traditional” magical girl look, I’m still holding my breath in hopes that someone would do a modern Kinomoto Sakura figure. I don’t care if Card Captor Sakura is over a decade old – that show is timeless. If Lum can get a #Figma, so should Sakura – hell, with her clusterfuck of costumes, she should get more than one!

It’s going to be interesting to see how figure makers will deal with the original art style, though – change too little and strangers to the series will likely shy away from the figures, but changing too much would alienate the fans of the anime. Still, I’m sure figures sculptors will figure something out – since they have an absolute avalanche of fanart to use as inspiration. At the time of this writing, there are 431 pages’ worth of fanart on danbooru with the tag “mahou shoujo madoka magica”. Holy crap.

 

Kurumizawa Ume – (Kimi ni Todoke)

Ashlotte: I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten tired of the average otaku anime or I really just love all the sparkly pretty colors, but I find myself enjoying more Shoujo-esque anime as the seasons go on, with Kimi ni Todoke being no exception. While I was busy rolling my eyes at panty shots and stupid antics of more male-targeted shows, KnT served as refuge for my sanity.

I know most people would probably list Sawako as their favorite character of the show, but for me it was Kurumi who stood out the most. Probably because as nice as Sawako is she feels too much like a fantasy and as hard to relate to as one where as Kurumi’s petty jealousy was something that I could understand easily.

Chag: I confess: I had dropped Kimi ni Todoke back in season one. It’s exactly as you say – Sawako (and Kazehaya) were a little too pure for me to take seriously. It’s like the sterilized halls of a hospital – there’s nothing wrong with it, but the spotlessness is unnatural and alienating. But then again, maybe I’m just being a tad unreasonable on a shoujo series.

Thankfully I did catch a glimpse of Kurumi before I dropped the series, and, she’s definitely easier on the eyes! A Kimi no Todoke figure is a long shot, but of the characters I’ve seen, Kurumi seems like the most figure-friendly out of all of them. I’m sure a subtle mischievous smile would give a lot of personality to a figure of Kurumi.

Ashlotte: She’s certainly easy on the eyes I won’t deny that! Honestly not sure which look I’d prefer on her as she has so many. Fake smile? Sad puppy dog eyes? Soulful scowl? Heartbroken crying face? All of them are really her and I’d be hard pressed to pick just one for a definitive figure…swappable faces sure would be handy here!

 

Marida Kruz (Gundam UC)

Chag: Since I’m pretty desperate for entries from the winter season, I’m going to cheat a little and sneak Marida in here. Marida is virtually the perfect woman in my eyes – strong & determined yet obedient, competent at what she does, and to top it off, she’s got one hell of a tragic back story to boot! Sure she may be a little disfigured underneath her clothes, but the fact that she’s soldiering on in spite of her physical and mental scars earns her a lot of respect in my eyes – and there really aren’t too many respectable female characters in the past 31 years’ worth of Gundam.

As for what the figure would look like… Hmm, that’s a good question. I wouldn’t mind her in her dress uniform or her pilot suit, though I am partial to her off-duty clothes. None of these are particularly flashy, but if Audrey and that crazy bitch from Victory Gundam can get their own figures, I don’t see why Marida shouldn’t!

Ashlotte: Instead of saying “Marida Kruz” to me it probably would have been easier to have said “The-pilot-of-the-green-Zeon-suit-with-the-blaster-bits -hat-owned-the-hell-out-of-everything-in-episode-one”, haha.

But yea, if Audrey of all people (seriously, what has she done so far besides being baggage? Not to mention she’s not what I’d call attractive…) can get a figure, an awesome pilot like Marida should easily get one as well! But then I’ve found there’s rarely any common sense or justice in the figure world sadly…

Chag: Hey, never underestimate the appeal of a Zeonic princess! She may feel like baggage now, but this royal baggage we’re talking about! =P

I think it would be really cool to see more of Yasuhiko Yoshikazu’s character designs in figure form. If anything, Marida’s poofy hair would be pretty different from all of the bishoujo figures out there. Still, I shouldn’t get too hopeful – Marida’s character design isn’t the sort that would appeal too much to the average figure collector who mainly goes by looks. This could be changed if they stuck her in a bunny outfit, but I bet the Gundam fanboys would be all up-in-arms over such an out-of- character look.

 

Laura Bodewig (Infinite Stratos)

Ashlotte: Infinite Stratos is an odd beast. To be sure, it is a terrible show. The “plot” is paper-thin and dived off into absurdity near the end while having the typical boring dense-as-a-brick harem lead.  But to its credit, it does have a few exceptional female characters that really helped carry the whole thing.

One of those would be Laura Bodwig, the representative candidate from Germany. With her petite frame, tortured past, and awesome eye patch she stood out in the sea of blandness for me…well, that and her attitude of forcing herself on the protagonist while the other girls still pinned in the corner!

Chag: Another girl with a tortured past? Good grief! Come to think of it, my favourite two anime girls (Asuka & Saber) also happen to have troubled pasts…hmmm, I’m seeing a pattern here.

Because I didn’t have enough material for this season’s wishlist, I watched Infinite Stratos a few days ago to pad things out. It was the most-trolled series last season on /a/ along with Madoka, so I figured it would be at least interesting, right?

WRONNNNG.

I would go on and how about how I despise IS, but this is neither the time nor place for that. Although Laura had a rough start in my book, her lack of common sense as a soldier reminded me of Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic – one of my favourite characters. I like the baggy pants on Laura’s uniform, but the twin tail/swimsuit combo is on a whole other level. It certainly would be neat to see a Laura swimsuit figure in the future. Would I buy it? Fuck no – a stinker like IS is not to be monetarily encouraged in any way. Although with BD/DVD sales of close to 30,000 in the first week, it seems like IS has already received all the encouragement it would need. What the fuck, Japan?

 

Chiba Saori (Hourou Musuko)

Ashlotte: While Hourou Musuko isn’t quite as blatantly shoujo as KnT , it’s still very much a more feminine show than most of what aired last season. Instead of relying on over-the-top gags and ecchi comedy, Huorou Musuko has a strong yet subtle focus on the coming-of-age experiences of its largish cast of middle schoolers .

Normally I’d go straight for the trap in a show, but this time I couldn’t help but be charmed by the sullen Saori. Like Kurumi in KnT she didn’t “get the guy” and she also comes across as being more intelligent than her peers while still having that air of immaturity. I guess I’m just a sucker for the “other” girl in shows!

Chag: Saorin? Seriously? You weren’t kidding when you said you liked grumpy girls, because she is a bite-sized walking killjoy. Granted, I haven’t read the manga, and the anime did a rather poor job at situating newcomers in the middle of the story, so I don’t know as much about her character as you do, but her constant butthurt attitude drove me nuts. I swear, you can’t go ten minutes in the show without seeing her scowl!

I don’t see how Saorin would make a good figure either. Isn’t Hourou Musuko too subdued to be whored out on the figure scene? For such a sexually exploitative hobby, Hourou Musuko seems pretty out-of-place, especially when we’re talking about the “normal” one out of the bunch. What’s your vision for Saorin, Ash?

Ash: She has twin-tails, and that’s enough fetish to warrant a figure damnit! My vision? Having her  on the sofa lying on her side with a trademark wistful look on her face that she so excels at! You can’t tell me that a young girl in a cute dress and twin-tails lying down on a piece of furniture is not marketable! Conversely, I would also accept her standing up slightly cocked to one side with a look of utter disdain on her face! It’s either or, really.

Chag: “A look of utter disdain on her face”?! That is one unique moe point if I’ve ever seen one. I’m not sure how exactly I would feel to have a figure looking up at me with a face that says “you make me sick” on my desk. It probably wouldn’t be a particularly pleasant feeling. But hey, whatever floats your boat, dude! =P

Ashlotte: I would think of it as a motivational tool! Give her an alternate pleasant smile face so you can reward yourself by pretending you’d gained her approval (Would never happen)! You can’t tell me that wouldn’t sell with all the Masochist otaku!

Chag: You might be onto something there! The solution to the figure collecting NEET problem – figures with animatronic faces with paycheque scanners! Every time it verifies a pay stub, the figure would smile for a certain duration. That means if you want to see her smile, you have better work for it! Man, I am so smart it’s almost criminal.

 

Chag: And that’s it for this instalment of Anime Wishlist. What did you like or hate about the last season? What are you watching this season? I don’t know about you guys, but I know I’ll be writing about Kaiji’s girlfriend in a couple of months – just look at her! If this isn’t moe, I don’t know what is.

Until next time, stay classy!