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Review: 1/8 Al Azif

Hello there folks, and welcome to another god-awfully rainy week! Yay~~~

Ah boy…So yea, here we are with yet another older figure (it’s not my fault they don’t make more things I like a month! T_T) from the recently translated eroge Demonbane!

"Don't you feel like you could just lose yourself in those eyes..."

The series has been around for a while with an OVA, eroge sequel, and finally a TV adaptation under its belt. It borrows heavily from the Lovecraft mythos to tell its tale. Specifically, Al Azif here is the embodiment of the grimoire Necronomicon in the form of an absurdly cute little girl. She does occasionally morph parts of her body into pages (an ability that no figure maker has capitalized on, unfortunately) and has a chibi mode, but for the most part she retains the form you see presented in this figure. Of course, being over a millennia old and extremely powerful, she is a rather arrogant little girl, but with her myriad of personality quirks she is easily my favorite character in the series by far!

I was lucky enough to pick Al Azif up from Aka who was selling her for a pittance and I have to say it was an extremely wise decision, since as I predicted after having played the game a bit I would absolutely love Al as a character, so I would be hunting this very figure down right now if I had not bought her at the time! The only downside of this is that she was slightly damaged, but I’ll obviously not be dwelling on that as it’s hardly Max Factory’s fault.

So with that said, let’s see how well quality of one of Max’s older releases holds up against the harshness of time, shall we?

"Sadly these little fellas will need a bit of repair..."

To begin with I’ll cover the things that are wrong that obviously weren’t an issue when she was new so no one points them out and says “But why didn’t you say anything about XYZ, Ash?” Her back wall is warped and one of her floaty things has a busted peg so you won’t see them actually mounted in this review, although I think I should be able to repair it easily enough when I have the time.

"Apparently Max employs superior erm...ribbon making...technology?"

Now with that out of the way, let’s see what Max Factory of 5 years ago was capable of! The first thing that caught my eyes or her ribbons. Hysterically enough, they are actually better made then the ones on my poor “Yukari” figure. There’s a lots of small moldlines and bits of rough texturing with the odd paint clumping here and there, but generally speaking, the way they flow and wave about feels very authentic!

"They did a lovely job with her hair in general, but I just wish they hadn't pancaked it in the back so much..."

Like the ribbons, Al’s hair entwine around her body as if caught in the wind, giving her a nice dramatic flair. The paint is a nice pleasing accurate lavender color that’s mostly fault-free in the front. Sadly, the back and side of her head suffers from some noticeable mold lines and paint roughness. Another oddity about her hair is how it flattens out so much in the back. I suppose this was supposed to look like she was pressing against the wall except a few of her ribbons prevent her head from resting flush against the backboard, leaving an awkward appearance.

"Absolutely adore her face though!"

Still, from the front the hair does look superb and it also frames her face nicely. That, along with with the angle of her face and its expression gives off a sort of distrustful glance that could certainly fit her in one of her less agreeable moments. It seems like Max Factory payed special attention to her eyes as they are extremely large and beautifully painted. They’re definitely one of the biggest selling points of the figure for me.

"The dress I'm not as crazy about, but it does look pretty nice in its own way."

Her dress is an odd beast. In some ways it’s rather terrible, completely lacking in shading and  detailing. Yet it also has a strange appeal to it with its numerous ripples and roughly etched out frills. It also showcases one of the best facets of the dress in that it’s extremely short and even the smallest stir would give you an eyeful of panty! Her matching wrist cuffs are of roughly the same quality, although they do suffer the flattening the hair does in the back.

"I do wish her legs where a bit better though. The paint isn't that great and the moldline is rather prominent."

Taking a small trip further south, Al’s legs aren’t quite up to the level that we’ve come to expect these days. The paint is rather rough, giving an overly plasticky look to her skin tone and the attempt to add flushed tones to around her knees is a clumpsy. She also has a rather large and noticeable mold line running the length of the front of her legs, unfortunately. Her socks and shoes aren’t much more enticing either being painted in rather drab colors, which is a shame because I’ve always adored Al’s little socks and shoes combo.

"The base is not exactly what I'd call exciting either."

Al’s base is somewhat unqiue. The base itself is an unassuming slab of plastic with Al firmly screwed into it, but it also comes with an oddly designed plastic brick wall that slots in behind the figure. I understand Max wanted to achieve the effect of having her look like she was leaning against it, but I’m not entirely convinced by the effect and I probably will display her without the silly thing. Oddly, Max Factory also decided to attach her floating accessories to it instead of her hair like most other Al figures do.

"But there is no denying she is an extremely charming rendition of Al!"

Pros

  • Fantastic pose
  • Dynamic hair and ribbons really sells the windswept look
  • Fluttering skirt gives you an eyeful of the good stuff
  • Large beautiful eyes

Neutral

  • Oddly designed base may or may not appeal to some

Cons

  • Underwhelming details in dress and shoes
  • Sub-par paint on legs with painfully obvious mold lines
"Who knew the personification of a book could be so cute?"

So there you have it, our blast from the past! So what do I think when all is said and done? Well ,I gotta say I still do quite love her. The sculpting they did with the hair, dress, and ribbons really makes her feel dynamic while the angle of her head, facial expression, and body language tells you in an instant about her mood at that very moment. It all comes together pretty strongly to give you an immediate impression that I enjoy greatly.

Still, she does have many faults, and it’s amusing to see how far Max Factory has come over the years in terms of quality. Even more amusing (or perhaps sad) is several aspects of the figure still trumps many lesser manufacturers even after all this time.

So it’s raining…again…For the past three weeks!!!

Oh well I took the opportunity to try something slightly different then the usual fun and sun type shots I usually do…Can’t say as it worked out entirely how I wanted, but meh, I gotta change it up every now and again!

29 replies on “Review: 1/8 Al Azif”

God she is adorable! It’s always surprising to see how far figure production has come, though. Al seems a bit rough but my Pachira, a MF figure from only a year later, is leaps and bounds ahead of her in terms of QC. Their base design is also very similar, but Pachira’s is warp-free so far. Plus she has the most ingenious cast-off I’ve ever seen! Pity that Al wasn’t produced a year later.

Yea sometimes I’m tempted to buy some of the older figures from shows I’ve loved in the past, but I have to remind myself your paying a premium for a figure that will be inferior quality. >_<

Sometimes older figures are fantastic, though, so it’s always a gamble. Alter’s Chua and GSC’s Melissa Seraphy come to mind, both definitely worth the high cost they go for. But spending a lot on an older figure and getting poor quality is so disappointing! At least you got Al for cheap.

True. When I first got into this hobby I lusted after those two pretty hard, but I had already missed the boat on them. T_T

I don’t really mind when you do reviews of older figures 🙂

I also love Al Azif since I’ve watched the anime sometime last year. After that I wanted a figure of Al very badly. At that time I could have bought the one you’ve reviewed here for 80€ or the one from ALTER for 31 € from ebay. I’ve bought the ALTER one ^^

Max Factory’s Al looks also very nice, the face looks beautiful with the bangs and the big eyes ^-^
Only the flattened backside looks a bit strange I guess nowadays manufacturers wouldn’t do that anymore.

Haha yea it’s not that bad but I don’t think people get as excited about reviews like this…Heck even I don’t get excited much. >_>

Yea the Alter one looks really cute and if I had that choice I probably would have gone the same route.

Aye those large eyes really are my favorite thing about her by far. 
Haha no I don’t think anyone would do something silly like that anymore.

I’ve liked Al Azif’s design since I first saw it, but I never did check out Demonbane and only came close to buying the Nendoroid of her.  Unfortunately it’s another anime that’s in my “should check out sometime” list, a list I never actually do anything with.

Archaeological figure reviews is an idea I thought about myself some time ago.  I’d probably actually do one if I didn’t already have plenty of things to do for content, a steady stream of things arriving each month (and a flood starting this month…), and a desire to re-do shitty older posts I’ve done.

The anime isn’t half bad if memory serves right (I watched it when it was originally released some what…5 years ago so I’m alittle fuzzy on it.). The game was pretty fun, but I’m really hoping to get to play the sequel which looks a lot better.

Haha I’ve toyed with the idea of doing reviews for stuff that I’ve actually owned for a while but haven’t really acted on that…maybe when I hit another dry spell on releases.

I’m glad that you like her, though reading this review one might think otherwise. You list off all the thing wrong with her and why I sold her for so cheap, but then claim to like her all the same anyway haha.

I’m glad to be rid of her but I do miss that one angle where her dress is just covering her panties but comes up high enough to hint at their presence. Beyond that, I’m much happier with Alters swimsuit Al Azif being molested by the Matrix Sentinel.

Haha what can I say my fondness for a figure isn’t always something easily measured by the amounts of likes or dislikes I have for individual aspects of it. ^_^

Yea it is a nice pose shame the quality couldn’t be up to Max’s present day standards…ah well.

Goddamn rain, having the same trouble here! Fancy having to have to use lamps to take photos, tch! I’m much too lazy for that, hehe. Your shots came out well though. My favourite is the last one in front of the book.. such a little cutie, she is!

Nice to see an older Max Factory figure since they are one of my favourite manufacturers now. Wish her shoes were a little nicer also but I’ll forgive MF since it’s old.

I want to buy Demonbane now that it’s been translated and hopefully I’ll get around to it sometime in the near future. Can’t pass on a Lovecraftian Nitro+ VN and I have a feeling that Al will probably be a favourite of mine too.

Indeed! I hate using lamps…Haha that actually was taken in the middle of the night. Was just fooling around…As much as I enjoy the figure I still couldn’t get too excited about her so the shots probably don’t have much heart in em… >_>

Yea it is sad her little shoes don’t look nicer. T_T

It’s a fairly good game, but it needed more Al moments and less action as far as I’m concerned. Still not bad just remember if you do get it to download the third party voice patch as the game only has voices for about 1/3rd of the game otherwise. >_<

I love the hair and ribbons, but the pose is another matter. Maybe it’s the lack of the wall, but it just seems like she’s staring down a bit too much. Unless you’re looking at her from a slightly lower angle, you don’t really see her eyes.

Yea she is a very low angled figure thats for sure. You can still see her pretty good at eye level, but I’d say you get the most out of her when she’s slightly higher then that.

Ohwow, that’s an old figure! It’s quite surprising to see how far the figure industry has come in such a short time. I like how ambitious Max Factory was with her hair and ribbons although wow, those seam lines on the legs are ouch. I’d like to someday try out the Demonbane VN, the promise of the most powerful mech in anime is a strong reason to give it a go. I didn’t know that Al Azif was the personification of the Necromonicon, thats pretty sweet and more reason to play the VN.

Yay, glad to see you take some indoor photos! Wasn’t it fun? 😉

It is! Yea some things more more hit then miss thats for sure…Haha you and Zai both apparently! You should play it together then! Nothing brings couples to gether like giant mechs, lolis, and Lovecraftian horror! ~_^

Indoors? Feh I don’t do that…I am curious to know which shot you thought looked indoors? The last one?

We should! Although I dunno if Zai can hold out and wait for me to play it with her, lol.

Yeah, with the book! You mentioned a lamp in a previous comment so I assumed it was indoors.

First of all, I really like what you did with the colours of some of the photos — they match the CG you posted really closely. The colours also give her eyes a rather piercing and cold look. Very nice!

The production quality for this figure may not get top scores in today’s market, but that panty-flash is still top tier. If figure panty-flashes are considered art, then Al should be displayed in a gallery, because that glimpse of green is sublime. Mmmmm~Btw, what did you mean when you said her back is warped? Is it bending due to the weight o the hair, or something?

Yea when I first got her I had no idea what to do with her…I tried shooting her at night with the book in the background, but most of those shots looked like shit (Only one that survived is that very last one.). But then I saw that CG and was like…”Hmmm I bet I can replicate those colors a bit”.

Heh this is true. It’s her back wall thats warped…You can see it in the first shot even though I said I wouldn’t use it haha. I probably should have taken a proper picture of it, but it’s just a clear plastic sheet made to look like bricks. Pretty cheesy looking honestly. Nah the damage has nothing to do with how she’s designed and was someone who owned her before Aka’s fault like they dropped her or something.

Yeah, I bought her off Mandarake that way. Though it was me who broke her floaty thing, went to put it in the wall and then ‘snap’ … I think it was then I’d decided she wasn’t worth my time. I was already fairly unhappy with her. Mandarake isn’t the best at explaining the condition of an item…

Side note, I did the same thing to Djibril… But I still like her… mmm tentacles.

If this figure was made around this year or maybe the last year, the quality of the dress might have been improved substantially, like adding soft plastic for those embroidered portions (but thats a tall order).

Love how the ribbons fall and her pose, great review as usual =D

Yea its a shame it took figure making the amount of time it did to progress to this stage as characters from older series get these not quite as good figures. >_<

If Max Factory could do this five years ago why don’t they make more fancy scaled figures nowadays? Just look at those ribbons. I seen this figure before but never knew where here origins were kinda interested in the source material now.

Haha well…yea I love Max’s quality, but the stuff they’ve done recently hasn’t been very visually stimulating (K-On! girls and swimsuit figures…) It’d be nice if they got a bit more ambitious more often that’s for sure. ~_^

Al doesn’t look too bad considering her age. She definitely has her flaws (the leg in particular for me) but they don’t detract too much from enjoying her. She’s pretty cute and probably one of the better figure renditions of her character. Her white dress is really pretty too, all the little red ribbons and frills, she looks like a cake.

I can’t say I’m much of a Demonbane follower. I tried to watch the anime, but episode 1 just bore me to sleep. By the time I woke up crunchyroll had streamed through the entire series without my consciousness; lovely. The VN isn’t all to appealing at the moment either. For some reason the artstyle just doesn’t do it for me. I’m disappointed to hear the game is 1/3 voiced. Surely JAST could have tried to remedy that no?

Haha cake…Can’t argue that. :p

It’s not the greatest game ever I won’t argue that sadly…I’m hoping they translate the sequel though as it looks a great deal better! On the sound thing…Yea the original PC game doesn’t have full voice sadly, which is the version JAST got. I’d highly suggest grabbing the voice patch that gives you full voices from the console version. ~_^

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