Figma: “Kantai Collection” Destroyer Fubuki (Anime Version) by Max Factory

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve done an Anime Saturday feature and I feel bad about it. Not least of all because I’ve got a lot of stuff piling up and waiting to be reviewed. What can I say, other than this is a crazy time of year for me, I don’t have as many weekends off, and time is more than a little tight. Nonetheless, I’m off today and had some time to enjoy a leisurely morning with a pot of coffee and time to open up a Figma. And wouldn’t you just know it… it’s another one of the Fleet Girls from Kantai Collection!

And it’s Fubuki! It’s crazy to think that with five or six of the Fleet Girls already on my Figma shelf, it took this long to get to the main protaganist of the anime. In this case, however, she hasn’t been sitting around waiting to be reviewed, but rather she’s a fairly recent release. I’ll also point out that this is the Animation Version, with a regular version releasing very shortly. I’ve looked at pictures of both figures and I can’t for the life of me see any difference. But seeing as how I’ve never actually played the game, I’m content with the version tied to my beloved anime series.

Starting out with the base figure, Fubuki features here school uniform, including her sailor-style white top with a blue collar and blue sleeve cuffs, and a perfectly sculpted neckerchief tied below her neck. The top is just short enough to show a little midriff, and below that she has a pleated blue skirt. The outfit is topped off with a pair of blue socks, each with a tiny white stripe around the top, and crisp white anchors printed on the sides. While you can strip most of Fubuki’s armaments from her, the leg straps for her torpedo mounts, and her rudder boots are permanent fixtures. This could be disappointing to some collectors who would have preferred the ability to display her completely off duty, but it’s not such a big deal for me. The boots do feature some really nice detail.

Of course, this is a Figma, so you can expect all sorts of extra facial expressions and hands. Fubuki includes three expressions, one normal, one extremely happy with eyes closed, and one serious battle face. Swapping them out involves the usual easy step of popping off the front of the hair. My little gripe here is that the normal face and the battle face are a little too close in my opinion. I think the fault lies with the normal face, which looks more surprised to me. I would have liked something a little more neutral there.

The collection of hands offers no real surprises. If you own any Figmas, then you should know the drill. Fubuki comes with fists, accessory holding hands, splayed finger hands, relaxed hands, and one pointing right hand. OK, let’s get our Fleet Girl all geared up…

For starters, Fubuki comes with her two 61cm triple torpedo mounts (oxygen powered, of course!) attached to her thighs with somewhat restricted ball joints and some sculpted faux straps on her legs to simulate holding them on. You can easily swivel each torpedo mount from pointing up when they’re not in use to facing forward for firing. There’s a little bit of motion left and right, but not a lot. As already demonstrated, these are easy to pop off the figure if you want to display her in her down time.

Next up are her 12.7cm twin gun mount and her backpack. The backpack attaches with a ball jointed peg, which keeps some space between it and her back to allow it to not interfere too much with her posing. Subsequently, there’s another peg hole on the back of the smokestack to plug in the Figma stand. It certainly helps, but I’m surprised to see that even with the backpack, Fubuki is balanced enough to stand on her own. The backpack itself is a nice piece of work with all the detail I’ve come to expect out of a Figma sculpt, right down to the twin anchors and antenna. The piece is cast in battleship gray plastic and there’s a little black and red paint added. I’ll note here that the peg for the stand is a tight fit going into the backpack. Normally, Max Factory includes an adapter piece with a narrower peg, but that wasn’t the case here. It does work, but not as well as if they had included the extra piece.

The twin gun mount is designed to hang on a shoulder strap at her right hip for easy access to it. The strap itself is a little bulky, but not too bad considering the scale. The gun mount attaches to it with an open ended clip, so it’s really easy to take it off the strap so she can hold it and then put it back on again. As mentioned, she does have a pair of accessory holding hands, but she only fires this thing from her right hand in the anime, so one would have been fine for me. The grip on it is a little loose, but for the most part I didn’t have much trouble getting her to hold it straight.

Fubuki isn’t the most complex Figma around, but she sure does hit all the right points and she’s a lot of fun to play with. But that doesn’t come as any surprise to me. The base figure is just about perfect and by now Max Factory has become experts in fashioning Fleet Girl armaments. The only kicker here is that with an original retail of around $60, these figures are approaching that ceiling where I’m beginning to think twice before buying. When it comes to the KanColle figures, I’m probably always going to crumble, but as for those franchises that I’m a little less enthusiastic about? I might have to start getting pickier. As for now… I can’t help but notice the two empty spaces on each side of her and wonder if Figma is planning on getting her fellow Destroyers, Mutsuki and Yuudachi out eventually.

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Figma “Fate/Stay Night” Archer (Reissue) by Max Factory

What’s this? Two Anime Saturdays in a row? Well, I can’t promise this will go on, but after looking at the Figma version of Tohsaka Rin from Fate/Stay Night last week, I was mighty anxious to finally open up her Servant, Archer. I had this one on pre-order since it was first announced and it came in a couple of weeks ago. So let’s burn up one of our Command Seals and check this figure out!

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging. It’s typical Figma fare with a window on the front, some shots of the figure on the sides and back, and this compact little box is totally collector friendly. The figure number, in this case #223, is prominently indicated on the front. You’ll note I never pay much attention to the numbering on these figures and that’s because I try to be pretty selective about the ones I buy. Anyway, the box looks great when lined up on the shelf alongside the other Fate figures. As many of you probably know, I don’t tend to keep a lot of my figure packages, but I do keep all my Figma boxes so I have someplace to keep all that extra stuff. Although, as always, they include a branded Figma ziploc bag for the accessories.

Here he is free of all his protective plastic wrap and I’m happy to say he looks outstanding. I’ve had a thing for crimson trench coats ever since first seeing Trigun a couple decades ago and while Archer isn’t exactly wearing a trench coat, it has the same effect with the billowing skirt that fans out behind his legs. The crimson garment is continued up top with a sort of quarter-jacket over his shoulders and sleeves secured by what looks like a large silver clip on the back. There are also a pair of beautifully sculpted white ribbon ties, which are meant to help hold the two halves of the jacket together on the front. The underlying armor looks great, particularly the silver lining tracing around his chest and back. The belt and armor points on the backs of his sleeves are also painted with a nice silver, as are the armor pieces on his ankles and the toes of his boots. You get some cool straps around his legs, all painted pale blue.

The skirt is cast in two pieces of plastic, each one secured in the back with ball joints. This method allows them to articulate like they’re blowing in the wind or reacting to his movements. It also helps keep them out of the way of the leg articulation. Chances are if you have enough Figmas, you’ve seen this before. It always works really well, and I can’t emphasize that enough. Archer has one of those costumes that really wasn’t made to translate well off screen, but they did a beautiful job with it here.

Archer includes two different portraits, which is one less than I’m used to getting with my Figmas. You get one rather stoic or serious face and one shouty action face. I’m not going to gripe about the lack of a third portrait, as these two represent the sum of Archer’s emotional states. Unlike the usual Figma face-swaps, Archer’s hair is part of each face, so you don’t have to remove the front of the hair to change the face out. This makes it a little simpler, but still not too much different. Both faces are great. He’s got a slightly darker and yellow skin tone than usual, which is appropriate for the character. His eyes and eyebrows are perfectly printed and the open mouth looks particularly good.

And with swappable faces also come swappable hands. Archer includes a pair of fists and a pair of splayed finger hands. He actually comes with one more splayed finger hand, which is very slightly different and rather puzzling to me. He has a right hand with two fingers pointing. This hand can be used either as a gesture or to hold his arrow. And finally you get two accessory holding hands. So let’s talk accessories!

First off, Archer includes the twin swords, Kanshou and Bakuya and these are superb! They have sweeping cutlass-like blades and each one sports the Yin & Yang symbols on the hilt. Bakuya has a beautifully painted silver blade, but I especially love the honeycomb pattern on Kanshou’s dark blade. These fit snugly into the accessory holding hands and it’s nice to get some Figma swords that don’t feel ridiculously fragile… I’m looking at you SAO Figmas… ALL OF YOU! Yes, having a chunkier design makes all the difference.

Of course, Archer also comes with his bow, which is elegantly shaped, quite long, and all black. The accessory itself is great, but getting it into his hand was a frustrating affair. The grip doesn’t leave any space between his thumb and forefinger and the plastic used for the hand isn’t very pliable. Thankfully the thin guard plate can be un-pegged from the bow so as not to damage it and I was eventually able to get the weapon into his hand. Getting it out again was just as much the ordeal. It would have been helpful if the bow split into two halves, so you could put one in through the top of his grip and one through the bottom, and then peg them together.

Finally, Archer includes Caladbolg, the sword that he re-purposed as a ridiculously powerful arrow. This is an absolutely gorgeous piece of work from it’s ornate blue and gold hilt to it’s cork-screw silver blade. Max Factory knows how to produce some amazing looking weapons and this is another great example of that. The sword will fit comfortably into either of Archer’s gripping hands, but it’s really meant to accompany his bow.

Firing a giant and powerful sword out of a bow may look and sound great in an anime series, but recreating it practically here is a bit of a different story. The hand that is intended to knock the sword into the bow doesn’t hold it quite as well as I would have hoped, but I was able to make it work with a little effort.

Even a few issues interacting with some of the accessories, couldn’t make me love this figure any less. It seemed like it took forever for Archer to get his original release, and while I was watching it closely for a while, I must have moved on to other things because he eventually got released, sold out, and I didn’t know it until it was too late and he was selling for stupid money. I think that was like three years ago. I had this reissue pre-ordered as soon as I got wind of it and now that he’s in hand, I can stop beating myself up for letting the first release get away. I’ll confess that it’s getting harder for me to drop $65 on Figmas these days with so much else competing for my dollars, but I never seem to regret it once I get them in hand.

Figma “Fate/Stay Night” Tohsaka Rin 2.0 by Max Factory

It feels like a long while since I stopped in with some Anime Saturday love, but I have the day off and I made a big pot of coffee and I feel like putting on some Fate/Stay Night and opening up a Figma so let’s do this!

Yup, I love me some Fate/Stay Night. It was one of the first anime series that I purchased on Blu-Ray. It’s a go-to series for me when I want to lay around and binge watch something. And it’s also one of those cases where I kick myself for not getting on board with the Figmas in the beginning, because some of those have become stupid expensive. Luckily, Max Factory has been putting out reissues and different versions of the characters and I’ve been picking up a lot of them. Previously, I checked out Caster from Fate/Stay Extra, today I’m having a look at Tohsaka Rin from Fate/Stay Night. The packaging is typical Figma fare, so I’m not going to dwell on it. Instead, let’s open her up and get down to it!

The first Figma release of Rin had her in her crimson pullover with the crucifix on the front. This one has her wearing a more traditional school outfit with a brown vest and poufy white blouse. I tend to prefer the former look a little more, but this outfit definitely allows for more details and perhaps a more interesting looking figure. There’s some particularly nice detail in her neck tie, which includes some beautifully painted gold borders and tiny crosses. She also has some red border striping on her collar and again on her sleeves. Her skirt is dark blue, and features some strategically placed slits so as not to hamper her hip articulation. One might be tempted to gripe about the lack of paint on her buttons, but they are actually brown on screen, so it isn’t a question of being frugal with the paint, but rather being show accurate.

I’ve always liked Rin’s hair style and the figure pulls it off quite well. The pigtails are on ball joints, so they can be positioned to hang down over the front of her shoulders, or sweep back so they’re out of the way. The back of her hair is also hinged to help accommodate the standard Figma figure stand, which pegs into her back as usual. The stock portrait features Rin smiling with large blue perfectly printed eyes. And as usual, she includes alternate faces, which are easily swapped out by removing the front of the hair piece. The extra faces include…

The shouty, “I’m going to kill you, Shiruo!” face. This is one that I’m likely to use the most, as I’m probably going to display her casting a spell.

And the the third and final choice is sad Rin face, which is wonderfully expressive, but I doubt I’ll use it much, because I don’t want my action figures to be sad.

Rin also comes with an alternative front hair piece, which includes her glasses attached to it. This piece works and looks great, and I love that they included it. It isn’t easy to do good looking glasses for figures in this scale, but this is a case where they nailed it perfectly.

And since this is a Figma, Rin also includes a passel of extra hands, which come in handy (HA!) for all your different posing needs. She has a pair of fists, a pair of pointing hands, a pair of splayed hands, a pair with her fingers together. She also comes with a single item holding hand, which doesn’t really serve any purpose here, since she doesn’t come with anything to hold.

Of course, no matter which pair of hands you’re using or if you’re mixing and matching, all of the right hands include her Command Seals printed on the back.

Also included is a swap out lower left arm. This one has the sleeve rolled up and includes magic effects printed on it. Pretty cool!

And here’s a first for me and Figma… Rin also has a pair of swap out feet, just in case you want her wearing slippers. Yup. Why not? These are actually a bitch to get on and off, so I doubt I’ll be using them much.

Lastly, Rin comes with a very cool set of magical effect parts. The circular ring plugs into either of her pointing fingers, and the directed part of the blast plugs into the other side of the ring’s center. The whole thing is cast in a vibrant red. It’s a fantastic looking effect, and it will most likely be the way I’ll display her the most.

I’ve had my eye on Rin 2.0 for a while and I’ve been waiting for her price to hit that sweet spot to make me pull the trigger. Of course, that’s a dangerous game with Figmas. If you wait too long you’ll find yourself paying for it later or doing without and hoping for a re-release down the road. In the case of this gal, I grabbed her at just under fifty bucks. That’s not an unreasonable sum for Figmas these days, as they tend to hit retail at between sixty and seventy, depending on how complex they are. Rin is a pretty simple figure, but she’s incredibly well done, and it feels like she came with just enough stuff to make me happy. Although, I would have happily traded the slipper feet for a tea set. I’m happy to say that I was also able to pick up her Servant, Archer, and I’ll do my best to find the time to check him out next Saturday.

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Zuikaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did an Anime Saturday, and while I don’t have a whole lot of time this weekend, I thought I’d stop in with a quick look at another figure from Kantai Collection. Last time, I checked out the Aircraft Carrier Shokaku, this time I’m opening up her sister ship, Zuikaku. There are a lot of similarities here, so I’m going to try to keep this brief. Or at least as brief as my obsession with KanColle will allow.

Zuikaku comes in an enclosed box, just like her sister ship, with the same basic deco and about the same level of assembly required. It’s not a huge box, but as a “Super Premium” release, she is a 9-inch scaled figure, so it isn’t tiny either. There are several bits to attach, her bow needs to be strung, and there’s a quiver of arrows that need to be removed from a sprue and have stickers applied to their feathers. Everything goes together simple and easy, although I do have to restring the back of my bow, as it turned out looking awkward.

And here she is all set up and looking spectacular! Because Zuikaku is another Shokaku Class Aircraft Carrier, her outfit and gear are virtually identical to that of her sister ship. In fact, the only notable difference are her hip weapons. Shokaku had AA guns mounted on those points, whereas Zuikaku has 12cm rocket launchers. If you want to hear a more detailed discussion of the design, I’d refer you back to that review.

When I reviewed Shokaku, I gushed a lot about how amazingly detailed the sculpt was, and the same goes for this Fleet Girl. This design has so much going on, between the outfit and the ship armor and armaments. It feels like it should be way too ambitious for a prize figure to pull off, and yet SEGA really did the designs proud. Not only is the sculpt magnificent, but the paint is there to back it up, right down to the little white stitching on her skirt.

Now as much as I loved her sister ship, I have to give the nod to Zuikaku here as being my favorite of the two. Part of that comes from the pose, which is a little more action orientated. She’s balancing on one foot with her left knee pulled up. She has both her bow and her shield are both on her left side, while she clutches at an arrow in her right. Once again, the carriers in Kantai Collection serve as archers and the arrows they shoot turn into aircraft squadrons.

But ultimately, it’s the portrait here that wins me over. I just think this one has more personality and I really dig the way her pony tails are splayed in the wind. Her shorter hair also allows for a much better look at her quiver. Shokaku’s was almost entirely obscured by her hair. As usual, the eyes are perfectly printed, and I really dig her determined expression.

The base is more or less identical. It’s a simple white hexagon with her name printed on it. These tend to take up a lot of room on the shelf, but they don’t feel over-sized for the figure.

SEGA’s “Super Premium” line of figures continues to blow me away. These feel a lot closer to the $100+ fully scaled figures you get from Triple-A companies, only at a fraction of the cost. Indeed, Zuikaku is currently on Amazon for less than $20 shipped if you have a Prime Membership. You can’t beat that! The plastic is a little softer, the skin tones, a bit more waxy, but all in all, I’ve been impressed by every one that I’ve added to my collection. On the next Anime Saturday, I’ll try to get back to check out another one of the Figmas that are piling up, if not next week, than the week after that for sure.

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Shokaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

After stiffing everyone on Tuesday’s content this week because of real life intrusions (sorry about that!), I thought it only fair to drop by this weekend for an Anime Saturday update. It’s a beautiful morning, I’ve got a generous mug of coffee, and I’m opening up a new Kantai Collection figure by SEGA. What could be better? How about the fact that the Blu-Ray of Kantai Collection Animation Sequence arrived at my door a little while ago and I’m going to spend a good part of this weekend binging it. Oh, yeah! But for now… let’s check out Aircraft Carrier Shokaku!

SEGA has gone back and forth between window boxes and enclosed boxes for their 9-inch scale “Super Premium” figures. Shokaku comes in a fully enclosed box and this tends to be my preference, as they’re easier to collapse and store. It also makes sense here, since there’s a fair amount of assembly required for this figure and she wouldn’t look complete through a window. The box looks good, has several photos of the figure, and virtually no English text. Inside, the figure comes wrapped in plastic, along with the base, and a bunch of pieces to attach before she’s ready for display. Just give me a few ticks, and I’ll get her all set up…

…I’m back, and ain’t she great looking! While she’s 9-inch scale, the large yumi (bow) gives this figure a lot more height. Shokaku is only my second Aircraft Carrier among the many Fleet Girls in my collection. The other is SEGA’s Akagi (I don’t really count Taito’s I-401 Carrier Sub, because that one is based off a really unusual boat). Shokaku is from the game, rather than the anime, and like all the Kancolle aircraft carriers, she functions as an archer who can fire arrows that transform into support and attack aircraft. I really enjoy these carriers because they’re costumes are based on the traditional Kyudo style and looks so unique when combined with the Fleet Girls’ usual ship parts. And because Shokaku is an armored carrier, she has a lot more of those parts than Akagi did.

The sculpting here is really top notch and very detailed. Indeed, I’d dare say that this is the most complex design of all my KanColle prize figures. The pleated skirt and billowing top contrast nicely with the cold gray steel of her chest armor and armament belt. All the little belts and straps are present and convincingly “hold” her heavy gear in place. She has armored plates coming off her knees and her rudder boots, and she has a pair of AA guns mounted on each side of her hips. The attachments to all of these guns and armor plates are sculpted to look like they can articulate, but they cannot. There are some great little touches with the paint, particularly the tiny stitches painted on the him of her skirt and the bow that’s tied around her waist.

In typical Fleet Girls fashion, Shokaku carries a very long shield on her right arm, which is designed after a carrier deck. She also uses this to recover any aircraft sorties that survive their missions. The detail on the surface is a pre-applied sticker and looks really nice. I love the archer glove on her right hand. In her left hand, she holds her yumi, which includes a piece of fishing line for string. Stringing the bow is part of the assembly, and it can be a bit tricky to get it right.

The horizontal tube slung across her back is made to resemble parts of the carrier and it doubles as a quiver for her arrows. This piece was a bit tough to attach and it’s even more difficult to see as it’s almost totally obscured by her hair. She comes with a total of six arrows, five for the quiver and one to slide into her hand. You get two styles of stickers for the feathers, I just mixed them up.

The portrait is solid, but the plastic used for her skin is a tad more waxy than I would like. Still, she has a nice, determined expression on her face and her eyes are perfectly printed. She has long gray hair that fans out behind her and with strands that fall down in front of her shoulders. She also has a long hair ribbon.

The base is a simple white hexagon, with her name printed on it. It’s a fairly big base that takes up a lot of room on the shelf, but the figure takes up even more, because of her long, angled bow.

Shokaku ran me $17 shipped from Amazon and I’m still marveling at what a great deal this was. Besides being the larger “Super Premium” format, the insane amount of detail that went into this sculpt and the quality of paint makes it feel like it could have been priced two or three times that amount. In fact, I was so thrilled with this figure, I’ve already ordered her sister ship, Zuikaku in SEGA’s “Super Premium” format as well.

Pop! Vinyls (Cowboy Bebop): Spike, Jet, Faye, and Ed by Funko

I was all ready to open up another Kantai Collection Figma for this week’s Anime Saturday, but then I thought, “why not serve up a little variety and do something else.” How about some Pop! Vinyls! Yes, folks, while I don’t buy a whole lot of these, the truth is I’m still part of the problem, even if just marginally so. But at least I can still say I’m very choosy about the ones I buy, and those purchases are often targeted at franchises that haven’t been properly exploited in plastic. Apart from a couple Play Arts Kai figures, there’s a bewildering lack of merchandising around Cowboy Bebop. I don’t get this. I mean, seriously? Still no Figmas or Figuarts for the Bebop crew? I get that the love affair with this series has waned in recent years. As always, the more the Internet adores something, the more they will turn on it later on, and I feel that’s set in vis-a-vis Bebop. But to me, Cowboy Bebop belongs among the classic anime that it steals borrows from. And, as usual, Funko has stepped in to fill the plastic void with some of their goddamn Pop!s.

Today I’m looking at all four of the current BePop! offerings, numbers 145 to #148 in the Pop! Animation Series if you’re keeping track. They originally showed off some concept art for Ein a while back, but I haven’t seen him actually make it to vinyl yet. As for the packaging, these all come in standard Pop! window boxes. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. There’s a pyramid of these things at the local Barnes & Noble. I think they have more Pop!s than books now. Anyway, let’s run through these, starting with Spike Spiegal.

This is a great likeness for a Pop!, and there’s no doubt about who he’s supposed to be. I love the way the head cocks to the side ever so slightly and they really nailed his Dylan-esque mop of hair. The body is not as lanky as it should be, but let’s face it, one doesn’t buy Pop!s looking for accurate proportions. They did a great job on his blue futuristic leisure suit, complete with yellow shirt and loose tie. He’s even got a cigarette burning in his right hand. The paint quality on this one is excellent, with pretty clean lines and not much slop to speak about. While he doesn’t really need it, Spike comes with a clear disc stand to help keep him from toppling over. Five out of five Woolongs.

Jet Black is also unmistakable to me in this Pop! form. Of course, his portrait is a lot more distinctive than Spike’s, thanks to his cyborg implant and unique choice of facial hair. They even sculpted in the scar that runs down the right side of his face. Unfortunately, they didn’t line up the break in his eyebrow paint to match it, but it doesn’t bother me that much. The rest of the paint is really good, especially the emblem printed on the back of his jacket. Jet is the only one in the lineup that doesn’t come with a stand, nor does he have peg holes in his feet, but he stands just fine on his own. Even if I take a little something away for the botched scar paint, he still gets four out of five servings of Bell Peppers and Beef. Tasty!

Faye Valentine is another very distinctive looking character that translates really well to Pop! form. With her purple hair and yellow hairband, I think I would probably know who this was even if you just handed me her head. The outfit is also created down to the last details of her mid-riff crossing suspenders and thigh-high stockings. I even like the way she’s standing with her hands on her hips and her weight shifted slightly to one side. The paint here is pretty damn good too! The yellow sure is flashy, and I like the mix of gloss and matte finishes. No complaints here, five out of five regurgitated poker chips.

And that brings us to Edward, and another direct hit for this series. Funko had a lot to work with here when it comes to the portrait. The blush on her cheeks is well executed, the hair is great, and the goggles that she wears up on her head actually feature translucent tinted green lenses. She has the simplest outfit among all of them, but it still hits all the right points. The plastic used for her skin tone is a little too shiny for my taste, but I’m not even going to take any points off for that. Five out of Five super-intelligent corgi pups. Arf!!!

What I really enjoy about this set of Pop! Vinyls is that it not only fills the Cowboy Bebop shaped void in my collection, but it’s an easy in and out. Funko may make more of these, we may eventually get that Ein or maybe a Vicious or a Julia, but I don’t need them, because the core of the show’s cast is right here and ready to go up on my shelf. And the beautiful thing about Pop!s is that I rarely ever have to pay full price for them. Someone is almost always doing some kind of deal to chip away at the piles of these on retail shelves. In this case, I got in on a BOGO, so these basically only set me back a fiver each. Not bad at all. And that’s it for today’s Anime Saturday. I think it’s time I blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. Ok. 3. 2. 1. Let’s jam. dundundundundundundundun duuuuuuuuuuuun …

Figma: “Kantai Collection” Battleship Nagato by Max Factory

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve done a proper Anime Saturday update. Well, time has been tight, but this week I was on vacation, so I had no excuses. Indeed, and to make up for it, I pushed my way through all the prize figures that have been piling up and went straight for a Figma. And since I’m going through some major KanColle withdrawal, I’ve decided to go with Secretary Ship Nagato from Kantai Collection. I have looked at a couple KanColle FigFix figures, but this is my first full blown Figma from their Kantai Collection line up.

Nagato comes in a traditional Figma window box. This is the larger style box to accommodate her armament rig. It’s rather bland when compared to some of the other Figma packages lined up on my shelf, but I guess it sort of suits the cold gray color of naval hardware. The window offers a decent view of what’s in the box, with all the pieces and the figure each wrapped in plastic. This is figure #232, which is really meaningless to me because I’m damn sure not a completist when it comes to Figmas, rather I just cherry pick the franchises that I enjoy. The box is collector friendly and I do hang on to my Figma boxes in order to have somewhere to keep all the goodies inside.

Here’s Nagato without all her guns, which is the way she spent most of the anime series before sailing out to kick some major ass for the finale. The Secretary ships, Nagato and Mutsu are among my favorite Fleet Girls and just looking at this figure reminds me why. Nagato is elegant, stately, and her drive and determination all conspire to make her just so damn sexy. The outfit doesn’t hurt either. She sports a cut-off top with some reinforced armor pieces and an exposed mid-riff (sending some mixed messages there, Nagato!), as well as a short, pleated skirt. Her black and maroon stockings, held up by adorable little anchor themed straps, have the white hash marks down the sides. The outfit is rounded out with her little rudder boots. The paint here is all smooth and clean and I got absolutely zero complaints about this gal.

Of course, Nagato comes with an array of extra faces and hands. The hands include a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of hands with the fingers together, a pair of gripping hands, and a pair of fists. As for the faces, the variations are very subtle, but include a happy face, a determined face, and an embarrassed face. Granted, this is probably a greater range of emotion than Nagato showed in the entire run of the anime series. She was all business, and spent most of her time planning strategies in the command room.

No matter which face you choose, Nagato has her very distinctive looking antenna angling out behind her head and jutting out from the sides. Also, her long hair is parted in the middle down the back and attached with ball joints. And now that we’ve seen everything about the basic figure… let’s gear her up!

Nagato comes with her iconic 41cm Twin Gun Mount, which plugs right into her back and makes her a force to be reckoned with! Each half of the rig is hinged on her back and can be closed in around her. The rear gun emplacements swivel and each barrel can elevate independently. The forward emplacements are on rotating hinges, so the entire assembly can lower and elevate as well as swivel, plus each barrel can also elevate independently. The sculpt on the rig is fairly simple, but it does feature some panel lines and sculpted rivets. The bulk of the piece is cast in battleship gray plastic with some red accents and a tan plastic used for the bases of the barrels.

The back of the rig features the two little AA guns and the smokestack rising up from the middle.

Obviously this beast of an rig makes Nagato a little back heavy. It does displace the weight fairly well, I have been able to get her to stand freely with it on, but for the most part, this is where the Figma stand can happily take over.

I’ve had my eye on Nagato for a long time and came close to paying some pretty ridiculous prices for her. In the end, I was able to bag her for around $65 and I’m pretty comfortable with that price, especially since most Figmas go up for pre-order in that price range, no matter how simple they are. Nagato is a beautiful figure on her own, but her gun mount goes a long way to justify the price. Granted, she doesn’t have the wow factor of my mammoth Super-Premium Nagato by SEGA, but then this one is actually articulated, which makes her a whole lot more fun.

Figma “Fate/Extra” Caster by Max Factory

I do indeed love me some Fate/Stay Night. It’s one of those anime series that I’ll watch over again, even though I have a dozen new series waiting on my “to watch” list. That’s probably why I’m so far behind. Well, it’s only natural that love spilled over to Fate/Extra when it released on the Sony PSP. I thought it was a miracle the game was localized for US release and jumped on it right away. In the end, there was a lot I liked about it, and a lot I didn’t. Fast forward to now and Fate/Extra is poised to get an anime series treatment in the form of Fate/Extra Last Encore. Oh, and we also got this new Figma release of Caster from Max Factory!

As unlikely as getting a US localization of the game was, getting figures from the game is just mind-blowing to me. Caster comes in a pretty typical window box. It’s numbered as #304 on the front and features shots of the character on the side panels and plenty more on the back. Everything is collector friendly, and that’s a good thing because, as always, there are quite a few bits and bobs inside that you’ll want to keep track of.

And wow, I absolutely love how they recreated Caster’s outfit here. Granted, the character is rendered in 3D in the game, but I still wasn’t sure how this costume would translate to plastic form. Well, the answer is, beautifully! As one can imagine, it’s not exactly practical when it comes to character movement. For example, when you render those puffy sleeves in plastic, they tend to get in the way, but thanks to some strategic ball joints, I’m still pretty satisfied with how they’ve managed to salvage some decent arm movement, despite of such an impractical design. Even the flowing black flaps are set on ball joints to allow them to be posed out of the way as needed. And speaking of impractical designs, she’s sporting some crazy platform shoes.

And yup, she’s sporting her big and bushy fox tail, and it’s proven to be the most frustrating thing about this figure. It simply will not stay in place. Seeing as how the peg is mounted on a ball joint, I’m tempted to tip it in with a little glue. And while I’ve always found Figmas to be exceptionally well balanced figures, Caster’s tail makes her decidedly back heavy, which is no small feat considering that she isn’t exactly packing light in the chest region. I was able to get her to stand on her own, but it can be a frustrating affair. Thankfully, you get the usual stand, which sockets into the hole in her back. I should also note here that the coloring on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. The blues and black and gold leaf all go so well together. Toss in that orange fox fur and her warm skin tone and you get a figure that is most definitely pleasing on the eyes!

Caster comes with three different portraits, and these are all pretty standard Figma fare.  You get a smiley face, a worried face, and a super happy, playful face. These are swapped out the standard way, by removing the front of the hair. And yes, the adorable fox ears stay on as they are sculpted as part of her head.

You also get a bunch of hands, although this is one figure where I’ve found that I didn’t have a lot of desire to swap out the hands. Her stock hands are great for spell casting, and those are the ones I’ve left on her most of the time. You get a pair of fists, which are hard to even see buried in those sleeves, a pair of pointing fingers, which are useful, and then some that are designed to work with her accessories.

The first of which is one of her charms. It’s super tiny and designed to fit between the fingers of either one of two specialized hands. There’s printing on one side.

Far more impressive is her Noble Phantasm mirror, the Eightfold Blessings of Amaterasu. This piece includes its own stand, plus an extra arm so that it can be attached to the figure stand and made to levitate around Caster to simulate her attacks. You do get some hands that look like they are designed to hold it, but they don’t work too well, and in fairness most of the time Caster is commanding the mirror she isn’t actually holding it. With that having been said, it’s a super fun accessory.

So yeah, it’s crazy that we’re getting Figmas from Fate/Extra, and doubly so that we’re getting them strictly off the game and before the anime even comes out. But I’m not complaining. I seem to recall seeing images of Saber from the game as well, but I can’t remember if she’s out already or yet to be released. I’d look into it, but right now, I’m more interested in getting the re-issue of Saber from Fate/Stay Night when she comes out, not to mention Archer as well. As for Caster, well it was more my love of her character design than than anything else that made this figure irresistible to me. Although I will say that playing around with her has made me want to pop in the Fate/Extra UMD and give it a spin again.

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax Ignition: Asuna (Game Color Version) by SEGA

Yes, as if there weren’t already enough Asuna figures on the market from Sword Art Online, her appearance in SEGA’s All Stars-Inspired 2D fighting game, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax has given the purveyors of plastic another excuse for more releases. The game is pretty damn good, and in a move that still amazes me to no end, the home version got a US release on the Sony PS3 a couple of years back. Japanese versions are also available on the PS Vita and the PS4. If anime and fighting games are your thing, you owe it to yourself to track it down.

In the game, Asuna wears her familiar Blood Knights outfit, both in the traditional colors and in a black and white version to represent the typical recolors we see in fighting games. While I may eventually double dip on the regular look, I thought it was a lot more fun to go with her unconventional and totally unique black outfit and hair color. The box is your typical prize figure fare. It’s completely enclosed with some nice shots of the figure. The copy is mostly in Japanese, but there is a little English here and there. Inside, the figure comes on a clear plastic tray with a little bit of simple assembly required.

After putting on her scabbard, popping her sword into her hand, and plugging her into the base, Asuna is all read for display and looking great. The pose is elegant and powerful, with her hips jutting forward, her left hand stretched out defiantly, and her trusty sword, Lambent Light, poised in her right hand and ready for action. The energy of the composition is furthered by the unseen wind that ruffles her coat and excites her hair. Fantastic!

The coloring takes the white and red deco of the Blood Knight’s costume and exchanges the white for black and the red for white. It’s an interesting deco, especially when coupled with the silver of her chest and ankle armor. I like it a lot, especially the look of the white crosses on her stockings, and the border lining of her tunic. The paint quality here isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best either. With the naked eye, it looks fine, get in closer, and some areas, particularly the white borders of her bicep cuffs and straps, tend to look a little blurry. It’s not something that I would really hold against the figure, considering the price point, and you really have to get in close and scrutinize it to notice.

The portrait is excellent. I love the printing on Asuna’s wide eyes, and her mouth is open as if she is shouting a spell or a battle cry. In the game color version, even her normally red hair does not escape the pallet swap, as it’s been turned to black. It works well on this figure, but I tend to be partial to red heads.

The base is a simple white hexagon with the logo of the game printed in blue outline.

This figure works well on a number of levels. If you can’t get enough Asuna, and you want something different for your collection, then this is certainly a worthy purchase. It’s worth noting that Asuna scales quite well with my two Taito Asuna figures. On the other hand, if you just happen to be a fan of the fighting game, it’s probably a small miracle that the game produced any merchandising, let alone figures like these. I was able to grab her off of Amazon from a US seller for $22 shipped and I think that’s a pretty solid deal for what you’re getting.

KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

Who’s ready for another Anime Saturday celebration of the amazing and wondrous world of Kantai Collection? I know I am! Today, I’ve got a new Fleet Girl cruising into port and it is none other than the Akizuki Class Destroyer. This lovely lady with a lovely name (“Autumn Moon”) is a bit bigger and badder than most of the Destroyers I’ve looked at before. Much like Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi, Akizuki also has two sister ships, Teruzuki and Hatsuzuki, one of which will be showing up here on a Saturday in the near future.

SEGA tends to mix it up when it comes to the packaging for their Super Premium (SPM) figures. The original trio of Destroyers came in window boxes, whereas Battleship Nagato and Akizuki here come in fully enclosed boxes. I actually prefer these, because they’re easier to store and easier to keep from getting damaged. You get some nice gradient coloring with a hexagonal pattern and several shots of the figure inside. There’s virtually no English on the box at all, so here’s a situation where you really need to know who you’re looking at. Setting her up requires a little more assembly than usual, but she goes together nice and easy. It’s worth noting here that Akizuki is from the game, rather than the anime, but we won’t hold that against her. And, to quote her from the game, “Akizuki’s night battle, shall I show it to you?” Um… Yes, please!

And Wow… I’m in love! Akizuki is definitely a heavier Destroyer than I’m used to seeing as she has the dual gun emplacements that make her appear more similar to KanColle’s Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. I absolutely adore everything about this figure, but let’s just start with her outfit, which consists of a mostly white (with a little gray) sailor-style blouse and pleated skirt, short gloves, and a bright yellow neckerchief. What really makes her costume distinctive, however, is her armored corset and neck guard, designed after the ship’s forward bow. The coloring on her costume is nice and clean, and the bright white and yellow contrasts beautifully with the gray of her armor and armaments. She is a damn snappy looking figure.

The portrait is also fantastic. I love the depth given to her hair sculpt, and the mechanical look to her eyes. She has an Anti-AA Fire Detector Assembly perched on her head and a headband with “61st Destroyer Division” printed in Japanese. As I’m sure you know by now, I have quite a few of these Fleet Girls inhabiting my shelves, and I have to say this is one of my favorite head sculpts. The detail is just fabulous.

Moving on to her armaments, Akizuki features a 61cm Oxygen-Powered Quadruple Torpedo Launcher slung across her back, which if you haven’t seen the anime, make for a spectacularly cool looking attack maneuver when the girls launch these babies. Another really cool and unique aspect of Akizuki’s gear are the four replacement 10cm gun barrels that she has strapped to her right thigh, because those Type 98 guns were notorious for needing frequent replacing. I also really dig her rudder boots. They’re higher and more graceful looking than most of the other girls’ boots and actually resemble a pair of high heels. The crimson coloring also looks great with the matte gray.

Of course, the real star of this gun show are the Type 98 10cm Twin High-angle Gun mounts, harnessed to her hips. Not only do I love that these are fully articulated, but I really dig the split-prow design of her rig, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt. And much like Shimakaze has her little animated gun buddies, called Rensouhou, Akizuki has her own gun-toting familiars, which are delightfully referred to as Chou-10cm-hou! These little fellas can be removed from her rig and allowed to wander about on their own. OMG, I’m dying!!

The base here is a white ovoid platform with her name emblazoned on it. She attaches to it by only one foot and leans forward while pointing to the target of her impending barrage. I love the balance of this piece, which really adds a sense of both style and excitement to the composition.

Akizuki scales quite well with SEGA’s other SPM figures, which means she’s a bit bigger than the Destroyers like Fubuki, but her armaments are still dwarfed by that of Secretary Ship Nagato’s.

Akizuki was about $25 shipped from a US Seller on Amazon, and holy hell is that a great deal! All of the SEGA SPM figures in my collection have been totally on point when it comes to quality, but aside from Nagato, which admittedly ran me three times the cost of this figure, Akizuki is without a doubt the showpiece of my SEGA fleet. Everything about this figure comes together so beautifully. She’s got a fantastic sculpt, solid paintwork, and the ability to remove both Chou-10cm-hou-chan figures is a wonderful little bonus. SEGA really outdid themselves here!