One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nami by Banpresto

It’s the weekend! And I’m actually off this weekend! I had every intention of reviewing a Figma today, but this past week turned into a real shit-show and what little spare time I had I spent playing video games to relieve stress. To put it another way, reviewing Figmas takes time, and I didn’t have time. But, I wasn’t about to let my streak of Anime Saturday reviews die, so here I am with another prize figure from Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series. Last time it was Boa Hancock, this time it’s Nami!

Just like Boa’s packaging, the box here is sizable, as the figure inside is roughly 9-inch scale and comes mostly assembled. All you have to do is remove it from the plastic, put Nami’s head onto her body and plug her into the base. There are some additional stand parts if you want them, but I’ll come back to that toward the end of the review. I don’t have much more to say about the box, other than it has plenty of photos of the figure inside and it’s made of super flimsy cardboard, so mine got beat up pretty bad in transit. Also, it’s worth repeating the mission statement for this series, which is printed in English on the front of the box. “Our aim was to create a figure that exudes the female form, including an amazing hourglass figure, ideal lady curves, and proportional balance.” You sold me, Banpresto! Let’s take a look!

And here she is all set up and ready to go, and I must say she is pretty exquisite and for a prize figure, the quality here is excellent. The shapely Straw Hat navigator stands on one leg as she adjusts the heel of her left sandal with her right hand. Her other hand resting on what little there is of her shorty-short shorts. Her head is turned and she offers an alluring little side glance. In addition to her denim-style shorts and orange high-heeled sandals, she sports a super skimpy red bikini top and a rather magnificently plumed pirate hat. In terms of a traditional look for the character, I don’t think this costume takes as many liberties as they did with Boa Hancock, although I’m definitely sensing a giant pirate hat theme in this series. As for the composition, well the pose certainly has sex appeal, and I always get a little extra enjoyment out of statues that are posed in a way that exhibits perfect balance.

The paint quality is quite good, with a lush and glossy crimson for her bikini top. The paint applications for the strings could have been a wee bit sharper, but it’s nothing that I’m going to get upset about. The shorts feature a very realistic blue that replicates the denim material rather nicely, along with a lighter blue used for the ragged cut fringe. Even the black lines of her g-string are pretty sharp. The plastic used for her skin tone is warm and smooth, although under certain lighting it can look a tad waxy. There are some seam lines running up the sides of the figure, but they’re pretty subtle and you have to get in pretty close to notice them. Let’s take a closer look at some of the details…

I love the attention to detail expressed in her rings and bracelets. Each individual ring on her fingers is unique and neatly painted. The sculpt on the brown leather wrist wrap is pretty intricate and it contrasts nicely with the candy-colored red and white bracelet. Moving on to her left arm, she has the updated version of her Log Pose with the three globed needles to help her navigate the New World. The red beaded bracelet is painted neatly, but if you get in close enough you can see where the sculpt is not painted around the skin and it looks a little strange. And yes, I’m really looking for stuff to nitpick here. Also note that her fingernails are painted pink.

And let’s take a quick look at the back of her shorts so that we can soak in the… um, detail. The sculpted stitching includes the pockets, belt loops, and various seam lines, and I think they did a nice job with the ragged edges. The sides of the jeans are laced together with sculpted string, which is carefully painted.

And here’s a look at her trademark blue tattoo, which is neatly printed on her left arm. This shot also offers a good look at the painted plumage in her pirate hat. The feathers are red, yellow, and blue, the hat is painted with a leather-like brown finish, and there’s a nice gold border painted around the edges of the brim.

And that brings us to the portrait, which achieves Nami-levels of cute. In fact, based on my patented Namiometer, I’d rate this one with a cuteness factor of 9. The combination of her wide, perfectly printed eyes and her knowing smirk, punctuated by her mischievous eyebrows really sums up the character perfectly. And while the pirate hat itself is quite nice, I can’t help but have my attention stolen away by the wild sculpt of her beautiful orange hair. Fantastic!

The base is a simple translucent black disk, which eschews the creativity of Boa’s treasure stand for something a lot more functional. Nami’s right foot pegs into it and it holds her up perfectly straight. If you note the socket behind her foot, that’s for an additional post with a clip that’s designed to go around her upper right leg to hold her steady. I’m hesitant to use it because I’m afraid it might mark or scratch the skin tone. It’s also a bit unsightly and totally unnecessary as she stands fine without it. I don’t want to dump all over the creativity used for Boa’s stand, but I think I prefer this one and I wish Banpresto had used a standard style base for this series.

Despite the CRANEKING logo stamped on the box, this figure really blurs that line between cheap prize figure and premium scaled figure. But then the somewhat inflated price reflects that. While I paid the higher price of $30 for Boa Hancock, Nami here was $35, and while that’s a bit pricey for a mere prize figure, I can’t say it wasn’t money well spent. She’s big and she looks fantastic on the shelf. As much as I’d love to adorn my shelves with $150-200 Nami statues, I collect way too much stuff to be able to pump that kind of cash into my anime collectibles. Maybe someday I’ll invest in that one special Nami figure, and I suppose I’ll know that one when I see it. But for now, this is a really well done figure, and I’m really digging this Flag Diamond Ship series. Some of my usual haunts have Vinsmoke Reiju up for pre-order as the next figure gracing this series, but sadly not until September.

Advertisements

One Piece “Flag Diamond Ship” Boa Hancock by Banpresto

Did you know that one of my favorite pastimes is drinking a bunch of Jameson and trawling the Interwebs for prize figures? Yup, I’m a man of simple pleasures. They tend to be pretty cheap, so I can’t get into too much trouble, but as a rule I keep seeing a lot of the same stuff over and over again so I don’t end up buying a lot. But just often enough something new pops in and surprises me, and last time it was this Flag Diamond Ship series by Banpresto. I call it a series, but I’ve only been able to find two so far, Boa and Nami, and I snapped up both of them pretty quickly. Maybe there will be more, who knows? I want to go straight for the Nami, but since I just looked at her Variable Action Hero a couple weeks back, I’m going to open up Boa today for Anime Saturday!

The box is pretty typical prize figure fare, albeit it’s bigger to house this 9-inch scale figure. Yeah, when it comes to prize figures, I tend to think 6-inches or smaller, but despite the CRANEKING logo on the box, Boa is not your average prize figure. The enclosed box shows plenty of photos of the figure inside, although it’s a bit on the flimsy side and mine showed up a little rough around the edges. As for what this series is all about, I’ll let the box speak for itself, “Our aim was to create a figure that exudes the female form, including an amazing hourglass figure, ideal lady curves, and proportional balance.” OK! That’s quite a mission statement… and in English no less! Inside the box, Boa comes wrapped in plastic and with a little assembly required. Her head needs to be attached and her right foot needs to be fitted to the base.

Out of the box, Boa strikes a pose with her right foot on a pile of gold, her hands resting on her hips, and her formidable cannons out front and center. It’s nothing terribly creative from a composition standpoint, but at least they resisted the urge to full on Captain Morgan and have her knee up higher and her foot up on a chest. As for “exuding the female form,” I think they’ve achieved their goal at least within the framework of the ridiculously sensationalized anime perspective. In short, I love it!

The costume is not a traditional look for Boa, but rather a sexy take on the swashbuckling pirate look that I really enjoy. She’s got a ragged cut top that just manages to contain her ample chest, and is tied in the front. The rest of the costume consists of a a skimpy pair of black panties which are mostly obscured by a pair of wide belts, thigh-high high-heeled boots, lots of bling on her arms, and a very iconic looking tri-corner pirate hat.

The sculpted detail here is pretty fantastic. The buccaneer boots have rumples in all the right places, as well as ornate golden fixtures on the heels, toes, and backs of the ankles. You get little sculpted cross-stitches on the backs of the thigh cuffs. The use of gradient shades of brown on the boots looks especially nice. The belts are sculpted as separate pieces and include all sorts of fixtures and ornamentation. As good as the sculpt is, there are some solid paint applications to back it up. From individually painted bracelets to the fingernail polish, they really went all out on this figure.

The portrait offers a solid recreation of the character from the series with perfectly printed eyes and lips. My only main nitpick here would be that she’s void of all expression. I’d like to see a little smirk or smile, or determination, but she’s kind of just a blank slate. I guess this figure has enough personality in the outfit to carry the day. I’ll also say that the hair sculpt could have been a little more refined, especially the strands that spill down the side of her face. The earrings are a nice touch and I really dig the pirate hat, which features some leather-like texturing.

The base is kind of a mixed bag. I appreciate them trying something a little different from the usual disk, but what we got doesn’t work all that well. It’s basically just a little pile of treasure that you slip her foot into. The problem is that if I slip her foot so it’s flush with the bottom, she doesn’t stand straight, so I had to experiment a bit to get it to work and when it is working, the base itself isn’t usually even with the surface it’s standing on. So, points for creativity, but I have to take them back again for pure execution.

The base notwithstanding, I’m really impressed with this figure. She cost me around $30, which is admittedly a lot more than I usually spend on prize figures, but when you consider the larger scale and that this figure really sports some premium paint, I think the price is justified. Since it was the first time I saw her and I was pretty inebriated, I didn’t really do a lot of deal hunting. Also, this is the first Boa Hancock figure in my collection, so I feel good that I’m expanding beyond Nami for a change. Next week, I’m probably going to check out another Figma, and after that I’ll circle back to open up Flag Diamond Ship Nami.

Variable Action Heroes (One Piece): Nami by MegaHouse

It feels like forever since I did an Anime Saturday, but for those of you who miss it, I promise it’s going to be making a regular return. Indeed, when FFZ’s 8th Anniversary rolls around later this month, I’ll be making some change-ups to my content schedule that should free me up to do more of these, because I have a lot of figures waiting to be opened and reviewed. And yes, Anime Saturday is usually a morning routine, but today’s edition is posting late because I’m working this weekend, and it was a real struggle to get it finished in time. So I’ll trade in my usual Saturday morning pot of coffee for a nice tall evening pour of Jameson in a rock glass and check out Variable Action Heroes Nami!

The figure comes in a window box with some great shots of the figure and the One Piece logo in the upper right hand corner. It matches the other boxes fairly well and it’s totally collector friendly. I own several of these Variable Action Hero figures, all from One Piece, but I’ve only really spent any time with the leader of the Straw Hats, Luffy, which I reviewed back in 2016. I love the larger scale of these figures, and they come with some really cool stuff, but I’m not ready to see them replace Figmas or even SH Figuarts as my favorite figures from the East. The main reason I pick these up is because it’s the only way I can get my articulated One Piece figure fix. There’s actually a third version of Nami in this line shipping soon, so I thought I’d better check this one out before the new one arrives.

Nami sports her trademark orange high-heeled sandals, tight blue jeans, and a teal and white bikini top that leaves not a lot to the imagination. The sculpt really brings out the stylized beauty of this shapely Navigator, and while the jointing does break up the otherwise smooth curves with plenty of rotating hinges, it’s a necessary evil when you’re looking at this level of articulation. In additional to the usual points of articulation, Nami also includes a neck ball jointed at the top and bottom, lateral hinges in the shoulders, and hinges in her feet. In addition to the great sculpt and ample poseability, there’s some great coloring on display here. The jeans are a vibrant mix of dark and light blue to simulate the wear of the denim, and you get some soft sculpted belt loops and a button at her waist, as well as the distinctive gold and orange circlets on her hips. The skin tone is warm, with some painted highlights to add a little depth and texture. The bikini top features sculpted strings tied off on the back and some sharp paint lines for the white patterns.

A couple of other nice details include her trademark tattoo, which is sharply printed on her left bicep. She also features the Log Pose strapped around her left wrist as well as a gold bangle. I love the attention to detail on this piece. It’s cast in clear blue plastic and you can see the compass needle inside. The bangle is a cool touch too, but since it hangs loose on her wrist, it has a habit of dropping off when I change her hands, so I’ve been extra careful not to lose it.

Nami comes with four different portraits, and these are changed out just like the faces on a Figma or Figuart. You simply remove the front of the hair, swap the face plate, and replace the hair. Two of the faces are pretty similar to each other, featuring slight smiles, but one has a more sinister tone to the eyebrows. The third face is her shouty, action face, and the fourth features her winking. I will hand it to the Figuarts version of Nami, as it came with a few more creative expressions, but what we got here is still fine and I think they captured her adorable portrait perfectly. Her fiery orange hair is sculpted to cascade down her shoulders. It’s not terribly restrictive, but it can get in the way of some of the more extreme head poses.

As one would expect, Nami comes with a whole slew of interchangeable hands. Most of these are straightforward. You get a pair of fists, a pair of accessory holding hands, a pair of relaxed hands, and a pair of karate-chop type hands with the fingers closed together. The most unique hands include a right hand making the “OK” gesture and a pointing left hand.

She also comes with her trusty Clima-Tact, which appears to be a simple bo-staff with a snappy metallic blue paint job. It fits really well in her accessory holding hands, and it makes for a fun piece to pose her with. And thanks to a couple of nifty effect parts sets, she can also unleash a few of her signature attacks with it.

First off is the Thunder Charge, which includes a translucent yellow piece that snakes around the staff and a ball of lightning that pegs into the end. Put the two together and you get a pretty damn cool effect. The pieces hold in place really well too.

The other parts make up her um… I’m going to say Milky Ball attack, although I suppose it could be a few different ones. Like the other set, this effect is made by two pieces, one passed through the staff and the other capped on the end.

With how much I loved the VAH version of Luffy I have, I was a little afraid that Nami wouldn’t be able to live up to my expectations, but she really does. The sculpt and paintwork are fantastic and they did an exceptionally fine job with her weapon and its effect parts. The frustrating thing about this line is how the prices tend to go all over the place. I hunted Nami here for a while before I was able to grab her for around $70, which is not a bad deal considering Usopp and Sanjii both top out at well over $100 these days, and that’s more then I’m willing to spend right now. Nowadays, I just make sure I get the pre-orders in rather then take my chances. The Summer Vacation version of Nami is due sometime in March, but before then I’ll try to carve out some time to look at Roronoa Zoro. I’m also seriously considering grabbing the yellow shirt version of Luffy, just because it comes with a wider range of facial expressions.

Fate/Grand Order: Archer (Altria Pendragon) by Furyu

If there was any area where I dropped the ball in 2017 it was with Anime Saturday. There just weren’t enough of them. Now, in my defense, I already do at least four days of content a week, but then excuses don’t make my backlog of anime figures get any smaller. I honestly doubt I’ll have time to do any more this year, but I wanted to squeeze in just one more, so I can feel a little less worse about my lack of initiative. One thing I can say is that I’ve looked at a handful of figures from Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Extra this year, but today I’m venturing into the uncharted territory of Fate/Grand Order. It’s a phone app game that I will never play, but I still enjoy following the characters and lore. This version of Archer, Altria Pendragon, was a limited Servant, who could only be summoned during the game’s 2016 Summer Event. The character originally caught my eye as a limited Figma release, which quickly rocketed beyond what I was ever willing to spend on her.

And so it’s cheap JAMMA prize figures to the rescue! Altria comes in an enclosed box, which is typical of these prize figures. The box is nice and colorful and features a fair amount of English copy, including the character’s name. I’ll note here that this is basically a budget prize figure version of the exact same figure that was released as a proper scaled figure by Max Factory. Another figure that I would have loved to pick up, but I just couldn’t justify spending what she cost. I will, however, still point out some of the differences based on the pictures I’ve seen. The figure requires a little bit of assembly. You just peg her left foot into the base, peg the tip of Excalibur into her left hand, and tab the water gun into her right hand.

And here she is all set up and ready for a game of Water Blitz and looking pretty good. Altria is the perfect poster girl for the Summer Event, posing with her right leg kicking up behind her and leaning on Excalibur with her left hand, as she turns to fire off a blast from her water gun. And of course, since it’s summer, she’s wearing very little, just a skimpy white bikini with blue bows and ribbons, and a pair of white sandals.

Overall, the paint is pretty clean on this figure, although she obviously lacks the premium work of Max Factory’s version where the blues are more vibrant and the whites are actually pearlescent. Her skin tone here is also a little paler and flatter, while the skin on the better version features a warmer hue. I think that’s probably my biggest quibble about the figure, because everything else is pretty damn solid for what you’re paying.

The portrait is pretty good, with perfectly printed blue eyes to match the bows on her bikini, and a very nice sculpt for her hair. She’s got a big blue bow on the back of her head and the ubiquitous ahoge sprouting from the top.

Excalibur is an extremely nice looking accessory. The blade is painted silver and the hilt is a combination of blue and gold. The peg holding it into her hand is also fairly unobtrusive, so you could actually use this as an accessory for a similarly scaled figure.

And because you can’t always rely on your legendary magic sword in battle, it helps to take a water gun! The water gun looks great and it’s such a fun accessory. The wetting weapon is cast in translucent plastic with both a yellow and pale blue tint and it tabs very securely into her hand.

The easiest difference to spot between this piece and Max Factory’s scaled figure, is found in the bases. Max Factory’s version features a detailed beach base, this one gets by with just a a simple white disc, which is serviceable and doesn’t take up too much real estate.

I’m delighted that I was able to add this figure to my collection without breaking the bank. But make no mistake, if I only collected anime figures, I would have picked up the fully scaled figure in a heartbeat. But anime figures happen to be only a fringe part of my collection, and at around $140, I just couldn’t justify it picking it up. On the other hand, $12 shipped for a JAMMA figure and I still get to put the character on my shelf? Hell, yeah. Why not? I can’t stress enough that the difference between the two in terms of quality and polish is like night and day, but then with a $120 spread, that’s to be expected.

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.

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 …