Figma “Space Channel 5” Ulala (Orange Version) by Max Factory

“Groooove morning, Space Cats!” Are you ready for a rather unusual middle of the week Figma review? Yeah, most of my Figma reviews land on Anime Saturdays, but since this one is most definitely video game based, I thought I’d fit Ulala in the normal weekday rotation.  I’d forgive you if you aren’t instantly familiar with Space Channel 5‘s Star Reporter, because she hails from a game that premiered on the SEGA Dreamcast about 18 years ago. The sequel, along with a port of the original, came a little later to the US on the PlayStation 2, but after that Ulala’s been more or less relegated to appearing in stuff like SEGA All-Stars Racing and SEGA All-Stars Tennis. It’s a shame, because she’s a fun character and I think she deserved more of her own games. Now, why we’re getting a Figma release of her now, I have no idea, but I sure as hell ain’t complaining.

Ulala comes in a typical Figma window box, albeit it’s bigger than most to accommodate the three Morolians bundled with her. What are Morolians? Let me save some time and just link to a review of the game that I wrote way back when it first came out. I’ll wait… Back? OK, let’s proceed! The colors on the box are brighter than the usual Figma packaging and reflect the bright and trippy color scheme of the game. I’ll point out that Max Factory released two versions of Ulala, this one in her orange outfit from the original game, and another in her white outfit, from the sequel and a lot of her guest appearances. It was no contest for me, I went with orange and I was willing to pay the price, but more on that when we get to the end. Also, I’m not really sure what the “EX” means in the numbering scheme, but maybe someone out there can enlighten me. As always, the packaging here is collector friendly, but if you want to toss it out, they provide you with a Figma-branded Ziploc bag to keep all the stuff in.

And here she is out of the package and ready to get her groove on. Space Channel 5’s star reporter usually went through some outfit changes between levels of the game, but this is undoubtedly Ulala’s most iconic look for me with the orange miniskirt, cropped top, and high heeled platform boots. She has a blue belt sculpted around her right thigh and it features a peg so she can wear one of her guns on it. The coloring is certainly on point with her outfit consisting of a bright orange with white trim and red platforms on her boots. As an added bonus, the finish on the plastic does a nice job mimicking the glossy, rubber look that her outfit had in the game. Her chest features a perfectly printed Space Channel 5 logo and she has two blue jet packs strapped to her back. These are mounted on ball joints to allow for a little bit of re-positioning. That comes in handy for working with the included stand. And boy am I thankful for that stand, since Ulala’s boots make it rather difficult to get her to stay upright on her own.

The portrait here is spot on perfect for the Ulala’s on screen appearance. The paint on her makeup and eyebrows is super sharp and clean and her pigtails are set on ball joints to allow a little bit of movement when posing her. I particularly love the shade of pink they used for her hair. The portrait also includes her blue headset with microphone, which is permanently attached to the head.

Ulala only comes with one face, which is really odd as Figmas usually have an extra two or three to change the expressions. Instead, she has movable eyes! I own quite a few Figmas, but this is the first time I’ve encountered this sort of thing. They even provide a tool to move the eyes, and I had no idea what it was until I looked at the instructions. Basically, you remove the face as if you’re swapping it, and use the tool to direct the eyes where you want them to look. Now, Ulala didn’t really sport a lot of different expressions in the game, so I’m not really bummed out by the lack of extra faces, but at the same time, I don’t think I’ll be using the articulation in the eyes very much.

While the extra faces may be missing, Ulala compensates with a whole lot of hands. Not only is the usual sprue loaded up with four pairs, but she also has an extra pair in a baggie, plus the ones she comes wearing. Hands include relaxed fingers, splayed fingers, fists, pointing fingers, and two sets for holding her accessories. I don’t see a whole lot of use for her fists, but the accessory holding hands work well. And speaking of accessories… let’s take a look at what she’s got.

First off is her official Space Channel 5 news microphone and this little thing is beautiful. It’s cast in two shades of blue plastic and has tiny SC5 logos printed around the ring.

Next up are her twin pistols. These have a great retro sci-fi look to them that fits perfectly with the style of the show. Yes, she only has a place to wear one of the pistols. That was the case in the game as well, and through a good portion of the game she only has the single gun, but there are times when she busts out a second. One was to shoot Morolians and the other was to rescue hostages. But where does she keep that extra gun?

Ulala also comes with three little Morolians and these are just static pieces to display with her, but they look great and come in blue, yellow, and pink. I’ll toss out here that the white costume version of Ulala comes with three different colored Morolians, so if you want to get them all, you have to buy both versions. Who would be crazy enough to do that? Don’t tempt me!

And finally, the box includes the usual clear Figma stand with hinged arm and a peg adapter. If you own any Figmas then you already know what to expect here. I do have one gripe, though, and that’s the peg is not a very good fit for the hole in her back. With or without the adapter piece, it takes way too much force to get that thing to stay put. I’ve had a similar issue on one or two other Figmas in my collection, but it’s not the norm. Granted, it isn’t a huge complaint, but it can be annoying.

What’s also annoying is the price on this gal! For some reason this orange version of Space Channel 5’s star reporter dropped at just over $100 and that’s just stupid expensive for what’s included in the box. Did the articulated eyes add that much to the price? It certainly couldn’t have been the Morolians. I have Deluxe Figmas with elaborate accessories that cost a lot less than Ulala here. And with the white version dropping at $85 (also oddly expensive) the only reason I could possibly see for this one being $20 more is because most people are probably going to want the orange version. In any event, I wasn’t about to take any risks here and so I crushed that pre-order button the moment she went up. I certainly don’t regret it, as she’s a beautiful figure and a wonderful display piece to proclaim my undying love for the SEGA Dreamcast and it’s era of gaming.

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Figma: “Kill la Kill” Ryuko Matoi by Max Factory

Much like this figure, I almost let the anime series Kill la Kill pass me by. The first time I tried watching it, I was exhausted from working too many hours, and I just wanted to find something to watch while I relaxed and was winding down. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU WATCH WHEN YOU WANT TO RELAX AND WIND DOWN. Luckily, I gave it another go under more agreeable circumstances and quickly fell in love. It’s batshit crazy and it really demanded my full attention, not only to follow the overall story and endless explosions of character introduction text, but also just to keep track of the frantic action. And after running through the series one thing was certain: I wanted a Ryuko figure badly. The Figma line promptly stepped up and I foolishly did not pre-order so when she was finally shipping, I clicked my way to my regular online purveyor of plastic with debit card in hand, only to find out that she had long sold out. I was left high and dry and looking at crazy secondary market prices. It’s an old story, but a lesson was learned and I pre-order most of my Figmas now.

Fast forward to now and the good folks at Max Factory/Good Smile took pity on those of us have nots and reissued Ryuko. The figure comes in the standard compact Figma window box with a red and black deco to match the character design. There’s also some great shots of the figure on the back panel as well as both side panels, which makes these boxes look great when lined up on a shelf. As always, everything is collector friendly, but if you want to ditch the box, they’ve provided a Figma branded Ziploc bag to keep all the bits in, or at least the ones that will fit. Well, I’ve waitied for this figure long enough… let’s get her out of the package and check her out.

Naturally, Ryuko comes all decked out in Senketsu, her living, and suitably outrageously designed, uniform. I had a hard time envisioning how well this design was going to work when transferred to a fully realized three-dimensional plastic sculpt, but it turns out I needn’t have worried, because she looks fantastic. The bulk of her uniform is comprised of the dominating, and gravity defying, scarf that forms Senketsu’s eyes. Well, really just the one eye, because the other is just a giant red scar. The good eye features some vibrant paintwork, and both pieces are hinged so you can adjust them a little bit to work with the shoulder and arm articulation.

There’s not much covering up the rest of Ryuko’s upper body. Indeed, Ryuko has more covering her extremities than the rest of her body, because… ANIME DESIGN! She does have sleeves, with squared off wrist cuffs, and a pair of suspenders, revealing some major under-boob. Below the waist she sports a rather frilly looking black skirt and thigh high boots, with straps that look like extensions of the suspenders. The top of her outfit and the skirt are designed to look like Senketsu’s jaws with the “teeth” at the top and bottom of the suspenders. I really love how the outfit came out, not only in terms of the way they sculpted it, but also the coloring is quite striking. If only she came with a whole bunch of swap out hands and faces… Oh wait, she does!

There are three different faces and these are swapped out in the usual manner, by removing the front piece of her hair to remove the face. She comes out of the box with a somewhat neutral face, with just a faint hint of a smile. The printing on the eyes is quite sharp, distinctive, and beautiful. That’s actually the same for all of the faces. I’ll also note that her spiky hair has some great crimson highlights in the back that match the red in her uniform.

The second face is her shouty action face, and it’s so perfect for her. The mouth is open and showing off some teeth, and I’ve got to say this one is likely going to be the face that I go with the most. After all, this is a figure that just begs for action poses.

Finally she comes with an “exasperated from combat” kind of face. She’s a bit flushed, she’s gritting her teeth, and she’s got one eye closed. I like this expression a lot too. It’s got that “I’m done screwing around and now I’m gonna really kick your ass” look about it, which goes really well with some poses. Some of the recent Figmas I’ve picked up didn’t have a lot of variation between some of the extra expressions, so I really appreciate what they did for this figure. Of course, you also get the usual sprue of extra hands. Included are a pair of fists, open hands, hands making what look like claws with the fingers. Finally, there are two pairs of hands for holding her weapon, one regular and one angled a bit forward. Some of my recent Figmas have had issues with the pegs pulling out of the arms, rather than just the hands detaching. That’s the case here with Ryuko. It’s not a big deal, but it can get a little annoying at times. Beyond hands and faces, Ryuoko does not come with a lot of accessories, but she does have the two essentials, and I’m sure you can guess what they are. Well, they’re actually the same accessory in two forms. Yup, the Scissor Blade!

The regular Scissor Blade fits perfectly in any of the accessory holding hands, and she looks absolutely fantastic holding it. I was happy to see that despite how big it is, her shoulder and elbow joints are up to the task of supporting it’s weight. Otherwise, it’s a simple accessory and there isn’t much more to say about it.

The final accessory is the Scissor Blade in its extended form, and this is absolutely enormous. She can wield it in either one or both hands, and again I’m impressed that the joints can take the weight without any problem. How long will that be the case? I guess I’ll find out eventually!

And while it should go without saying, I’ll mention that Ryuoko does come with the standard clear Figma figure stand along with an angled adapter for the end. It plugs into the hole in her back and as always, these add so much fun to playing with the figure.

Kill la Kill is one of those perfect one-and-done collecting licenses for me. Figma did release Satsuki Kiryuin from the series as well, and while she looks like a great figure, I’m going to be content with Ryuoko here. This figure is a perfect translation of the character and just what I need to represent the series on my shelf. OK, sure I wouldn’t mind owning the Sixth-Scale Real Action Hero version, but I’m not going down that rabbit hole! The second release of this Figma seems to have filled much of the demand, as she’s still readily available through many online retailers, some of which are coming in a bit under retail. I do hope she sells well for them, so Max Factory will keep reissuing Figmas that sell out early. I know some collectors claim it devalues their originals, but I’ve been on both sides of that fence and I’m always happier to see those who missed out get a second opportunity.

Figma “Overwatch” Tracer by Max Factory

It’s Anime Saturday and cry foul if you must, but today’s figure is not from an anime series or Japanese video game. Nope, today we’re dealing with a Figma from the Western video game Overwatch, but it’s still a Figma, and so I’m sticking this review here. Also, I pre-ordered Tracer forever ago and once she arrived I really couldn’t wait to get her opened and check her out. And here’s a fun fact: I don’t even play the game, but I’ve watched a bunch of the videos and I love the character designs in general, and that goes double for Tracer.

While Tracer comes in a pretty standard Figma window box, the white and orange color scheme really makes this box stand out among the others on my shelf. She’s Figma #352, if you’re keeping track, but Lord know’s I’m not. I can’t even make any sense of their numbering scheme. As usual, there’s some English on the box, but a lot of it is in Japanese. The packaging is totally collector friendly, but if you don’t want to keep the box, you get a handy Figma-branded Ziploc bag to keep all those extra bits in.

Cheers, Love! The cavalry’s here! And oh, boy doesn’t she look like she just jumped right out of the screen? The creators did a beautiful job bringing her digitally rendered costume to plastic, from those tight pants with sculpted side panels to her very British looking bomber jacket with it’s high collar and flared sleeves. Even the Chronal Harness looks so good, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear it’s actually keeping my figure anchored in the here and now. I especially dig the translucent blue plastic used on the front and back to simulate the glow of the Accelerator. Her Tracer Bracers look really nice too, and for the record, they do not open up to hold her pistols, but then I wasn’t really expecting them to be able to make that work at this scale.

The paint quality and overall coloring on the figure is also excellent. One of the appealing things for me about the Overwatch designs are the beautiful vibrant colors and that’s certainly the case with Tracer here. The bright orange pants contrasts beautifully with the immaculate white and gray shoes and bracers and the matte brown and tan of the jacket. Everything about this figure just pops! Other great little touches include the immaculate shoulder patches on her jacket, the silver paint on the zipper, and the crisp “T-01” printed on her bracers.

Of course, this is a Figma, so you know you’re going to get extra hands and faces. Tracer comes with three different facial expressions. You get a regular smile, a more jubilant open mouthed smile, and a more determined expression with a wry little smirk. Whichever face you go with, each one includes the same orange tinted goggles, which are clear enough to see her eyes (at least when my studio lights aren’t reflecting off of them!) and I love the way they sculpted her spiky hair. It’s just perfect. The hands include a pair of fists, splayed hands, gun-holding hands, accessory gripping hands, a and a left hand offering a two-fingered salute. They’re all pretty easy to pop in and out, although I tend to just keep the guns in the gun-hands.

Apart from the hands and faces (and the ubiquitous Figma figure stand), Tracer doesn’t come with a whole lot of accessories, but she does have the essentials. Naturally, she has her trusty pair of pulse pistols, and these are indeed a beautiful set of guns with great sculpted detail and crisp paintwork. Maybe some effect parts for the guns would have been cool, but probably not necessary.

The other accessory is a Pulse Mine and this thing is super tiny. It’s so tiny, I almost missed it in the box. One of her accessory holding hands is perfectly sculpted to hold it and despite its size, there’s some really nice detail painted onto it.

If you can’t tell, I’m absolutely smitten with this figure. I’ve been waiting for Overwatch figures ever since the game first came out. It seemed like a sure thing that NECA would be the ones to do them, since they were partnering with Blizzard on the Heroes of the Storm line, but that line fizzled and I guess the cats at Blizzard cut a deal with Max Factory instead. There’s no doubt that the designs work well with the Figma format, and I’m sure we’re getting overall better quality product, but I can’t help but think NECA would have delivered more characters. As of right now, the only other Overwatch Figma that I know has been revealed is Genji, and he’s due out this Summer. While there are certainly some characters I’m looking forward to more than others, I’ll probably pick up whoever they release, if only to do my part toward seeing the line succeed. Because I definitely want more of this! And who knows, someday I may actually play the game!