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” 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.

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.

Figma “Sword Art Online II:” Leafa (ALO Version) by Max Factory

I don’t often get the time to squeeze a Figma review into Anime Saturday. These take me a lot longer than my usual Saturday morning prize figure fodder. But I was off this week, and it seemed a great opportunity to open up a new Figma I got a few weeks back. Besides, these things are really piling up, and I haven’t done a Figma review since last October when I checked out the ALO Version of Asuna. So, let’s check out another of the ALO Avatars from Sword Art Online II… Leafa!

There’s really not much new to say about the packaging. It’s a window box, it’s collector friendly, and it’s great for keeping all those bits and bobs together. I also love the character art on the side panels, because right now, I don’t have room to display my Figmas, so they’re boxed and lined up on bookshelves. They look great that way and I have easy access to them. I’m usually content to hunt for deals on Figmas, but I actually pre-ordered Leafa to make sure I didn’t miss out like I did on the first releases of Sinon and Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill. Thankfully, those are getting second releases, but I think Leafa is less likely to.

I’m a big fan of the costume designs in ALO, particularly Leafa’s. The sweeping jacket-skirt, the ballooning shoulders, the ragged cut sleeves and stockings, all make for some great swashbuckling fantasy garb. As usual, there’s a ton of sharp detail in the outfit. You get sculpted stitch lines in her corset, the gold bangles on her wrists, and the finery of her bodice. The coloring on this figure is pure perfection, from the dominant green and white, down to the yellow and brown accents. The pale shade of green and fine lining done on her hair tie is particularly sylph-tastic, which is a word I just invented and promise to never use again. There’s something about the look of these figures, whether its the quality of the plastic, or the rich coloring, or a combination of both, but there’s nothing else quite like a Figma.

Leafa’s portrait includes three different expressive faces. You get the standard smiling one, the angry, shouty face, and an adorable surprised and/or embarrassed face. All three of these are perfect, especially thanks to the gorgeous printing on her eyes.  I’ll also note here, that her ponytail is on a ball joint and the yellow they used for her hair is extremely rich and vibrant.

Obviously, Leafa comes with the familiar sprue of hands, mostly of the usual varieties: Relaxed hands, splayed hands, sword-holding hands, and fists. You also get a really cool piece, which is her hand interlocked with Kirito’s. It’s one that I can’t get much use out of now, but I hope to remedy that soon by picking up the ALO version of Kirito while I still can.

Next up, she has her sword, and I guess I’m a bad fan, because for the life of me I can’t remember if it had a name. Hopefully it didn’t and that’s why I can’t remember it. Because it would be folly to try to make a sword this small fit the scabbard, the SAO Figmas have tried different means of trickery. Traditionally, you get an unsheathed sword and a scabbard with a hilt you can plug into it, to make it look like it’s in the scabbard. Leafa mixes that up a bit, by giving you a scabbard, a blade with crossguard, a crossguard, and only one hilt. Now, follow me on this one. To “sheath the sword,” you pull the hilt off, peg it into the tiny crossguard, then peg that into the scabbard. The problem here is that the pegs are so goddamn tiny and thin, that it isn’t a question of whether they will snap, but more likely when. Is this just a way to save money by not including two hilts? On a $65 figure??? Whatever the case, be careful with the sword, folks!

Leafa also comes with her amulet on a string. I like that they included this, but I can’t really get it to lay flat around her neck, so I doubt I’ll be displaying her with it. It’s just as well as in the anime she usually kept it tucked betwixt her ample bosom. She does look great holding it… the necklace, I mean, the bosom.

And finally, Leafa comes with her set of wings. These peg into her back, very much the same way they did with ALO Asuna. You can use either an independent peg, or an adapter to use with the included stand. The regular peg doesn’t do a very good job of holding them in, but they work perfectly with the stand.

Leafa set me back around $65, a price which is admittedly getting a little steep for me. I don’t think it’s a bad value for the quality and all you’re getting, but with Figma prices all over the place, it feels odd to pay less for some of the KanColle Fleet Girls, which have a lot more accessories. Hell, it wasn’t all that long ago that I got Figma Link for like forty bucks. Then again, I’d bet even odds that Leafa may turn up for less after she’s been out a little while. Nonetheless, here was a case where I didn’t want to risk missing out while waiting for a deal, and after spending a morning playing around with her, I have no regrets making that decision.

Figma “Sword Art Online II” Asuna (ALO Version) by Max Factory

After a brief detour to cover some Star Wars stuff, Anime Saturday is back in action, albeit posting a little later than I usually like. To make up for last week, I thought I’d take the time to open up one of the Figmas that have been languishing on the shelf for way too long now. And while I’ve got plenty of KanColle Figmas to open, let’s mix things up and check out The Alfheim version of Asuna from Sword Art Online II. I looked at the first Figma version of Asuna way back in March of this year, and it’s a figure that I absolutely adore, so this one has a pretty hard act to follow!

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If you’ve seen one Figma box, you’ve pretty much seen them all. The deco is black on the bottom and pale blue on the top two-thirds or so. You get a window that shows off a good portion of the figure and the accessories. Everything is collector friendly, and that’s always a good thing with Figmas, because there’s so many bits and bobs to keep track of. Just make sure those trays are locked together tight or all the stuff falls out of place when you put it back in, as exhibited in the above shot. As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of the original SAO anime, although I had issues with the way the Fairy Dance Arc treated Asuna. Conversely, the Gun Gale Arc of SAO II left me a little cold, while the Calibur Arc felt more like a return home. But, all in all, even the low points of this series are still pretty highly regarded by yours truly.

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Here, Asuna has cast off her Knights of Blood outfit and adopted the fairy avatar of Alfheim. The KoB outfit remains my favorite, and that Figma is a gorgeous representation of it, but this figure is no slouch either! I really dig the white and blue deco and it’s a wonderfully complex and layered costume that allowed those wizards at Max Factory to shine when making this Figma. The mix of white, light and dark blue, and a little bit of gray and black makes for such a pleasing palate. I also like how it still retains a bit of that trench coat look of the former costume. I could go on and on about this beautiful design, but suffice it to say, it’s a worthy successor to her last one.

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From behind we can see that they did a beautiful job on her rather intricate hair. It cascades down her back and fans outward. The whole thing is fixed on a ball joint, so it can be swept back or off to either side. That feature becomes really important when using the figure stand. Although, it’s worth noting that Asuna is a pretty well balanced figure and I’m pretty delighted at how easily she can stand without any assistance.

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As always, the Figma comes with extra hands and faces. The faces are swapped out easily and in the usual fashion of removing the front hair piece first. The portraits here include a neutral expression, a devilish smile, and a shouty action face. Her adorable elf-like ears are attached to each of the faces. All of these are great, but I’ll likely get the least use out of the middle one. Her eyes are perfectly printed on all three, and I really love how they did her open mouth in the last one. It looks great.

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The selection of hands is pretty standard stuff. You get a pair of fists, two pairs for holding her accessories, a peace signing right hand, and a pair of hands with splayed fingers. She even has her silver ring painted on each of her left hands.

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Naturally, Asuna comes with her sword and scabbard. The scabbard slides into the black belt loop and hangs securely. The sheathed sword is actually just the hilt that plugs into the scabbard. This way you can remove the hilt and put the real sword in her hand to make it look like she drew it. It’s a clever way of doing it and circumvents the need to make the scabbard too big or the sword blade too thin and frail. The detail on the hilt is exquisite, and the blade is beautifully painted.

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You also get Asuna’s wand, The Crest of Yggdrasil. This is a great looking piece and she has a pair of hands specifically designed for holding it.

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And finally, Asuna comes with her fairy wings. These attach to the hole in her back, or you can pass the stand through it for those flying poses, which make more sense since in Alfheim we really only saw the wings when their avatars were flying.

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While this version of Asuna isn’t going to replace the initial Figma release as my favorite treatment of the character, she sure comes damn close. All the love and craftsmanship that went into the previous release is evident here as well. In the end it just comes down to my personal taste in her costume and while I love this one plenty, I just love the Knights of Blood look a little more. This version of Asuna has almost caught me up on the SAO Figmas. I’m still considering picking up the Gun Gale version of Kirito and I missed out on picking up Sinon at a price I was willing to pay. I’m still hoping that we may some day get a Leifa or Lizbeth, but that might be asking for too much. Truth be told, I really wish I had the time to feature Figmas more frequently, because I absolutely love playing with these things. But, yeah, take a lot of time to explore and photograph, and as a result I seem to be constantly backlogged. Still, once I bust one of these figures open I fall in love all over again.

EDIT: A big shout out to @xx_Shonuff_xx on Twitter for pointing out that Sinon’s reissue is coming early next year. Also… Leifa! 

Figma (FigFix #006) “Kantai Collection” Mutsu (Half Damage Version) by Max Factory

Back toward the beginning of the Summer, I dipped my toe into Figma’s FigFix series with the Half Damage version of Shimakaze. These are mostly non-articulated Figma scaled figures, which allow Max Factory to produce very specific versions of the characters without re-releasing a costlier fully jointed figure. In the case of KanColle, they’ve been using this series to create the battle damaged versions of the Fleet Girls, and I’m all for that! Today I’m looking at Secretary Ship Mutsu. I’ve had her regular Figma for a while now, and still haven’t gotten around to Featuring her here, but since this one just came in, I thought I’d bump it to the head of the line.

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The FigFix boxes are basically the same as a regular Figma package. Shimakaze’s was a lot more colorful, but Mutsu’s is a return to far more muted colors that better match the regular KanColle Figmas. If I stand this box on the shelf next to the one for my regular Mutsu, the differences are negligible. There’s a window on the front to show you the figure and some of her armaments and the back panel shows multiple photos of the figure all set up. As always, the box is collector friendly, but if you choose not to keep it you get the usual Figma branded ziploc bag for the extra parts. Mutsu is a Nagato Class Battleship with a some major firepower to attach, so let’s get her all set up! I’m going to start with her all kitted out and work from there…

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And here is poor Mutsu after having taken what looks like a heavy pounding, and by that I mean battle damage. For godsakes, get your minds out of the gutter, people! For fans of the anime, it’s an unconventional look since Mutsu and Nagato didn’t see action until the very last episode and they emerged from that epic battle unscathed. Nonetheless, she can certainly get damaged in the game and one of her more endearing quotes is when she refers to being in the repair dock “fixing her make-up.” She features a standard Figma stand, which plugs into a socket in the back of her gear and in this case it’s a requirement, because she isn’t posed in a way that she can stand on her own. She’s hunched over with her clothing badly torn and clutching her left shoulder while her right hand rests on her knee. The detailed sculpt and sharp paint are right on par with the regular Figma releases.

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Ahoy, Captain… fan service spotted in the aft section! Ooooh, my! Her armaments consist of her four battered 41cm Twin Gun mounts, which feature the bulk of the articulation in this piece. They peg into the sides of her arming belt where they have rotating hinges. The upper shoulder guns can pivot and the barrels will raise and lower. The lower guns can hinge up and down as well as pivot, and they’re barrels can raise and lower as well. While I haven’t Featured her here yet, it’s worth noting that the battered armaments are compatible with the regular Figma Mutsu’s and vice versa. The anchor that pegs to her leg features a real chain that wraps around her leg, travels behind her gear and pegs into the right hip of her arming belt.

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The portrait here is excellent, but then I’m biased because Mutsu is my favorite of all the Fleet Girls. I just think she’s adorable. Here we see her hair a little more ruffled than on the regular release, and she has her long antenna protruding from the top of her head. When viewed from dead on, her expression makes her look rather weary from returning from a hard fight. If I look at her from a little above, she seems to have a more determined look. Her green eyes are perfectly printed and her mouth is slightly open. She’s also very nearly busting out of her torn top. The face is a standard removable Figma style and is interchangeable with the regular Mutsu Figma, which is a really cool bonus if you’re like me and couldn’t resist picking up both. The head is also ball jointed, although it’s restricted mostly to turning from side to side.

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Removing Mutsu’s gun assemblies makes for another fine display option. When I eventually get all my KanColle Figmas set up, I may display this one without the guns and the regular Mutsu with hers, just to mix things up a little. With the guns out of the way, you can also get a better look at the sculpting and paint that went into her outfit. As pointed out earlier, her heavy arming belt is required for her to work with the regular stand. You can, however remove it by pulling the figure apart at the waist and grabbing a Bandai stand with a claw on it to support her.

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The skirt is conveniently attached to the arming belt, so Mutsu is revealing quite a bit if you take it off.

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Given my love for KanColle in general, and Mutsu in particular, it should come as no surprise that I adore this piece. The idea of releasing static damaged versions of the Fleet Girls in scale with the regular Figmas is a clever one, and while I have no doubt some may scoff at the idea of a Figma without articulation, I’m very happy with the two I now own. Granted, I bought the Shimakaze FigFix just because her regular Figma isn’t in my budget right now, but I couldn’t resist owning both versions of Mutsu. Of course it doesn’t hurt that at $37, she’s just a fraction of the price of a regular Figma. Whether I’m going to be double dipping on any of the others I can’t say yet, although if I come across Nagato at a good price, she’d be hard to resist.

Figma “Arpeggio of the Blue Steel” Iona by Max Factory

By now, y’all know how much I love me my Kantai Collection and the exploits of the Fleet Girls. Well, then it should come as no surprise, that I’m also extremely fond of Arpeggio of the Blue Steel. It too has WWII style ships, a naval war against alien fleets, and some adorable girls at the helm. In reality the two series are really quite different, but they’re both near and dear to my heart. Figma didn’t go too deep with AotBS, but they did produce a figure of Iona, the Mental Model of the renegade Fleet of Fog submarine I-401. Not to be confused with the I-401 from KanColle that I looked at last week. See? Similar, but different.

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Iona is #263 in the ongoing Figma line. She comes in one of the smaller and more compact window boxes with a blue and black deco. The window gives you a glimpse of the figure and all the goodies inside. As always, it’s collector friendly and even has one of those branded Figma ziploc bags to help you store all those parts if you don’t want to keep the box. I’ve been really pressed for time this week, so today’s Feature will be relatively quick, but Iona is a fairly simple figure, so I think I can do her justice in a short amount of time…

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Here she is out of the box and looking pretty sweet. If you’re familiar with the anime, than the obvious thing to point out here is that this is not her better known, dark blue outfit. I actually like this look a lot, but I think it was an odd choice to go with for what will likely be her one and only Figma. Her outfit and hair consist of a matching powder blue, white, and lavender, all of which conspires to give her a very pale and almost ghostly appearance. That having been said, the detail here is quite nice, particularly on the laced boots and the straps that hang off her top and down across her hips.

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Of course, you get a standard Figma stand with the articulated arm. From the back, you can see that her long hair is articulated to allow the arm access to the peg hole in her back. If you look closely, you should be able to make out the Fleet Insignia printed just above her butt.

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It wouldn’t be a Figma figure if it didn’t come with a whole bunch of hands. In this case, there are four pairs, including: Fists, relaxed hands, splayed finger hands, and accessory holding hands. You also get a pointing right hand, and another right hand that is permanently attached to a little tea cup. One thing to watch out for are her teeny-tiny wrist cuffs, which will fall off when you swap out the hands. Iona also comes with three different swap out faces, which include a surprised expression, a neutral expression, and one with a slight smile. Switching these is as easy as always, you just pull off the front hair piece, pull off the face, tab in the new face, and replace the hair. All of the expressions are pretty damn adorable, and her large green eyes are immaculately printed on each portrait.

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As if all that wasn’t enough, Iona also comes with an alternate lower half, which has her sitting down. This piece requires you to pop the boots off of her legs and attach them to these legs, then pull the figure apart at the waist and attach the upper half of the figure to this piece via a ball jointed peg. Here’s where I like to use the teacup and saucer that she comes with to have her taking some time off from running the I-401 and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Fair warning, the “tea” in the cup isn’t fixed in place and will fall out if you turn the cup over. If that happens, good luck finding it again!

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Iona comes with one other accessory and that’s a little pink starfish. She was rather obsessed with the squishy little animals in the series and those accessory holding hands work pretty well with it.

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And last, but not least, Iona comes with a complex system of parts to replicate her holographic interface with the I-401. In the series, this consisted of three bands of data displays, which encircled her. Here it’s recreated with three translucent plastic strips that are attached to a special arm on the back of the figure stand. It works… sort of. I give Max Factory major credit for trying, but in the end, I had mixed results with this set up. It’s also extremely frustrating to work with and I could never get the data rings positioned just the way I wanted. A cool idea, nonetheless.

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Iona is a very nice figure and I’m glad that the Figma line threw some support behind this anime, because I really do enjoy it a lot. At only 12 episodes, It’s a short run, but I’ve probably been through it three or four times. If you want more, there’s also a Manga and a couple of films. Obviously, I would have liked to see more of the Mental Models recreated in figure form, or even some of the crew of the I-401, but if they were only going to do one figure, Iona was the logical choice. She doesn’t come with as much stuff as a lot of my other recent Figma purchases, but at around $35 the price certainly reflects that. If I had one gripe, it would be the choice of costume, but I’m already eyeing some other figures of her, to get that more traditional look.

Figma (FigFix #001) “Kantai Collection” Shimakaze (Half Damage Version) by Max Factory

It’s an exciting (and somewhat delayed) Anime Saturday today, because not only am I checking out a new KanColle figure but also my very first Figma FigFix! FigFix is a relatively new(ish) line, which I believe started in 2014, and the best analogy I can make is that these are sort of to Figmas what Figuarts Zeros are to Figuarts. In other words, non-articulated. But keep in mind, that’s coming from someone who has yet to own a Figuart Zero, so that analogy could be flawed. Anyway, I picked up Shimakaze because she’s a real hoot in the series and right now her actual Figma is netting prices that are a bit too rich for my blood, so I thought this would be a good way to get her into my collection, at least for now.

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The package is very similar to that of a regular Figma and distinguished mainly by the brighter colors. You still get a window looking in on a tray with a lot of parts. If it weren’t for the FigFix on the box, I’d be hard pressed to identify this as something different, at least at first glance. Shimakaze is the very first release in this series! Let’s get it open and set her up.

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Shimakaze is displayed on a standard Figma stand, which is necessary because her pose has her hovering with legs bent and not able to stand. I really enjoy the fact that Figma went with the “half-damaged” version here, because it still allows room for this and the regular Figma release in any display. Speaking of which, Shimakaze is not only perfectly scaled to display with regular Figmas, but her face is also removable and compatible with the faces of the regular Shimakaze Figma, so if you have the other figure, you can change her expression. Again, I really dig the way they made the two able to interact and compliment each other.

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Shimakaze is clad in what’s left of her familiar uniform. Her top has mostly been obliterated leaving behind just enough for a smidgen of modesty. Her low riding skirt shows that one of the straps on her underwear has snapped, and her colorful, candy-striped stockings have holes in them. About the only thing that’s survived intact are her rudder boots and her gloves. As always with Figmas, the paint is bright and clean.

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On her back, Shimakaze is armed with her five-tube torpedo launcher, which sets her apart from Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi who all wear their torpedoes on her hips. This also makes her attack style rather distinctive and I love the way she drifts to the side and bends forward to unload these babies into the water. The launcher assembly is removable from the figure and the arm for the stand pegs right into it.

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The portrait is excellent. She has a hilarious surprised expression as if she still can’t believe she got hit. her detached anchor is sculpted to part of her hair as if its been blasted off. Even her bunny ear hair ribbon is tattered. The skin tones on the figure are smooth and even and she even has a little bit of red in her cheeks showing that she’s embarrassed the enemy scored a hit on her. The neck is the only articulation on this piece, and once again, you can change out the expression if you own the regular Figma of the character, although I think the expression here is perfect.

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Of course, you can’t have Shimakaze without her posse of Rensouhou-chan backing her up. These adorable little animated gun mounts come in three different sizes and have some articulation in their heads and guns. The smallest pegs into an arm that curves up from the main stand to allow him to hover just over her shoulder.

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The other two have their own stands with ball jointed arms to allow you to customize your display exactly the way you like. Each of these little buggers are also depicted in damaged mode with their guns bent and the look of anguished defeat on their adorable little faces. The crossed band aids on the biggest of them is a wonderful little touch. Of course, these little buggers will make excellent accessories for the regular Shimakaze Figma as well.

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I really had no idea what to expect when I ordered this, but in the end it really is exactly what it claims to be. It’s a Figma without the articulation. It sounds like a ridiculous concept, since Figmas are all about the pose-ability, but I’m proof positive that these serve a purpose. Shimakaze’s regular Figma tends to go for around $75-80 these days, whereas I was able to pick up the FigFix for closer to $40. I wouldn’t normally find these non-articulated versions to be acceptable replacements for the regular ones, but it does offer a nice alternative in this case. I haven’t actually featured any of the regular KanColle Figmas here yet, but I have a growing collection of them and at the very least now I can display Shimakaze with them and she’ll do fine until I can track down the regular version.

 

Figma “Sword Art Online” Asuna by Max Factory

It seems like forever since I last dipped into my stack of Figmas or Figuarts, so I’m remedying that today by opening a figure that is long past due. Even way back in August of last year, when I featured Figma Kirito, I had poor Asuna waiting to be opened and I guess she just got buried by other receivings, and further buried by a lot of unfinished business with Figuarts Sailor Moon. I’ll get to it eventually!!! In this case, however, it’s kind of ironic that it took me so long to opener her, because when I missed out on the original release, I came pretty close to paying an awful lot of money for this figure. Luckily, I procrastinated and like Kirito she got a re-release at a far more reasonable price.

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I always love the Figma presentation. It’s a window box that shows the figure and accessories quite nicely. It’s compact, relatively understated and just feels so simple and elegant. The fact that it’s collector friendly is a must, because there are so many accessories and extras to keep track of. You also get shots of the character on the side panels, which is great for easy reference because I keep my Figma boxes lined up on a bookcase shelf. Obviously most of the copy on the box is in Japanese, but you do get a little bit of English. SAO is pretty far up there on my list of favorite anime series, so even though it took me a while to get to her, finally getting this figure on my shelf is a pretty big deal for me.

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I loved Asuna in SAO’s first arc, not so much later when they turned her into a damsel in distress and all she had to do was sit in a cage and get terrorized for most of the series. Original Asuna was refreshingly strong and skilled and her Knights of Blood costume is my favorite design in the series even though I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly why. I guess there’s something about that immaculate white outfit with the striking red and orange trim, and the smattering of cruciform emblems that just looks so damn good. The ensemble is rounded off with some really nice silver paint on her chest and belt. I can’t think of anyone besides Max Factory who could have recreated this outfit so brilliantly in a figure in this scale. The contrast of colors and the various layers make for an absolutely gorgeous figure.

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Asuna comes with a total of three portraits, although the amount of variety here is a little deceptive. The figure is boxed with a happy face and the other two are her angry and determined fighting faces. They’re very similar only one has the eyes looking off to the side and the other has a little flushed color in her cheeks. As always, changing these faces is as easy as removing the front hair piece and doing a quick pop and swap. She has four bendy strands of hair that fall down, two in front of her shoulders and two behind.

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The rest of her hair cascades down her back on a ball joint and herein lies my one and only nitpick about the figure. The hair has to be angled pretty far back to make room for the stand’s back peg. That’s fine for action poses, but for simple standing poses, it’s not always what I’m going for. Now, in fairness, they did include an adapter piece to help, but it’s still limiting in what it will do. Yes, it’s possible to get Asuna to stand without being attached to the arm and base, but it’s not easy. Between her skirt and all that hair, she tends to be a little back-heavy. But if that’s the worst thing I can come up with, this figure is still doing pretty fine by me.

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Of course, being a Figma Asuna comes with a bunch of extra hands. The figure is boxed with a pair of relaxed hands, but you also get a pair of splayed hands, fists, regular sword holding hands, and a pair of angled sword holding hands for thrusting. The hands swap out really easily, but I had to be extra careful not to lose the tiny cuffs that just float between the arm and hand. Once you take the hands off, there’s nothing holding them on.

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And speaking of swords, Asuna comes with two. You get Lambent Light in its red scabbard and what I assume is Wind Fleuret, although the hilt doesn’t exactly match what I remember seeing in the anime. Then again, it’s been a while. As with Kirito, these blades are extremely fragile, probably more so in this case, but they look great and fit into the scabbards well enough so that they aren’t difficult to remove. The scabbards peg into a keyhole on the side of her skirt. It’s really hard to decide which of the blades I like more on the figure. Chances are I’ll go with Lambent Light just because the scabbard adds a little extra pop to the color scheme.

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Lastly, you get an effect part, which is much better than the cumbersome ones that came with Kirito. Yeah, I’m not generally a huge fan of effect parts, but I could actually see myself swapping this one out on display every now and again, whereas Kirito’s just stay in the box.

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The articulation here is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Figmas and is obviously excellent. The joints are all solid and have a great range of motion. The skirt does impede her lower half a little more in some cases, but there are few poses that I tried to do that I couldn’t achieve. And with the extra hands and expressions, the sky really is the limit. New Figmas reside on my desk for a while so that I can keep picking them up and playing with them and Asuna will be no different.

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As I mentioned earlier, I came damn close to paying over $100 for Asuna, but thankfully Max Factory re-issued her and I was able to get her for half that, and I’m pretty sure she’s still readily available at a good price. I can’t say enough how much I adore this figure and having her on the shelf just makes me want to see Figma roll out some more SAO loving. While I’m not as big a fan of the Gun Gale arc, a re-issue of Sinon would be most welcome and I’m still on the fence over whether or not to pick up that version of Kirito. The Alfheim version of Asuna will likely be my next target, and I should would enjoy it if they released a Leafa.