One Piece “Treasure Cruise World Journey, Vol. 1:” Luffy, Nami, and Roronoa Zoro by Banpresto

I’ve come to face the sad fact that I’m going to have to give up buying prize figures. Yeah, it sucks, but space continues to grow tight and I refuse to rent a storage to throw toys into. Eventually something has to give and I’ve ultimately decided to make one of those cuts here. Now that doesn’t mean these will be the last prize figures I review here, because I still have a bunch left to open. It also doesn’t mean I won’t make the occasional exception and buy something that I can’t live without, but the casual buying stops here. No, really. I mean it!!! I know that’s a bummer way to start a review, but let’s press on and check out three fantastic figures from my favorite of guilty pleasures, One Piece!

Mosey on aboard, Pilgrim, and bring along, all your hopes and dreams, Pardner! It’s One Piece meets Wild West? Yes, please! That’s what World Journey Vol. 1 is all about. Banpresto has been delivering on some wonderful fresh takes on the One Piece crew and this one is just right up my ally. As usual, these figures are roughly 9-inch scale and come in fully enclosed boxes, which are very colorful and are confident enough to let pictures of the figures themselves do the talking. These are imports, but there’s enough English copy on the boxes to help you know what you’re getting. Each figure requires a little bit of simple assembly to get them ready for display. Let’s start with Luffy!

Our favorite rubber pirate comes donning his Old West duds and looking damn great! Luffy stands with confidence with his left hand resting on his gun belt and his right hand reaching for the brim of his hat. The figure gets his rather lanky proportions down quite well and the details in his outfit are exceptional for a figure in this price range. His cowboy boots feature scrollwork patterns, and I really dig how they’re sculpted so the jeans disappear into the tops of the boots. That really gives the figure some fabulous depth. The jeans show sculpted rumples and wrinkles, he’s got a red billowy sash tied to the back of his belt and a leather-like vest on top of his pale green shirt. The vest has sculpted buttons set in a zigzag pattern and frills hanging off the pockets. His shirt sleeves are cuffed just above his wrists and he’s wearing a pair of work gloves.

Luffy’s primary belt has a big gold belt buckle and his secondary gun belt hangs low on his hips with a holster attached to a sculpted thigh strap and a row of cartridges. The holster has two buckles and you can see his shootin’ iron protruding from the top and ready for a quick draw. I’d love to see this gun out of the holster, because with the way the grip is configured it almost looks like some kind of hybrid between a six-shooter and an old fashioned pirate pistol.

No matter what he’s wearing, it’s easy to recognize Luffy in this head sculpt. His saucer-like eyes and his broad slit of a mouth give it away. His neck is wrapped in a red scarf and his black hair  spills down out of his brown cowboy hat. I think they did a fantastic job transforming one of my favorite pirates into a cowpoke and Luffy looks like he was made for the role. I should note here that all three of the figures came with bases that attach to the feet, but the one I got with Luffy was sadly cracked. Fortunately, he doesn’t need it to stand. Next up… Roronoa Zoro!

The infamous swordsman sets aside his three katanas in exchange for a trusty lever-action rifle. He stands proudly with his right hand on his hip and his left hand cradling his rifle on his shoulder. Like Luffy, there’s some amazing detail work on this figure’s costume. The boots have sculpted brass-painted tips, his blue jeans are accompanied by a pair of black chaps, and just a little bit of his vest can be seen underneath the billowing duster. The flaps of the duster have individually painted gold clasps, while the sleeves feature reinforced elbow pads and the sleeves disappear into a pair of brown gauntlets. And the top half of his outfit is obscured by a red poncho-like garment.

Roanoa’s portrait is excellent. He’s expression exudes confidence as he peers out from his good eye. His green hair can be seen disappearing into his cowboy hat and he looks like he’s just itching for a fight. I know if I saw him enter the Saloon, I’d clear out the back lickity-split!

I love the detail they put into his rifle. The stock has a brass band sculpted around it along with a couple of plates stamped with X’s. There’s a sculpted saddle ring and sights. The stock and foregrip are painted in a deep brown finish and the rest of the weapon is in gun metal gray. And now that we’ve looked at The Good and The Bad, let’s check out The Beautiful…

Nami rounds out this trio of Straw Hat Plains Drifters looking as dead sexy as ever! She was actually the figure in this series that caught my eye first, which I’m sure is a surprise to no one. She may be dressed as a cowgirl, but she’s leaning forward, advertising her pirate booty, both aft and stern, while bringing her six-shooter up to the ready (practicing poor trigger discipline, I might add!) and offering an alluring wink. Down below, her outfit consists of high brown boots with scrollwork patterns, etched on the sides, and a pleated blue skirt, which leaves little to the imagination, Up above she’s got a glossy black top holding up her cowpokes and a sculpted red blouse open at the top and tied at the bottom. She has a full glove sculpted onto her shootin’ hand and a finger-less glove on her left.

Banpresto has become experts at sculpting the portraits of pretty much the entire Straw Hat crew, but I think they probably know Nami best of all. They always manage to capture her whimsy and spunk, no matter what outfit she happens to be in. I really dig the wild sculpt to her orange hair and the way her cowboy hat is perched almost on the back of her head.

I was already trying to swear off Prize Figures when this trio went up for pre-order, and even a whole wagon full of willpower wouldn’t have been able to stop me from buying these once I saw them. I’m a sucker for everything Old West, from history to fiction. I love shooting my old-timey single-actions revolvers and lever guns, and I scarcely let a weekend go by without having a Western playing on the TV. So naturally when you mash that up with One Piece, one of my biggest guilty pleasures, it’s money already spent. But thankfully not a whole lot, because these beauties set me back only $22 each and for the amount of detail and care that went into their design and execution, I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. My only sadness is they didn’t work Usopp into this line.

One Piece: “Grandista” Grandline Lady Nami by Banpresto

Once upon a time there was a thing around these parts called Anime Saturday, wherein I would devote the day to opening new prize figures, scaled figures, Figmas or any sort of anime figures I happened to acquire. Well, I’ve kind of taken a few steps back from collecting these sorts of things these days, mostly because of limited space. But that’s not to say a few pre-orders haven’t slipped through this embargo. And maybe I do have a short stack of these figures in the corner of the closet left to be opened. Whatever the case, I had a little time this morning and I figured, what the hell… let’s do an Anime Saturday (on a Wednesday!) for old time’s sake. Besides, it feels like forever since I gave Nami some loving!

As you may know, I adore One Piece and I love Banpresto’s One Piece prize figures. They’re cheap, they’re beautiful, and they scratch that nasty itch for One Piece merch. Today I’m checking out Nami from Banpresto’s Grandista line. And since Nami is a lady that needs no introduction around here, let’s jump straight to the packaging. She comes in a colorful box with photos of the figure all around and both Eastern and Western lingo printed on the box. And don’t forget that hologram sticker proving that this is not some shoddy bootleg. Inside, she’s wrapped in plastic and comes in two halves, so you’ve got some simple assembly ahead of you. A lot of the the Nami figures I’ve looked at recently have featured some kind of new spin on the character, so it’s kind of refreshing that this figure takes us back to basics.

With Nami’s two halves plugged together, there are two things that immediately struck me as interesting about this figure. First, she’s really big. Most of the Banpresto prize figures I get are around 7 to 9-inch scale, whereas Nami here tops out at about 11-inches. Second, there’s no base and, quite miraculously, she doesn’t need one, as she stands just fine on her own, even in those high heels. Other than those two points, this figure holds few surprises. It features Nami wearing her trademark blue jeans, blue and white bikini top, and high-heeled orange sandals. This is traditional Nami through-and-through with her weight tossed to her left hip and her left hand resting on her fine backside.

The paint and sculpt here are both excellent. The jeans are wrinkled in all the right spots and have those double rings cut out of the hips. The stitching around the pockets and belt loops is all sculpted in place and they are fastened with a simple silver snap right under her belly button. The blue of the jeans contrasts nicely with the orange of her hair and shoes, and her skin is a warm and smooth without too much of a waxy finish, as we sometimes get in these cheaper figures. I think my only nitpick would be they went a little heavy with the shading around her lower midriff.

And all the necessary Nami-detail points are hit along the way. Her tattoo is neatly printed on her left shoulder, and she has both her Log Pose and a loose bangle around her left wrist. But that’s not surprising. Banpresto has been doing Nami for a while now, so they know her backwards and forwards.

The portrait is also as classic as you can get. She has a broad smile, with just a hint of mischief and her large eyes are perfectly printed. The hair sculpt flows down her back with the rest of it framing her face and partially covering her forehead.

Yup, today was a quickie, but there’s not much more to say about this lovely lady. If you’re up for a very traditional Nami figure, than it’s hard to beat this new one from Banpresto. At about eleven inches, she really stands out among her peers. The sculpt and coloring are both fab, and the quality of plastic is top notch. I think she’s also a perfect pick up if you just want that one excellent representation of the character on your shelf. Sure, there are plenty of scaled figures that outshine this offering, but when you’re talking around $200 versus the $25 this one cost, I think the value can’t be beat. And I gotta say it felt good to open one of these again! I’ll try not to wait as long before I do it again.

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Perhona (Code: B) by Banpresto

In case you missed it, I’m a little bit smitten with Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series of roughly 9-inch scale One Piece ladies. I came for the first releases of Nami and Boa Hancock and stayed for the rest. And since it’s been so very long since I last did an Anime Saturday feature, and because I have so many of these piling up, let’s open up a new figure in this series. Yeah, I know it’s Wednesday, but things are so discombobulated on my end, who cares anymore? Oh, hey… it’s Perhona! The Ghost Princess!

As always, these figures come in fully enclosed boxes with some lovely shots of the figure inside and the CRANEKING logo. The package is fairly bi-lingual in that it bears the line’s mission statement in English on two of the panels. Perhona comes wrapped in plastic and requiring a little simple assembly before she’s ready for display.

And here she is, standing with a wide stance, her left hip thrust to the side, her left hand tucked behind her and her right hand tugging on her top. She’s sporting one of the more interesting outfits in this series, and that’s really saying something! Starting at the bottom, Perhona’s showing off a pair of glossy black high-heeled boots, with the toes pointed slightly inward. The boots end just above her ankles giving way to what I can only describe as some kind of kinky latex stockings laced up the side, with pink stockings peeking out the tops and secured with sculpted garter belts. Wow! The platforms on her heels are gray and she’s got a red ribbon tied around her right ankle.

As we go higher, she’s sporting a super-short black mini-skirt with a wide pink padded strip running around the top and a brown ammo belt fanning some cartridges just below her exposed mid-riff. Up top, she has a cropped sailor uniform blouse, gray with a red collar and a big black bow up front. The ensemble is punctuated by a pair of long, glossy black fingerless gloves, with exposed elbows. The result of this costume is a peculiar mix of cutesy fun, dark sailor scout, and BDSM Dominatrix.

Oh yeah, Perhona also sports a rather unique looking flintlock rifle, slung over her right shoulder. I really love what they did with this piece. The stock feature a sculpted wood-grain pattern with the barrel and fixtures painted gold. There’s even a beautiful scroll-work motif sculpted into the panels on the sides.

And that brings us to the portrait, and this is where I have to confess that Perhona’s eyes creep the hell out of me. Those giant perfectly round pools of inky black look like they were made to suck the souls right out of people. What’s even more disturbing is the contrast between those eyes and her large coif of bright pink hair. It flows down her back in giant locks and spills down each side of her face in braided pigtails with black bows on the ends. Finally, a black and gray cap is crookedly perched on here head.

It’s worth noting that the coloring and paintwork on this figure are quite good. From the mix of dark glossy black to matte black to the warm skin tones and the cotton candy pink of her hair, there are a lot of contrasts here and it certainly makes for a very unique looking figure. She even has her little pink bat tatt on her left shoulder.

I didn’t set out to collect this line. I originally just wanted Nami and Boa Hancock. Then I decided I would just cherry-pick the ones that I really liked, but so far that’s been all of them. Perhona is a great example of that because her character doesn’t do a lot for me, and I already mentioned that her eyes creep me the hell out. But I still dig this figure a lot and I’m mighty glad I added her to the lineup. And at about $25 a pop, this line still feels like it offers a decent value for the money.

One Piece: “Glitter & Glamours” Shiny Venus Boa Hancock by Banpresto

I had to sit out last Anime Saturday because real life got in the way. This weekend isn’t much better, but I did want to drop in for a quickie and so I decided to open up my second figure in Banpresto’s Glitter & Glamours series. Last time it was Nami, this time it’s Boa Hancock! And since I am crunched for time, let’s get right down to it…

I’m still not 100% sure what the running theme in this line is supposed to be. The first two figures I have happen to both be One Piece babes reclining in their skimpy bikinis, but looking ahead, the line seems to have a lot more variety to it. The Glitter and Shiny probably have to do with some shiny finishes applied to some parts of the figures’ clothing. But hey, I’m not here to over-analyze things. Like Nami, Boa comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of photos of the figure inside. The figure itself requires some simple assembly before she’s ready to spruce up your desk with some sex appeal. I’ll likely be referencing back to the G&G Nami during this review, so if you missed that one, you might want to check it out. I’ll wait. OK? Let’s go…

And indeed she is sexy. Boa reclines on a lump of sand, propped up with her right hand while her left hand fiddles with her hair, and her long legs are  stretched out for what seems like miles and miles. She’s wearing just a black bikini with a white cover-up, tied under her exceedingly ample bosom, and a thin gold anklet at the end of her right leg. I’ve got no problems with the pose here, it looks great, but unfortunately the figure doesn’t really lay flush with the surface she’s resting on. Part of that might have to do with the base, and I’ll get to that in a bit, but her feet hover a bit off the surface and that looks a little unnatural.

I’m also going to go ahead and say that the coloring here isn’t terribly exciting either. Boa’s skin is a lot paler than Nami’s and that’s accurate, but the rest of the figure also lacks any real punch when it comes to the deco. You’ve got the black bikini and her black hair. The white cover-up has a bit of that pearlescent sheen that we saw with Nami’s, but the effect isn’t nearly as strong here either. A little gold on the trim of her sleeves and her earrings, and the bright red nail polish on her fingers and toes helps a bit, but not really a lot. If you’re looking for a colorful figure, this ain’t it.

I do like the portrait a lot. The hair sculpting is excellent and I dig Boa’s little smirk as well as the perfectly printed eyes and lips. On the other hand, her face is pointed downward, so this is one of those figures that you absolutely have to display at eye level, or above, if you want to glean her pretty peepers. Likewise, this really isn’t a statue that has a lot of sweet spots, which is a big part of why I was able to do her justice fairly quickly. Sure, she looks nice from the back, but she’s best viewed dead-on from the front and that’s about it.

I’m really not enamored with the base here either. Nami was able to make due without one, as they just flattened her tushie a bit and that worked fine. Instead of doing the same thing here, they molded this little piece of sand, which is supposed to snap around her hand and cradle her right hip. It works fine keeping the figure upright, but then you’ve got that thing going on where her feet aren’t resting on the display surface and it looks a bit off. I am not a big fan of the way this went.

I don’t mean to beat up on poor Boa here too badly. This is a pretty good figure and she’s definitely a sexy addition to my One Piece shelf. But she lacks the color and pop that Nami had. At $20, I have no regrets over picking her up, the quality is there and the sculpt is great, but I feel like a few tweaks could have helped the figure along. Get rid of that base, design her to sit on her own, and maybe add a little more color and this pretty good figure could have been a great one!

One Piece: “Glitter & Glamours” Shiny Venus Nami by Banpresto

I know what you’re thinking. Another One Piece Prize Figure from Banpresto? How about a little variety for Anime Saturday. Sheesh! There were complaints when it was all KanColle, all the time, then complaints about Anime Saturday going away, and now it’s too much One Piece? There’s just no pleasing some people. I’d argue you could never have too much One Piece, but a couple of years back when I was really sick, I did nothing but lay on the sofa for two days, coif NyQuil and watch my One Piece DVDs while I drifted in and out of fevered sleep. To this day, I’m convinced it broke part of my brain. But anyway, I will get to some other stuff. I have plenty of Figmas left to look at. But I don’t have a lot of time this weekend, so I needed something quick. And now that I’m all caught up on Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series, I thought I’d open up some of their Glitter & Glamours figures.

And what better on a chilly Saturday morning than a little hot Nami to warm us up? The G&G series features girls spanning a few different animes, and I can’t detect much in the way of a coherent theme. The packaging hasn’t changed much, as you still get your figure in a fully enclosed box with plenty of shots of the cutie inside.  And after just a few simple assembly steps, Nami will be all ready to brighten up my desk.

The roughly 9-inch scale Glitter & Glamour Nami offers a contrast to Flag Diamond Ship with our gal laid back, relaxing, and reclining in the sun. She’s wearing a white blouse, buttoned once just below her ample bosom, and a two-piece orange bikini. Her long legs are crossed and stretched out in front of her, her right hand is behind her head, while she leans back on her left hand. There’s no base at all, but she doesn’t really need one as she’s very stable and rests evenly on any surface. Her tushie is even flattened a bit to keep her from rolling around.

There’s some nice attention to detail here in the sculpt. Some highlights include the bracelets on her right arm, the single gold bangle on her left wrist, the double-looped chain necklace, and the ruffles ringing her bikini bottom. I dig the coloring as well. Nami’s showing a lot of skin and the skin tone is warm and even and not at all waxy, and her tiny fingernails and toenails are painted red. There are a couple of shades of purple displayed on her bracelets, as well as some shiny gold on the rest of the jewelry. But the real draw here where the coloring is concerned is the beautiful pearlescent white finish on her blouse. It has a striking sheen to it that looks absolutely gorgeous. I’m guessing that’s where the “Shiny” in Shiny Venus comes from.

Of course, the portrait is pure Nami. By now it should be no surprise that Banpresto knows what they’re doing with Nami’s likeness. She glances off to the side with her large, perfectly printed eyes, a cute smile, and her signature flowing orange-red hair. If you look closely, you can even see the pearl studs in her ears.

Heaven knows that there’s no shortage of Nami figures out there on the market, so when Banpresto can add another to the pile and still have her stand out, well that’s no small feat. Oh sure, you can get better figures, but they’re going to cost you, and the fact that Banpresto is delivering quality in this scale at or below the $20 mark is mighty impressive. It doesn’t hurt that Amazon is selling these at competitive prices and with free shipping if you happen to be a Prime member. At that point, these practically become impulse buys for me!

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nico Robin by Banpresto

Three Saturday Anime reviews in a row means It might be becoming a habit again, which would be great because I have a big backlog of Prize Figures and Figmas to open and review. Then again, with the Silly Season upon us, my time will be getting tight again, so we’ll see how this goes. Today I’m getting completely caught up with Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series with a look back at Nico Robin. I missed this one when it first came out, so I had to double back for her. It cost me a little bit extra, but I didn’t get beaten up too badly.

As usual, this roughly 9-inch scale figure comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of pictures of what’s inside. It’s collector friendly, and I dig these boxes because, rather than tossing them, I can flatten them out and file them away so they don’t take up a lot of room. There is some minor assembly required here, mainly putting the two halves of Robin together at the waist and while the fit was a little tight on this one, I was eventually able to get her set up and ready to go.

I’m fond of pointing out that my first two figures in the Flag Diamond Ship series, Nami and Boa Hancock had a strong pirate flair to them and after that the series just started doing it’s own thing. Well, Robin here fits more closely with the design of those first two figures, but she’s still sporting something of a pirate-cowboy mash-up. She’s also one of the simpler designed figures in the series, as there isn’t a whole lot to her costume, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. Robin sports a tan jacket with red liner, which she is holding open to expose her skimpy black bikini-style top. Moving downward, she’s got a black micro-skirt with a wide gray belt, and finally, a pair of brown buccaneer boots. The ensemble is punctuated by an oversize brown fedora, a multi-colored head scarf, and a single flintlock pistol strapped to her right thigh.

The portraits in this series have all been great, and Robin does nothing to buck that trend. She sports a somewhat serious expression with her hair and the head scarf both blowing off behind her. Her facial features are perfectly printed and the white, purple, and lavender pattern of the scarf is also neat and clean and offers a nice contrast to her black hair. The fedora is tipped down low over her face, so this is a statue that really demands being displayed at eye level if you don’t want to obscure her pretty face.

I’m not sure whether Robin is putting on her jacket, taking it off, or just flashing her goodies, but whatever the case I like the pose. As I mentioned there isn’t a huge amount of detail here, but that’s more because of the style and not an intentional omission. Most of the outfit’s detail can be found in the boots. They have a cool suede look about them, with sculpted gold painted fixtures and laces. There’s a nice braided band around her hat, and the jacket features stitch lines on the outside as well as the liner. Finally, they put some excellent work into the flintlock. The paint is simple, but overall pretty clean and her skin tone looks great.

Rather than traditional bases, this line has been using plastic pieces that fit into one of the figures’ feet as a stand. The more recent releases have abandoned the effort to make these pieces look like anything other than hunks of plastic. Robin’s on the other hand is sculpted to look like… eh, a crumpled piece of cloth? Maybe? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I like that they gave it some detail. Unlike some collectors, I haven’t had any major issues with these unconventional stands, although Robin’s doesn’t fit quite as flush as the others so there is a tiny bit of wobble to her.

When I pre-order these figures, I can usually get them for between $20 and $25, but I had to go to hunt Nico Robin down and she set me back a full $30, and you know what? She was still well worth it. The quality on these figures continues to impress me and at about 9-inches tall, they make for impressive display pieces. These are definitely not what I tend to think of when I think of Prize Figures. As of now, I believe Banpresto has three more of these figures planned, including second versions of both Nico Robin and Boa Hancock, but it doesn’t look like they’ll be arriving until next year.

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Vinsmoke Reiju (Code: B) by Banpresto

Holy hell, it’s two Anime Saturday reviews in a row! This miracle is being brought to you by my vacation and the fact that I actually had time to squeeze in some more content this week. I’m not sure how consistent it will be going forward, but I’m going to give it my best try. Anywho, I’m back this Saturday morning with another one of Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship figures, and this time it’s Vinsmoke Reiju!

These roughly 9-inch scale figures continue to release in pretty typical, fully enclosed prize figure boxes. There are some great photos of the figure on all four panels to give you a good idea about what’s inside. And of course the box also states the aim of the series, “to create a figure that exudes the female form” including “proportional balance!” Hey, I’m all for that, but it makes me wonder what kind of ladies are hanging around the Banpresto offices, and maybe I need a job there! Anyway, there is some minor assembly required here, so let me get Reiju together and we’ll check her out!

The initial releases made me think that this was going to be a traditional pirate-themed line, but it has since managed to stray to the point where the only common thread I can see is that of lovely ladies. And that’s fine, because I still like what I’m seeing, even if Reiju’s costume here is all over the place! She’s a black half-jacket zipped almost all the way down to the bottom with a purple half-shirt peaking out, long black gloves, a black micro-skirt with a wide black belt and a purple waist scarf, high black socks with knee pads, and stiletto boots. The ensemble is topped off with a peaked officer’s cap and a pair of revolvers and… yeah, like I said, I’ve got no idea what they were going for here, but I dig it.

I also love the portrait here. The right side of Reiju’s face is mostly obscured by her short pink hair, although you can still make out her tiny lips and nose and one perfectly printed eyeball, with her family’s signature eyebrow above it. And while it looks like she’s just stretching, she’s actually got a nasty surprise behind her back in the form of a combat knife.

In addition to getting all the curves in all the right places, the sculpt packs some nice detail where it’s needed. I’m especially impressed with the work put into the pistols as well as the combat knife, which features a serrated back edge.

Paint has been generally solid in this line, and I think Reiju here comes close to being the best so far. I like the use of high gloss black for the cap, gloves, belt, cape, and even the bands around her boots, as it contrasts well with the matte black used for the jacket and skirt. The pistols have a nice metallic gray finish with brown painted handles. The zipper and pocket clasps are precisely painted in gold, and even the silver paint on her belt buckle is sharp and clean. She has a nice warm skin-tone, and the sixes on her thighs are perfect!

The series continues to eschew proper bases in favor of plastic bits that fit onto one of the figure’s feet to stand them up. In this case it’s a black block that Reiju’s left foot slots into. It works perfectly for a stand, but I wish they had dressed it up into like a wooden crate or something. At least it matches the color of her boots, so it doesn’t really stand out.

I pre-ordered Reiju when she was first solicited for $20 and that feels like an absolute deal. She’s big, she’s beautiful, and her eclectic biker-chick-cowboy-pirate design certainly demands attention. The quality on these figures continue to impress me and I know I’ll be on board for as long as Banpresto can keep it up! There are a few more scheduled for release early next year, but I still have one more in the hopper to open up before the end of this year!

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nefeltari Vivi (Code: B) by Banpresto

I’m on vacation this week, which means I actually had time to resurrect Anime Saturday! And while I won’t make any promises, I’m really trying to bring it back on a semi-regular basis, because the Prize Figures and Figmas have been stacking up quite a bit. Today I’m opening up another one of Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship figures and this time it’s the Princess of Alabasta herself, Nefaltari Vivi!

As always, the figure comes in a fully enclosed box with some shots of the statue and the deliciously weird mission statement of the series, which includes delivering the female form’s “amazing hourglass figure, ideal body curves, and proportional balance.” OK! For some reason, I got it into my head that the Code B meant it was the second version of the character in the series, but I’m pretty sure this is first time Vivi has appeared. Anyway, this roughly 9-inch scale figure requires a bit of minor assembly, so let’s get her set up and check her out!

And here she is all put together and looking… well, nicely put together, if ya know what I mean! Early on, I thought they were going for a strong pirate theme in this line, but it seems like that’s not necessarily the case. That’s not to say I don’t like what I’m seeing! Vivi sports a black button-down half-shirt, which also only happens to be about halfway buttoned. Thankfully there’s a strap across her chest to hold it together. The sleeves are rolled up just below her elbows and she has one glove on her right hand.

Moving down, she’s got black short shorts with a blue sash tied around her waist, a flintlock pistol strapped to her right thigh, a knee below that, one thigh-high blue stocking on her left leg, and a pair of very tall glossy black boots with sculpted laces and buckles. It may not be traditional pirate garb, but I really dig it.

Overall, the paint is pretty solid on this figure. I love the gradient blue coloring on her left stocking, it gives me a bit of a Harley Quinn vibe, and the high gloss black used for her boots and glove looks great. Some high points of the applications include the individually painted brass buttons on her top, the silver buckles in her boots and holster strap, and the gold ring on her right hip, that’s holding her waist sash together. The brown used for the holster is a darker shade than the pistol itself, and while they painted the butt cap on the pistol gold, they neglected to paint the rest of the fixtures on the gun. This omission is really the only complaint I have about the paintwork on this figure, as it is the gun looks like it’s made out of chocolate!

The portrait is excellent. Vivi’s big eyes are perfectly printed, along with her lips and eyebrows. The pose has her gathering up her long blue hair, which is flowing wildly all around her. While the detail is overall great on the figure, I think it’s the hair that really sells this sculpt the most to me.

Banpresto has experimented a bit with the bases in this line. They started out using a large circular disc with the first Nami, then they went with a little pile of gold for the second figure, Boa Hancock. Now it seems like they’ve settled for using just black chunks of plastic that pegs into one of the feet. I like these, as they don’t take up as much space as the conventional bases, but I kind of wish they kept the treasure motif, because it actually looked likes something and not just a hunk of black plastic. I know some collectors have had issues with the stability on these stands, but mine have been pretty good. They fit flush with the shelf and they do their job keeping the figures upright.

Four figures in, and I have to say that I’m still a big fan of this line. The costumes are creative, the ladies are beautiful, and the quality is certainly there for the price point. And speaking of which, I’ve found that pricing on this line has been anywhere from $20 all the way up to $30, depending on where I get them. It seems like pre-ordering them is the way to go, as I got Vivi here for $20, but I’m probably going to cough up $30 for the Nico Robin I missed out on. Twenty bucks feels like a great value, whereas thirty is right up at the ceiling.

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nami (Code: B) by Banpresto

Banpresto has been continuing their Flag Diamond Ship line of 9-inch scaled figures featuring the ladies of One Piece in some rather fetching and unconventional outfits. Much earlier this year, I checked out their Boa Hancock and first version of Nami. Today I’m going to open up their second version of Nami, called Code: B. Let’s go!

The packaging here is standard prize figure stuff right down to the Jamma and Craneking logos. You get a fully enclosed box with some nice shots of the statue inside, along with the line’s mission statement in English, which has a round about way of saying the figures are pure fan service. No surprises there! Inside, the figure comes partially disassembled and wrapped in plastic. All you have to do is put Nami’s two halves together at the waist, put her right foot into the base, and place her sword in her hand.

And ain’t she pretty! The pose features Nami with a somewhat wide stance and cradling a telescoping sword-baton behind her neck with each hand. The outfit consists of short shorts and a tied off top, both matching black with teal trim. She also sports some black gloves, stockings, and little black boots with orange ties around them. Not exactly a conventional look for Nami, and that’s the point, but I think she looks great.

There’s some really nice detail to the outfit, including a sculpted cream colored belt with painted silver studs and buckle. It secures a flintlock pistol to her right hip and a holster for her other weapon on her left hip. The pistol includes gold painted fixtures and looks great. The top features silver painted buttons running down the front and some poofy ruffles to her shoulder sleeves.

While the outfit might be a bit of a departure, the portrait is 100% Nami. Her big eyes are neatly painted and she’s wearing a wry smile with her head cocked and offering a sideways glance. Someone’s about to get a smack-down. Her vibrant orange hair cascades down her back in two pony-tails with smaller licks curling up in front of her shoulders. Her weapon is an interesting design, as it has a katana-style hilt with a collapsing baton in place of a blade. I have to confess my ignorance here, because if this is a real weapon, I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a separate piece that fits into the grasp of her right hand with the other end cradled in her left. The tactical-style grip is textured and has an orange tie around it that matches the ones on her boots.

The base is a simple black rock that her right foot pegs into. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this base not supporting the statue, but mine actually works perfectly.

Banpresto seems highly committed to this series, as they have several more figures solicited for pre-order, as well as a few out now that I haven’t picked up yet. They seem to retail around the $25 range, which isn’t bad for what you’re getting. Sure, she isn’t the same quality as a proper scaled figure, but then with a respectable 9-inch scale and a price point at least $100 less than your average scaled figure, I’m really digging these a lot. The paint is solid, the sculpts are fun, and I’ve got several more due in soon, so you can bet you’ll be seeing more of the Flag Diamond Ship around here!

Variable Action Hero (One Piece): Summer Vacation Nami by MegaHouse

Some of you may be wondering if I’m ever bringing back Anime Saturday and I think today’s review should answer that question. I’ve cut down the number of reviews each week to help me cope with more work and other things and so rather then be inconsistent with that extra Saturday piece of content and stress me out trying to do it, I’ve decided to just roll those reviews into the regular week rotation. But since making this decision, the Figmas and the Figuarts and the Prize Figures have really been piling up, so hopefully I’ll be able to start knocking out reviews of some of this stuff more regularly. And so, without further ado… “Come aboard and bring all your hopes and dreams…”

ONE PIECE!!! Oh yeah! Whenever I’m feeling stressed or depressed or just need something to boost my spirits, pouring a tall glass of Jameson and tossing in a One Piece DVD is like wrapping myself in a warm blanket. I’ve already reviewed two One Piece figures from the Variable Action Hero line, and yes one of those was Nami! This new release is dubbed Summer Vacation Nami, which means she’s wearing even less, so how could I resist double dipping? I’m also bumping her to the head of line with Roronoa Zoro still waiting for his turn. Sorry, bud. I’ll get to you eventually. If you’re unfamiliar with these VAH figures, they’re sort of like larger scale Figma or SH Figuarts, and while they’re good, they’re not always quite as good as those other figures. Nami comes in a colorfully illustrated window box, which does a good job matching up with the packages of the other Straw Hat Pirates in this line. Let’s get her out and have a look!

Nami is no stranger to skimpy bikini tops, but now she’s cast off her jeans for a skimpy bikini bottom as well, and I ain’t complaining. The bikini is turquoise with white vertical stripes, and there’s a big blue “3” printed on the right side of her ample chest. Apart from the Log Pose and golden bangle on her left wrist she’s not wearing anything else so from the neck down there isn’t a lot of sculpted detail here beyond her fingernails and toenails. The skin tone is warm and smooth and features some nice shadowing around the joints and, um… other areas. Naturally she has her trademark tattoo printed in blue on her left bicep.

There are two different front hair pieces to choose from. One is regular and one comes with her sunglasses attached. Seeing as how this is Summer Vacation Nami, I don’t see why you would want to go without the sunglasses, but the option is still there if you want it. The previous VAH Nami came with four different swap-out faces, whereas this one comes with five. You get regular smiling face, somewhat sinister smiling face, two different winking faces, and angry shouty face. Swapping faces is as easy as on Figmas or Figuarts. You just remove the front hair piece pull off one face and slap on another.

You also get a nice selection of different hands, all of which seem to be recycled from the previous Nami. These range from relaxed hands, karate chop hands, and fists to more expressive options like the “OK” gesture and a pointing finger. If you’ve had experience with Figmas or Figuarts, you have a good idea about the kind of articulation we’re dealing with here. These figures never feel as poseable as their smaller rivals, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had here. On the downside, I absolutely hate the design of the hip joints. They’re ball jointed on a dogbone style piece and they constantly want to pop out and be all loosey-goosey when I’m trying to pose her. They also have a habit of exposing a little too much of the joint with some poses. I don’t know what happened here, but this was never a problem with my other VAH Nami.

 

In addition to all the faces and hands, Nami comes with what every girl needs on her Summer Vacation: An inner-tube to float around in. This one has purple stripes and the word SEXY printed across the side, as if we needed to be told. The tube is made out of plastic, but it’s molded to look pretty convincing as an inflatable flotation device. There’s even a peg hole in the side so that it will work with a Tamiashii Stand.

I like this figure a lot, although it’s getting a little tough for me to justify these because of the cost. Nami set me back $90 when I pre-ordered her. It’s definitely a premium for what you’re getting, but it beats missing out and paying even more later on through the secondary market. Sure the Figmas and Figuarts are smaller, but I still feel like I’m getting more for my money with those figures in the $60 price range. I’d also much prefer getting these characters in a scale that would fit my other anime figures. In other words, if Figma or Figuarts were doing these characters, I’d be all over them, but apart from my one lone Figuarts Nami, that’s not an option, so I have to go with Variable Action Heroes for now.