KanColle: Light Cruiser Oyodo-Kai “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

After a long week of being sick, I’m ready to enjoy a leisurely morning with some coffee and a brand new KanColle Super Premium figure from the wonderful folks at SEGA. These SPM figures are presented in a roughly 8-inch scale and they’ve been digging pretty deep on the character selection, which keeps me coming back for more. Today’s Fleet Girl is the Light Cruiser Oyodo in her refit “Kai” form.

As always, SEGA’s SPM Fleet Girls come in standard enclosed boxes with a shot of the figure on the front, character art on the side panels, and lots of Japanese copy on the back. There’s very little English here, so hopefully you know what you’re getting. These boxes usually arrive pretty badly beaten up, but Oyodo’s is actually in pretty nice shape. Inside, the figure comes between two clear plastic trays. The only assembly required involves plugging her into her base.

While Oyodo-Kai is a fully armed Light Cruiser, she’s known more as an administrative “Mission Girl,” and only really sees action if you happen to be playing as her in the game. Likewise, she never saw action in the anime either, but rather served as assistant to Battleship Nagato and relayed action orders to the Fleet Girls. Even in the final battle when Nagato and Mutsu hit the water for action, Oyodo was nowhere to be seen. Her administrative nature is nicely reflected in the figure, which stands with clipboard in hand and turning in mid walk, as if to receive some last mission detail before hurrying off to relay orders.

Her outfit is rather unique among the Fleet Girls, and while she retains the familiar sailor-type uniform, she wears the top over an office-style long-sleeved button-down blouse with a red necktie. While she looks like all-business from the skirt up, she’s got a bit more whimsy going on down below decks. She’s wearing a pair of thigh-high stockings with lace around the tops and tied with pink ribbons just below. Over those she has white boots with gray, red, and gold rudder boots. Finally, she has a single piece of armor on her lower left leg, tied with two red ribbons.

The portrait here is pretty nice, but maybe not one of their best. I think maybe if the mouth was closed it would match the character art a little more closely. I do, however, like how they did her glasses, and they definitely add to her official administrative look. One thing that’s noteworthy is the white head band, which is correct for this refit “Kai” version. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that as Oyodo-Kai, this version should have flower patches on her lapels, but they seem to have been omitted.

Oyodo-Kai may be a Mission Girl, but she still retains her armaments. In this case, that includes her twin 15.5cm gun mounts, one of which she wears across her back and the other on her right thigh. She also wears her catapult on her right arm, used for launching her Type 0 reconnaissance seaplane. Her full gear would also include a considerably large hull part on her backpack and extra guns, which SEGA wisely omitted from this figure, probably because it would have been too big and ungainly and I’m fine with that.

Oyodo-Kai comes with a white hexagonal base, which is similar to several of SEGA’s previous SPM releases. Her name is also printed in blue near the front and off-center. These are more or less standard designs for the SPM figures, although they do change them up from time to time.

And here’s a shot of Oyodo-Kai with Heavy Cruiser Ashigara Kai II and Aircraft Carrier Shokaku Kai II. No matter what ships I assemble in the fleet, these gals always display beautifully together.

As a characeter, Oyodo was not terribly high on my list, but as I fill out most of Kantai Collection’s heavier hitters, I’m having fun picking up some of the back-benchers as well. Besides, Oyodo really brings a lot of charm to my collection with her rather distinctive outfit. And it doesn’t hurt that both the sculpt and paintwork on this figure are excellent. I snatched her up off of Amazon for $18 shipped and I’d say as far as missions go, that was a success!

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KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki (Moon Viewing Version) by Taito

It’s Saturday… who’s ready for some more KanColle? Well, don’t everybody raise their hands at once. Sheesh. On the last Anime Saturday I opened up Taito’s “Moon Viewing” version of the Destroyer Teruzuki and pointed out that she was intended to be displayed with her sister ship. So here I am back as promised to open up the “Moon Viewing” version of Akizuki and finally get these two Fleet Girls together on the shelf.

The packaging features the same style of enclosed box as we saw last week only with pictures of Akizuki on the front and side panels. The back panel, however, still shows both figures together, and it’s brilliant marketing, because I don’t know what kind of filthy animal could possibly buy one without the other and not feel empty inside. There isn’t a lot of assembly required. You just plug Akizuki into her base, put her Chou-10cm-hou-chan onto the base, and then put the Susuki grass into each of their hands.

And here she is all set up and ready for display. Akizuki stands on one foot with the other leg bent at the knee and clutching a handful of Susuki Grass, which is a traditional offering at the Otsukimi harvest celebration, or Moon Viewing Ceremony. Her pleated skirt is a palate swap of her sister’s, so instead of black with a white stripe it’s white with black stripe. The top, however, is the same, mostly white with a black collar and white stripe, and an orange neckerchief. And while Teruzuki wears her Anti-Aircraft Fire Detector on her neckerchief, Akizuki wears hers up in her hair.

Of course, this “Moon Viewing” version is the equivalent of Taito’s “Day Off” figures, so Akizuki is not wearing her armaments. She does, however still have her arming mount belt around her waist where her weapons would attach if she were out on a mission. On the other hand, she does still have her rudder boots. While her sisters boots were all red, Akizuki’s are mostly gray with red platforms and rudders.

The paint on this figure is quite good, both in quality and application. The white is very bright and clean and the flesh tones are smooth and warm. But that’s not surprising, as Taito rarely lets me down in this category. The lines between the white and black in her gloves could be a little sharper, but it’s not something that I’m going to fuss about when dealing with a figure at this price point. Sometimes her neckerchief is depicted as being more yellow, but here it’s orange, the same as it was with her sister’s.

The portrait is excellent. Akizuki is the older of the two sisters, and I think that’s reflected, as her eyes are not as wide as Teruzuki’s. I really like the depth to her hair and how it frames her face. Like her sister, she has a headband that reads “61” in Japanese, indicating that she is part of the 61st Destroyer Division. And as mentioned earlier, she wears her AA Fire Detector above her ahoge. The Susuki Grass does have a habit of slipping out of her left hand, something I noticed as I was handling her a lot, but it snaps back into place easily.

Like her sister, Akizuki also comes with her very own Chou-10cm-hou-chan, which is basically a little sentient gun turret, and he’s every bit as adorable as Teruzuki’s. He has both viewing ports open, giving him wide eyes and there’s  a cat-like smile drawn on his face. The guns are articulated and are kind of expressive, like antenna. He’s also holding an offering of Susuki Grass in his little flipper-like arms, which attaches via a peg. Unlike Teruzuki’s little friend, this one doesn’t have a post to attach him to the base, so you can just position him anywhere you like.

Akizuki’s base is a clear hexagon, identical to her sister’s. They’re set up so that if you put two of the sides flush with each other, the girls will be standing back to back and I think they look great together.

And here’s a quick shot of her with SEGA’s Super Premium Akizuki, which is all armed up and ready for action.

This is another fantastic figure from Taito and I love how she displays with Teruzuki. The only shame is that neither Taito nor SEGA appears to have released the third Akizuki Class sister-ship, Hatsuzuki. Good Smile has released a Nendoroid figure of her, but I’m not really into those all that much. Like her sister, Akizuki set me back only $13 shipped and that’s a pretty amazing deal. The sculpt is sharp, the paint is on point, and I have to say once again how happy I am that Amazon has been a source for these figures, because if it weren’t for them, my collection would be a lot smaller. Next Saturday will likely be another helping of KanColle love, but I’m not sure whether it’ll be another prize figure or a Figma release. Either way, I’m starting to get really badly backlogged.

KanColle: Destroyer Teruzuki (Moon Viewing Version) by Taito

Welcome to another Anime Saturday! I’m a little bummed out today because my vacation is coming to a close, so I’m drowning my sorrows this morning in coffee and opening up a new figure to cheer me up. It’s been a little while since I dipped my toe into that sweet, sweet pool of Kantai Collection prize figures, so it’s time to remedy that by unboxing another one of Taito’s lovely Fleet Girls. This time I’m checking out the Akizuki Class Destroyer, Teruzuki! This is the “Moon Viewing” version which is sort of akin to the “Day Off” figures, some of which I’ve looked at before. I’ve actually been on the hunt for SEGA’s Super Premium version of Teruzuki, as that one is all geared up, but I have yet to find a domestic source for her. In the meantime, I wound up buying this one just to get her in my collection. And also because Taito usually does some really nice work with these figures.

Teruzuki comes in a fully enclosed box with some shots of the figure on the front and side panels. It’s an attractive enough box, but these things are so flimsy that they’re usually pretty rough by the time they get to me. This one was even wrapped in plastic and it still took a pounding. The only English on the box is on the top and bottom panels where it has the figure’s name. You get the ubiquitous JAMMA logo in the upper corner and there are perforations to make handles on the sides.

The back panel of the box shows her paired up with her sister-ship, Akizuki. These two Fleet Girls are sold separately, but they’re actually meant to be displayed together. Inside the box, you get some extra bits of reinforcing cardboard and the figure is wrapped in plastic with a little minor assembly required. And as always, these figures are scaled at about 8-inches or so.

And here she is all set up and looking adorable. I really dig the pose here. Teruzuki is leaning forward and proudly offering up a box of Dango, which as I understand it are like sweet dumplings and are often enjoyed at the Otsukimi, or Moon Viewing Ceremony. Her sailor uniform is pretty typical stuff with a short pleated skirt, black with white stripes and a white top with a black collar with white stripes to match the skirt. She also has a bright orange neckerchief to add a little color to the ensemble, and it’s secured below her collar with her Anti-Aircraft Fire Detector. What a great little detail! Her outfit is rounded out by a pair of white knee socks and tall red rudder boots.

From the back, we can see that despite this being a leisure figure, she still has her arming mount on the back of her waist. One of the reasons I really want to get a regular version of Teruzuki is because her gear includes a really cool and distinctive pair of drum magazines that she wears on her thighs.

The portrait is nice and simple. Her blue eyes are printed looking off to the side and she’s offering a little smile. I love the golden propellers at the ends of her pigtails. Her headband is also marked “61” in Japanese, as she is part of the 61st Destroyer Division.

Her mound of tasty Dango are neatly stacked in a pyramid with white linen unfolded to display them. If anyone out there knows how to make Dango, be sure and send me a batch because they sound delicious.

Like the fan favorite Fleet Girl, Shimakaze and her Rouchouchan, Teruzuki is accompanied by her own adorable little sentient gun turret, in this case referred to as Chou-10cm-hou-chan. This little guy is mounted on a ball jointed post and hovering over the base, so you can position him whichever way you like. The guns are articulated and he has one view port closed to make it look like he’s winking. He also looks like he’s sucking down a Dango, probably the one missing from the top of the pyramid. As you can see the base is a simple clear plastic hexagon and Teruzuki is positioned on it so the flat side behind her can sit flush with the opposite side of her sister ship’s base. There’s no name inscribed, which is fine by me. Taito doesn’t tend to put the girls’ names on the bases.

And here’s a shot of her with Taito’s Battleship Yamato “Day Off” figure, just to show that they scale really well together. The OCD in me wishes they would stick with one style of base, but I guess they each have their merits. Also… So much food being served… now I’m hungry.

It’s been a while since I bought this figure, but I seem to recall her being a whopping $13 shipped off of Amazon. Honest, folks. I don’t get any kickbacks from mentioning Amazon, but it really is a great place to grab some of these figures. Anyway, I really like Teruzuki a lot. Taito continues to deliver some especially sharp sculpts and clean, vibrant paint for figures in this price range, and all with a wonderful attention to the character’s personality and appearance. Naturally, I picked her up with the “Moon Viewing” version of Akizuki, and I’ll be checking out that figure next Saturday, as long as time permits.

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nami by Banpresto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Piece “Flag Diamond Ship” Boa Hancock by Banpresto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sword Art Online: Asuna Loading Figure by Taito

It’s Anime Saturday again! I’ve come here to open anime figures and drink coffee, and I’m all out of coffee. Nah, not really. I just put on a fresh pot. And just to remind you that these Saturdays aren’t always about adding to my beloved KanColle collection, I thought I’d check out something new from Sword Art Online. I’ve looked at plenty of Asuna figures, including both Figmas and prize figures, but this one is another cool little piece from Taito and it features her dialing into the game and downloading her outfit.

The packaging holds no surprises, as we’ve seen this sort of thing before. It’s a fully enclosed box with perforations on the sides for handles. It’s colorful, it’s collector friendly, and the figure inside comes wrapped in plastic. Unwrap her, plug her foot into her base and she’s all set to go!

Here we see Asuna, accessing the interface for the game and I presume she’s loading her avatar’s Knights of Blood outfit from the top down, because the lower part of her jacket is clear, as if its in the process of downloading, and she’s barefoot, so I presume her boots are next to materialize. This is a clever idea for a variant and I think the way they did it turned out splendidly. From the skirt up, her outfit is fully realized, and I’ve made it no secret that this is my favorite look for Asuna.

The paint on this piece is very well done, particularly all the red trim on the white costume, with just a little bit of yellow. It’s a beautiful deco. If I had one minor complaint it would be that some of the plastic on her coat looks a little waxier than usual, but it’s nothing that I’m really all that upset about and it probably isn’t even worth my mentioning it.

I like the portrait, although I’m not one hundred percent sure what they were going for here. She looks surprised. Maybe Kirito walked in on her changing? Whatever the case, it’s cute and it’s definitely Asuna. As always, her eyes are beautifully printed, and I really dig the dynamic flow of her hair.

The game interface is pretty cool too. It’s basically just a slab of translucent plastic with a little paintwork to suggest she’s accessing her character screen. Considering that this is a budget prize figure, I think they pulled off the effect quite well.

The base is as simple as you can get. It’s just a clear plastic disc with a raised incline to plug her left foot into. Part of me wishes that Taito would just stick with one kind of base for each series of figures. As it is we get all different shapes and sizes, some clear and some opaque, some with logos, some without. Oh well, it’s too late for that now.

Let’s face it, every figure company under the sun has had their crack at Asuna. I could probably fill a shelf just on the releases of her in her Blood Knight outfit alone. So it’s nice to know that some companies are trying for some that are unusual, like her Aincrad Fencer outfit and this Loading version. The figure is excellent, and at this point I expect nothing less from Taito’s work. And at a ridiculously low price $16 shipped, I couldn’t be happier with her on my shelf.

KanColle: Battleship Nagato “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

Hooray! Anime Saturday is back again! I’m having a lazy morning, sipping some coffee and opening up a brand new Kantai Collection “Super Premium” figure from SEGA. I last visited with this line back in May of last year when I looked at the three Destroyers: Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi. These are technically still prize figures, but they’re also closer to fully scaled figures and I found them to be remarkable, especially considering how ridiculously cheap they were. Today, I’m checking out the big mama of them all, Secretary Ship Nagato! And what lies ahead are some choppy waters filled with both delight and disappointment.

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While the Destroyers came in window boxes, Nagato comes in a fully enclosed and very colorful box with lots of pictures and very little in the way of English text. It’s a pretty damn big box too! The Destroyers were large for prize figures and Nagato is similarly scaled, measuring in at a little over 9-inches tall. Between that and her wide stance, the box had to be considerably larger. Inside, the figure comes nestled between two clear plastic trays with the stand detached. All you have to do is plug her into the base and she’s good to go. But wait… that’s it? Isn’t there something missing? Well, that’s the disappointing part, and I’ll save that for the end.

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…because everything else here is nothing but wonderful. Nagato is absolutely gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that she qualifies as a prize figure by any stretch of the imagination. The Secretary Ships, Nagato and Mutsu are my favorite two character designs from the anime and it’s awesome to see one of them get this Super Premium format treatment. The costume includes her sleek rudder boots, crimson stockings, which are held up by straps that attach to her armament belt, and secured by adorable little anchor snaps! She has a very short white skirt, and her cut-off top exposes her midriff and shoulders, and her long, finger-less gloves. I also love the simple but effective pose here.  She’s looks so damn majestic standing there with her right hand on her rigging belt and her left arm thrust out, about to issue the order to attack the cursed Abyssinal Fleet.

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The quality of plastic and paintwork on this figure are both exceptional. The colors are vibrant and the lines are so sharp, you really need to get in pretty close to see any imperfections. When you take a budget-priced prize figure and blow it up to this scale, I would expect to see plenty of opportunities for sloppy paint work, but there’s simply no evidence of that here. What’s more, the skin tones are soft and even and the plastic looks and feels great.

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The portrait is spot on, with Nagato offering up a characteristically stern and defiant expression. I really dig the way her long hair crowns the head and blows majestically in the breeze and her big beautiful eyes are perfectly printed. Naturally, the head sculpt includes her radar and antenna array.

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The simple black disc base is absolutely huge to accommodate her wide stance, but it looks kind of vacant. It also has a rectangular outline in the front. What could that be for? So, yeah… here comes the disappointing part. She’s obviously missing her 41cm Twin Gun Mount. This was one of the rare cases where the figure and armaments were sold separately. The Outfitting Kit included a second stand to display the gun mount independently, but you could also combine it with the figure and stand. I knew this going in, but the seller stated that both were included. When just the figure arrived and I challenged the seller, the response was ship it back for a refund. The truth was, I love the figure, and opted to take a hit and keep her.

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Nagato set me back $40 shipped, which admittedly would have been an amazing price for both the figure and Gun Mount. But hell, even for just the figure, the price seems right. And besides, Nagato spent 95% of the anime without her weaponry, so she’s absolutely fine displayed this way. In that regard, it feels like a crime to come away from this beautiful figure with any sense of disappointment. She’s simply amazing in every way. But in the end, I couldn’t let it stand, so I’ve got her Gun Mount coming from another seller in Japan. Naturally, when it arrives I’ll get her all kitted out and we’ll take a second look!

KanColle: Shimakaze (Four Seasons of Chinjufu Naval Base) by Banpresto

Anime Saturday has been gone for a while, I know, but I’m really making an effort to bring it back. This morning, for example, I resisted the urge to stay in bed and read comics and instead, I got up and opened one of the many prize figures that I have stacked in the corner begging for attention. And since it’s been ages since I opened a new KanColle Fleet Girl, that’s exactly what I’m doing today. Let’s have a look at another Shimakaze!

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Yup, I love me some Shimakaze, and this is actually my first Fleet Girl from Banpresto, all the others have been from Taito and SEGA. I stumbled upon this figure one night while doing a little inebriated Amazon browsing and was shocked because I had never seen her before. Yes, I do have most of these prize figures tucked away on a Wish List for easy ordering. Anyway, the price was right and there was only one available so I jumped on it! The figure comes in a fully enclosed box with virtually no English text at all, so this is one of those cases where you really need to know what you’re looking at. There is a familiar Kantai Collection logo on the box, but it too is in Japanese. Inside, the figure itself comes in two parts and needs to be tabbed together. The dock also requires the posts to be plugged into it. The assembly is easy-peasy and when you’re done, here’s what you get…

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Lovely! Shimakaze relaxes on a dock about to start munching on a piece of watermelon while her faithful Rensouhou-Chan stands beside her and looks to be begging for scraps. Now, I’m calling this a dock, but I’ll concede that it might be intended as a table. I’m going with dock because Shimakaze has her trademark striped stockings and rudder boots off, so I’m assuming that she’s paddling her toes in the water. If this was one of Taito’s releases, it would probably have fallen under their “Day Off” series. Neither figure attaches to the dock, so you’re free to place them wherever you want.

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The sculpt here is quite good, although maybe just a tad softer than what I’m used to seeing from the other guys. And while Shimakaze is partly out of uniform from the knees down, everything above that should be readily familiar to any fan of the character. She has her low riding blue pleated skirt, exposing her G-string, her cut-off sailor-style top, with big buttons and black necktie, and her long white gloves with blue and yellow cuffs at her biceps. And no figure of Shimakaze would be complete without her bunny ears hair ribbon. The paint is overall solid. It could be a little sharper in some areas, but there’s nothing overtly bad here when it comes to the paint quality.

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The portrait is excellent. I happen to be a fan of Shimakaze’s more vexed expressions, but here she’s just clearly happy to be enjoying a little down time, and that’s cool. The large eyes are beautifully printed and her pale blonde hair is parted down the back and blowing off to the sides.

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Rensouhou-Chan is as adorable as ever. This is one of the smaller Rensouhou from her retinue. His sculpt is complete with his little flipper arms and bright yellow propeller tail. His guns rise up from his head like antenna and he has an adorable little face painted on the front of his turret head.

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One cool thing is that this Shimakaze fits almost perfectly into the life preserver base from my Taito figure. It’s crazy how well this works despite the two figures being made by two different companies.

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There’s no doubt that this was an impulse buy. I hit that 1-Click Buy It Now the moment I saw it and I’m not disappointed. At about $21 shipped, it’s a pretty decent price. I’ve certainly gotten better Taito Fleet Girl pieces for less, but those were just ridiculously good deals, so I’m not going to hold it against this gal. I’m a sucker for Shimakaze, and I’ll pretty much buy her figures no matter who puts them out.

Sword Art Online II: Lisbeth by SEGA

I wanted to start busting into my Kantai Collection Figmas for this weekend’s Anime Saturday, but work and holiday madness just didn’t allow it. As a result, I’m going to dig into my pile of Sword Art Online Prize Figures from SEGA and why not start with a character that doesn’t get a lot of merchandise? How about adorable blacksmith extraordinaire, Lisbeth!

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I’ve looked at some of SEGA’s Super Premium KanColle figures, but this is my first foray into their SAO line. While many of their KanColle pieces are actually fully scaled figures, these fall more into the 6 to 6 1/2-inch scale, which is not too shabby and fits in perfectly with Taito’s SAO offerings. The figure comes in a colorful, fully enclosed box with lots of pictures of what you’re getting. Inside, Lisbeth comes suspended in a plastic bubble and all you have to do is plug her into the base and she’s all ready for display.

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And hot damn, doesn’t she look great? There’s so many things I love about this figure, I’m not sure where to begin. This is, of course, Lisbeth’s ALO Avatar. I certainly wouldn’t have minded a figure of her in her SAO blacksmithing dress, but I’ll happily take her in her ALfheim adventuring gear, particularly since I love the ladies’ costume designs so much. The pose here is cute and she’s obviously mugging for the camera. She’s bent slightly over with one hand on her hip and the other up in the air, almost like she’s flexing.

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The actual armor plates are confined to a chest piece, hip plates, a left shoulder, and grieves. Under that can be seen a slightly poufy blouse, a sort of sideways sash, which just hangs down on the sides and leaves the front and back of her legs open, white ragged cut leggings, and boots. While the details on some of these prize figures can run soft, what’s here the sculpt is sharp and very well developed.

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Still, I think it’s the coloring on this figure that really sells it. The silver edging on the white armor looks fantastic and the red garment with yellow piping makes the whole thing pop beautifully. What’s more, the quality of the paint application is impressive for a figure in this price range. The lines are pretty sharp and the whites are bright. There’s virtually no slop or bleeding to speak of.

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The portrait is just perfect. Lisbeth offers a shy smile. Her gorgeous eyes are perfectly printed and she’s got a hint of freckles. Her short pink hair is kept in place with a little sculpted hairclip. The plastic used for the flesh tone is also quite good and not too waxy. And just check out the paint on her collar ribbon. It’s immaculate!

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The base is a simple white hexagon with Sword Art Online printed on it in both English and Japanese. My only complaint here is the orientation of the statue on the base in relation to the position of the lettering. To display it on my shelf from the ankle I like, I have to have the lettering skewed to one side. It’s probably not a big deal to most, but it aggravates my OCD.

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And, I couldn’t call it a day without an obligatory tushie shot.

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I was originally sticking with Taito for my SAO figures, but I had to go to SEGA to get Lisbeth on my shelf and after experiencing the quality of this piece, I quickly picked up some more. I’d say the quality on this one is on par with Taito’s Aincard Fencer Asuna, but quite a bit better than their ALfheim version of Sinon. Lisbeth set me back about $25, which is more than I’m used to paying for these figures, but I feel it’s still a good value for what you’re getting.

KanColle: Destroyer Shimakaze by Taito

It’s been more than a few Anime Saturdays since I last tortured you all with my Kantai Collection obsession, so let’s visit with another one of Taito’s Fleet Girls. This time, it’s the adorable Shimakaze! Yes, for a change I’m actually looking at a character from the anime series and not just the video game!

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We’ve seen Taito’s packaging many times here, and there isn’t much different here. You get a fully enclosed box with some striping on the bottom half and lots of pictures of the figure inside. Despite Shimakaze kicking back in a life preserver, this release is not classified as one of Taito’s “Day Off” figures. I’m guessing that’s because Shimakaze is dressed in her uniform and not a swimsuit. Then again, some of the other “Day Offs” were in uniform. I’m so confused!!! Also, I know what you’re thinking. Hey, that looks an awful lot like the Submarine Ro-500 figure that you featured a few weeks back. Yes, there are certainly some similarities here, but it’s still an entirely new figure, preserver, and base.

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So, as already mentioned, Shimakaze reclines on a red and white life preserver and decked out in her uniform, but minus her armaments. Her outfit features her cut-off top, long gloves, blue skirt, exposed g-string, candy-striped stockings, and rudder boots. It’s all beautifully sculpted here and the skirt and top are layered onto the figure, which is always a bonus. Even the collar and neckerchief pops up off of the top to give it some added dimension and credibility. The figure itself simply rests in the tube, just like we saw with Ro-500, so you can pick her up and check her out from all angles.

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The life preserver sports a little less detail than R0’s, as it’s missing the rope running around the edges. And while I’m overall very happy with the sculpt here, I think the way the hair parts looks a little unnatural from the back. That having been said, it looks fine from the front and that’s the way I’ll be viewing the statue most of the time, so it isn’t a big deal.

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The portrait is fantastic and depicts Shimakaze with her traditional rabbit ear headband and perturbed expression. I’m interpreting the expression as her being annoyed at being knocked out of commission, hence the life preserver and lack of armaments, although it doesn’t explain why her uniform isn’t shredded, so I might be reading too much into that. On the downside, the above closeup shot shows that the quality of paintwork on this piece is really disappointing. The white ares show a lot of dirt and smudging and even her face and hair is rather dirty. The lines on her stockings are rough in some areas and there’s scratching on the preserver too. To be fair, if I’m viewing this piece from a display shelf, it’s not that bad, but the closer I get, the more noticeable it is. This is easily the worst paint on any of my Taito prize figures, and considering who the character is, that’s doubly disappointing.

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The base is very similar in design to Ro-500’s base. It’s a simple clear disc that uses three support poles to hold up the life preserver, which pegs in securely.

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Of course, you can’t have a Shimakaze figure without her Rensouhous and in this case you get the largest of the gang. Rensouhou-chan comes in his own little life preserver with a propeller sculpted on the back. He seems happy enough, which further suggests that I’m off base on my theory that this is Shimakaze after she’s taken a crippling hit. Rensouhou-Chan didn’t escape the shoddy paint problem either. There’s quite a bit of dirt on the white parts of his preserver.

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Shimakaze looks great displayed next to Ro. Now, I’m guessing she looks upset because she doesn’t have an ice pop, or maybe because her paint job isn’t as good. I’ve had my eye on this figure for quite a few months, waiting to finally find one shipping from inside the US. I also had to pay a little more for her, but she was still under $25 shipped, and I still consider that a great deal. It’s just too bad that the one I got has a sub-par paint job. If I had to choose, I would much rather have had rough paint on one of the Fleet Girls from the game, rather than one of my beloved characters from the anime series. Given the relatively low price of the figure and how much I love the character, I’d be tempted to roll the dice and try again for a figure with better paint at some point down the line. If I get around to doing that, I’ll likely post an Addendum here to report on how I make out.