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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KanColle: Battleship Mutsu “Super Premium” Figure with 41cm Twin Gun Mount by SEGA

Of all the Fleet Girls in the KanColle Universe, Mutsu is my favorite. I can’t tell you why, I just dig her a lot. Ironically, to date I’ve only reviewed one figure of her, and that was the Figma FigFix Half-Damage version. I do have one other to look at one day, but the truth is that she doesn’t get quite as much love as her fellow Fleet Girls when it comes to prize figures, or even scaled figures. But today’s release makes a mends, because it is the incredible “Super Premium” Figure from SEGA, and her armaments are so freaking big, they had to be boxed and sold separately. If you’ve seen my review on the SPM Battleship Nagato and her Gun Mount, then you’ll know exactly what to expect here. The only difference is I was able to buy these together, so Mutsu didn’t have to wait an extra couple of months for her guns to arrive from Japan like poor Nagato did. Let’s start with the figure…

Mutsu comes in a pretty big box for a prize figure. The regular SPM figures are roughly 8-inch scale and since Mutsu is a Battleship, she scales just a bit bigger. The box is fully enclosed, has some nice artwork, but mine arrived beat to hell with a big crunch in the side. And you know what? I don’t even care because I got a really good price on this lady and even manged to get her from a US Seller off of Amazon. She comes out of the box inside a plastic tray and the only assembly required is to place her on her stand. There’s also a little name plate in Japanese that you can place on the base or remove and place on the base that comes with the Gun Mount. It all depends on how you want to display the figure and gear, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s Mutsu all set up and looking great. It’s a playful and demure pose and it almost looks like she’s blowing a kiss. I think this pose works great when the figure is on its own and without all the gear. It also nicely reflects Mutsu’s flirty and seldom too serious personality. Otherwise, she wears an outfit that’s very similar to Nagato’s, which includes a black and white half-top and a very short black pleated skirt with white stripe around the bottom. The outfit is rounded out by white gloves and a pair of knee-high red and gray rudder boots with white striping at the tops. One thing of note is that the arming belt she’s displayed with here does not have the ports to attach her armaments. I’m guessing they did that to give her more of a streamlined look for people who wanted to display her without her gear. I think it was a good choice!

The paint and coloring here is quite good. The whites are bright and the red and gray areas are smooth and even. The striping is solid, but in some areas could have been a bit sharper. Still, all the paint applications are well within what I expect of a prize figure, if not better. She also has a gold painted chrysanthemum embedded in the center of her belt. The skin tone is pretty good, but under certain light it does have a bit of that waxy sheen that you tend to see in prize figures, but not in the more expensive scaled figures. This sort of thing is usually a big pet peeve of mine, so when I say  it’s not too bad, you can believe it. All in all I’m really happy with how the coloring on the statue turned out with the figure in hand, even if it does look a little too orange in some of my pictures.

The portrait is spot on for my favorite Fleet Girl. She’s got big, perfectly printed green eyes and the hint of a smile. I really love how they sculpted her short, brown hair framing her face and blowing off to the back a bit. She also has her trademark antenna, which earned her nickname, Snail.

The simple black disk base is absolutely massive, and that’s because it’s designed to work with the Gun Mount. Alas, that means if you choose to display her alone, she takes up a lot more real estate on the shelf than should be required, and the base looks way out of proportion for the figure. But I have no intention of displaying her without her weapons, so let’s move on to the second box!

Like the figure, Mutsu’s armaments come in an enclosed box with lots of pictures and lots of Japanese text. If you’re like me and hopeless at reading Japanese, you really need to know what you’re looking at here or you could easily pick this up thinking that you get the figure as well. I’m pretty sure it says “Mutsu sold separately” somewhere on that box, but hell if I can read it. Although, if you’re familiar with the SPM figures, it would be pretty obvious that the figure couldn’t fit in this box. In any event, the Gun Mount requires a bit of assembly, as you have to attach the stand to the base, then connect the two sets of guns together, then plug those into the stand and put on the smokestack. Oh yeah, you also have to attach the anchor. There are also some support posts intended for when its hooked up to the figure, but I found they were totally unnecessary and didn’t look so good, so you won’t see them featured here. Obviously, the instructions are in Japanese, but there’s nothing here that can’t be figured out by way of the illustrations. When you’re all done cobbling this thing together, here’s what you get…

Now, I really dig the presentation here. The stand is meant to look like a gantry, cast in a smokey translucent plastic, complete with sculpted detail and even some stairs, which makes me wonder what’s going on with the scale in the KanColle Universe. The pieces all attach very securely and you can work the articulation on the individual guns and also rotate the turrets. That’s pretty much all the articulation that’s here. It’s fine for customizing the look I want, but if you want the fully articulated package, you really need to go with the Figma version of these Battleships. There’s a loop to hook the anchor chain through and I like to wind it around the back and hang it off the front, similarly to how it will look when worn by Mutsu.

The whole rig looks great, but apart from some sculpted rivets and a few panel lines, there isn’t an overload of detail and that’s fine because it carries the animated look quite well. You do get some nice variations in the gray with shading in some areas, cream colored plastic used for the coverings at the base of the guns, and a red border running along the bottom of the rig. The name plate is the same one pictured on the Mutsu base, and there’s no way to actually secure it, so I just use a bit of blue tack to keep it in place. There are some very faint hash marks on both bases so you know exactly how to position it. As I said, I really dig all the effort that went into the presentation here, and that makes it kind of sad that I will never ever display the guns this way. Nope, just like Nagato’s guns, these babies are going to stay on the figure, so let’s get Mutsu all kitted out.

The first thing you need to do is swap out the arming belt on the figure with this one that has the actual connecting ports. To do this, you pull poor Mutsu apart at the middle and lift out the old arming belt and swap it out for the new one. Yup, the skirt is sculpted as part of the belt, so it swaps out too. When you’re done, you just have to tab in the left and right gun assemblies, pop the smokestack onto the back, and attach her anchor. Traditionally, Mutsu is seen with her anchor’s chain wrapping around her left leg and attaching at her left rudder boot, but here the intent is that you run it around the back and then have it dangling from her left hand.

And here she is all armed up and looking absolutely spectacular! While Nagato’s gun assembly attached entirely by one connection point at the back, Mutsu’s feel a little more secure because each half attaches to each of the side ports. Not that I’ve had any issues with Nagato’s falling off, but it’s worth noting the difference in design and execution. However, like Nagato, fully armed Mutsu is a beast of a prize figure, measuring about 10-inches tall and requiring at least 10-inches radius to properly display her big guns.

While Mutsu’s pose works better than Nagato’s when she’s unarmed, I think the reverse is true for the armed up display. It’s not that Mutsu’s pose doesn’t work, it actually fits her character perfectly, but Nagato just looks like she’s ready to kick all kinds of ass with her hand out, commanding her Fleet Girls to open fire. Mutsu looks more like she’s just along for the ride. But either way, she sure looks adorable, and the two poses really speak volumes about each gal’s personality.

The two figures also look amazing displayed together, but they take up the bulk of my shelf, so even with most of my “Day Off” figures put away right now, I’m still going to need to do some expanding in order to make room for Mutsu. I’ll probably wind up displaying Mutsu and Nagato on each end of the shelf with SEGA’s three SPM Battleships, Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi in the center. So, it looks like the rest of the Fleet Girls will be annexing the lower shelf, where I just have a random assortment of prize figures. I was able to pick up Mutsu and her Gun Mount for about $45 and that’s a lot better than I made out with Nagato. She was $45 all by herself, although she was advertised as coming with her Gun Mounts. Ah, but I already told that story back in that review. Either way, I’ve got no complaints, as I would have been perfectly happy paying a premium for this gal if I needed to. The bulk of my Kantai Collection figures are casual pick ups, but SEGA’s “Super Premium” Mutsu was a must-own figure and one that I jumped on as soon as I saw her.

 

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!

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Zuikaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did an Anime Saturday, and while I don’t have a whole lot of time this weekend, I thought I’d stop in with a quick look at another figure from Kantai Collection. Last time, I checked out the Aircraft Carrier Shokaku, this time I’m opening up her sister ship, Zuikaku. There are a lot of similarities here, so I’m going to try to keep this brief. Or at least as brief as my obsession with KanColle will allow.

Zuikaku comes in an enclosed box, just like her sister ship, with the same basic deco and about the same level of assembly required. It’s not a huge box, but as a “Super Premium” release, she is a 9-inch scaled figure, so it isn’t tiny either. There are several bits to attach, her bow needs to be strung, and there’s a quiver of arrows that need to be removed from a sprue and have stickers applied to their feathers. Everything goes together simple and easy, although I do have to restring the back of my bow, as it turned out looking awkward.

And here she is all set up and looking spectacular! Because Zuikaku is another Shokaku Class Aircraft Carrier, her outfit and gear are virtually identical to that of her sister ship. In fact, the only notable difference are her hip weapons. Shokaku had AA guns mounted on those points, whereas Zuikaku has 12cm rocket launchers. If you want to hear a more detailed discussion of the design, I’d refer you back to that review.

When I reviewed Shokaku, I gushed a lot about how amazingly detailed the sculpt was, and the same goes for this Fleet Girl. This design has so much going on, between the outfit and the ship armor and armaments. It feels like it should be way too ambitious for a prize figure to pull off, and yet SEGA really did the designs proud. Not only is the sculpt magnificent, but the paint is there to back it up, right down to the little white stitching on her skirt.

Now as much as I loved her sister ship, I have to give the nod to Zuikaku here as being my favorite of the two. Part of that comes from the pose, which is a little more action orientated. She’s balancing on one foot with her left knee pulled up. She has both her bow and her shield are both on her left side, while she clutches at an arrow in her right. Once again, the carriers in Kantai Collection serve as archers and the arrows they shoot turn into aircraft squadrons.

But ultimately, it’s the portrait here that wins me over. I just think this one has more personality and I really dig the way her pony tails are splayed in the wind. Her shorter hair also allows for a much better look at her quiver. Shokaku’s was almost entirely obscured by her hair. As usual, the eyes are perfectly printed, and I really dig her determined expression.

The base is more or less identical. It’s a simple white hexagon with her name printed on it. These tend to take up a lot of room on the shelf, but they don’t feel over-sized for the figure.

SEGA’s “Super Premium” line of figures continues to blow me away. These feel a lot closer to the $100+ fully scaled figures you get from Triple-A companies, only at a fraction of the cost. Indeed, Zuikaku is currently on Amazon for less than $20 shipped if you have a Prime Membership. You can’t beat that! The plastic is a little softer, the skin tones, a bit more waxy, but all in all, I’ve been impressed by every one that I’ve added to my collection. On the next Anime Saturday, I’ll try to get back to check out another one of the Figmas that are piling up, if not next week, than the week after that for sure.

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Shokaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

After stiffing everyone on Tuesday’s content this week because of real life intrusions (sorry about that!), I thought it only fair to drop by this weekend for an Anime Saturday update. It’s a beautiful morning, I’ve got a generous mug of coffee, and I’m opening up a new Kantai Collection figure by SEGA. What could be better? How about the fact that the Blu-Ray of Kantai Collection Animation Sequence arrived at my door a little while ago and I’m going to spend a good part of this weekend binging it. Oh, yeah! But for now… let’s check out Aircraft Carrier Shokaku!

SEGA has gone back and forth between window boxes and enclosed boxes for their 9-inch scale “Super Premium” figures. Shokaku comes in a fully enclosed box and this tends to be my preference, as they’re easier to collapse and store. It also makes sense here, since there’s a fair amount of assembly required for this figure and she wouldn’t look complete through a window. The box looks good, has several photos of the figure, and virtually no English text. Inside, the figure comes wrapped in plastic, along with the base, and a bunch of pieces to attach before she’s ready for display. Just give me a few ticks, and I’ll get her all set up…

…I’m back, and ain’t she great looking! While she’s 9-inch scale, the large yumi (bow) gives this figure a lot more height. Shokaku is only my second Aircraft Carrier among the many Fleet Girls in my collection. The other is SEGA’s Akagi (I don’t really count Taito’s I-401 Carrier Sub, because that one is based off a really unusual boat). Shokaku is from the game, rather than the anime, and like all the Kancolle aircraft carriers, she functions as an archer who can fire arrows that transform into support and attack aircraft. I really enjoy these carriers because they’re costumes are based on the traditional Kyudo style and looks so unique when combined with the Fleet Girls’ usual ship parts. And because Shokaku is an armored carrier, she has a lot more of those parts than Akagi did.

The sculpting here is really top notch and very detailed. Indeed, I’d dare say that this is the most complex design of all my KanColle prize figures. The pleated skirt and billowing top contrast nicely with the cold gray steel of her chest armor and armament belt. All the little belts and straps are present and convincingly “hold” her heavy gear in place. She has armored plates coming off her knees and her rudder boots, and she has a pair of AA guns mounted on each side of her hips. The attachments to all of these guns and armor plates are sculpted to look like they can articulate, but they cannot. There are some great little touches with the paint, particularly the tiny stitches painted on the him of her skirt and the bow that’s tied around her waist.

In typical Fleet Girls fashion, Shokaku carries a very long shield on her right arm, which is designed after a carrier deck. She also uses this to recover any aircraft sorties that survive their missions. The detail on the surface is a pre-applied sticker and looks really nice. I love the archer glove on her right hand. In her left hand, she holds her yumi, which includes a piece of fishing line for string. Stringing the bow is part of the assembly, and it can be a bit tricky to get it right.

The horizontal tube slung across her back is made to resemble parts of the carrier and it doubles as a quiver for her arrows. This piece was a bit tough to attach and it’s even more difficult to see as it’s almost totally obscured by her hair. She comes with a total of six arrows, five for the quiver and one to slide into her hand. You get two styles of stickers for the feathers, I just mixed them up.

The portrait is solid, but the plastic used for her skin is a tad more waxy than I would like. Still, she has a nice, determined expression on her face and her eyes are perfectly printed. She has long gray hair that fans out behind her and with strands that fall down in front of her shoulders. She also has a long hair ribbon.

The base is a simple white hexagon, with her name printed on it. It’s a fairly big base that takes up a lot of room on the shelf, but the figure takes up even more, because of her long, angled bow.

Shokaku ran me $17 shipped from Amazon and I’m still marveling at what a great deal this was. Besides being the larger “Super Premium” format, the insane amount of detail that went into this sculpt and the quality of paint makes it feel like it could have been priced two or three times that amount. In fact, I was so thrilled with this figure, I’ve already ordered her sister ship, Zuikaku in SEGA’s “Super Premium” format as well.

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax Ignition: Asuna (Game Color Version) by SEGA

Yes, as if there weren’t already enough Asuna figures on the market from Sword Art Online, her appearance in SEGA’s All Stars-Inspired 2D fighting game, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax has given the purveyors of plastic another excuse for more releases. The game is pretty damn good, and in a move that still amazes me to no end, the home version got a US release on the Sony PS3 a couple of years back. Japanese versions are also available on the PS Vita and the PS4. If anime and fighting games are your thing, you owe it to yourself to track it down.

In the game, Asuna wears her familiar Blood Knights outfit, both in the traditional colors and in a black and white version to represent the typical recolors we see in fighting games. While I may eventually double dip on the regular look, I thought it was a lot more fun to go with her unconventional and totally unique black outfit and hair color. The box is your typical prize figure fare. It’s completely enclosed with some nice shots of the figure. The copy is mostly in Japanese, but there is a little English here and there. Inside, the figure comes on a clear plastic tray with a little bit of simple assembly required.

After putting on her scabbard, popping her sword into her hand, and plugging her into the base, Asuna is all read for display and looking great. The pose is elegant and powerful, with her hips jutting forward, her left hand stretched out defiantly, and her trusty sword, Lambent Light, poised in her right hand and ready for action. The energy of the composition is furthered by the unseen wind that ruffles her coat and excites her hair. Fantastic!

The coloring takes the white and red deco of the Blood Knight’s costume and exchanges the white for black and the red for white. It’s an interesting deco, especially when coupled with the silver of her chest and ankle armor. I like it a lot, especially the look of the white crosses on her stockings, and the border lining of her tunic. The paint quality here isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best either. With the naked eye, it looks fine, get in closer, and some areas, particularly the white borders of her bicep cuffs and straps, tend to look a little blurry. It’s not something that I would really hold against the figure, considering the price point, and you really have to get in close and scrutinize it to notice.

The portrait is excellent. I love the printing on Asuna’s wide eyes, and her mouth is open as if she is shouting a spell or a battle cry. In the game color version, even her normally red hair does not escape the pallet swap, as it’s been turned to black. It works well on this figure, but I tend to be partial to red heads.

The base is a simple white hexagon with the logo of the game printed in blue outline.

This figure works well on a number of levels. If you can’t get enough Asuna, and you want something different for your collection, then this is certainly a worthy purchase. It’s worth noting that Asuna scales quite well with my two Taito Asuna figures. On the other hand, if you just happen to be a fan of the fighting game, it’s probably a small miracle that the game produced any merchandising, let alone figures like these. I was able to grab her off of Amazon from a US seller for $22 shipped and I think that’s a pretty solid deal for what you’re getting.

KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

Who’s ready for another Anime Saturday celebration of the amazing and wondrous world of Kantai Collection? I know I am! Today, I’ve got a new Fleet Girl cruising into port and it is none other than the Akizuki Class Destroyer. This lovely lady with a lovely name (“Autumn Moon”) is a bit bigger and badder than most of the Destroyers I’ve looked at before. Much like Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi, Akizuki also has two sister ships, Teruzuki and Hatsuzuki, one of which will be showing up here on a Saturday in the near future.

SEGA tends to mix it up when it comes to the packaging for their Super Premium (SPM) figures. The original trio of Destroyers came in window boxes, whereas Battleship Nagato and Akizuki here come in fully enclosed boxes. I actually prefer these, because they’re easier to store and easier to keep from getting damaged. You get some nice gradient coloring with a hexagonal pattern and several shots of the figure inside. There’s virtually no English on the box at all, so here’s a situation where you really need to know who you’re looking at. Setting her up requires a little more assembly than usual, but she goes together nice and easy. It’s worth noting here that Akizuki is from the game, rather than the anime, but we won’t hold that against her. And, to quote her from the game, “Akizuki’s night battle, shall I show it to you?” Um… Yes, please!

And Wow… I’m in love! Akizuki is definitely a heavier Destroyer than I’m used to seeing as she has the dual gun emplacements that make her appear more similar to KanColle’s Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. I absolutely adore everything about this figure, but let’s just start with her outfit, which consists of a mostly white (with a little gray) sailor-style blouse and pleated skirt, short gloves, and a bright yellow neckerchief. What really makes her costume distinctive, however, is her armored corset and neck guard, designed after the ship’s forward bow. The coloring on her costume is nice and clean, and the bright white and yellow contrasts beautifully with the gray of her armor and armaments. She is a damn snappy looking figure.

The portrait is also fantastic. I love the depth given to her hair sculpt, and the mechanical look to her eyes. She has an Anti-AA Fire Detector Assembly perched on her head and a headband with “61st Destroyer Division” printed in Japanese. As I’m sure you know by now, I have quite a few of these Fleet Girls inhabiting my shelves, and I have to say this is one of my favorite head sculpts. The detail is just fabulous.

Moving on to her armaments, Akizuki features a 61cm Oxygen-Powered Quadruple Torpedo Launcher slung across her back, which if you haven’t seen the anime, make for a spectacularly cool looking attack maneuver when the girls launch these babies. Another really cool and unique aspect of Akizuki’s gear are the four replacement 10cm gun barrels that she has strapped to her right thigh, because those Type 98 guns were notorious for needing frequent replacing. I also really dig her rudder boots. They’re higher and more graceful looking than most of the other girls’ boots and actually resemble a pair of high heels. The crimson coloring also looks great with the matte gray.

Of course, the real star of this gun show are the Type 98 10cm Twin High-angle Gun mounts, harnessed to her hips. Not only do I love that these are fully articulated, but I really dig the split-prow design of her rig, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt. And much like Shimakaze has her little animated gun buddies, called Rensouhou, Akizuki has her own gun-toting familiars, which are delightfully referred to as Chou-10cm-hou! These little fellas can be removed from her rig and allowed to wander about on their own. OMG, I’m dying!!

The base here is a white ovoid platform with her name emblazoned on it. She attaches to it by only one foot and leans forward while pointing to the target of her impending barrage. I love the balance of this piece, which really adds a sense of both style and excitement to the composition.

Akizuki scales quite well with SEGA’s other SPM figures, which means she’s a bit bigger than the Destroyers like Fubuki, but her armaments are still dwarfed by that of Secretary Ship Nagato’s.

Akizuki was about $25 shipped from a US Seller on Amazon, and holy hell is that a great deal! All of the SEGA SPM figures in my collection have been totally on point when it comes to quality, but aside from Nagato, which admittedly ran me three times the cost of this figure, Akizuki is without a doubt the showpiece of my SEGA fleet. Everything about this figure comes together so beautifully. She’s got a fantastic sculpt, solid paintwork, and the ability to remove both Chou-10cm-hou-chan figures is a wonderful little bonus. SEGA really outdid themselves here!

SEGA Hard Girls: SEGA Saturn by SEGA

Just in case the three times “SEGA” appears in the title didn’t give it away, today’s feature involves SEGA and the amazing gift that is SEGA Hard Girls. Based on the premise of SEGA’s video game consoles remade in the form of goddesses and having to graduate from school, SeHa Girls spans everything from light novels to anime to (appropriately enough) video games. It’s like a ridiculous miracle handed down from heaven for a SEGA Fanboy like me. And of course, there are figures too! You didn’t ask for it. You probably didn’t want it. But, on this Anime Saturday morning, I’m checking out the lovely lady that is SEGA Saturn personified! Hey, at least it isn’t something from KanColle or SAO for a change!

Saturn comes in a very standard prize figure package, magnificently branded for the Saturn console. Sure, it’s the usual fully enclosed box with perforations on the sides to make handles, but I just adore the presentation here. From the proud SEGA logo in the corner to the “SEGA SATURN” logo running down the side.  There’s some great artwork and shots of the figure, and just enough English to let you know what it is you’re looking at. Inside, Saturn comes locked between two plastic trays. I should confess, the Saturn is probably my least favorite of SEGA’s consoles, but I still have a soft spot for it in my heart, as I do all of SEGA’s hardware. I built some great memories off of that machine. Anyway, there’s a bit of assembly required on this figure, including plugging in her arms and getting her set up on the base, but you can get her ready for display in no time at all.

The 32-bit Goddess dons a black dress with a belt designed to look like the buttons on the front of the console. On top of that, she has a white sleeveless jacket with pink piping and detached sleeves that match. The pins along the right breast of the jacket are designed to simulate the buttons on the Japanese Saturn controller. Her high-heeled boots sport the Saturn S and also have blue console buttons at the tops, and her ensemble is rounded out with a wide collar that floats around her neck, also sporting the Saturn S logo.

Saturn wields twin staffs, with glorious 3D Saturn logos suspended in their heads. Both of the staffs levitate mysteriously in the palms of her open hands, proving that SEGA is both wondrous and magical. The floating staffs, combined with her pose, make her look like some kind of angelic 32-bit Messiah.

The portrait is simple but cute. Saturn features her black hair secured by pink rings into two impressively large pigtails. She’s got large, perfectly printed eyes, one blue and one greenish blue, and an adorable little smirk. The quality of plastic and paint on this piece is overall solid, but trails a bit behind some of my other SEGA prize figures. Not bad, especially if we’re grading on a curve because of price, just not exceptional either.

Saturn’s base is… a Saturn console! And a gray Japanese version, at that! The details, like the buttons and logo, are all painted on, and you get two translucent blue squares with the Saturn logos that peg in beside each of her feet. It was a little hard to get her pegs seated properly due to a particularly tight fit, but she eventually went in there. I don’t know that I’d risk disassembling her too many times.

Fun, simple, cute… these are all ways I would describe this figure. I’ve had my eye on the SeHa Girls figures for a while and I went with Saturn here first because I was able to get a really good deal on (sixteen bucks shipped!) her from a US Seller. I wasn’t 100% committed on picking up the others, but now that I have this one in hand, I think I’m sold adding Dreamcast and Mega Drive to my collection. Alas, I’ll likely have to go with a Japanese seller on those, so it could be a little while before I revisit this line on Anime Saturday.

KanColle: 41cm Twin Gun Mount for Nagato “Super Premium” Figure by SEGA

Welcome to another relaxing Anime Saturday Morning! Back in February, I took a look at SEGA’s Battleship Nagato “Super Premium” Prize Figure. I loved the figure, but lamented the fact that the seller screwed me out of her Gun Mount. Well, after some hunting I was able to find a Japanese seller with reasonable shipping and after a little wait, I finally have Nagato all kitted out. So, consider today the second part of that feature, and if you happened to miss it the first time, I recommend checking out the figure review before reading this review for what is essentially an add-on piece.

To clear up any confusion, most of the KanColle prize figures put out by Taito and SEGA are not fully outfitted with their weapons, and I certainly don’t mind that. It makes the armed ones all the sweeter. But, SEGA’s SPM Battleship Nagato was one of the rare occasions where they gave collectors the option to buy her armaments separately and that’s what we’re checking out today. The kit comes in a fully enclosed box very similar to Nagato’s. Even with the slight amount of English copy on the box, they still do a good job of indicating what’s in the box. It’s also worth mentioning that this kit is designed so that you can display it on its own, without the figure, or perhaps beside Nagato. I’m not sure why anybody would want to do that, but I’ll start there anyway.

There’s a fair amount of assembly required here, but the rig goes together very smoothly and when you’re all done you have a pretty cool display piece that rests on its own stand. I like the fact that the stand doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Even though, I will likely never use this stand again, it’s clear that SEGA put some work into it, sculpting it in a smoked, semi-transparent plastic and giving it a gantry style look. There’s also a name plate (in Japanese of course!) and the entire gun mount tabs right into the stand for easy removal.

The guns are overall pretty clean, with only a slight degree of weathering here and there. There’s also some useful articulation, with each of the eight gun barrels are independently hinged and the all four turrets able to swivel. And that brings us to the moment of truth…

Awww, YEAH! The rig tabs right into Nagato’s back and holds in place very well. It also looks amazing on her. Sure, I can get this same look with my Nagato Figma (a figure I still need to review here one day), but this version is so much bigger and awe inspiring. The guns perfectly compliment her pose as she looks like she’s about to unload with all her weapons. There’s even a spot on Nagato’s stand if you want to transfer the little name plate.

This add on kit ran me $30 shipped, which was a pretty good deal considering I had to get it shipped from Japan. When you combine it with the cost of the figure, that brings the whole piece to about $70. It’s a lot to pay for a prize figure, but then this is no ordinary prize figure. She’s fully scaled and so far beyond what I tend to think of when I think of prize figures. SEGA absolutely outdid themselves with this one and she is most definitely the showpiece of my Kancolle collection. The only shame here is that SEGA didn’t do fellow Battleship, Mutsu in the same scale and style.

Arpeggio of the Blue Steel Ars Nova DC: Iona by SEGA

Who’s ready for another Anime Saturday, eh? I’ve got quite a backlog of anime gals I want to get around to opening up and today I’m just pulling one at random off the pile. It’s Iona, the Mental Model of the renegade Fleet of Fog submarine I-401 from Arpeggio of the Blue Steel! If you haven’t seen this series yet, I highly recommend it and at only twelve episodes plus Cadenza, it’s a pretty quick ride. A while back I looked at Max Factory’s Figma of Iona and today I’m checking out Taito’s prize figure.

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The figure comes in a fully enclosed box with perforations on the side to make handles. It’s pretty standard stuff for a prize figure, but it’s colorful, collector friendly, and features a shot of the figure on the front and some artwork from the anime on the side panel. There’s precious little in the way of English on the package, so you really need to know what you’re looking at here. Like Figma’s Iona, this one is also based off of her look from the post-series film and not from the series itself. That’s fine, but one of these days, I’d like to get a figure of Iona in her darker blue sailor uniform.

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And here she out of the box, plugged into her base, and ready to go. At just under 8 1/2-inches, Inoa is closer to a fully scaled figure than your average prize figure. She actually scales perfectly with SEGA’s “Super Premium” releases. I like the pose well enough. Iona is balancing on her right foot with her left foot kicked up behind her a bit. Her arms are out away from her sides and her hair is kicking up around them. There’s a nice sense of kinetism to the composition and it shows off the figure splendidly.

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As mentioned, the costume is the two-tone paler blue version, which most of the Iona merch tends to gravitate towards. She has a white sailor’s collar with blue striping, a pink neckerchief, white knee-high socks, and tall white boots with blue lacing. She also has her fleet insignia on the lower back of her blouse.

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The portrait is pretty basic. I like the printing on her pale blue eyes and she offers a hint of a smile. The paint is overall fairly solid on this figure, although there are a few little blemishes here and there and the lines could be a little crisper. Still, I’ve got no complaints. afterall, these are the little things that set a twenty dollar figure apart from a hundred and twenty dollar figure.

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I like the base a lot. It consists of a raised black disc with white printing, which includes the fleet insignia, some hexagons and the title of the anime with “Ars Nova DC” in English.

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Now here’s the kicker: I paid less than $13 for Iona shipped from Amazon, where she’s still available at the time this review goes to press. THIRTEEN BUCKS! I’m still gobsmacked by what a great deal she is. Sure, there are better versions of Iona out there, if you’re looking to spend five to ten times that, and those figures are most definitely worth it. But, I get a kick out of hunting these less expensive prize figures, mainly because they still look great and I can put a lot more characters on my shelf and still stay within budget. Also SEGA does have a version of her in her darker outfit, and yes it happens to be on the way to me!