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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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!


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.



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.



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.



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.



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!


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.


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


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.

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

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


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


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


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




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


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




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


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


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




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

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

Sword Art Online: Asuna (Aincrad Fencer) Prize Figure by Taito

If you were with me last Saturday, than you already know I recently discovered the wonderful world of Taito’s Prize Figures. My first look at these featured Sinon, as a Cait Sith Master of the Bow, from Sword Art Online II. Today I’m checking out Asuna, and this is a particularly cool piece. There’s been countless figures based on different versions of Asuna throughout the series, but this is the first one I’ve come across of her in her original Aincrad outfit before she joined the Knights of the Blood Oath and donned their spiffy uniform.


Like last time, this figure comes in a fully enclosed box with perforations on the sides to punch out if you want handles. The box gives you some colorful pictures of the statue on all sides, but if you want to see exactly what you’re getting, you’ve got to open this baby up. Inside, the figure and base come wrapped in plastic. Just peg the figure into the base and you’re all set to go!


Asuna measures just about 7-inches tall if you include the base and looks fantastic. Again, this is the costume she wore at the beginning of the series, so it didn’t get a lot of exposure. Indeed, a lot of the time we see her in it, the brown cloak is wrapped around her and the hood is up. Her outfit inside consists of reddish-brown boots with buckles at the ankles, which are nicely painted with silver fixtures. Her white stockings have a little range of color in them to expose a little of the flesh tone that underneath, She has a little red skirt with sculpted pleats, and finally a white tunic with painted brown borders and a sculpted belt at that waist. One little touch that’s really nice is where her sleeves are open and you can see her exposed arms inside. For a figure in this price range, that’s a rather unexpected detail.



Asuna is posed leaning forward with one leg drawn back the other and her arms drawn up to her mouth and holding one of those cakes that was a common focus of one of her first meaningful exchanges with Kirito. Her fencing sword is mostly obscured by her cloak, but the hilt is visible peaking out beside her left elbow. I really enjoy how much work went into sculpting a weapon that isn’t obviously on display.



The brown cloak is sculpted to billow out a bit behind her and a good deal of it is obscured by her voluminous reddish-orange hair. From the neck down, the paintwork on this piece is really tight, far more so than the Sinon figure I looked at last time. There’s virtually no slop or bleeding and even though a lot of the colors are rather muted, the coloring is still exciting to me.



The portrait is excellent, with Asuna’s big eyes printed perfectly and you can see her ears peaking out from her hair. Her mouth is partly open as if she’s about to take a bite of her meal. The hair, however, is what really shines here. It falls over her forehead, frames her face and than cascades down her back. You also get a pair of strands down the fronts of her shoulders reaching all the way down to her skirt. Really nice work!


The base is a simple white disk with a wedge to support her raised left heel. I have no issues with the plain bases in this series, but I’m wondering if I would have preferred a black disk here so that they would all match. Then again, this one accentuates the white in her stockings and tunic, so maybe Taito knew what they were doing here.



For a Prize Figure, the sculpting and paint on this piece are both top notch and the $30 I paid for her feels like a fantastic deal. Sometimes collecting these cheaper figures can feel like slumming it when compared to the really good expensive stuff, but this was a case where I really don’t see all that much of a difference. This was also a case where I have literally not seen this version of the character produced anywhere else in a premium release, so if this is indeed the only way to get her, collectors should be happy to know they did a fine job with her. Next Saturday, I’m going to give Sword Art Online a little rest and move on to some figures from one of my more recent anime obsessions… KanColle!

Sword Art Online II: Sinon (ALfheim Version) Prize Figure by Taito

To me Taito has always been a company I associate with classic twitchy arcade goodness. I seriously love me some Darius. But, I’ve only recently discovered their line of licensed anime prize figures and I’ve become pretty addicted to scarfing these things up when I can find them. And one of those licenses just happens to be Sword Art Online, a personal favorite of mine. Today, I’m checking out Sinon from Sword Art Online II. This is Sinon as she appeared in ALfheim Online, where she adopted the avatar of the Cait Sith race and traded her Hecate II rifle for one of Lisbeth’s bows. Once a sniper, always a sniper!


The box is fully enclosed with full color shots of the figure on three of the four panels. The language is mostly Japanese, so the package isn’t at all western friendly, but that’s OK. It all adds to the charm of the import. The side panels have perforated areas that can be punched out if you want to create carrying handles. Inside, the figure comes in a plastic bag with some additional scraps of plastic to protect the paint from rubbing. The only assembly required is to peg in her left arm at the elbow and peg the feet into the base.



All set up, Sinon measures about 7-inches from the bottom of the base to the tips of her adorable little cat ears. Her outfit is nicely recreated, complete with her green duster, chest and shoulder armor, shorts, and chunky boots. She even has her blue cat tail. Every detail is part of the sculpt and looks great.




The paint is where the statue betrays it’s cheaper price point. There’s some white paint transfer on her green coat and the yellow piping could be sharper and more evenly applied in some areas. With that having been said, there’s also some great paintwork here as well, like the beautiful silver used for the armor. The plastic used for her skin tones is also excellent. Overall, I’d say this is the kind of paintwork I would expect out of a Western 6-inch action figure in the $20 price range. It’s not particularly bad, but it a reminder that this is a value piece.



The portrait here is solid. Her large eyes are flawlessly printed onto the figure and she sports a determined expression. I love the way her sculpted hair hangs over and frames her face. The hair in general sports great detail from her ears down to the hanging ponytails and the soft blue they used is quite nice.


The bow is soft and flexible, but not so much that it seems in danger of warping. It’s permanently attached to her left hand and the arm pegs in to the socket very securely. Finally, the figure comes on a simple, round black base with pegs to support her feet.



At $25, Sinon is a bit higher than many of the Banpresto Prize figures, but still a far cry from the $80-100 that most of my anime figures average. And that makes me seriously happy to have discovered this line because with my diverse and eclectic collecting habits, I can’t always spare $100+ a pop for statues of all my favorite characters. If this piece is indicative of the rest of Taito’s line, it seems to offer a nice compromise. The figure may be a bit smaller than the usual 1/8 scale anime figures. And sure, the paint may not be as sharp as those expensive premium pieces, but for the value this line can’t be beat and I’m looking forward to featuring many more of these here on FFZ.

Figma “Sword Art Online” Asuna by Max Factory

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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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





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




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

Figma “Sword Art Online” Kirito by Max Factory

Where does the time go? It seems like Anime Import Week just started and here we are on the last day. Well, I started this week with a look at a Sword Art Online statue and now I’m dipping into that wonderful anime again to end the week with a look at Kirito from the Figma action figure line. This is Kirito from the first story arc and also my favorite look for the character.



We saw the standard Figma packaging yesterday with Muv Luv’s Yui Takamura and this is pretty much the same thing. It’s a great little package that doesn’t waste a lot of space. You get a sizeable window to see the figure inside and the side panel shows the figure, which is great if you’re like me and store these boxes lined up on a bookshelf. Of course, everything is collector friendly, and they even provide a custom Figma Ziploc baggie to keep your extra bits in if you aren’t going to save the box. In addition to the figure, the box contains a sprue with three extra pairs of hands, two additional portraits, two swords and scabbards, two connection pieces to attach the swords to the back, a figure stand, and a folded instruction sheet.



IT’S A BEATER!!! Yes, Kirito features his avatar’s trademark costume, which is nearly all black with some gray trim. He has his long duster, which is hinged at the back so the flaps can easily give way for those more extreme poses. It also allows the coat to be billowed out or worn closer to the legs. The straps all look good and the paint is sharp and even with no flubs that I can see. While the figure isn’t over encumbered with detail, it matches the character’s design perfectly.


There are three swappable portraits: A standard face, an angry attack face, and a slightly sad face. If you have any experience with a Figma or Figuart then changing the faces out should be readily familiar. You just remove the front of the hair piece, remove the face, slap the new one on and replace the hair. My only gripe here is I wish they would have included a more serious face instead of the sad face. But in the end, he’s probably going to spend most of his life on the shelf in mid attack, so I’ll probably go with the attack face most of the time anyway.


Naturally, Kirito comes with his two swords, Elucidator and Dark Repulser, and both swords come with a functional scabbard. There’s also two connection pieces to wear the sword on the back. One is designed to just hold Elucidator and it angles it off over his shoulder for easy access.



Despite being the weaker of the two swords, Elucidator is still my favorite. I just really dig the design where the blade meets the hilt and the darker coloring on the face of the blade. The blade features a stiff plastic blade, so no worries about warping, and it looks great in his hand. The super thin connection at the top of the hilt does worry me though. It doesn’t look like it would take much to snap it, and I’m not about to try the pose on the back of the package that has him holding it while it’s still in the scabbard.



The other connection piece allows Kirito to wear both swords crisscrossed on his back.



And while Elucidator is my clear favorite, I don’t want to take anything away from Dark Repulser, because it too is a beautiful piece of weaponry. The blue plastic they used for the blade gives it an almost ethereal glow and there’s some particularly nice detail work on the crossguard.



Kirito also comes with a couple of effect parts for the swords that fit over the blades and are supposed to make them look like they are in mid swing. Effect parts are usually hit or miss with me, but I have to say I think these are especially awful. They fit the blades well, but I don’t think they look all that great and they’re so damn heavy, it’s hard to keep Kirito’s arm raised with them attached. The one for Dark Repulser is the better of the two, just because it matches the color of the blade. Points for trying, but I can’t imagine these will ever come out of the package again.



The stand is exactly the same as the one included with every other Figma I’ve featured. It’s a simple clear base with a support arm that pegs into the base and into the back of the figure. There are three hinges, and overall it gets the job done, but the bases on these always looked and felt rather flimsy to me.



Kirito was one of those characters that I just had to have on my shelf, and I’ve got to say this is a fantastic figure. Part of the problem with getting into an anime series late is when I like it and I want to buy figures or statues, they’re only available at high prices through secondary sellers. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case here. Kirito set me back about $45, which isn’t a bad deal for a Figma these days. I’m pretty sure this is the re-issue figure as the original was going for quite a lot of money. As long as it’s an authentic product from Max Factory, I don’t care much about primary or secondary releases, I’m just glad to get him without having to spend a lot. Similarly, I recently picked up the re-release of Asuna, so you can expect a Feature on her to turn up here in the next couple of weeks.

Sword Art Online: Leafa 1/8 Scale Statue by Griffon

It’s import week and that means that today kicks off a whole week of goodies from the land of the Rising Sun. This is where I make a concerted effort to clear out some of the figures and statues on my new receivings pile, all with the common theme of being anime related. Today also counts as a couple of firsts for me, as I’m opening up my first statue from Griffon and also my very first piece of merch from Sword Art Online! It’s Leafa!


The box is right about what I expect from a Japanese statue package. It’s colorful, it features a lot of shots of the piece, some artwork and some windows to let the light in. None of the pictures on the box really do the statue justice, and I have to say if it was an enclosed box they probably would have scared me off. Inside the box, the statue is wrapped in plastic and encased between two clear plastic trays. Pretty standard stuff. The statue comes separate from the base, but all you have to do is peg her feet into it and put the sword in her hand and she’s all ready to go.


My anime viewing habits are pretty erratic these days, but it seems like at least once every couple of months, I’ll latch onto a new series and binge it and I did just that with SAO quite a few months back and only now started re-watching it again. Leafa comes from the second story arc of SAO, where Kirito must venture back into the Virtual MMO world to save Asuna from captivity with the help of his sister, aka Leafa.




Leafa comes in her familar green and white outfit with her dress billowing out around her. She cuts a nice figure as she stands with heels together, left hand poised by her scabbard and her sword held out to her right side. Her face is angled downward and she’s peering up out of the corner of her eyes. As this is my first Griffon statue, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t anticipating anything on the level of Kotobukiya or MegaHouse, but I have to say I’m very satisfied with the quality here, especially considering the price, but I’ll get to that in a bit.




Almost every detail on the statue is part of the sculpt, rather than just paint. This includes the cut outs in her stockings, the white trim on her dress, and even the striping on her half coat. Everything about her outfit is made to look layered. I’m not just talking about things like the sculpted belt, but the half coat is actually sculpted from a separate piece of plastic and laid onto the figure. It really shows that they went the extra mile and it brings a lot of credibility to the sculpt and makes for a very interesting looking piece.



The portrait is soft and simple, as is often the case with these statues, but the paintwork on her eyes is exceptional, her pointy elf ears are on full display, and the tiny little choker collar is a great detail. The sculpted hair is also particularly well executed as it swirls behind her in a ponytail.


The sword is composed of a nice, stiff piece of plastic with a shiny silver blade. The hamon line is even visibly painted on if you look close enough. Some might argue about the lack of wings on Leafa’s back, but in a standing pose like this, they wouldn’t have been visible anyway, so I’m fine with their omission. As great as the sculpt is, the overall quality of the paint has the chops to back it up. I really love the soft shade of green they used for her outfit and when blended with the white, brown and yellow it makes for a warm and pleasing floral motif that perfectly suits the character design.


If I had one complaint, it would be the base. It’s a simple black disc with a beveled edge, and that’s fine, but it’s hollow underneath, which makes it feel rather flimsy. Granted, it looks good and it’s only something one would notice by picking it up and handling it, but it feels like a statue of this quality could have used a sturdier base to rest on.



I have no idea what the original retail on this piece was, but just from poking around Griffon’s stuff seems to be anywhere from $75 to $100 (although their recent Sinon statue is going for around $150!), which sounds about right for a statue of this size and quality. I had it on my Amazon wish list for a while and one day happened to notice it dropped to $15! Normally, I would have written it off as a bootleg, because god knows I’ve been burned before with Amazon and bootleg statues, but in this case I knew the seller and they had a good rep. Besides, at fifteen bucks, I figured what did I have to lose and the answer was nothing. It’s since bumped up quite a bit, but is still available for under $50 and at that price I still would have been quite satisfied.