KanColle: Light Cruiser Yahagi (Preparation Figure) by Taito

If it’s Saturday then it must be time to open another anime figure and I’m sticking with Kantai Collection for just one more week before turning my attention elsewhere. Today I’m checking out another one of Taito’s Prize Figures, this time, however, I’m looking at a character from the game and not the anime series. It’s Yahagi!

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I love the packaging for Taito’s Prize Figures. They’re colorful, fairly compact, and fully enclosed boxes. You get pictures of the figure on front, back, and side panels and the text is even somewhat Western friendly with the name of the character appearing in English, in this case “Light Cruiser Agano Class No. 3, Yahagi.” That’s extra helpful in this case since I’m a lot less familiar with the game then I am with the anime series. The figure inside comes wrapped in plastic and requires some minor assembly. Just peg the Yahagi into her base, along with the two pieces of equipment, and you’re good to go.

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Yahagi measures about 7 1/2-inches tall, which puts her in scale with the other Taito figures I have. She features a simple but sexy pose, as she kicks her left foot back and rests it on her gun mount and has her arms up, tying a ribbon into her long hair. She’s sporting an adorable two piece outfit, which looks like it pays a little homage to the school uniform, what with the sailor-style collar, anchor tie, and short pleated skirt. The term “preparation figure” points to the fact that she’s in the process of getting ready for battle, which was one of the things that drew me to this figure. She has her rudder boots on, but the rest of her gear is lying on the ground waiting to be equipped.

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While her pose is fairly passive, there’s a lot of energy in this sculpt, particularly in the way her long hair snakes around her. It’s one of my favorite things about the composition and a complexity I don’t usually expect to see in these “lower end” Prize Figures. Plus, she pulls it off beautifully. You also get a bit of wind whipping up that skirt for a little helping of ubiquitous fan service.

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Both the quality of paint and coloring on this figure are superb. You do get a fair amount of gray and black, but it’s perfectly balanced out by the bright white top and that sumptuous deep crimson paint used for her skirt and the rudders on her feet. There’s also a little bit of metallic orange on the inlays of her belt and the purple on her hair ribbon. The skin tones are absolutely perfect and they contrast nicely with the cold gray of her munitions.

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The portrait is simple but lovely. Her large hazel eyes are perfectly printed. Her mouth conveys surprise to me. Maybe she just received some troubling orders pertaining to her mission. I’ve already commented on how impressive her hair is. In addition to the long snaking strands, she has more of it spilling over her shoulders.

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The base is a simple clear disc, and I’m happy with that. Her gear includes her twin gun mount, what I assume is her backpack, and a pair of white gloves draped over it. These are simple sculpts, but look fine. They were a little difficult to get pegged in properly, due to a tight fit, but I’d rather have them fit securely than be all loose and falling out.

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I’m tempted to say that this is one impressive looking piece for a Prize Figure, but I don’t even feel I have to qualify that. She’s just plain impressive and that’s been par for the course with the majority of my Taito figures. The pose, sculpt, and coloring all come together to make for a beautiful display piece. I had originally promised myself that I would stick to figures from the anime series, but when I saw Yahagi I fell in love, and for under $25 shipped, that was a promise that was easily broken. Next week, I’m going to change things up, possibly with some One Piece, but I’ll likely be coming back to Kantai Collection before too long, because I just can’t get enough of it.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.