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Mass Effect

Bishoujo Tali photo
Hilariously un-Shunya
Artist Shunya Yamashita's trademarks are his cute feminine faces and voluptuous bodies. So if we have someone who's hooded, robed, and masked, it makes me wonder... why put the Bishoujo label on her at all? Indeed, Kotobukiya...

SDCC 2015: Koto Bishoujo photo
SDCC 2015: Koto Bishoujo

[Update] SDCC 2015: Kotobukiya's Bishoujo sketches reveal Metal Gear Bishoujo line, more

Here's your ladies from Koto
Jul 08
// Andres Cerrato
[Update 9:00 AM EST] Added overnight are Marvel Bishoujo Spider-Gwen and DC Bishoujo Harley Quinn version 2! Stay tuned for more updates as the weekend goes on! Comic-Con is here, which means Kotobukiya is bringing out the bi...
ThreeZero Sheppard photo
ThreeZero Sheppard

ThreeZero gives us a look at their Commander Sheppard

First in their Mass Effect line
Nov 13
// Brian Szabelski
ThreeZero's 1/6-scale figures expand into a new universe, with Mass Effect being their newest license and Commander Sheppard their newest reveal. The M8 Avenger, MS Phalanx and Omni Blade weapons are what the male Sheppa...
Gaming Heads Tali photo
Gaming Heads Tali

Gaming Heads unveils Mass Effect's Tali

At least they can't mess her face up, right?
Nov 06
// Brian Szabelski
Gaming Heads' last statue of Loftwing Link was a little lacking in the face department, but at least with their new Mass Effect 3 Tali piece, that won't be an issue. The newest 1/4-scale statue in Gaming Heads' series feature...

NYCC 2014 Kotobukiya photo
NYCC 2014 Kotobukiya

NYCC 2014: Kotobukiya drops some bombs at their panel

Mass Effect Bishoujo Tali, among others
Oct 10
// Tianxiao Ma
Andres is on the ground at NYCC (having the time of his life, I'm sure) and was able to get a part of the sweet action at Kotobukiya's panel. Usually at US events, Kotobukiya's emphasis is more on properties that western coll...
Fuller's Garrus Foomi photo
Fuller's Garrus Foomi

Custom Delights: Fuller's Garrus Foomi

Jun 17
// Brian Szabelski
Fuller has just finished up a new custom Foomi that happens to be of everyone's favorite alien sniper from the Mass Effect series, good ol' Garrus. Using the spike-haired Foomi as the base was a wise decision, as it already s...
NYCC 2013 Dark Horse photo
NYCC 2013 Dark Horse

NYCC 2013: Dark Horse

Winter is coming
Oct 12
// Tianxiao Ma
Dark Horse's NYCC booth was quite similar to their SDCC 2013 display. You can see the large Retro Girl figure, as well as the set of the cast of Powers. The hottest property is Game of Thrones. There are miscellaneous knick-k...

Hit up a mass relay with SR1 Normandy

Nothing quite like the original
Oct 02
// Pedro Cortes
Back at SDCC at, we got a peek at Dark Horse's first iteration of Mass Effect's Normandy in both its original colors and in snazzy antique silver. Several months later, both versions are now available for purchase. The normal...
SDCC Project Triforce photo
SDCC Project Triforce

SDCC 2013: Project Triforce

Guns and mechs? Sign me up.
Jul 25
// Tianxiao Ma
Project Triforce hasn't been on my radar, but their SDCC offerings were impressive. As you can see, they make figures and replicas of popular video game properties. The big news from their booth is the Hawken mech. It's still...

SDCC 2013: Dark Horse

Mass Effect, X-men, and more from comics, TV and video games
Jul 21
// Vanessa Cubillo
Dark Horse's booth at SDCC had a nice selection of comic, TV, and video game figures. There were even some surprises. Beginning with Mass Effect, Dark Horse had a large-scale Alliance Normandy SR-2 by Gentle Giant that will ...

Huge LEGO Normandy from Mass Effect is pretty amazing

Shepherd's ride now in brick form
Jun 11
// Martin Siggers
Given its swoopy, curved design, recreating the Normandy SR2 from Mass Effect was always going to be a tricky task. But what if you also wanted to make it is a big as a coffee table? Believe it or not, that's exactly what LEG...

Tomopop Review: Kotobukiya's Mass Effect Bishoujo Shepard

Mar 22 // Tianxiao Ma
Figure Name: Mass Effect Bishoujo ShepardFigure Maker: KotobukiyaRetail Price: US$64.99Available at: Koto US As you probably know by now, Kotobukiya's Bishoujo series of figures are all based on art by Shunya Yamashita. His unique style brings a cuteness and sexiness to female character designs that I find appealing. Understandably, the Bishoujo line has ballooned into many different licenses. This female Commander Shepard is pretty atypical of a Yamashita design, though. She's the opposite of cute and sexy, instead looking very much more mature and serious. The box is just like any other Bishoujo figure box, and gives you a good idea of what you're getting. You can also get a look at Shunya Yamashita's vision of the character. I sometimes criticize Kotobukiya's Bishoujo figures for not really getting the face right. In this case, Yamashita seems to be the one who doesn't get the face right. Rather, Kotobukiya's sculpt better fits what I usually think of as the "Shunya face." Unpacking Shepard was no problem. You get two inserts for her base featuring the Renegade and Paragon symbols. I went with the Paragon symbol because wings will always be cooler than stars. The standard edition, which is what this review covers, has a swappable left arm that holds the M-55 Argus assault rifle. By default, Shepard's left arm holds an omni-blade. The exclusive version allows you to swap the right hand with one holding the Eagle heavy pistol, creating some sweet dual-wielding possibilities. The omni-blade isn't desperately cool-looking to be honest. Its finish lets it down; it looks more like an accessory you'd get with a small action figure. If it had used glossy plastic, I think that would have enhanced the effect. Fortunately, you can swap out the omni-blade for a much cooler assault rifle. It really makes Shepard look like she means business. This is my preferred version of the figure; she's either saying "stop" to her teammates, or "stop or I'll shoot you" to you. The interpretation depends on the angle, but either way, she looks more dangerous with a gun. In photographing Shepard, I noticed how the official promo shots lied to me in some ways. Promo shots have to show the product, and as a result the lighting tends to be even and undramatic. After unpacking the figure, I noticed that Shepard's armor had a lot of textures and facets that didn't come out in her promo shots. I also didn't expect the sort of metallic finish that came on the figure. It catches light very well, and I found myself using hard lighting to highlight everything going on with the armor. The sculpt is intricate, detailed, and clean. Due to the multitude of plates and ribbing found on Shepard's armor, mold and seam lines are naturally easy to hide. To Kotobukiya's credit, I couldn't find any bad seams even when I looked. Well, there was one exception: As with most figures, Shepard's hair is made up of several pieces. The seam lines here are not well-hidden. Most people would probably display her so that her right side is out of view, but there's a seam on the left side of her head too. Sometimes you can hide these things with hair accessories, sometimes you can't. Aside from this issue, Shepard's hair is actually well-done. I like the shading on it, and Kotobukiya put some effort into giving the hair some depth. The quality of Shepard's armor was a big surprise to me. A smaller surprise was how much I wound up liking her face. This is a great interpretation of the Shunya face, mixed in with the Mass Effect aesthetic. Moreover, Shepard isn't really doing the "tee hee I'm a pinup!" expression. Her face is kind of blank, but that's because she means business. My favorite feature is definitely her eyes. They're vivid green and catch light as well as her armor does. You also don't have any of that Bishoujo pink-eye going on. On Shepard's body and armor, the paint job is clean. On her rifle, it looks a little rough but is not an issue for normal viewing. Kotobukiya is continuing to make progress in terms of build quality, with each iteration of the Bishoujo series getting better than the last. With a design as intricate as this one, I could see it being easy to screw up. However, Kotobukiya has done an excellent job keeping things clean while reproducing a large amount of detail. Just look at Shepard's abdomen. Seriously, how cool is that armor? Her legs have a ribbed texture under plates of armor. The sculpt on the individual buckles and straps is meticulous. I had no idea there would be this level of detail on Shepard's legs - just another one of the handful of surprises I got doing this review. The back view shows something else that caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting her to look so mechanical from this side. From the front, Shepard looks authoritative but feminine. From behind, I thought she barely looked human at all. It's a startling shift in feel - probably unintentional, but an interesting effect nonetheless. All that armor means, sadly, you don't get a nice butt shot. Any attempt to admire Shepard's butt draws attention to how downright mechanical and robotic it looks. I'd say it has a bio-mechanical look, almost like something out of an H.R. Geiger painting. I don't want to finish by writing a patronizing thing about how women can be powerful and commanding, or something like that. Depending on your tastes, this figure can be appealing for that reason. Or it might turn you off to see a Shunya Yamashita design showing no skin, with a modest bust, no butt, and a weirdly robotic outfit. All that is down to taste. What I do want to leave you with is this: I thought this would be a boring figure. None of the promo shots grabbed me, and the conservative design put me off slightly. Then I held it in my hands and found a great many cool, unexpected little details. I thought, after all this time, I knew what I would get with each Bishoujo release. Commander Shepard showed me that Kotobukiya can still manage to pull off a few surprises. [Thanks to Kotobukiya for this review sample!]
Bishoujo Shepard Review photo
Stop! In the name of love!
Kotobukiya's Bishoujo line has touched many licensed properties, but I can honestly say I didn't expect a Mass Effect Bishoujo. I wasn't sure what to make of the Mass Effect Bishoujo Shepard, as she looked quite a bit more co...


Check out these plushes from Justin's Otaku Emporium

Featuring a few familiar faces
Mar 05
// Brian Szabelski
Justin's Otaku Emporium is a simple Etsy store filled with buttons and other anime convention-ready accessories, but there's one little thing which was brought to our attention you might like. You see, Justin's also got himse...

Toy Fair 2013: Dark Horse

Hellboy, spaceships, and a statue honoring a sci-fi legend
Feb 13
// Brian Szabelski
Dark Horse's Toy Fair booth had more than just the Hellboy Qqs on display (more on them in a moment). For fans of Domo, there's a ton of new merchandise to look forward to, including some samurai Domo gear, more blind-boxed f...

Bishoujo Shepard pushed out to April

Yay delays are always fun
Feb 07
// Tianxiao Ma
Kotobukiya updated their Facebook page to say that Bishoujo Shepard will be coming in April instead of March as previously reported. It's not a significant delay but I was kind of looking forward to seeing her out in the wild...

Get the FemShep Bishoujo limited version from BioWare

Limited to 2,000 pieces
Jan 03
// Andres Cerrato
It's been kind of quiet around these parts lately, but here's something to break that up. As you are all aware, Kotobukiya is quite good at making these Bishoujo figures and their upcoming one happens to be Female Shepard fro...

Tomopop Review: Play Arts Kai Garrus Vakarian

Nov 09 // Brian Szabelski
Figure Name: Mass Effect 3 Play Arts Kai Garrus VakarianFigure Maker: Square Enix Retail Price: US$64.99/¥6,200 Available At: HobbyLink Japan | Otacute | Hobby Search | AmiAmi | Play Asia | Plamoya | Entertainment Earth | Big Bad Toy Store How about one more time with the same box layout? Don't expect to see anything different here: it's the same nice box we saw with Shepard and Ashley, except tweaked for Garrus. Let's get him out of there and see how the figure looks: Out of the box, Garrus is what we might expect to see from the Play Arts Kai line. Ready for combat in his big bulky armor, Garrus features the same joint layout as Play Arts Kai Shepard, along with a few changes we'll discuss in the review. From a distance, he looks as how Garrus should appear, which is always a good start. He is, on the other hand, top-heavy because of how his armor is and the Turian anatomy. That means Garrus is a bit easy to tip over. There's not much Square Enix could do about that except include a stand with him (which they did not do, like normal), but with some patience, he does balance out. Guess he could have used a few more ... calibrations.             ... Oh come on, you knew I was going to make that reference at some point in the review.  As I usually do, we start at the feet. Garrus' feet prove to be an interesting part of the figure: they are accurate with the shape of Turian feet, including the high "heel" of the foot, but this gives Garrus a smaller profile on the bottom of his foot. As such, there's less of a base for stability and with the added armor weight, it adds to the balance issues that can pop up. On the other hand, the legs are sculpted with proper details from Turian armor design, like the fins on the outside of the legs and the two-toed boots being separate from the thigh parts of the armor. The design benefits the layout of the joints, as all the gaps in the armor are where the joints would be placed, except for the joints at the ankles. On the other hand, my Garrus had some scratches on his armor. Wear from combat? Maybe not so much; it's probably just a case of paint being accidentally scrubbed off somewhere along the production line.  Moving on up, we get a nice glimpse at Garrus' torso, which is where all the top-heavy problems come from. It's a rather bulky and wide piece of PVC, with joints in the mid-torso and waist that offer a limited range of motion. The paint is the proper coloring for Garrus as he appears in Mass Effect 3, before you ask why he is so silver and not so dark blue. The detailing is pretty nice, and like Shepard and Ashley, he's got ratcheted joints at the hips which make him a lot more stable. And this Garrus needs all the stability he can get. The detailing continues on the arms of Garrus' suit. There's a little bit of a paint fade from dark gray to metallic silver on parts of the armor to simulate shading, and it's acceptable, but the little bit of scuffing on the paint surface really caught my eye first. It only seems to show up in direct light (I'm looking at Garrus as I write this up and can't really see it) so it's not a major issue for me, but for some of you, I imagine it might be. There's also some "hidden" joints in the middle of Garrus' upper arm, which are incredibly helpful when you're trying to get Garrus to hold his weapons in a proper pose. Like Ashley, the shoulder pauldrons on Garrus' armor are jointed, giving him extended range of motion. In this case, it's a simpler ball-and-socket joint, but it works really, really well and was a pleasant surprise to find. The gap between arm and pauldron isn't as big as it is in the photo, either; I left it like that for illustrative purposes, but you can put it flush on the arm without any problems. There's one more thing to really look at here ... Well, Garrus' head leaves me with mixed feelings. The underlying sculpt is really, really detailed and I imagine it'd look nicer if the paint wasn't glazed on top of it like sugar frosting on a donut. So once again, the paint rears its ugly head with a splotchy look on Garrus' face and head: too thick in some places and too spotty in others. The colors are at least right and the translucent PVC eyepiece is a nice touch ... but the inconsistent paint job really overshadows everything else. I should also mention that Garrus' head does have some articulation in the neck but the range is a little limited by the collar of his armor. So let's take a look at the accessories, shall we? Like Shepard and Ashley, you get two weapons and two weapon-holding hands with Garrus. The hands are mirrored images of one another, so we've only used the right hand for these shots. It's sculpted and painted to match the regular hands on Garrus, and there's no issues with flash from the molding process on the fingers. Poseability-wise, Garrus does hold poses as well as Ashley and Shepard does. Like I mentioned, he his a bit top-heavy so he's prone to leaning, but you can get him to stay in place with a little bit of work and the right angles. It's also a plus that you don't have to pose his legs at all kinds of crazy angles to get him to balance upright; this one is pretty close to the pose you see on the back of the box. In his hands, Garrus carries the M-15 Vindicator rifle, which you can see a bit better from another angle: Here they are a little closer up. The Vindicator fits snugly in Garrus' weapon-holding hand and doesn't take much effort to get in there. Unlike Shepard, all of Garrus' fingers feel firm and solid, with no worries about snapping one off trying to wiggle something in. The sculpting on the Vindicator looks like and the paint job looks especially nice here; why couldn't it be the same on the head? The other accessory Garrus comes with his the M-29 Incisor sniper rifle. No Garrus figure should be without a sniper rifle, and once more, Square Enix has done a wonderful job sculpting and painting this piece. The scope did start to feel a little bit loose like Ashley's M-8 Avenger but it hasn't come unglued yet.  Some of the detailing on the grip and chamber parts of the rifle is nice; I can't tell if the paint is supposed to be weathered looking or if it's just some thinned paint. Whether intentional or not, it actually turns out not looking too bad; maybe this is, as Bob Ross would say, a "happy little accident." So why didn't I shoot it displayed in Garrus' hands? Well, because of the grip, actually. Because Garrus' fingers are so firm, they don't have any issues with possibly breaking off, unlike how I felt with Shepard's smaller hands. I initially shot these photos after thinking I might be telling you I couldn't get the Incisor in Garrus' hands, but after a little more hard work and a lot of figure jiu-jitsu ... It fits snugly and looks great. The key, as it turns out and as Square Enix's directions do not explain, is that you essentially have to thread the Incisor's grip sideways into Garrus' hand, then slowly rotate it up and around so it catches the bottom finger and thumb in the proper spots. From there, the trigger finger should slide in. It's a bit tougher than I would have hoped and some folks might not get it right away, but at least we don't have ourselves another issue here. And here Garrus is, lining up his next target down the Incisor's scope. You can't get it in position where it's directly in front of Garrus' face because this figure is not that flexible, but it still looks nice and the open hand lines up just right with the bottom of the rifle, so Garrus actually looks like he's holding it with both hands. You know, at this point, I'm sounding like a broken record, but let's just say this: Garrus is about as good as Ashley was because despite all the good things about him, he has some noticeable faults. And the biggest part of why I say that is paint, paint, paint. The sculpt is great, the articulation is not bad besides the fact he's naturally top-heavy (dear Square Enix: please release your event purchase-only stands to everyone) and the accessories once again work with this figure as they should. But the paint job on the head is actually too thick and splotchy, and it obscures half the hard work Square Enix's sculptors have put into getting Garrus' face to be just right. It's a shame, too, because the Play Arts Kai line is getting better over time in all other areas besides the paintwork, namely in articulation. I don't think I can give Garrus a full-throated "yes, go out and get him now" because of some of the issues addressed in the review, but if you can look past the face paint issues and the fact that your Garrus might be falling off the shelf unless you bolt him down or find a stand, you've got a decent addition to a Mass Effect fan's collection.  [Thanks to Square Enix for sending Garrus along for the review!]
Everyone's favorite spacebro/love interest, now in poseable form
Shepard was not so good. Ashley was decidedly middle of the road. So that leaves the best of the three characters featured in Square Enix's Play Arts Kai Mass Effect 3 line, Garrus, as the last one to review. Anyone who'...

Tomopop Review: Play Arts Kai Ashley Williams

Nov 06 // Brian Szabelski
Figure Name: Mass Effect 3 Play Arts Kai Ashley Williams Figure Maker: Square Enix Retail Price: US$64.99/¥6,200 Available At: Big Bad Toy Store | HobbyLink Japan | Otacute | Hobby Search | AmiAmi | Plamoya | Play Asia | Entertainment Earth | Amazon No shock: the box is exactly the same as Shepard, albeit with some different text and photos. Again, I have to say I like it as it's a lot nicer looking.  Taking Ashley out of the box, you can see she's got the thinner, female body Square Enix uses for their Play Arts Kais. Namely, that means smaller joints, which is something worrying to me because in my experience, small joints tend to be more prone to breaking. I'll actually touch on my experience with the smaller joints a little further on in the review, so keep reading to find out if my fears became nightmares or were unfounded. As for the sculpt, it's Ashley in her Alliance uniform from Mass Effect 3, which I think looked dumb in the game and it still looks just as dumb here. That's on BioWare, though: at least Square Enix has got it sculpted and painted right, without much in the way of seams outside of the ones that exist because of the joints. I generally like to start at the bottom and work my way up with these Play Arts Kai reviews, so let's start with Ash's legs. There's a good amount of detail and some fabric bunching sculpted into the piece around the ankles, with the joints that are normally visible (knees and ankles) also visible here. Paint is, for the most part, clean with few complaints. There's a weird paint transition to a lighter metallic blue up near her hip, which is mildly distracting but not always noticeable. Just a heads up here: Ash does have joints on her feet (those aren't just seems) and they may be twisted a little bit when you get her out of the box, so be sure to straighten them out or she won't stand right. I think they're on there to give her more poseability ... but I never really found a pose that made them needed. BOOBS. Errrr ... as I mentioned before, Square Enix has done a good job replicating Ashley's Alliance uniform and masking the torso joint (it's below her bosom, just like with other female Play Arts Kai figures) and the little things like the zipper are nice to see up close. There's not a lot of paint bleed here to worry about, either. That dedication to detail comes around to Ashley's back, with some nice fabric tugging sculpted in around her waist. Speaking of that, I don't think her waist is too small for her proportions, which was something I did worry a bit about with the sculpt initially. The paint is a tiny bit rougher on the bottom of her uniform's top, but it's otherwise pretty average for the line. Shepard didn't have much hair to pay attention to, but Ashley does, so let's take a look at how her long brown locks look. The answer is: pretty typical for the Play Arts Kai line, with some detail sculpted in and painted over. Yes, there's not much in the way of individual strands, and it's really just a sculpted-over chunk of plastic, but that's generally what we see with a lot of non-anime figures.  So, face time? Well, it's not bad, especially from certain angles such as this one. There's a bit of shadowing around her eyes that really feels off, but it's far from the "OMG THIS IS AWFUL" feeling I got when I was looking at Shepard. What's odd to me, though, is she looks good from some angles and not so good from others. It's almost like there's two different heads that some invisible man is swapping out on me and I can't see him do it.  You can probably also see something else in the shot, so let's get to pointing that out: There's a strange bit of residue on Ashley's cleavage. And it's just there, nowhere else. I really don't know what to make of the grime down here besides "quality control issue" and "not the first time I've seen the grime issue on a Play Arts Kai figure." Your Ashley may vary, and thankfully, this is the only "grime" issue on the figure. Since I have no stand with any of my Play Arts Kai, I'm once more using my hand to hold Ashley in place while I show off some of her poseability. Here, you can get an idea of where the joints are and see the range of motion, which isn't too bad and is helped out by a unique little design choice: Part of Ashley's shoulder armor actually folds down, extending her shoulder's range of motion quite a bit. It's a little stiff to move at first like any joint, but otherwise a good move on Square Enix's part and something they deserve credit for adding in. I should also mention that little fear I had about joints proved unfounded. They really do feel sturdy, but I'd still take care when handling Ashley or any other figure with joints, because there's no such thing as an unbreakable joint! Here, we get a look at two of Ashley's accessories: one is a set of identically-sculpted hands for holding her weapons. They're painted to match Ashley's uniform and actually sculpted quite well for such tiny pieces. They also lack the flash issues we saw on Shepard's hands. The best part, though, has to be that they actually hold Ashley's weapons properly and there's no bending involved in fitting them in there.  The other accessory is the M-23 Katana shotgun, which has some nice sculpting, but not the same level of detail on the grip and butt-end of the shotgun as it does in Mass Effect 3. It's a little bland, but alright.  You can do a kneeling pose as well, but the problem is that the bottom part of Ashley's "coat", despite being made from a flexible plastic, does hinder how far you can move her leg forward. A little bit of an annoyance, but not a figure killer by any stretch of the imagination. Ashley's other accessory is the M-8 Avenger assault rifle, which should be awfully familiar to Mass Effect franchise fans. Why it came with Ashley and not Shepard is a bit of a mystery to me, but regardless, it's a great looking, scaled-down replica of the in-game weapon. Like the M-23 Katana, there were no issues getting it into Ashley's hands and the joints hold it firmly in place. Hooray for no drooping arms! The only problem is ... well ... Quality control issues strike again. The glue that held the two parts of the M-8 together came completely undone once I got it out of the package. It is easily fixable with some super glue, and over time the glue would probably wear down, but right out of the box is not a good sign. In regards to Ashley, I find myself at a crossroads. She's clearly better than Shepard in just about every way, with better accessories (that actually fit in her hands with little effort), a level of poseability and stability I really wasn't expecting (again, thank you ratcheting hip joints) and joints that don't feel so flimsy, as they have on other figure lines. But again, it's the little things hurting Square Enix and the Play Arts Kai line, namely quality control issues here and there, and the paintwork being done in spots. It's weird that I'll do this, but I'll say Ashley is a good, but not an "OMG MUST HAVE!" figure, with one condition: The problems on my figure may or may not be on yours, and you may have issues I did not encounter at all. If you're willing to risk that, she might be the best of the Mass Effect 3 line released so far. I hope I didn't just tip my hand on the Play Arts Kai Garrus review that's next ... [Thanks to Square Enix for sending Ashley to us for review!]
Is she less awful than Shepard?
Just last week, we reviewed Square Enix's Play Arts Kai Commander Shepard, and he was not that great. Maybe that's putting it a little lightly, but there are still two other Play Arts Kai Mass Effect 3 figures, so hopefu...

Tomopop Review: Play Arts Kai Commander Shepard

Nov 02 // Brian Szabelski
Figure Name: Mass Effect 3 Play Arts Kai Commander Shepard Figure Maker: Square Enix Retail Price: US$64.99/¥6,200 Available At: Big Bad Toy Store | Entertainment Earth | Amiami | HobbyLink Japan | Otacute | Plamoya | Hobby Search | Play Asia As always, we go to the box, and it's a pretty one. Borrowing from the art of Mass Effect 3, the box features a front flap that hides the window, but puts a large image of Shepard in its place. The sides feature the Mass Effect and Play Arts Kai logos, while the back has the usual photos of the figure and the others in the series. Behind the Velcro-secured flap is the actual figure window, along with the description of just who Commander Shepard is, in case you are totally unfamiliar with him. This box design seems to be the new look for the Play Arts Kai line, and it's a better look than the older boxes. Out of the box, Play Arts Kai Shepard looks about how you'd expect him to be. About 8.5 inches tall, Shepard is in his trademark N7 Armor in the default colors he's worn throughout the game. It should be noted that this is BioWare's canon look for Shepard, since my Shepard looks entirely different and a lot more bad*** than this one.. but I digress. You might also notice that, yes, he comes with no stand. I still don't get why these aren't available, but as a trade-off, I guess Shepard is pretty well weight-balanced and he can stand on his own without constantly tipping over. The first place we're taking a look close up is Shepard's N7 Armor. I'll commend Square Enix here: the level of detailing on the armor is actually really, really good. There are a lot of little nooks, crannies and seams to get right, and it appears Square Enix has managed to do just that. The joints are also fairly well masked, especially around the shoulders and torso. There is a bit of paint missing from the collar of the armor on the neck part (you can see how it looks flesh-colored). Additionally, some of the paint on the stripe does look a little rough or thin in the red portion, but there are otherwise no serious mishaps or splotches well outside the lines. Further down the N7 armor suit, you can get a glimpse at some of the sculpting detail on the legs. There's a decent amount of it, and it is pretty accurate based on the in-game models. Of course, some elements have been modified a bit to fit the joints. The joint layout is the usual Play Arts Kai set-up, featuring the ratcheting knee and ankle joints we've seen before. However, what's new is that the hip joints have gone from ball and socket to a ratcheted-style as well. That design choice is an incredible positive point for Shepard, as he feels more stable than the past Play Arts Kais I've reviewed. Plus, you don't have to worry about a leg popping out of joint anymore! From the back, you can see where the top part of his armor hangs over the bottom part due to the mid-torso joint, but it also happens along a natural transition in Shepard's armor from the bulkier gray part to the slimmer black part. The details on the N7 Armor here are, like elsewhere on the figure, pretty accurate within reason, and the paint is generally pretty clean.  Well, not so much awesome. At all. Yeah, it vaguely resembles Shepard, but something just doesn't sit right with me. Maybe it's the eyes looking a little rough with the paint? Could it be the faint black line that's supposed to be Shepard's goatee? The little bits of black smudging on the lips that dirty up the lips? All of the above? Whatever it is, Play Arts Kai Shepard's face looks really, really rough and unrefined. At least the problem with "dirt" like Kratos (reviewed) isn't a problem ... but the flesh tones for the neck and head are very, very slightly different shades. Shepard needs to get out of the sun. In case you're wondering what my hand is doing here, I'm holding Shep up so you can get an idea of his poseability. He actually has a fairly nice range of motion and manipulation, with fewer problems than the past Play Arts Kai figures I've reviewed. Again, the new hip joints help a lot here. You can also see the chest joints allow for some decent side-to-side leaning. On the accessories front, Square Enix has brought us an Omniblade for Shepard to slice fools with. Using a translucent orange PVC base with a yellow spray down the middle, it recreates the look of the Omniblade from the game as best as you probably can. On top of that, the Omniblade fits on Shepard's forearm exactly where it should be. From the top, you can see how the Omniblade rests on Shepard's forearm. You do have to remove the hand to get it on there and the Omniblade slips over the wrist joint and forearm. It took me a bit to get the hand on there just right, but once done, it was a pretty seamless fit. Well done, Square Enix. The next accessory to mention would be the N7 Eagle Pistol. The paint's a little rough in spots, but it's a fair replica of the N7 Eagle, scaled down properly and sculpted well. You can also see the right hand that comes with Shepard for holding his weapons. The detail there is nice as well, and I like how the index finger actually loops into the trigger of the N7 Eagle. So from here, it looks pretty good. But when you look at it from other angles ... ... the damn N7 Eagle doesn't fit in Shepard's hand as it should. I spent 15 minutes trying to get it to fit in, but I could not get the grip of the N7 Eagle to fit inside the hand because the last two fingers on the pistol-holding hand would not move properly. This meant I couldn't fit it through the tight gap and I eventually conceded defeat because I was afraid I'd snap one of the hand's other three fingers off (namely, the thumb). Design-wise, it should be a lot easier to get the Eagle in there than it actually is. From here, you can also see the seam line on Shepard's hand. On the other hand, the N7 Valkyrie rifle is wonderful. It uses the same hand as the N7 Eagle in the above picture, but get this: it works! Plus, on top of that, the butt of the rifle is sculpted in such a manner that it rests on Shepard's forearm without you having to do anything. The hand does bend a little more at the wrist than it probably should, but given the problems I had with the Eagle, it's a minor pittance. Here, you can see some of the detail Square Enix have pumped into the Valkyrie. Great detail and the paint is within the lines consistently throughout. The other hand Shepard has is an open-palmed hand that pretty much serves as a balance for the Valkyrie's weight. Not terribly bad here, but nothing that's going to sway you one way or the other. So yes, Shepard with his Valkyrie rifle is a billion times better than the Eagle, and this kneeling shot really shows off how the balance issues have been fixed on some of the Play Arts Kai line. Doing this with the other Play Arts Kai figures I've reviewed is a little more of a crapshoot, but Shepard consistently held this pose without tipping over from when I shot him for the review until I put him away a few days later. So where does that leave me with Play Arts Kai Shepard? Honestly ... disappointed. There's a nice step forward here with the ratcheting joints in the hips and Shepard feels like he holds poses much better than any other Play Arts Kai I've previously reviewed as a result ... but that face. The issues with the Eagle. It's the little things that continue to plague the Play Arts Kai line. The sculpt work around the face could be a bit better and like Kratos, the paintwork could be a whole lot cleaner, especially with that goatee. Play Arts Kai completionists and absolute, have-to-own-it-all Mass Effect fans will probably consider picking this one up, but beyond those two groups, I'm not really sure I can recommend hunting down Shepard. In part, that's because I'm left with the same feeling I had with Kratos; that Play Arts Kai Shepard could have been something great, but isn't. [Thanks to Square Enix for sending Shepard to us for review!]
Not my favorite figure on the Citadel
Square Enix has been diversifying the Play Arts Kai by leaps and bounds lately, and one of their latest license acquisitions has been the Mass Effect series. Sure, BioWare totally dropped the ball with that thing they called ...


NYCC 2012: Kotobukiya's Bishoujo Commander Shepard

A singularity to my heart!
Oct 14
// Pedro Cortes
We're back again to show off some more stuff from New York Comic Con! Straight from Kotobukiya's booth is Bishoujo Commander Shepard, a lady that can kick some alien butt. A lot of people were relived to see the final sculpt ...

NYCC 2012: Dark Horse

Mass Effect, Game of Thrones, & Marvel Trolls (What?)
Oct 13
// Andres Cerrato
Mass Effect 3 has made its impact felt on the market. Due to demand, numerous pieces have been constructed by various companies over the past year. Dark Horse, long known for its publishing arm, has already dabbled into the c...

NYCC 2012: Kotobukiya show display

Something for everyone at the Koto booth
Oct 12
// Jeremy Emerje Crocker
So what did Kotobukiya bring with them to New York Comic Con this year? Maybe it would be better to ask what they didn't bring? The Koto booth is packed with an impressive display ranging from US$9.99 Evangelion ice tray...

The Hero of Haestrom is honored as a plush

Now if only he had a better fate...
Oct 11
// Pedro Cortes
Some of you may remember a while back when I posted pics of ViciousPretty's custom Mass Effect plushies. She's done a ton of characters and I pretty much want them all. Some for my room, some for my desk at work and...

I'm sure you've been wondering just how Kotobukiya's Bishoujo Female Shepard will look as an actual figure, and now, we have a peek at her. Posted on the Kotobukiya Facebook page, the first shot is of Femshep's face, which lo...


Chibi Mass Effect plushies are better than any DLC

Aug 16
// Pedro Cortes
As long time readers of Tomopop may know, I'm a huge fan of the Mass Effect franchise. As such, my desire for great merchandise is at an all time high, now that the series is ostensibly done. Leave it to the official Mass Eff...

SDCC 2012: Dark Horse

Jul 19
// Tianxiao Ma
Dark Horse's booth had a few items that interested me, namely the Tyrion Lannister statue from Game of Thrones. Tyrion has been my favorite character so far, so it's nice to see a figure of him busting heads (presumably at Ki...

Continuing our Play Arts Kai coverage from Square Enix's booth, we head on out to space! In particular, that's because this batch features Mass Effect 3's Commander Shepard, Garrus and Ashley Williams. We saw them at Toy Fair...


SDCC 2012: Sideshow Collectibles - Video Game edition

Jul 16
// Andres Cerrato
I'll just get this out of the way first. By far and away, Sideshow Collectibles had the most expansive booth at Comic-Con. It's crazy to think of one company producing so many high-end, amazing pieces, but Sideshow did just t...

SDCC 2012: Kotobukiya booth tour - Bishoujo edition

Jul 12
// Tianxiao Ma
Kotobukiya's SDCC booth wasn't exactly overflowing with new Bishoujo figures, but you can get a look at some of the SDCC exclusive versions (Storm and X-23 will get reviews here, by the way). There have been a few new Bishouj...

FemShep Barbie kills Reapers with a smile

Jun 28
// Pedro Cortes
If you talk to many Mass Effect fans, they'll tell you that their preferred way to play the game is with a female Shepard. It's hard to argue: Jennifer Hale's performance as FemShep is fantastic. Even though she sha...

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