Shining series

Kotobukiya Xiao Mei photo
Akiba Hobby has a preview gallery up
Got the sneaking suspicion that Kotobukiya has already made a Xiao Mei? Well you'd be correct. But why let a good design go to waste? Kotobukiya will soon be releasing another variant of Shining Blade's Xiao Mei, this time pa...

Wonder Festival photo
Wonder Festival

Wonder Festival 2014 Summer: Kotobukiya gallery

There's so much more left!
Aug 02
// Jeremy Emerje Crocker
It's hard to believe Kotobukiya had so much stuff with them at Wonder Festival considering just how much they brought with them to San Diego Comic Con that same weekend. While they did bring a few things to both conventions, ...
Max Factory Misty photo
Max Factory Misty

Max Factory shows they understand swimsuit figures with Misty

Also shows they understand the "sexy women" thing in general
Jul 15
// Tianxiao Ma
Max Factory has shown a proclivity for making figures of sexy ladies recently, and this swimsuit version of Misty from Shining Hearts has caught my eye. I find most swimsuit figures to be boring, but this one appeals to ...
Shining series photo
Shining series

Another month, another batch of Shining figures

Arcadia's Roselinde and Griffon's Sakuya
May 01
// Tianxiao Ma
It feels like Tony Taka's Shining series designs are everywhere, so it's only natural that they show up in this month's magazine scans as well. I haven't gotten sick of them, but I also haven't ordered any Shining figures in ...

Tomopop LinkUP photo
Tomopop LinkUP

Tomopop LinkUP: Winter (Soldier) Blues

Bring on the superhero movies
Mar 08
// Jeremy Emerje Crocker
I know I've talked a lot about the terrible winter we've been experiencing so I don't want to spend a lot of time on that. I'll just quickly say that I have a feeling I'll be pulling weeds from my garden this year while it's ...
Kotobukiya Kilmaria photo
Kotobukiya Kilmaria

No Ark, only guns for Kotobukiya's Kilmaria Aideen

The dual-wielding exorcist arrives
Mar 01
// Tianxiao Ma
Kotobukiya continues churning out Tony's heroines, this time with a sculpt of Shining Ark's Kilmaria Aideen. I have to say, dresses are in this year. Are you making a figure? Put it in a sweet dress! Kilmaria looks ready for ...

Tomopop Review: Alphamax's Velvet Batrass

Feb 25 // Tianxiao Ma
Figure Name: Velvet BatrassFigure Maker: AlphamaxRetail Price: ¥9,800Available At: HobbyLink Japan | Hobby Search | AmiAmi | Plamoya | Big Bad Toy Store Velvet is a character from Shining Ark, one of many games bearing Tony Taka's character designs. She's leaning toward the ecchi side of things with her skimpy, but undeniably, pirate-oriented outfit. The figure is 1/8-scale but the box is pretty huge. Most of it is empty space, though the package does come with a sizable round base. Assembly is straightforward: just match up the pegs on the base to the treasure chest, set Velvet on top, and attach her foot to its corresponding peg. The top part of the chest does detach, letting you fill it up with whatever. Although I love the softness of Velvet's face and her bright blue eyes, she does have a bit of the Alphamax vacant expression going on. Depending on the viewing angle, she can look neutral, smug, or slightly amused. I think it's all in that tilt of the head. The color cues around her face are very important as Velvet's outfit is not very colorful. The splash of blue and pink are great accents. Velvet is posed so that she's giving you a peek at her butt. Hey, I'm not complaining. For a more casual look, you can display her without the hat. She loses a bit of pirate flair though. For an even more casual look, you can cast off the skirt (which is barely there to begin with). The figure separates at the waist, and the connection is well hidden by her bikini bottom. Without the skirt, her left hand looks a bit awkward. It makes you wonder what she's doing with it... I paid particularly close attention to the fit and finish of this figure as I had never owned anything from Alphamax before. At least with Velvet, there's no cause for concern. The paint job was very clean and I didn't see any problems with the build quality. Due to the design of the skirt, it can get in the way of sitting. Velvet's right hand sometimes won't come down flush with the surface she's resting on. If this happens, her skirt piece is flexible enough to be pushed up the torso, letting her right hand come down. The base adds a lot of flavor to the set. I'm very glad it wasn't a plain circular disc. Its wood finish goes a long way to make this figure stand out, and the treasure chest is just a great prop. My one real complaint about this figure is that Velvet's foot doesn't hold to the base very securely, so there's a possibility of her falling over. I recommend caution while moving her. If you don't like the base, you can always have her sit on something else! This was a tough shot to get because she doesn't balance on figmas very well. There you have it: my first Alphamax figure! Apart from the issue with the foot peg, the build quality is reassuring. Mostly it's the design that appeals to me. Alphamax has a number of scantily clad females but Velvet has a unique look. So if you dig bikini-clad pirate girls, this figure's perfect for you!
Alphamax Velvet photo
Enticing booty
I really like the sexy pirate trope, which seems more prevalent in Japanese properties than in the West. When thinking of pirate figures, Mouretsu Pirates' Marika and Queen's Blade's Liliana spring to mind. Alphamax's Ve...

Toy Fair 2014: Kotobukiya photo
Toy Fair 2014: Kotobukiya

Toy Fair 2014: Kotobukiya Catalog preview

Marvel, DC, and Halo oh my
Feb 16
// Andres Cerrato
Toy Fair has returned and there's plenty to be excited over. One of our favorite companies, Kotobukiya, is trying to get a bit more of a buzz with the release of their preview catalog. From Bishoujos to ARTFX, Kotobukiya has a bit of something for everyone. Check out the catalog preview after the jump!
WonFes 2014W Kotobukiya photo
WonFes 2014W Kotobukiya

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Kotobukiya scale figures

New Saber and Lum prototypes, plus Chuunibyou's Rikka announced
Feb 11
// Tianxiao Ma
We've already seen some of the new hotness that Kotobukiya brought to WonFes, but there's always room for more. Their scale figure lineup looks pretty diverse this year, which is great if you're sick of KanColle. Here's the r...
Wonder Festival Griffon photo
Wonder Festival Griffon

Wonder Festival 2014 Winter: Griffon Enterprises Roundup

Easily one of the most impressive displays at Wonder Festival
Feb 11
// Jeremy Emerje Crocker
Griffon brought their A-game to Wonder Festival this past weekend. They had a very impressive number of figures on display, both new and old. They displayed several previously announced figures for the first time from their v...
Kotobukiya Seraphim photo
Kotobukiya Seraphim

MegaHobby Expo: Autumn - A seraphim descends upon us

Continuing the conga line of identities this character has assumed
Nov 30
// Tianxiao Ma
Shining Ark's Sakuya seems to be a busy lady, as she's assumed a wide variety of forms throughout the series. This latest prototype by Kotobukiya has her in her Seraphim form, which is just beautiful. I'm a big fan of angel g...

This Shannon pre-order is still more Shining prettiness

Griffon - 1/8 Scale
Nov 16
// Emily Smalara
Just in case you forgot how pretty Tony Taka's art is, the Shining series is back with yet another lovely young lady who happens to be the epitome of pastoral fantasy elegance. The surprising part is that it's from Griffon, n...
Alphamax Viola photo
Alphamax Viola

Voila, Alphamax's Viola unveiled

Seen at Miyazawa Model Exhibition
Nov 12
// Tianxiao Ma
Tony Taka's character designs have been the subject of more than a few figures lately, especially if they're from the Shining series of games. At Miyazawa Model Expo, Alphamax revealed a sculpt of Shining Ark's Viola. You mig...

Pre-order this divinely baked bread, and Airy too

Kotobukiya - 1/8 Scale
Oct 25
// Emily Smalara
Kotobukiya continues their near-monopoly on all things Shining with their latest offering this March, Shining Blades' Airy. Despite her rather holy appearance, it seems like she's only playing off the nun fetish and is merely...

Heat things up with this chilly new Blanc Neige

Arcadia - 1/7 Scale
Oct 07
// Emily Smalara
Not content to let certain other companies hog all the Shining series spotlight, Arcadia comes to us with a pretty slick looking new Blanc Neige--this time under her almost-full name of Aira Blanc Neige Galdinius from Shining...
Shining Hearts photo
Shining swimsuit girl is up for pre-order now
[Update: Pre-orders are ready to go!] We saw her hanging out at WonFes but now the figma blog is here to give us a much more in-depth look at Max Factory's 1/7 swimsuit version of Melty from Shining Hearts.  The big take...

Magazine Scans photo
Magazine Scans

Scans reveal two Shining series figures from Kotobukiya

Shining Blade's Airy and Shining Ark's Shannon appear as unpainted figures
Sep 24
// Natalie Kipper
It is magazine scan time again and Kotobukiya has two lovely ladies from the Shining series, Blade's Airy and Ark's Shannon, to share with us all. Airy's nun-inspired outfit looks lovely. Even in the scans, you can see t...
Alphamax Velvet photo
Alphamax Velvet

Alphamax's Velvet is a treasure indeed

You love you lose
Aug 23
// Tianxiao Ma
The Shining series has its share of lovely Tony Taka designs, but I can't recall one quite so lovely as Shining Ark's Velvet. This is not the forest-dwelling bastard princess of Odin Sphere, but they certainly have a similar ...
WonFes: Arcadia and Movic photo
WonFes: Arcadia and Movic

Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Arcadia and Movic

Masamune Shirow and Sword Art Online fans have much to look forward to
Jul 29
// Brian Szabelski
Movic didn't have a ton at Wonder Festival, but if you're a Sword Art Online fan (even if you're catching it now on Toonami), their Asuna is looking beautiful. Being produced by ASCII Media, I think the face could use a ...
Max Factory photo
Max Factory

Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Max Factory

Lots of stuff, lots of it good.
Jul 29
// Martin Siggers
Max Factory didn't bring an army of figures to WonFes this time round, but what they did bring was pretty killer. We've already seen their (highly spoileriffic) take on Kirino Kousaka, but there's a lot more to catch the eye....
Tony Taka figures photo
Tony Taka figures

Tony Taka's girls take the spotlight in latest scans

New figures from Alpha Max, Max Factory, Kotobukiya
Jun 23
// Brian Szabelski
If you like Tony Taka figures, then boy, this month's scans are a treat for you with a trio of ladies. One of the three we've seen before: Kotobukiya's Daisy-chan, joining the Tony's Heroine Collection as a 1/6-scale figure. ...
Check out the gallery for all the photos.
Remember last March when we announced that pre-orders were available for Kotobukiya’s Panis Angelus from the Shining Series? Well if you thought she looked cool in the preview then you should check out this ga...

Tomopop Review: Yamato's SIF EX Xiaomei

Apr 26 // Brian Szabelski
Figure name: SIF EX XiaomeiFigure maker: YamatoRetail price: ¥9,800Available at: HobbyLink Japan  Xiaomei's box was an absolute pain to photograph for one reason in particular: it's shiny. Really, really shiny. To the point that some of the detailing work in seafoam green gets washed out under the bright light. That's mostly the case on the white-heavy front and back; on the side with the Xiaomei illustration and the smaller window, the detail pops out fine. As for the box, it's alright and does it's job, complete with a large front window showing off the figure. You can also see the Cerberus Project name on here; this figure is a PVC version of a garage kit they previously did. Yamato has worked with them before, so the pairing is not too unfamiliar. You can also see that G.O. from Cerberus Project is our original sculptor. Let's get her out, shall we? Xiaomei is, in fact, not a single figure but two parts: the actual figure and a chest, which she rests upon. One of her hands is reaching back toward the chest, as if it protect it. She's in the same outfit we always see her in, though in quite a different pose from most other figures.  This photo is a bit dark ... but I had to because the "base" is super-reflective. Enough that I couldn't get the seafoam green patterning to show up otherwise. It's a nice pattern ... but this isn't so much a base as it feels like a thin oversized plastic coaster.  What really serves as a sort of base here is the chest. Very clean paint and nice details sculpted in, especially the bolts on the metal parts and the woodgrain look for the chest surfaces. The lock is actually a separate piece, so it jangles about a bit ... though why that would be something important for a static figure, I'm not so sure. However, the part with the lock on it does serve to hold the two pieces making up the chest together. So why don't we start with her legs? Some nice sculptwork here from G.O., giving her some nice, lengthy thighs and ankles without creating odd proportions. The one silky legging she wears has a nice finish to it, and the black finish of the shoes looks just as nice. Even the little bow on her ankle is drooping a bit, like gravity is tugging on it. You also might have noticed something here; I'll mention it in a sec. But first, butt shot. Yes, for some reason, Xiaomei's lower dress comes off. So you can see her thong. Feels a bit unnecessary ... but at least it looks OK on the back end. Now, the thing I mentioned: her tail is scratched up pretty bad here on the backside. I'm guessing it's the bottom of the skirt that rubbed off on the black tail during assembly, but this really shouldn't happen. It's quite disappointing even if it's not visible from the front, and it distracts from the nice shading job on her sash bow. Xiaomei's outfit is just gorgeous and there's plenty to look at. The colors are proper and the gloves have this lovely silk sheen from the paint job. The paint itself doesn't bleed into the space between the fingers, and there's a lot of nice folds and wrinkles as her outfit wraps around her body shape. It's also nice to see that her bust size isn't too small or large. ... Oh. We have a little bit of a problem here, and it's her mouth. This is the way Cerberus Project originally sculpted it, which Yamato left alone, and it's not the smile in the illustration what so ever. Or even close, really. She looks shocked or surprised, not acting sly and guarding her locked chest. I do not like it. To counter that, her hair and ears are pretty well sculpted. Lots of little detail and the painted fade on the tips of her ears look nice. A seam is visible at the back of her bangs, so heads up on that, but she's otherwise fine here. Yamato's Xiaomei started off with a wonderful sketch, and turned out to be something slightly less than wonderful. The scratches on the tail are annoying, but her face just doesn't look quite right. She's got this coy smile in the photo and that did not make the transition to my Xiaomei at all. Instead, she's got an open mouth like she's gasping. I'm not really a fan of that, unfortunately. Beyond those issues, she's plenty nice, but she's not as good as Max Factory's previous take on her. You might want to pick her up if you're a huge Xiaomei fan just to have in your collection, but if you're only getting one Xiaomei ... this one's probably not it. [Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing Xiaomei for this review!]
What surprises is she hiding in that chest of hers?
While I've not played the Shining series games, I do like a lot of Tony Taka's character designs for the games, and that's doubly so when it comes to Shining Hearts' Xiaomei. I'm not too sure why exactly; could be the ca...

Tony Taka swimsuits! photo
Alter, Alpha Max, Kotobukiya and Max Factory each getting characters
The folks at 4Gamer and Hobby Japan recently talked with Tony Taka in an interview, and as part of the piece, revealed Tony's next big project: the Shining series Swimsuit Series Project. The main idea of the project seems to...


Take flight with Shining Ark's Panis Angelicus

Kotobukiya - 1/8 Scale
Mar 23
// Emily Smalara
A common complaint surrounding the rather popular-yet-Japan-exclusive Shining series is that a lot of characters share very similar appearances. With Shining Ark's Panis Angelicus, however, it seems like we've got a unique lo...
A Shining example of their work
[Update: added pre-order links -Kristina] Whatever you think of Tony Taka's work, his illustrations have been the basis for some truly stunning figures over the years, and here comes another one, this time of the ice cream th...


Arcadia's Sakuya shines in her own brownish way

Methinks we've seen this before...
Mar 05
// Tianxiao Ma
You know that company that used to be Yamato? Now they're Arcadia! And you know that girl that used to be Maxima? Now she's Sakuya! There's a lot of name changing going on, try to keep up. As you've probably guessed, this is ...

Pre-order Kotobukiya's Misty from Shining Blade

She's not the Misty you grew up with, but she's still cute.
Feb 21
// Jon Wills
Many of you may remember Alter's version of this dashing pirate Misty which we announced last December. Well, if she was a little too expensive for your taste, you should definately check out Kotobukiya's lovely take on this ...

Kotobukiya shows off prototype Misty and Aragaki Ayase

This month's scans bring some cute surprises
Jan 23
// Kristina Pino
Kotobukiya showed off two prototypes in this month's hobby scans, including their rendition of Shining Blade's Mistral and, out of left field, OreImo's Aragaki Ayase as Thanatos (cosplay ver.). I'm actually heartily looking f...

Kotobukiya's Elmina gets a shiny new preview

Tony face is so Tony face
Jan 15
// Tianxiao Ma
Tony Taka is well known for designing a gaggle of very similar-looking women for the Shining series. Here's Kotobukiya's take on one of his designs: Elmina Rhoderia from Shining Blade. She's glad to meet you. The figure ...

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