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figma Samus Aran photo
figma Samus Aran

Samus Aran sheds her suit for her newest figma


Now up for pre-order
Jun 14
// Tianxiao Ma
The ever-popular Samus Aran has already gotten the figma treatment, but this time around she'll be shedding that bulky suit. This is the Metroid: Other M version of Samus. I haven't played the game but it seems like we're tra...
Capcom Morrigan photo
Capcom Morrigan

Morrigan changes occupations in this new Capcom figure


Hope you don't need a shot though...
Jun 03
// Tianxiao Ma
Dark Stalkers' Morrigan Aensland has seen a few releases over the years, but I don't remember many wardrobe changes. I think since her main appeal is her sexiness, and her outfit already emphasizes that, there never was a nee...
Max Factory Link photo
Skyward Sword's Link is the latest entry
Good Smile Company's Wonderful Hobby Selection line is getting a new addition from Max Factory! This time it'll be The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword's Link making the transition from artwork to PVC figure. Compared to some o...

Tomopop Review: Velvet with Cornelius by Alter

May 05 // Tianxiao Ma
Figure Name: Velvet with CorneliusFigure Maker: AlterRetail Price: ¥13,800Available at: Big Bad Toy Store  I'm going to be totally honest: I really haven't been interested in Alter's releases as of late. They used to be the gold standard of the anime figure world, but have in recent years been releasing rather boring designs. Every once in a while, though, they reach for the stars. The result is a figure that ends up selling out everywhere. Velvet (and Cornelius) is the third of Alter's Odin Sphere releases. The first was Gwendolyn which came out way back in 2008. Gwendolyn came during a time when figures really were limited collectibles, and as such became a grail figure for many. Luckily she's gotten two re-releases (the latest happening just last month). Next came Mercedes in 2010, which has also gotten a recent re-release. So now, hopefully, die-hard Odin Sphere fans can have the full set of gals. Trust me when I say, you do not want to miss out on Velvet. I collect figures to keep as mementos of stories and characters that I love (or sometimes because their butts are shiny). This one is such a memento, but it's also an extraordinary piece of craftsmanship. Its design, sculpt, detailing, and paint job are all a tier above what you'd see in an average anime figure. What's crazy is that this probably isn't even the best figure Alter has ever made. But it takes you to the old days, when you knew that if you got an Alter figure you'd be getting the best. That really says a lot about its construction. It's also surprisingly user-friendly. For a figure with two bodies in leaping poses and a swinging chain, the assembly process was way easier than expected. Velvet and Cornelius attach via metal pegs to the base. Their weapons are pretty simple to attach, with Velvet's Psypher not even needing to hook or peg into anything. In the game, Velvet has a number of mid to long range attacks owing to her weapon being attached to chains. Cornelius is a more straightforward sword fighter who uses his small size and agility. Their contrasting styles are reflected in this figure, with Velvet's chains forming sweeping arcs while Cornelius is in mid-thrust with his sword. I thought Cornelius would me more of a throw-in - maybe just a cool detail on a really elaborate base. He kind of is, but you wouldn't be wrong to call him a full-fledged figure either. You're basically getting two figures for the price of, like, one and a half. You can see the same craftsmanship and attention to detail on Cornelius as you do on Velvet. His armor looks weathered. The leather parts look like leather. His Psypher is translucent just like Velvet's. Despite Velvet being the main attraction, Alter spared no effort in properly painting and detailing Cornelius. Alter has done a remarkable service for Odin Sphere fans. Yes, other manufacturers have tackled the property from time to time. But none of them ever got as ambitious or straight-up beautiful as Alter's figures. There's just something about the way they handle the translation from 2D that's uniquely pretty. It even extends to figures from other Vanillaware titles. Velvet, like her sister figures, is a centerpiece. You can put her on a shelf and even folks who are leery of anime figures will pause and admire her. It just makes me so happy that Alter didn't go with a "standard" pose. It shows that they aren't making figures just to cash in on an upcoming game. They went all out, and the result is a magnificent love letter to the fans.
Alter Velvet photo
A homeless princess and a Tiny Toon
If you're a fan of side scrolling beat-em-ups, you owe it to yourself to try out Odin Sphere. While I enjoyed the gameplay, the thing that elevates Odin Sphere far past the typical rabble of its genre is its artistry. It's kn...


Tomopop Review: Parfom Labrys by Phat Company

May 04 // Tianxiao Ma
Figure Name: Parfom LabrysFigure Maker: Phat CompanyRetail Price: ¥5,500Available at: Play-Asia | Right Stuf | Hobby Search | HobbyLink Japan Labrys is the third in Phat Company's Parfom series, following Aigis and Yuudachi. I was interested in this line because it seemed to combine the cuteness of Nendoroids with the poseability of figmas. But for reasons I can't remember right now, I didn't buy Aigis or Yuudachi. So that makes Labrys my first Parfom, and I was interested to see how good these figures are. You can see the full box shot in the gallery (it's a nice, clean design) but this weird little detail caught my eye. This is probably the first figure I've gotten with a message on the box flap. Unpacking the figure took some effort because it comes with a lot of accessories. Labrys is pretty large - measuring to the top of her ponytail she can reach up to 150mm. I don't have the figma Labrys to compare, but my figma Yu Narukami is about the same height. However due to the Parfom's proportions, it ends up being a bulkier figure overall. With these kinds of figures you have a common set of expectations in terms of how to swap parts and such. Labrys comes with four face plates and an alternate hair fringe which includes her visor. It works just like with any figma: pull off the hair fringe and you'll be able to remove her face plates. The fit of the faces felt inconsistent. Her  default face was a bit loose while some others were very tight. Speaking of her default face, it wound up surprising me in a good way. Too often with anime figures, you're locked into a boring, neutral expression for the face. Part of the appeal of Nendoroid and figma is that they offer alternative expressions that might capture the spirit of the character better. Initially, I thought Labrys would just have some boring smiling expression as her default. However, the expression on this default face can look like it changes depending on the angle you view it from. In this shot, Labrys' expression is menacing and her mouth is frowning. But look at the shots above: they're all using the same face! The expression goes from neutral to inquisitive to threatening depending on the angle. This is a rare quality in figures, and I certainly didn't expect to find it here. I love faces with some nuance to them, so this was a pleasant surprise. The package comes with several accessories revolving around Labrys' weapon. "Labrys" was the Greek word for a double-bitted axe, making her weapon her namesake as well (and there are historical examples of giant versions of such axes too). The axe head comes with a peg that lets you attach it to Labrys' back. Each blade is on a swivel, basically turning them into wings. The effects pieces you see above come in two parts and clamp around the jets on the axe. I consulted the instruction sheet to see how they should be attached, but was misled a bit. Each flame piece needs to attach to a specific spot on the axe, but the order shown in the instruction sheet seems to be reversed. It took some fiddling but eventually I figured it out. Here you can see the other accessories for the axe. You'll get a separate stand and base for it in case you want to pose it flying through the air. Unfortunately there's no way to hide that peg if the stand is attached. I guess it's not the end of the world, but it still sticks out. Other accessories include a variety of alternate hands, as well as a chain that goes between the elbow joint and forearm. It's a single, flexible piece of plastic that gives a more dynamic look than a real chain would have. Of course you'll get the shadow version of Labrys as well since it's just a face swap. I would have preferred a smirking expression over this blank one. There's also an expression for Aigis included in the package, which I found weird. Parfom Aigis already has a neutral default face, but you get another one with Labrys for some reason. I thought this figure, with its chibi aesthetic and articulation, would turn out to be like a Cu-Poche. But since I don't have any Cu-Poches, I can't really say. Having played with Labrys for a while, I do think the Parfom line is pretty close to the figma line. The articulation is more extensive than in your typical figma, and the joints are higher quality (while being less conspicuous). The fit and finish is good, though for these types of figures I don't expect perfection. Still, it held up pretty well during my photo shoot, with only one of the hair flaps falling off when I didn't expect it. Generally this is a well-designed figure with a surprising amount of articulation, but doesn't feel like it's going to break or lose its pose suddenly. The paint job's decent too, with some different finishes throughout the body and axe. Phat Company's Parfom line is fairly new, with only three figures currently in the series, and this Labrys figure already feels refined and well thought out. I'd say my experience with it has won me over to the Parfom series. It's wonderful for anyone who wants the cute chibi look but with lots of creative possibilities that you may not get with a Nendoroid or scale figure. Hopefully, Phat Company ramps up the release schedule for these. Six more have been announced, but none of them have dates set for the moment.
Parfom Labrys photo
Class president or killer robot?
Persona 4 may very well be my favorite video game of all time. Given the number of spin-offs it has received, it seems a fair amount of people out there love it too. When I first heard about Persona 4 Arena, I thought it was ...

C2E2 2016 CreatuReplica photo
C2E2 2016 CreatuReplica

C2E2 2016: CreatuReplica


Highly detailed cryptid figures
Mar 24
// Tianxiao Ma
If Fox Mulder collected action figures, I think he'd love the CreatuReplica collection. CreatuReplica is a new (as in, just months old) outfit featuring toy designs by Jean St. Jean - a sculptor who also works with Diamond Se...
C2E2 2016 Metalsouls photo
C2E2 2016 Metalsouls

C2E2 2016: Metalsouls


Pretty freaking metal
Mar 23
// Tianxiao Ma
Some toys were meant to be made of metal: Iron Man, Transformers, toy cars, etc. And then you have madmen like the folks at Metalsouls, who just make everything out of metal. Despite largely working with recycled scrap metal,...
C2E2 2016 Beefy & Co photo
C2E2 2016 Beefy & Co

C2E2 2016: Beefy & Co.


Original plush creations
Mar 23
// Tianxiao Ma
It felt like there was a lot less plush at this year's C2E2 than in previous years. The most notable booth I found was Beefy & Co. with a colorful display of somewhat sleepy looking plush animals. Two plushies were new fo...
C2E2 2016 Diamond Select photo
C2E2 2016 Diamond Select

C2E2 2016: Diamond Select Toys part 2


Live action TV and movie collectibles
Mar 22
// Tianxiao Ma
Diamond Select Toys has tapped some notable live action properties in the past, and they're continuing to pick up momentum in this area for 2016. The Alien and Predator franchises will see Vinimates coming out. They're figure...
C2E2 2016 Diamond Select photo
C2E2 2016 Diamond Select

C2E2 2016: Diamond Select Toys part 1


Comics and animation collectibles
Mar 22
// Tianxiao Ma
Although Diamond Select Toys has roots in comic-related collectibles, their booth gets more and more diverse every year. We'll start off our coverage with the usual comic properties you'd expect, although even here there were...
C2E2 2016 Chibi Essence photo
C2E2 2016 Chibi Essence

C2E2 2016: Chibi Essence


Polystone bobble heads and alpacas
Mar 22
// Tianxiao Ma
One of my favorite things about cons is finding stuff that's off the beaten path of my fandom, and that's where Chibi Essence comes in. I'm not very engaged in the indie/designer toy scene, but every once in a while I'll stum...
C2E2 2016 Bluefin photo
C2E2 2016 Bluefin

C2E2 2016: Bluefin Distribution part 2


Anime figures and lots of Gundam
Mar 19
// Tianxiao Ma
Star Wars mash-ups aren't the only thing Tamashii Nations brought to the table; they had plenty of anime figures from their various Figuarts lines as well. Dragon Ball Z continues to have a large presence, featuring prom...
C2E2 2016 Bluefin photo
C2E2 2016 Bluefin

C2E2 2016: Bluefin Distribution part 1


Film and comic collectibles
Mar 19
// Tianxiao Ma
Sometimes you just want to see a smorgasbord of figures from all over the place. That's when you head to Bluefin Distribution. Sentinel, which is usually geared toward anime figures, has picked up the Iron Man license. And ma...
C2E2 2016 Enterbay photo
C2E2 2016 Enterbay

C2E2 2016: Enterbay


Legends everywhere
Mar 19
// Tianxiao Ma
Enterbay is known for their realistic 1/6-scale figures, often featuring movie and sports stars. Their booth at C2E2 was mostly NBA-oriented this year. The presentation, I felt, was really cool and well-executed. If you're no...
C2E2 2016 Weta photo
C2E2 2016 Weta

C2E2 2016: Weta Workshop


Orcs, dragons, and a giant robot
Mar 19
// Tianxiao Ma
I kicked off day one of the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo with a whirlwind tour of the exhibitor hall about an hour before closing. Weta Workshop had a large display near the entrance, showing off their requisite Lord...
WonFes Union Creative photo
WonFes Union Creative

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Union Creative


All of the boys
Feb 11
// Tianxiao Ma
Union Creative is a producer partnered with several toy makers, such as Sentinel and Kaiyodo. That means they usually bring a ton of figures to WonFes, so yay for us! While most manufacturers' figures have a decided bias towa...
WonFes GSC photo
WonFes GSC

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Good Smile Company part 2 - Nendoroids


There was an actual tower of Nendos
Feb 09
// Tianxiao Ma
If there's one thing I want to know about this industry, it's how Good Smile Company picks the licenses to make Nendoroids for. At this point their Nendoroid production line must be a well-oiled machine, possibly on its way t...
WonFes GSC photo
WonFes GSC

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Good Smile Company part 1


I'm so sick of bunny outfits
Feb 09
// Tianxiao Ma
Good Smile Company's Wonderful Hobby Life For You display is like the all-you-can-eat buffet of Wonder Festival. By my quick internet research I estimate they have infinity figures. And I feel like half of that infinite numbe...
WonFes X-Plus photo
WonFes X-Plus

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: X-Plus


Dragon Ball Z, kaiju, and Harry Potter
Feb 09
// Tianxiao Ma
X-Plus hit WonFes with some big name properties. Right off the bat you have their Godzilla figures, sure to please you kaiju fans out there. If classic anime is more to your taste, they also showed a selection of Dragon Ball ...
WonFes Embrace Japan photo
WonFes Embrace Japan

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Embrace Japan/Milestone


Some great stuff for Street Fighter fans
Feb 08
// Tianxiao Ma
Man, Embrace Japan has really put out some lovely designs as of late. They're looking to continue that roll with the Diabolus Angelite figure shown at WonFes. Fun fact: this line of original designs has been titled Black Arts...
WonFes Alphamax photo
WonFes Alphamax

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Alphamax


T2 Art Girls and... Transformers?
Feb 08
// Tianxiao Ma
Alphamax is usually all about girls with clothes falling off their bodies. Well they took it to a literal extent this WonFes with some of the figures from their SkyTube label. I won't focus on the NSFW stuff but Amiami a...
WonFes Arcadia photo
WonFes Arcadia

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Arcadia


A big dose of Katanagatari
Feb 08
// Tianxiao Ma
Arcadia's showing at Wonder Festival featured a whole lot of Katanagatari. If you've waited this long for Katanagatari figures, hopefully you like what you see. These look like 3D printed prototypes, with the grainy finish an...
WonFes Aquamarine photo
WonFes Aquamarine

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Aquamarine


Persona, Guilty Gear, and more
Feb 08
// Tianxiao Ma
I don't have much experience with Aquamarine, but the photos from their booth caught my attention. If you're a gamer - particularly if you're into Japanese games - you might recognize the gals in the header image. I picked th...
WonFes Aoshima photo
WonFes Aoshima

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter: Aoshima


Going all-in on Kantai Collection
Feb 08
// Tianxiao Ma
It looks like more Kantai Collection stuff is coming from Aoshima, who showed off a few prototypes at Wonder Festival. The biggest crowd pleasers will probably be Shoukaku and her tsundere sister ship Zuikaku. Although it's t...
Kotobukiya Forte photo
Put that one in my wish list!
Kotobukiya has only made a handful of Rage of Bahamut figures. You can kind of understand why, because they're all elaborate and super gorgeous. The one that first caught my attention was Dark Angel Olivia, which feature...

Hot Toys photo
Bats, Supes, Cap, Iron Man, all the hits
Toy Soul 2015 is happening in Hong Kong, and with some new superhero films on the horizon, Hot Toys is going to work. The company made its name on lifelike 1/6-scale figures drawing from movie and video game properties, and t...

Snow Miku 2016 photo
Snow Miku 2016

Nendoroid and figma Snow Miku 2016 designs revealed


General sales begin January 9
Dec 16
// Tianxiao Ma
The winning design for the next Snow Miku was shown off this spring. Now we can see how it has translated to actual products! Nendoroid and figma Snow Miku shots have surfaced ahead of 2016's Sapporo Snow Festival. These desi...

Tomopop Exclusive: This Sasuke figure ninja'd himself into the next Omakase box

Dec 07 // Tianxiao Ma
What is Omakase? First thing's first, just what is Omakase? It's a subscription service that sends you merchandise, kind of like Anime Bento and Loot Crate. Omakase is bi-monthly, debuting this past November with a Kill La Kill-themed box. The next box is set to ship at the end of January with merchandise for Naruto Shippuden fans. What's in the box? In the next few weeks the contents of the next Omakase box will be revealed. They've already shown off a gold Naruto figure, and now this Sasuke figure will be joining him! This is the result of a partnership between Omakase and Toynami, with the latter designing and producing the figure itself. Unfortunately we weren't able to see this one in person, but we're told it has over 25 points of articulation. There's one more reveal coming up for Omakase, so be sure to check their site on January 4 if you're curious. I subscribed for their Kill La Kill box, which had a few bonus items on top of the ones revealed on the internet. So what you see isn't necessarily all that you'll get. If you want in on this box, the deadline to subscribe is January 23. The box is scheduled to ship on January 25. When you subscribe you'll pay $29, which will be renewed bi-monthly. You can get the full details and FAQ on their site (and maybe try out the Viewster media streaming service too). [Thanks to Viewster and Omakase for the product shots!]
Viewster Omakase photo
Shipping at the end of January
January 2016 will be good times for Naruto fans! The folks behind the Omakase subscription service have given us an opportunity to reveal the next item in the upcoming box: a limited edition Sasuke Uchiha figure by Toynami! Read on to learn more about Omakase and what's coming in the Naruto Shippuden-themed box!

figma Kat photo
figma Kat

Check out figma Kat from Gravity Rush, and see how to do a collector's edition correctly


Can't sell this one as DLC
Oct 17
// Tianxiao Ma
What do you expect from a typical video game collector's edition nowadays? Some free DLC? A season pass? Stickers? How about a figma? That's what's bundled with the Gravity Rush (Gravity Daze) collector's edition in Japan. Th...
Max Factory Atago photo
Max Factory Atago

Panpakapan! Check out Max Factory's Atago prototype


Beautiful, buxom, and blonde
Oct 17
// Tianxiao Ma
At the 55th All Japan Model Hobby Show, Max Factory put their next KanColle ship girl on display: the heavy cruiser Atago! This 1/8-scale figure is stunning, capturing Atago's lighthearted personality and beauty. I love the w...
Max Factory Sorceress photo
Max Factory Sorceress

Max Factory's Sorceress is just magical


Magically voluptuous, that is
Sep 26
// Tianxiao Ma
Good news for Dragon's Crown fans! If you've been wanting a tasteful, utterly gorgeous Sorceress figure, then the wait is over! Max Factory may be a bit late to the party, but they certainly do make an impression when they ar...
Nendoroid Kirby photo
But can you really call it a Nendoroid?
Here's a pointless question for you: what makes this Kirby figure a Nendoroid (aside from obvious branding considerations)? Would a figma Kirby or, heck, a Hot Toys Kirby look any different? These are the kinds of things I as...

Himouto Umaru-chan photo
Himouto Umaru-chan

Up your Umaru count with these blind-boxed trading figures


Get some himoutos of your own
Aug 27
// Tianxiao Ma
If you want to spruce up your dwelling in a totally adorable way with Himouto! Umaru-chan merchandise, now's your chance! Good Smile Company will be releasing a set of eight trading figures in January 2016 featuring four vari...
Parfom Labrys photo
Parfom Labrys

Welcome Parfom Labrys to the arena


This is one steely class president
Aug 27
// Tianxiao Ma
You know what's awesome? The Persona series. Underneath the whackiness of talking teddy bears and robot warrior maidens lie some wonderful, memorable characters. Labrys here made her debut in Persona 4 Arena, being an older g...
Max Factory Hestia photo
Max Factory Hestia

Max Factory's Hestia is looking pretty bouncy


Now up for pre-order
Aug 27
// Tianxiao Ma
I'm sure DanMachi's Hestia is a character in her own right, but the general anime-aware public might know her more for her peculiar fashion sense. Indeed Max Factory's 1/7-scale PVC rendition goes all in on the boob string. I...
Nendoroid Sanya photo
Nendoroid Sanya

Nendoroid Sanya is ready for the night sky


This Nendo is no ghost
Aug 27
// Tianxiao Ma
Strike Witches fans can finally get their hands on a Nendoroid version of the nocturnal witch Sanya V. Litvyak! With Strike Witches 2 having aired a pretty long time ago and the Operation Victory Arrow OVAs already wrapped up...
Nendoroid Ooyodo photo
The assistant to the secretary ship!
[ Update: Pre-order info added ] Relaying orders to the fleet, handling communications, giving mission briefings, and occasionally getting glomped by Kongou - these are all part of Ooyodo's everyday life. Doesn't that make he...

WonFes Alphamax photo
WonFes Alphamax

[NSFW] Wonder Festival 2015 Summer: Alphamax/Skytube


Bringing the sexy to WonFes
Jul 29
// Tianxiao Ma
Alphamax (especially with their Skytube brand) tends to be on the racier side of figure manufacturers. They also seem to really like Tony Taka, which can make identifying these figures a chore... Anyway, they brought some rea...
WonFes Kotobukiya photo
WonFes Kotobukiya

Wonder Festival 2015 Summer: Kotobukiya


A nice lineup of pretty ladies
Jul 29
// Tianxiao Ma
Kotobukiya was no slouch at WonFes, bringing a spate of ambitious-looking figures alongside their Cu-Poche and Bishoujo lineups. I like that Kotobukiya has produced more and more elaborate designs over the years across a wide...
WonFes 2015 photo
WonFes 2015

Wonder Festival 2015 Summer: MegaHouse


I'm slightly underwhelmed
Jul 28
// Tianxiao Ma
As I comb through all this WonFes coverage, I have to say the showing from MegaHouse feels a little uninspired. Honestly, they've never been a go-to brand for me. I'm never watching my news feeds wondering what they're up to ...

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