Phoenix Gamma's blog

12:35 PM on 03.22.2012

ALTER's Aigis 2012 review, by a guy who likes Aigis too much

I like Aigis/Aegis/Potato/Potahto for three reasons:
1) Peg legs are pretty awesome
2) Robots are pretty awesome
3) Gun fingers.

So naturally, I own a lot of her shit. I actually bought Soejima's art book twice (!!!) because I didn't expect it to actually be translated into english. Today, I received Alter's second Aigis figure. Their original was my holy grail for a good three years before I got her off of Mandarake, but now with a little foresight, their newest release has made it to my collection without me having to pay twice its original price.


Atler's new release easily trumps my entire collection and earns the award for "biggest box for a collectible plastic rock". But enough hyperbole. Let's get her out of there and into the wild.

Aigis' size is actually pretty deceiving: she's pretty freaking large herself, but her base actually doesn't lift her up that high. So you get a nice, large Aigis that doesn't take up too much room. Plus, her large scale means she has tons of details to scope out.

I feel like this photo alone shows so many amazing touches: her untied ribbon falling off of her neck, the loading mechanism for her cartridges on her wrists, the zipper running up her side, and even a little "AEGIS" inscribed on her shoulder. Soejima's painting definitely went off-model of the original design, but there are so many finer details, she feels more real than she ever did before.

Here you can see more detailing to her torso. Aigis' frame isn't quite "naked"; there's always been an off'white fabric wrapped around her metallic frame. Here, you can see some of it tearing off of her leg, as well as some of the folds along her breasts. Why do robots need breasts? Because Japan, that's why. This version of Aigis is definitely pure white as opposed to an off-white, but it goes well with the metallic joints, which are now more gold instead of a copperish gold. But I think with the ribbon flying off and the fabric tearing, I would have preferred a more battle-damaged Aigis; it really doesn't make much sense for parts of her to be coming off while the rest of her is squeaky clean.

My biggest gripe is the hair; it looks a little out of place. I can't tell if it's the paint or a different kind of material, but it's a little distracting and pulls attention from the face. The hair's been colored with a little more orange than we're used to seeing from Aigis, which isn't a bad thing, but isn't helped by the awkwardness of the hair as a whole.

As I mentioned before, the base doesn't lift her up as much as Alter's previous Aigis figure (you can find official comparison shots online) so she doesn't end up too tall. I actually quite like her base; the shadow reaching up and grabbing her is what supports the figure, right around her ankle (if she had an ankle). The shadow is actually semitransparent, and under bright light has a faint reddish/purple hue to it. The checkerboard has a weird perspective painted on it, but isn't a deal breaker. I especially like the spring-loaded mechanism on Aigis' foot, which adds a nice sense of motion to the rest of the figure.

Overall, I do really love this figure. Her scale lends itself to some great details, and she really stands out on my bookshelf from the rest of my collection. I think a little more battle damage would elevate this from "great" to "superb", but overall it's a fantastic representation of a really pretty painting. I know a lot of Tomopoppers are a little annoyed that Aigis gets way more love than the rest of the Persona cast, but there are way more anime and games out there that suffer from the same problem, so I sympathize, but as this photo proves, I'm totally a part of the problem. On the bright side, I really don't see how they can possibly make more Aigis merch, and with Steak McBlockhead's figma preorder starting up and Persona 4: The Arena, I'm confident companies will find more ways to take our money in the future.

Now, to figure out what to do with that huge box...   read

9:45 PM on 02.11.2012

Forgive me Tomopop, for I have sinned

I could not take a photo of what I have done, because this is a wholesome, family, christian website where people gather to discuss the good news of pantyshots of polyvinyl carbonate anime girls. But I've done something that I need to confess.

I have thrown out a large portion of my toy packages. Boxes, plastic inserts, etc.

I've already confessed at my local church and took care of my five Hail Marys, three Our Fathers, and a side order of fries. But it's something I don't regret. In fact, after the pain of crumpling the first few boxes, it was downright therapeutic.

I mean...I have SPACE under my BED now! For all the other stuff I should probably get rid of instead of hoarding!

I actually only did this for a few figures and not my whole collection. Because at the end of the day, there are some toys that I know I'll want to hold onto forever, and others that I can see myself possibly selling in the future. Those boxes are still hanging out. But for the ones that I can never part with, I was pretty comfortable tossing their boxes in the recycling bin, as it actually solidifies my satisfaction with my overpriced plastic rocks. Kind of like putting a ring on the girl you want to keep...except there are multiple girls...and you're throwing out their stuff instead of giving them stuff. This metaphor isn't working.

And toy storage really isn't an issue for me: I've got containers where I keep my odds and ends organized for playing and posing, so the boxes really serve no purpose to me.

Anyways, before the townsfolk strap me to a horse, put a bucket on my head, and send me into the woods in exile, I'd like to encourage box pack rats like me to pick just one box from a toy that you know will never, ever leave your desktop, and recycle it. See how it feels, and ask yourself if there's something better you can use all of that bedroom real estate for.

...Like more toys...   read

11:21 PM on 01.23.2012

Best belated Christmas gift ever (shortblog)

One of the coolest things about going to an art college is meeting a lot of really different people from different backgrounds with different interests. But during my college orientation I had met someone who was equally into videogames, comic books, movies, toys, and general nerd culture. And art things. Unfortunately, we didn't get to exchange Christmas gifts until last night, but I think this is probably the best gift I never asked for:

Awesome.   read

1:06 PM on 01.20.2012

Review: Play Arts Kai Lightning FFXIII-2: Back in the Habit

I haven't been following SquareEnix's Play Arts ohgodwhathaveyoudone line lately; the original series was a very nice thing we had, and Square opted to make the figures freakishly huge, give them awkward-looking joints, and some generally weird faces.

Plus I was unemployed the month that Jungle Fatigues Naked Snake came out.

But now I have way too much money for my own good, and Square's giving the Final Fantasy XIII cast another go thanks to the sequel no one really asked for. But Lightning is in armor now, so that's pretty awesome. Let's see if Square learned from their mistakes.

Right off the bat, I'd like to give props to Square for toning down on the lipstick. I don't know what's up with them and women, but they never seem to get the face right, and they have a strange habit of making the lips really, really red/pink. But not only do they keep that fairly restrained, but the rest of the face is, well, perfect. This the first female I've seen them get right, from the shape of the head to the paint. Even the hair looks better this time! Instead of looking like smooshed bubble gum, they managed to nail the shape, and the translucent pink makes it look a little closer to the source material. It still looks a little weird compared to the rest of the figure, but it's progress. The rest of the sculpt is spot on, which is what we've come to expect from Play Arts figures with heavy armor.

The feathers are soft and bendable, and split into two different pieces. It gives you some room to move her legs, but it still gets in the way of some poses, and doesn't seem to swivel back, meaning one leg is almost always blocked. Speaking of legs, our girl Lightning sure is sporting some sidebutt in this design, seeing how there isn't anything underneath those feathers, but this IS the soldier who saved the world in mini-skorts, after all...

The buckler is a bit weird. It's attached to a clear plasic balljoint that clips onto her armor. There's no strap or buckle in the design, and upon looking at the official artwork, it just kinda...hangs out around her arm. So...I guess that's accurate? I would have liked if it didn't stick out so far, though.

Another thing to note: balljointed hands! Previous Play Arts and Play Arts Kai used swivel hands, so it's nice to see them change those. They're even ratcheted joints! Like Revoltechs, only quieter! The elbows, wrists, and knees (which are still double jointed. Sorry kids) are all ratcheted, which not only feels nice, but is desperately needed for such heavy figures. I'm really glad they made this change. The shoulder joints, however...

I'm pretty sure whoever sculpted this probably thought they were doing us a favor here. But there's two problems: one, it looks awkward when the shoulder fully comes out of the armor. And two, the shoulder piece has a habit of popping off through regular posing, as you can see here. This can be troublesome if the swivel-hinge joint connecting the shoulder to the arm is stiff, as you'll end up pulling it out. It's a nice thought, but doesn't work out that well.

Her weapon looks great...whatever it's supposed to be. Actually, getting her to hold it was a challenge, since I had no idea where she was supposed to grab onto it. One part looks like a handle for a gun, one part looks like it splits in two, there's a hole in the middle of it, it's a mess, but I blame that on the original design. Sadly her fingers don't have the best grip, since you need to bend the plastic a little to get them around the handle. I really, really hate when toy companies do this, and I wish they'd either have a joint in the middle of the hand (like Play Arts Sora) or have the handle slide off.

Now, aside from iffy faces and painfully wonky knees, the major complaint people have had with the Play Arts Kai line is their freakish scale. The original FFXIII line was gargantuan in size, taller than some PVC statues. Lightning Mk. 2, on the other hand is pretty small. Smaller than some of the original Play Arts figures, as seen here posing with The Sexiest Man Ever:

I was actually surprised to see her a little shorter than Balthier. I didn't bring the original Lightning out for this shoot (my fingers nearly fell off by the time I finished), but suffice to say, I was bummed that I couldn't put this new superior head on the original body without it being hilariously out of scale.

Overall, Lightning 2: The Wrath of Khan is a pleasant surprise; while Square is incredibly stubborn about those awkward double knee joints, they're at least experimenting with the rest of the articulation, and they seem to know how to make decent female faces now, meaning I'll have a reason to buy the other half of their releases now. The biggest surprise is that they've scaled down the size greatly, which will please collectors who are sticklers about scale. Even if you're not planning on getting Chrono FantasyMon XIII-2, this is a great display piece and a sign of good things to come.   read

7:58 PM on 10.28.2011

Sideshow Spooktacular: Gloomy on the Loose

I took a series of different photos, but I'm saving my final entry for last. I give you: Albert Revoltock's: Right to Bear Arms.

Oh god! Gloomy Bear's on the loose! Thank god for that muzzle covering his-

God help us all.

Oh the humanity!

Won't anyone stop him?

And now, for my official entry(might need to view in a separate tab/window, because I forgot to resize :V):

4:28 PM on 10.20.2011

Grail GET! Alter Aigis

Last time on the C-Blogs:
You also need to accept that I'm part of the problem, and I don't feel an ounce of shame about it! I've got bother figmas, the plush, AND a PVC on the way! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

And then that PVC figure showed up. Because I'm a shameless whore.

A quick story behind this figure: Persona 3 was one of the last RPGs I've played where I was really sucked in. While Persona 4 failed to woo me with a two hour introduction (eat your heart out, Metal Gear Solid 4!) and characters that failed to carry much weight past their perspective dungeons, it wouldn't be until Steam's Mass Effect 1&2 sale last Christmas that I would be absorbed into a game world. I remember seeing the particular Aigis figure on Tomopop some time ago. I unfortunately worked retail at the time, so when I finally set aside the cash to buy her, she had been discontinued and auctioned for $250+ dollars.

I used the money I set aside to buy some other toys I saw on here, and that would be the first time since high school that I indulged in collecting toys. Basically, I just bought more toys to forget about the one I couldn't have. Which is a terrible, terrible reason to start collecting. Luckily, Brian's post about his grail went up recently, and I decided to hunt some more.

I'm terrible at grieving.

I didn't pay $250, but the price was well more than its was originally sold as. I was a little nervous that I might have built up this moment a little too much, and when the deliveryman handed me the signature pad saying "you know the drill", I appropriately simmered down and oh god it's beautiful.

For one, the sculpt nails the original design perfectly. The face, which everyone seems to have trouble with, is spot on, and the details are fantastic. The joints are recreated wonderfully, and because Aigis is covered in cloth and metal, I haven't found a single visible seam on her body.

The base is a neat translucent red with a coffin sticking out, as if it's sticking out of a sea of blood. It's simple, cool, and that good ol' SMT brand of creepy.

I'd be remiss not to mention her dynamic pose, leaping off of the coffin and firing from her What-is-This-I-Don't-Even gun fingers. The figure is incredibly light to prevent leaning. Some gunfire or smoke would have been a nice touch, but I like seeing the details in the finger barrels.

It's a little weird having Alter's Aigis in my home after two years of pining for her. With her and my two other grails checked off of my list this year, there's really nothing left for me to hunt for. My preorders end at January, so everything else after this is gravy. I would like a toy of another special peg-legged robot, but the last time I checked only five people like obscure N64 sidescrollers developed by Treasure. A man can dream, though.   read

10:17 PM on 10.11.2011

Unboxing Chogokin Aigis

We need to talk. I hear you've been putting down my buddy Aigis because she's more popular than that meat-for-brains Chie or Yosuke "Totally Not Junpei" Hanamura. Unfortunately, Aigis is just one of those characters that gets figure after figure. Like Miku, or Saber, or Miku, or Asuka, or Miku, or Miku. You just need to accept that.

You also need to accept that I'm part of the problem, and I don't feel an ounce of shame about it! I've got bother figmas, the plush, AND a PVC on the way! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Right then. Chogokin Aigis is the third mass-produced posable figure (excluding Dimension Diver's derpy kid and Cerberus Project's outstanding kit). I've never actually dabbled in Chogokins before, so this is a new experience for me. I don't usually include box shots in reviews because I think they're dumb, but I wanted to illustrate something:

The Chogokin box is small compared to the Figma and Figutto boxes. Considering she's only an inch or two bigger than the figma, and close to the same size as the Figutto, I really wonder WHY Griffon had to be such massive pricks about their box. I was really pleased to get a tiny box I could tuck away. And you know what? It still kept everything safe.

Ranting over, let's open this sucker up.

Right out of the box, Aigis seems like she's been peacefully sleeping, waiting to be booted up and played with. I really liked being greeted by that, and it's a nice little moment that just made unboxing her that much more fun. You can see her accessories strewn about; three alternate pairs of hands, three alternate faces, two guns, a rocketfist, and a big ol' stand. The white bit in the bottom left is for the stand; if you don't want to use the big round base, you can stick a little stump to the bottom of the arm. It's not as elegant as the Figma's clear footclips that I liked, since you're basically giving the Chogokin a third leg. So either Aigis stands with the stump, or with the base.

Here she is in all her glory! I really love this figure's joints; they've managed to replicate the original design incredibly well. They don't bend exactly the way the artwork had intended, but unless you're looking closely, you'd never know.

Something the figma was missing was her alternate guns. She had the rocket punch, but that was it. The Chogokin includes her rifle and rocket launcher, which can be equipped on either arm. I don't imagine they're very popular with fans (I always preferred her with her silly finger guns) but it's a great addition. You can see her base here, which looks nice, but is rather big.

One REALLY cute touch is the rocket fist, which is actually spring-loaded. I can't remember the last time I had a spring-loaded projectile with a figure, so I was pretty psyched to mess with that!

The million dollar question is how this compares to the Figma. It's really hard to say. The Figma is a little more accurate to the original artwork in terms of how her face looks and how her proportions stack up, but sacrifices had to be made for her joints. The metallic touch on the Chogokin makes the figma look a little lame in comparison, but her face is a little off, and the lack of feet clips to let her stand on her own is a real shame. The Chogokin also carries a heftier pricetag, but when I place her on my desk, she REALLY stands out. I'd say the Chogokin is a much better display piece, while the Figma is better for playing with, but your opinion may vary. Regardless, she's an excellent addition to fans of the character, and if you're looking for something really pretty to display, Chogokin Aigis puts on a great show.   read

10:02 PM on 05.19.2011

Hang on to your butts: Adventure Time toys by Jazwares

I love the crap out of Adventure Time. But I hate Jazwares. Naturally, this leaves me with mixed feelings. But according to Jazware's front page, we can expect info on Adventure Time toys pretty soon.

That said, optimism never hurts. Hopefully, we'll get bendy rubber toys, because that would be absolutely perfect for this series.
(link for the sake of linking)   read

2:57 PM on 05.09.2011

Mass Effect 2 figure review

A lot of people were sad when DC Direct delayed the Mass Effect 2 line of toys for almost a whole year, and people were even more disappointed when it was revealed that the second series wouldn't be happening due to Bioware being outright pissed at DC Direct.

I'm happy to announce that we're really not missing anything. Let us delve into the wasted potential that is the Mass Effect 2 line of toys!

We'll start with our buddy Shepard. His armor's quite detailed, right down to the fabric underneath that shows around his elbows, shoulders, and knees. He actually looks really great, and the included helmet is a huge plus; you can slap it on and pretend it's YOUR Shepard under there (provided he's a white male, of course). There are even little scratches to show this guy's seen some shit.

Up close, we get a better look at some of the detail as well as his rifle. It's all there, and it looks great. Unfortunately, Shepard suffers from the common problem with toys and rifles/shotguns; he can't aim it. So he's pretty much stuck holding it to the side. Pretty disappointing, because his articulation isn't horrible. It's certainly disappointing, however; his armor prevents him from moving a lot, and his hip joints only allow him to move his legs front and back, despite having full knee and ankle joints. Basically, his shoulders and hips are always going to be awkwardly spread apart...

...which makes the included base entirely useless. This is a problem for the entire line, which makes me wonder if anyone even played with these figures before giving them the okay. I guess you could use the base to stabilize the figures if you don't mind one foot hanging off.

Unfortunately, the paint job on Shepard is awful. Removing the helmet left an awful streak along Shepard's surprisingly decent face. This is another consistent issue with the line.

It's a little hard to see, but Shepard's feet left streaks all over the place. This was not from me pushing down and dragging him around. This was from very minimal force. The paint on certain parts of the armor are just awful in terms of durability.

Next up, we have Tali, who's even more disappointing than our buddy Shep. Here, you see her looking at her Omni-Tool...which is pretty much the whole extent of what she can do. She lacks swivel joints in her arms, so even with swivel-hinge joints on the shoulders, she can only use her left arm for the omni-tool and the right arm for her shotgun. Which leads to another issue...'re supposed to hold a shotgun with two hands...
So basically, Tali can't convincingly shoot her gun or use her omni-tool, meaning there aren't a whole lot of options as to how you can display her.

Her legs have swivel joints, however, but this tends to make her look awkward thanks to the weird shape quarian legs have. Her hips are also strictly swivel joints like Shepard, but are even further restricted due to the fabric draped around her waist. They can only be spread apart so far. Tali's belts have a weird shiny finish to them that caused weird residue to show up on her waist for the first few hours that I had her. Her feet are lacking any joints whatsoever, which is a huge issue and prevents her from really moving her legs at all since she'll be at the mercy of gravity.

Tali's helmet, like Shepard's face, was marked up due to plastic rubbing together. This is a little more fixable than Shepard's awkward black mark. Also, Tali's hood, while soft, stays in place, blocking her helmet's view when looking side to side. This is probably the only articulation issue I'm willing to forgive.

Tali also seems to have developed scoliosis, as shown here. Her torso joint is strictly a swivel joint, unlike Shepard, who has a ball joint at his chest. Tali's midsection is angled funny, however. I assume this was the sculptor's attempt to make her look sexy, but it looks more like she has bent ball joints on her chest and waist. If her arms and legs weren't so poorly articulated, you could probably compensate for this with some sexy poses, but since everything is so rigid, this just looks awkward. Also note that she only has one swivel joint by her chest, not at her waist.

For an idea of how big these are; they're about the same size as your standard DCUC figure, which makes it all the more disappointing that their articulation isn't nearly as good. The sculpts on these figures are very, very good, but the articulation will prevent you from having any fun, and the paint is very cheap and will very easily rub off. Despite loving Thane, I passed on him since I realize he has an incredibly awkward sculpt; his arms are awkwardly angled so that he can ONLY shoot his gun, and nothing else.

You can see his right arm is permanently angled to stick out in front of him. This more or less means he's the only figure in the series who can actually aim his gun. Hooray? Grunt wasn't available at my hobby shop, but given the quality of this series, I'll probably pass.

"Tali, will you go out with me?"
"I'm sorry, Shepard. My awkward articulation prevents me from feeling love."

Overall, if you're the kind of person who doesn't care about articulation or putting your toys in natural, convincing poses like I do, then you might like this series. If you're looking to actually play with them, however, you'll be greatly disappointed. Looking at them in the package, their super dark paint disguises a lot of their joints, and you may be tricked into thinking they have a lot more articulation than they appear (I had to crank up the brightness on these photos to show the details). Considering the DCUC line of figures are about the same size and have superior articulation, there's not much of an excuse for the lack of joints in the Mass Effect toys, aside from the fact that DC Direct decided to not give a shit about this series for whatever reason. A real bummer.   read

3:32 PM on 12.17.2010

Nendoroid Disappearance Yuki

I meant to post this review two or three weeks ago, but somehow Yuki's right arm was missing. I sent an email to Amiami, who promptly responded by saying:

"No prob, bro. We're Amiami; the best website EVER. We'll send you a replacement part free of charge. Make sure to buy more things from us in the future!"

Well, not exactly like that, but they should have.

Aaaaaanywho, I've shied away from the Nendoroid line for a long time now for many reasons; I'm not the biggest fan of the whole "chibi" thing, I've heard they're a pain to play with, and a lot of the earlier Nendos look more "fan art" and less "official merch", if you catch my drift. Hell, compare what I'm reviewing today with the original Yuki; it's no contest. Disappearance Yuki's cute as all hell, though. And she comes with both her original cardigan and her winter coat. I was totally sold.

While I kinda wish she came with her standard blank stare, Yuki's expressions are all adorable and perfectly capture the expressions from the film. Here, we see Yuki in her winter jacket. I kinda prefer this to her cardigan, especially since it's mid-December. It looks great, and the blowing scarf is a nice touch. Unfortunately...

...the coat really offers little to no options for the arms thanks to the awkward swivel joints. She can either hold onto her scarf, hold her hands together awkwardly, or if you juxtapose her well enough, you can sort of have her interact with other things provided her hands never have to leave chest level. This is a real bummer, especially if you want to put this on other characters and have them do different things. I know these are small toys, but considering the price, I'm a little bummed. Also, it's really easy for these arms to fall off since Yuki's chest is filled with hard PVC buttons that push off the little pegs on her arms.

D'awww. Isn't that precious?
The cardigan offers little more options with the arms. She's got one outstretched arm, and two bent arms. Still kind of lame since the left arm will constantly clutch her chest, though you can finagle her stretched arm to the left shoulder if you wanted. The coat and the cardigan are two separate chest pieces, as opposed to the coat sliding over the cardigan or anything fancy like that.

Yuki comes with two pairs of glasses, one to hold, and one to wear. I much prefer her without them, though.

I know I'm super late to the party on the Nendo thing, but seriously, this is just awesome.

Random peg lodged into the bottom of the cardigan where the legs are supposed to go. Not sure what this is for. Maybe older Nendoroids have different peg sizes?

Shot of the different pieces together.

Fuck this thing. Seriously, I can excuse a lot of the problems with Yuki cause she's just so darn precious, but this stand foiled a lot of my photos, and makes me constantly fear for Yuki's life any time sudden pressure is put on my stupid hardwood floor. I mean, look at it:

I had to go online and look at photos to see how the hell I was supposed to use this thing. It doesn't hold on to Yuki's legs very well, and even if it did, it restricts her leg joints. And you NEED this stupid thing because Nendoroid feet are adorably tiny. It's not like a Figma, where you can finagle it to stand on its own. And if you switch outfits with her, you need to readjust the whole damn stand. I would have been content with pegging something into her foot or back.

You know, Yuki, this is New England. We don't get many winter days where we get to see the sun. To the woods!

At the end of the day, I'm not too sure if I'd stick around for more Nendoroids unless they were characters I really loved. Now that the faces are starting to look more like the real thing, I'm willing to give them a chance, but posing these needs to get a lot easier if Good Smile wants more of my money.   read

8:38 PM on 08.30.2010

Figma Brack Lock Shootah

I've had the beloved Goth Mik-...erm, Black Rock Shooter for a few days now, and I've kinda held off on talking about her on here since I figured someone else would review her by now, since I know my fellow Tomopeeps here are totally obsessed Mik-....Black Rock Shooter. But the sun was out today and I had some time to kill, and no one's talk about her since she shipped, so I decided to go out onto my porch for some photos., this is a pretty cool Figma, huh? It's all here; the stubby ponytail on one side, the super long one on the right, the star on the front and back of her jacket, the scars, they're all present. I shouldn't really be surprised; her design isn't quite as intricate as say, Aigis' joints, and there aren't any microscopic details to paint on like with Miku's sleeves, but it's still impressive.

What's worth noting, as you'll see throughout the post, that Miku(WOAH okay...that one really WAS on accident this time. Sorry guys.) is really, really shiny. About as shiny and black can get.She even beats Iron Man as the shiniest thing in my collection.

Another shot from the side. I kinda like the shape of her boots. They're pretty unrealistic, but the shape looks really cool. You'll notice her coat tails are separate from the rest of her jacket.They're actually jointed.

I know, black on black is hard to see. Bare with me. If you look close enough, though, you'll see each piece uses a standard figma joint. Pretty nice, but occasionally frustrating when you're using her stand to hold her up, as her jacket's pretty long.

Her articulated jacket and lack of skirt means she's one of the few figmas capable of actually SITTING!

The belly on BRS is something fierce. Aigis and Brave Haruhi are a little toned, but dayum. This photo doesn't do it justice; it's an oddly well defined stomach. This, combined her her nonexistant breasts are sure to make you as uncomfortable as possible! Pedophiles, of course, being the exception.

You'll notice, on her right inner thigh (stage left), there's a black mark, and if you look real close, a blue mark near her lower scar. The problem with the figure is that she's really, really pale, and her design means lots of plastic rubbing against lots of plastic. She'll get marked up, so keep this in mind (and a wet q-tip in hand. They rub off pretty easily.)

Also, worth noting: the figma has two joints on her torso; one at her chest (just underneath the bikini top) and another at the belt of her hot pants (yay japanese character designs!) The thing is, the hip joint on mine gets stuck at an angle a lot, due to the shape of her stomach, and it'll be frustrating trying to even it out. Especially since you need to be careful: some people are reporting that the torso joints are prone to breaking, and are made of that cheap clear plastic. The other think is that the waist joint doesn't really add much articulation at all.

Most of the bending her is done by the upper joint, not the waist. It's kinda useless to be honest.

On the plus side, the hair, like Miku's, uses a stanard figma joint and not the clear ball joints that are infamous for breaking (Kagami, Drossel, etc.) I personally prefer this, so I'm quite happy about it. Again, sorry for the bad photo of dark colored plastic joints.

So, accessories. It comes with five sets of hands (three shown here, another on my figma, and I'll get to the last set later...) The hands feel really different from a usual figma, since they're also really shiny, and the plastic feels a little more bend-y. This is a nagging problem, which I'll get to later. The chains weren't something I expected and are a nice touch: they're actual metal chains. Small and cheap, but actual metal regardless. It also comes with a second stand and a "claw" to hold up the Rock Shooter, which is pretty large and heavy. And of course, her sword from the previous photos.

Close-up of her other two faces, as well as her second hairpiece with the eye flame. I'm gonna be honest and say I think the blue eyeflame thing is absolutely stupid as hell, but they included it for all of you who disagree, so hey, everyone wins. Her eyes are actually really well painted and detailed, right down to the weird marks they have in the pupils.

So...the Rock Canon...I really hate this thing. Not because I think it's silly (I do), but because it's really, really frustrating. So, let's jump right in.

First, the handle is a big issue. There are two bars at one end of the canon. She's supposed to hold the bar that's furthest in. However, the bar isn't removable from the gun, so putting her hand on it means doing something a little unsettling:

See, her hands are made of bendy plastic. What you're supposed to do is push her hand against the bar until the fingers bend over it. Or use your fingernails to bend the fingers out and slide it on. Either way, it's pretty nerve-wracking, I've never broken a figma hand before, but I've heard stories, and I don't want to start now. This IS figma number 13 for me...

Once you've successfully attached the hand to the bar, you need to attach the peg to the arm. And that's another problem. The peg is on a hinge, so it's going to bend. When I slide it in, it inevitably bends, and I need to spend time straightening it out and trying again. Annoying. Then I realized that the hand peg on both gun hands fit in her arms like a hot dog down a long hallway. Using clear nail polish to thicken the pegs usually works on any figma, but this has actually required two coats of it, and the polish is having problems sticking to the shiny plastic. And of course, since the gun is large and heavy, this makes posing the figma with this hand even more frustrating. Every other flaw with this toy is pretty easy to either ignore or fix yourself, but this gun kinda hurts it for me.

Size (and sheen!) comparison.

The chains, again, are a nice touch and add a lot of detail to the figure. I just wish they were a little lighter in shade; they blend with the black jacket, hair, gun, etc.

The gun is frustrating to pose since it needs its own stand to hold it up. Balancing it on the stand is tricky, and the claw doesn't grab it as well as I'd like. Plus, since both stands use separate bases, it's even harder to set up poses of BRS and the gun together. This is where a Di:Stage would be welcome. I could have sworn this thing was originally coming with one, but I was REALLY bummed to find out that they didn't pack one at all (yet included a checkerboard Di:Stage insert anyways...)

I went ahead and put the cannon under BRS' arm in that photo. Just seems to make more sense to me given the size, you know? Looks kinda cooler too.

Oh! Right! This came with a DVD too! It's the Black Rock Shooter OVA. It comes in a (rather cheap) paper envelope glued shut. Not that I mind it being glued shut. I mean, I don't WANT to watch it. Sooooooooooooooooo.......

(Awww I'm just kidding. But seriously there's no way I'm opening it.)

I know I spent a lot of time complaining about the cannon and her joints, but really, it's not a bad toy. It's quite awesome. It's got all the stuff you expect from Max Factory, and hey, it's BRS, so most people are going to buy it anyways for crying out loud. It's a fun toy, and I really lik-...



1:22 AM on 06.04.2010

Figma Ritsu is probably one of the coolest Figma releases yet

I'm a fan of the Figmas. I love their sculpts, their stands, and most of their characters (a few of their releases are kind of boring, and there's could be less schoolgirls and more unique characters like Drossel or Golgo 13). I own seven (now eight) figmas, and while I love each of the individual figures equally (I can't pick a favorite), there are certainly some releases that were more exciting than others. Witch Yuki was probably my favorite package; the adorable Yuki, the Witch Costume, the cat, the sweet guitar, the wand, and even a tea set! It was probably one of my favorite orders.

Other figmas don't get that special treatment. I love Haruhi to death, but she only came with a megaphone (that's sculpted onto a hand), a second armband, and two faces. Aigis was like my prayers being answered by some divine toy deity that climbed into my head and made my ideal toy come true, but she's only got a rocket fist and two faces.

That's why I was so pumped for Ritsu.

I'm not a K-On fan. It seemed cool, until the second or third episode, when I realized "this probably isn't going to be about music. It's just going to be Girls do the Darndest Things." Dropped it right then and there, no matter how adorable they were. But Ritsu has a drumset, and for the past year, I've been looking for a drumset to complete my figma band.

Plus, she's a tomboy (I think) and tomboys are awesome.

Starting with the figma itself, Ritsu's pretty standard fair. She's got the ball-less hand pegs that have been in the latest releases for some time now, and the usual joints we've come to expect. Hers actually seemed really tight when I got her, and no amount of hot water seemed to significantly loosen them. They're a little better now, but I'll probably try again later, since they're still kind of stubborn. Nothing quite as bad as the Drossel epidemic, though.

One interesting thing about Ritsu is that she comes with these head lumps, like she's been whacked on the head. Now, the only other K-On figma I own at the moment is Tsumugi, and she didn't come with anything but a keyboard and some faces. So it's weird to see Ritsu get a little better treatment (on top of, you know the drumset).

The lumps themselves (one lump or two? har har) stay on her head via a peg that sticks out of an alternate hairpiece. I'd personally would have liked if the lumps were at an angle and not dead center, but I don't plan on using these too much anyways. Overall, the figure's typical stuff by now; well articulated and very accurate to the source material. Like Tsumugi, I bought her for the instrument, but she grew on me almost instantly. As an added aside, she comes with a clear extender for her figma base. I was told Yui and Mugi came with one for when they had their guitar cases over their backs, but Tsumugi doesn't have one, and Ritsu does, but Ritsu obviously lacks a guitar case, so I don't understand why it's included.

Starting with the stool, it's a drum stool. Simple, no? Actually, the detailing on the legs are very nice and believable, while the cushion itself is kinda plain. I mean, I know drum stool cushions are pretty basic, but it just looks very fake compared to the rest of it. Not that you'll be seeing it too much when someone's parked their butt on it. Plus no one's gonna be looking at it when they see...

...this. a very nice piece of plastic. It's so detailed, so believable. It's great, and totally the main attraction of the package (and your shelf, once you have it on display.) It's also a heck of a lot bigger in person than you might think. I had planned on putting her and three other bandmates on the corner of my desk, but I soon realized there just wasn't enough room for all of them. This sucker takes up a lot of space.

The cymbals are probably my favorite part of the drum set. See, they wiggle. That's not one piece of plastic. They bounce and move like you'd expect. Well, maybe not exactly. Real cymbals move around a little bit more, but these bounce around enough that they're just so freaking adorable to look at.

The bass drum and the hi hat both have foot pedals, which is freaking amazing. Sadly, they don't work; the plastic is thin, so you can carefully put a tiny bit of pressure on them, but they aren't actually meant to be pressed. Which is kind of a bummer, since they're really convincing sculpts, even in person. Just looking at them, you want to press them down and hear a cute little "thump" from the drum.

Putting the drums together is pretty easy. The other two cymbals slide in a top fastener with another drum, and the remaining drums slide in on each side of the bass drum. My problem, though, is that these are all intended for a certain spot on the set, and have very specific, VERY small grooves to keep them in place. Sliding them in my first time didn't always mean they were in all the way, and it took a few times to get the drum's foot pedal in all the way. It's an annoyance the first time (and if you take it apart and store it later) but once they're in place, they're secure.

My major complaint of the whole package, and I'm not sure if this is a reasonable one or not, is that the drumsticks only fit in Ritsu's hand. When I ordered her, I had a specific plan to have Drossel on drums, with Aigis on keyboard, Miku on mic, and Yuki on guitar (an all robot girl band...and an alien). Sadly, the drumsticks are too small, and only Ritsu has the specific hands to hold them. You can easily put her hands on another figma, but in my case, human cans just wouldn't do, and I'm sure in other cases, like characters with gloves, or big hands like Duke Togo, this would also be the case. I suppose an alternative would be to stuff a bunch of cotton or tape in a regular open hand and see how that looks, but I haven't tried.

Minor complaints aside, this is probably my favorite figma release so far. The figure is cute, the drumset is really awesome to look at and play with, and you're guaranteed to get a lot of playtime out of this. It's a little difficult to justify buying this just for the drums unless you're an idiot like me (even if I did end up really liking the figure a whole lot), but if you're a fan of the show, or like big boxes of stuff to play with, Ritsu's your girl. Now if you don't mind...


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