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.
DID I MENTION IT'S GODDAMN HUGE?! NO? OKAY WELL HERE'S A SCALE PHOTO OF HOW BIG THE BOX IS SINCE YOU ASKED:
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...
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.
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:
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.
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.