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Tomopop Review: FREEing's μ-12

Jun 26 // Chris Seto
Figure Name: Blazblue's μ-12 1/8th Scale FigureFigure Maker: FREEingPrice: ¥15,222Available At: Amiami | Hobbylink Japan OK, lets get this out of the way first... Noel Vermillion is my go-to character for easily my favourite fighting game series right now. She's served me through all four retail games and all five releases of the series thus far so seeing as Noel is intrinsically linked to μ-12, this figure will be hit with a finer comb than usual! First up, we'll take a look at the rather obvious, μ-12 is pretty damn big, and her box hits the point home. It reminds me of the Alter of old and I kinda like it. The box itself is very plain with four windows to look inside at the figure. However, FREEing have done enough to distinguish it as a Blazblue item with the colour scheme and copious use of the crest logo. And here's how she looks outside the box. FREEing went a little over on the fanservice for the design and shrunk down her costume a fair bit. The design is still the same, but she doesn't show off as much skin in the game. The pose also comes off as incredibly odd. The overall pose suggests that it's based off the pre-battle artwork seen before the start of a fight but it deviates by quite a large margin. The blades are held in place by metal rods with a clear plastic pillar extending down to the base.  The blades themselves are rigidly stuck together so don't expect to get any flexibility from them. The two parts are also quite different in positioning so you'll likely only be able to place a specific one on each of the pillars, which heavily restricts how you can make the whole package look.  The base is mostly a plain, clear blue plastic disc but the central part which holds μ-12 up is given a swirling effect, similar to what you see in many shounen mangas when the character powers up and looks pretty cool, unless you look at it from the back... At which point, it makes it look as though μ-12 is embedded in some kind of slime monster... The legs were painted rather sparingly, but done rather well. There are no details which spring out, but it does the job. The sculptor also made an effort to make it appear as armour, and not mechanical appendages, so the joints look far more round than the angular parts surrounding it though, from the look of the thigh, I think the armour piece may be a size or two smaller than it needs to be. One thing that did disappoint without a doubt, however, is the very obvious seam line between the right leg and body. It really stands out from the rest of the figure... And, as Mori-san once said, "What's important is her back!" or in this case, her butt! It might just be me but it does look like FREEing took some extra care and attention on the backside of μ-12! Another oddity in the figure is the hair. From the front, μ-12 looks fine but the back looks more like a yellow rag more than hair. Normally, this would be a point against the figure but in this case, I'll allow it because it's actually game-sprite accurate! It really does look like that in-game!! Moving onto the upper area, I have to say that the face doesn't really look like noel, but this is mitigated by a considerable amount by the fact that the headpiece is placed so low down, much of the face is obscured unless you look up at the figure. On the plus side, the eyes have a certain glossed-over look which is consistent with the character. She doesn't have much of a personality or will of her own after all. Arguments will rage among hardcore fans about whether or not the makers gave μ-12 an upgrade in the chest department though... Overall, μ-12 is a pretty solid figure with only a few caveats. The build quality is decent, the painting is solid, if uninspired, and the character looks the part. The three biggest problems I have with the kit are the massive seam line on her hip, the fact that she actually looks better without the floating blades and the overall pose itself. The first two points are variable, and can be ignored by some, but the pose is just plain weird. It doesn't really seem to serve any purpose other than to make it appear dynamic. It's not based off any known game artwork nor is it a move used by the character in the game. And I checked! She has a weird jab where she sticks her hands out while arching her back (6A for the fighting game aficionados) but nothing like what the figure is doing here. This is just a weird pose. And just to hammer the point home... I just have no idea what she's trying to do here.. Still, as one of the FREEing Blazblue offerings, μ-12 is definitely the strongest so far. At full price though, I'd say that only the most ardent fans would really bite, but since you can find her on sale at various sites right now, she's a pretty decent offering. The only question mark left is the version which Alter recently announced. Even in unpainted form, she's looking better than the FREEing offering so if you're only in the market for one μ-12 figure, you may want to wait a bit... [ Many thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review sample! ]
Third Time's the charm?
In a relatively short space of time, FREEing have established themselves as a solid middle ground manufacturer of figures. They may not be able to match the big boys like Alter, Kotobukiya or their parent, GoodSmile Company, ...

Alter Blazblue Mu-12 photo
Alter Blazblue Mu-12

MegaHobby Expo 2014 Spring: Alter's Blazblue -Alter Memory- Mu-12

Look at that nice prototype booty, but check out that base!
May 30
// Rio McCarthy
Wow, I never thought I'd be super excited by a Mu-12 figure, but you know what? Alter has officially sold me on this one! Based on Blazblue -Alter Memory- this Mu-12 looks ready to kick some butt, and has an incredible base m...

Tomopop LinkUP: Mass naked figure event

Feb 06 // Jeremy Emerje Crocker
Kotobukiya has posted a gallery for their latest Shining figure, Neris, on their blog. She's a great looking figure and available now for pre-order so go find yourself one. Orchid seed isn't only offering their special chrome bikini version of Sonico at Wonder Festival that we talked about last week. They've also got a special clear A5 file of the Sorceress from Dragons Crown, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt trading cards, and Seven Deadly Sins bath salts. Vertex will be offering this very special and very limited version of Noel Vermillion at Wonder Festival. The yellow repaint is limited to only 50 and sold at 8,800 each, the same prices as the regular version. Grizzry Panda will be showing off their latest garage kit, Kongou from Kantai Collection at Wonder Festival. It doesn't seem like she'll be up for sale, but they will be bringing many of their more popular kits from previous events back for sale. RocketNews24 reported on another Licca-chan doll crossover, this time with Kumamoto city mascot Kumamon. She's sporting a cute red and black dress with bear ears and comes with a little Kumamon. The real surprise is that she went up for sale exclusively at Takara Tomy Mall on February 1 and has already sold out. Toy As Object is reporting on this really cool and unconventional Crystal-Mecha by Super7 and artist Matt Allison. It's already been released in black with an orange crystal, it is now available for US$95 in red with a translucent blue crystal stand nine inches at the Super7 store. Hot Toys posted an interview with acclaimed anime director, character designer, and mecha artist Shinji Aramaki. They talk about his latest movie, the 3D CG take on Captain Harlock and the figure HT made for it. AmiAmi blog posted a gallery for Megahouse's G.E.M Series Sasuke Uchiha figure. They did a great job with posing on this figure and he even comes with special head parts so you can swap his eyes between regular, Sharingan, and Mangekyo Sharingan. Also at the same link is the latest Naruto additions to the Petit Chara Land series. The series features Naruto (Kurama Mode with baby Kurama), Sasuke (with Aoda), Orochimaru (with Manda), Hashirama Senju (with, uh, trees), Madara (with hypnotized Kurama) and ANBU Kakashi (with Bull). Cute figures, wouldn't know they were at war. Traditionally Bandai doesn't do Wonder Festival, choosing to handle their own events. That went out the window last year when we got our first look at D-Arts Sailor Moon at Wonder Festival 2013 [Summer]. This year Tamashii Nations will be representing Bandai and bringing along a bunch of their newest figures as well as some we've never seen before. We should be getting our first look at new figures from Infinite Stratos and Tiger & Bunny plus some others they haven't revealed the source for yet. quesQ will be at Wonder Festival with a number of new limited edition repaints for sale. Up for grabs will be Flandre Scarlet in pink and Kazami Yuuka in blue from Touhou Project, Elizabeth in black and pink from Persona 4: Arena, and Percival in red from Eiyuu Senki Gold. Of course they've got other things planned to debut at the event. The Japanese AmiAmi blog posted a gallery for Prince of Tennis' Shiraishi Kuranosuke from the ARTFX J line by Kotobukiya. Fans of the series will probably find very little to complain about here. Kahotan posted a gallery for Parfom Aigis which includes a very informative interview with Phat! Company's Ootani. There's also a new look Parfom Nozomi Hoshino which acted like the prototype for the series and will make an appearance at Wonder Festival this weekend. Primal Heart updated with a look at their latest Saber garage kit from Fate/EXTRA CCC. The kit features Saber in a tiny nightgown and they really captured her well! Artist Amanda Visell made this really cute 8 inch Wood Jackalope Dunny. It's available for US$400 at the Switcheroo shop. I thought the jack in jackalope stood for jackrabbit, but I guess it stands for lumberjack. [embed]33525:37254:0[/embed] Universes collide when Filmation Skeletor voice actor Alan Oppenheimer and 200X Skeletor voice Brian Dobson come together to play with Skeletor figures for this promo video for Power-Con. Man, Alan can still do the voice perfectly! Aniplex is working on another Homura figure for Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Like most things these days this one is movie based and the figure title translates to something like Flame Time Regression ver. Should be really nice when it gets a limited release in September on at the Aniplex+ store. Need another reason to get Attack on Titan figma Armin this weekend? Try Akiba Hobby's advance gallery out and see if that convinces you. [embed]33525:37255:0[/embed] Friends of Tomopop Jesse DeStasio, Nicholas Fung, and Cade Hiser have joined forces to host a new weekly toy show on YouTube called ToyPizza. Every Tuesday they'll be talking about great toys for all ages past and present, doing outings, and just talking about the stuff we all love. The first vid is just over four minutes long so it's easy to jump in and watch. What have you got to lose? And that's it for this week. Not sure what we'll have to talk about next week with Wonder Festival over, but I'll be back again nextweek with another Tomopop LinkUP nonetheless!
Tomopop LinkUP photo
We're in the final days before Wonder Festival 2014 [Winter]!
Hello and welcome back to a very busy Tomopop LinkUP! I suppose that title is worthy of a little explanation. You see, back in the heyday of anime fansubs there was a number of speed subbers that were notorious for their nons...

Tomopop LinkUP: Art is a blast!

Jan 16 // Jeremy Emerje Crocker
New papercraft site Urban Paper Collective has now launched. They describe themselves as an "international group of friends who share a passion for the design of papertoys of all sizes." The new site will be offering exclusive, free monthly papertoys right on the site as well as paper news, tips, and collaborations between artists. You can read bios for the artists and see examples of their work at the previous link. The first free toy is the above UPC Badger which has been followed by the first monthly exclusive: 1401: Clown. Akiba Hobby has updated again with a new gallery. This time featuring Beach Queens Wakaba Saegusa from Vividred Operation. She's pretty standard as these figures go, but doesn't look bad, just feels like she's missing something. AmiAmi has posted a two part interview with popular artist and character designer Tony Taka at his Albion Works studio. You probably couldn't pick him out of a crowd, but his figures are easily recognized. He discusses quite a bit in the two interviews, but I'm more of a sucker for looking at people's collections so I'm mostly in it for the extensive gallery found at the links. Biggest surprise for me: AmiAmi makes display cases? Good Smile Company once again gathered up all of their new Wooser merch for another look. included are a variety of plushies, oversized talking pens, and the headphone jack dust plugs. What better way is there to celebrate the new season of the anime (which is awesome)? Kahotan put together a gallery for their latest Nendoroid addition to their Little Busters series: Komari Kamikita. She's an adorable looking figure with lots of added parts including sitting legs and some snacks. Kud has some stiff competition coming when it comes to cuteness. Tailgrab's Aka posted a gallery for his recently purchased Dollfie Dream Kuonji Alice. The darkness and shadows are a really great match for her pale skin and dark hair and eyes! Which artist from the designer toy scene did Smithsonian Magazine just tap for an interview? Why none other than modeler Jason Freeny of course! He calls the interview one of his greatest honors and you can tell they did their homework. Emilio Garcia's latest brain-themed designer piece is the green Brainade. This piece is being sold via a lottery system with more info at the link. Talk about mind-blowing! Kixkillradio is keeping a bunch of figures warm under their own little kotatsu (Japanese heated table). There are two galleries, one for Cu-Poche and one for Nendoroids. They sure do look toasty under there! Tentacle Armada has posted two new relatively SFW gallery reviews. First up is Mary Stuart from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere II. Second up is Tony Taka's Daisy figure which looks amazing under natural light! Reflective Boundary did a really nice photo gallery for Vertex's Noel Vermilion from BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma. Sometimes all you need is pictures because words just slow you down. Lastly, our own Tian here at Tomopop helps me out a lot every week by pointing out the really cool fan galleries I post every week. He's got a 2013 year-in-review over on his website Makigumo that's worth checking out alongside his other reviews and galleries. If you like this stuff go on over there and make his hit counter move a little. That's all for this week. I look forward to seeing you come back next week for another Tomopop LinkUP!
Tomopop LinkUP photo
A good week for the creative types
Hello and welcome to the latest installment of Tomopop LinkUP! I hope people enjoyed the special Transformers edition of LinkUP I did last week, but now we're back to our regular routine. There's been a lot of stuff happening...

Vertex Noel Vermillion photo
Vertex Noel Vermillion

Vertex previews their Noel Vermillion figure

Set to be released sometime this month, crazy left leg and all
Dec 14
// Brian Szabelski
Vertex have a new preview of their Noel Vermillion figure on their blog, and she's not looking too bad. This is, of course, Noel's appearance from BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, so it's a bit more adult of a look. Her cape ...
D-Arts Noel photo
D-Arts Noel

D-Arts Noel Vermillion blazes her way to pre-orders

It's the hat version, so all is right with the world
Oct 31
// Martin Siggers
We recently saw her at NYCC but now the D-Arts version of Blazblue's female lead Noel Vermillion is up for pre-order from all good stores. Noel's a little accessory light but you'll get her two trademark pistols along wi...
NYCC '13: D-Arts photo
NYCC '13: D-Arts

NYCC 2013: Tamashii Nations - D-Arts

That's a whole lot of Megaman
Oct 11
// Natalie Kipper
New York Comic Con 2013 is officially in full swing and our very own Andres Cerrato is walking the floor! One of the booths he visited on the first day was Tamashii Nations, where, among other wonderful things, there is a D-A...
Blazblue Ragna Nendoroid photo
Blazblue Ragna Nendoroid

Blazblue: Alter Memory contains Ragna Nendoroid Petit!

Waiting for Vol. 5 of a blu-ray set never seemed so long before!
Oct 08
// Rio McCarthy
OH. MY. GOSH. I FINALLY have gotten something I've asked for for ages!! Sorry! Totally excited! -ahem- Yes! For those of you keeping tabs, Blazblue: Alter Memory is the new anime series based around the fighting videogame ser...
Vertex Blazblue photo
Vertex Blazblue

Blazblue's Noel Vermillion by Vertex up for pre-order

Standing in motion with her Chronophantasma outfit
Sep 20
// Rio McCarthy
We just saw her teased, and then shown off at Tokyo Game Show, but now you can get your pre-orders in for this blonde lady. She stands nearly 9.5 inches tall, which was a bit bigger than I expected. She's in 1/7th scale thoug...
D-Arts Blazblue Noel photo
D-Arts Blazblue Noel

D-Arts Noel Vermillion with Vertex ver. and Mu-12 at TGS

Tokyo Game Show is on, and so are the Blazblue figures
Sep 19
// Rio McCarthy
zatuyoP tweeted an image of all three versions of the figures, but MyFigureCollection posted an up close picture of her. I'll admit, I finally decently like a Noel Vermillion figure, and might contemplate buying the D-Arts ve...
Preview Noel, more photos photo
Noel is lovely hot
Remember just a few days ago when Rio posted a gallery of the freshly painted Noel by Vertex? Well those photos were good but Vertex recently updated their blog with new, even more smoking images of her! I will be honest, I w...

Vertex Blazblue photo
Vertex Blazblue

Vertex teases Blazblue Chronophantasma Noel in color

New outfit, new look?
Sep 14
// Rio McCarthy
Well, she may not be my favorite character from the Blazblue series, but I can admit to a sculpt I like when I see one. We teased the full sculpt for her a while back, but now you can see a few bits and pieces in color. There...
Preview Vertex's Noel photo
Amazing fighting figure!
Vertex recently showed off a very cool prototype of Noel hailing from the ever popular fighting game BlazBlue (last seen at WonFes). I'm no expert on BlazBlue, but this sculpt of Noel looks to be the most epic sculpt that Ver...


Wonder Festival 2013 Summer: Vertex

Character Loyalty can be such a harsh mistress...
Jul 30
// Chris Seto
We still have a few more posts from Wonder Festival to share and it seems the smaller companies still have some items to show off! Vertex has impressed many with their Mitsuru from Persona 4 Arena and it looks like their coll...

Nendoroid Petit Rachel is an exclusive pack-in

To come bundled with BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma LE
Apr 17
// Martin Siggers
With a new Blazblue game due out this autumn, that can only mean one thing - hugely expensive exclusive pack in figures! OK, I guess that's not a cause for celebration but it does mean we get this adorable little Nendoroid Pe...

FREEing's Blazblue: Mu-12 figure up for pre-order!

She suddenly has curves? Better pre-order her!
Mar 12
// Rio McCarthy
Well, it only took a couple games, but Noel/Mu-12 finally has curves. FREEing may have helped out in that aspect just a bit, but whatever sells more figures so I can get to the characters I actually care about! I mean, come o...

MegaHobby Expo 2012 Autumn: Hobby Japan

More Queen's Gate figures
Nov 26
// Tianxiao Ma
Hobby Japan brought a couple of Queen's Gate figures to MegaHobby Expo. We've seen both before but here's a chance to see them up close. We have the alternate color version of BlazBlue's Noel. She was in last month's magazine...

Miyazawa Model Exhibition: Vertex

Exactly who is Vertex and why do they have To LOVEru, BlazBlue, and Persona figures coming?
Nov 05
// Jonathan Tubbs
It's always great to have more options when there are choices to be made. Like when a new manufacturer enters the market to bring new figures for us to be interested in. The latest is a company by the name of Vertex who made ...

Noel returns with Hyakka Ryouran for Hobby Japan scans

BlazBlue's gunner gets a new color and Jubei gets a new form.
Oct 23
// Jonathan Tubbs
Hobby Japan is all about exclusives but will sometimes brings us such figures we haven't seen anywhere else (which is partially disappointing). Their bread and butter has typically come from the Queen's Gate name of artwork. ...

Tomopop Review: Blazblue Jubei Plush

Mar 22 // Rio McCarthy
Plush Name: Blazblue Jubei PlushPlush Maker: AksysRetail/List Price: US$19.99Available at: Aksys Games Store As you can see, our little baby Jubei arrives housed in just a regular clear, plastic, zipped baggy. Not too much to say about that really, but it does keep any dirt off of him that might have been acquired somehow in shipping. Now that we get him out of that terrible stuffy bag he's as happy as can be! One small second of having him in your hand and you can feel he's so soft and cuddly it's hard to believe! I've mentioned him being in the palm of your hand a couple times by now so it's fair that I just go measure him. Right. This little kitten Jubei is only about 5 inches tall from the top of his ears to the bottom of his feet. You might have noticed that tag hiding behind his ear, so let's get that out of the way. The front of the tag is emblazoned with the Blazblue logo in black and white along with informing you that it really is a Jubei plushie. The back of the tag shows copyrights for both Arc System Works and Aksys Games. It's the Aksys Games online store where you can actually purchase him, but nowhere have I seen who actually made the plush itself. I can't imagine it was done in house, but we'll keep looking! From the side you get a good look at the fun little ears, as well as the adorable floppy arms of the Kaka Clan's outfits. I really love the designs of everyone from the Kaka Clan, as even though they're all similar, they each have their individual looks and quirks about them. Taking a closer look at his ear you can see that the famous spiral symbol from his design definitely takes its place in this plush. There's a few places in the embroidery that looks like it may have been a victim to a couple skipped stitches, but it's not horribly distracting over all. As we turn him around to get a view from behind, you can see that his soft coat ends with a hole for his two tails to pop out of. Speaking of tails ... ... Sorry Master Jubei! I know you're one of the Six Heroes and that this is pretty embarrassing, but "bare" with me. (Hehe! See what I did there?) Now that we can get a better look at his tails without that coat in the way, you can tell that he has a black spot on his bum that then goes into the two black tails. The tails themselves are actually about 3 inches long, and are soft as can be! Ack! I'm sorry, I promise we're almost done Jubei! I just wanted to comment that this kitten is actually adorably soft all over! His fur is soft, his clothing is soft, and it's just a nice feeling over all. Oh! What's that..? Why, yes! There was another tag hidden under there! Granted it does give the same copyright info, but also that the plush was made in China! At least we're getting a little somewhere, even if it doesn't tell us flat out who the manufacturer of the plush was. Always good to note that you can visit Arc System Works on their Japanese website, or Aksys Games, to get the newest information on not only the newest games, but also what merchandise they're working on for said games. Thanks to Aksys, a lot of games I wouldn't have been able to play otherwise are starting to come around. I will admit that while I was sitting here trying to figure out what all I wanted to write for this review I've had a fun time just holding onto his soft little paw. The only problem is, that on both of the paws of the jacket, the stitching to separate the fingers ends up just being tied off knots on the underneath side. It looks great from the top side, but the underneath is definitely a different matter. Moving onto the main part of the jacket itself, the yellow is actually extremely soft just like Jubei's actual body. The black, however, has a bit more of a velvet feel to it. It's more rough than the other parts, but it's far from actually being unpleasing to touch. The only issue I have is at the bottom where they've just cut the jacket to give it its effect. There are two cuts and in both of them you can see the yellow insides, as well as the fact that the stitch became loose around those areas of the jacket when they did so. Now we'll head back up and focus on his face, though specifically his eye patch for this photo. The eye patch is the only fabric in the entire plush that actually feels specifically rough. It seems more like a felt-like material. You can see there are a few missed stitches again on the embroidery, but it looks pretty good on this side. Now the left eye is a bit of another story. There are some loose stitches, some missing stitches and up close it's just not as attractive as the rest of the plush. From afar it looks much better, but the parts where you can see the white through the black stitching are still pretty noticeable. In the header image you saw Jubei high-fiving his star pupil Ragna, and now he sits with the collector's edition of Blazblue Continuum Shift EXTEND. This little Jubei plush was based on the plush that appears in one of Platinum's win sprites, so I was excited to see it made, however it's far smaller than the one she has. I was actually pretty sad to see how small it really was in person, even if it is really cute. If you're a big fan of Jubei himself, or Blazblue, I could possibly recommend paying the US$19.99 for the 5 inch plush, otherwise you might want to wait and see if something else comes along one day. As much as I would hope that happens, I'm betting this will be the only plush you'll see for quite some time. If you want to get your paws on little Jubei, head on over to the Aksys Games Store now!

Any time I get to show my love for Blazblue it's a great day in my book. There are far too few of merchandise items for the phenomenal fighting game, especially over here in the United States. With the help of Aksys Games and...

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