MegaHouse appears to have had one of the larger displays on the floor at Wonder Festival 2015 Winter. MH had no shortage of new figures to show alongside some figures they've been toting along for a few years now. While a lar...
Wait, that's Hera? But she looks as beautiful as Aphrodite! This is the story of a time long, long ago. A time of myth and legend, when the gods were petty and cruel and plagued mankind with suffering. One such goddess was Hercule's "evil" stepmother Hera, the all-powerful queen of th...
If you enjoy figures inspired by fantasy art, Yamato is the place to look. Over the years they've quietly been expanding their Fantasy Figure Gallery lineup. Their presence at SDCC was small, and even then many of the figures...
Pre-orders are now open for Yamato's 1/4 Medusa's Gaze. While the base mold is apparently based on a previous offering, this is no mere re-release as the gorgeous gorgon has gone from being an 11-inch statue to a roughly 19-i...
Yamato had a tremendous showing at SDCC this year and showed off a few prototypes. Also they had some A+ models which should be coming to stores soon. Also at the booth was last year's 50cm tall Cat woman collectible which st...
Apr 26 //
Brian Szabelski Figure name: SIF EX XiaomeiFigure maker: YamatoRetail price: ¥9,800Available at: HobbyLink Japan
Xiaomei's box was an absolute pain to photograph for one reason in particular: it's shiny. Really, really shiny. To the point that some of the detailing work in seafoam green gets washed out under the bright light. That's mostly the case on the white-heavy front and back; on the side with the Xiaomei illustration and the smaller window, the detail pops out fine. As for the box, it's alright and does it's job, complete with a large front window showing off the figure.
You can also see the Cerberus Project name on here; this figure is a PVC version of a garage kit they previously did. Yamato has worked with them before, so the pairing is not too unfamiliar. You can also see that G.O. from Cerberus Project is our original sculptor.
Let's get her out, shall we?
Xiaomei is, in fact, not a single figure but two parts: the actual figure and a chest, which she rests upon. One of her hands is reaching back toward the chest, as if it protect it. She's in the same outfit we always see her in, though in quite a different pose from most other figures.
This photo is a bit dark ... but I had to because the "base" is super-reflective. Enough that I couldn't get the seafoam green patterning to show up otherwise. It's a nice pattern ... but this isn't so much a base as it feels like a thin oversized plastic coaster.
What really serves as a sort of base here is the chest. Very clean paint and nice details sculpted in, especially the bolts on the metal parts and the woodgrain look for the chest surfaces. The lock is actually a separate piece, so it jangles about a bit ... though why that would be something important for a static figure, I'm not so sure. However, the part with the lock on it does serve to hold the two pieces making up the chest together.
So why don't we start with her legs? Some nice sculptwork here from G.O., giving her some nice, lengthy thighs and ankles without creating odd proportions. The one silky legging she wears has a nice finish to it, and the black finish of the shoes looks just as nice. Even the little bow on her ankle is drooping a bit, like gravity is tugging on it.
You also might have noticed something here; I'll mention it in a sec.
But first, butt shot. Yes, for some reason, Xiaomei's lower dress comes off. So you can see her thong. Feels a bit unnecessary ... but at least it looks OK on the back end.
Now, the thing I mentioned: her tail is scratched up pretty bad here on the backside. I'm guessing it's the bottom of the skirt that rubbed off on the black tail during assembly, but this really shouldn't happen. It's quite disappointing even if it's not visible from the front, and it distracts from the nice shading job on her sash bow.
Xiaomei's outfit is just gorgeous and there's plenty to look at. The colors are proper and the gloves have this lovely silk sheen from the paint job. The paint itself doesn't bleed into the space between the fingers, and there's a lot of nice folds and wrinkles as her outfit wraps around her body shape. It's also nice to see that her bust size isn't too small or large.
... Oh. We have a little bit of a problem here, and it's her mouth. This is the way Cerberus Project originally sculpted it, which Yamato left alone, and it's not the smile in the illustration what so ever. Or even close, really. She looks shocked or surprised, not acting sly and guarding her locked chest. I do not like it.
To counter that, her hair and ears are pretty well sculpted. Lots of little detail and the painted fade on the tips of her ears look nice. A seam is visible at the back of her bangs, so heads up on that, but she's otherwise fine here.
Yamato's Xiaomei started off with a wonderful sketch, and turned out to be something slightly less than wonderful. The scratches on the tail are annoying, but her face just doesn't look quite right. She's got this coy smile in the photo and that did not make the transition to my Xiaomei at all. Instead, she's got an open mouth like she's gasping. I'm not really a fan of that, unfortunately.
Beyond those issues, she's plenty nice, but she's not as good as Max Factory's previous take on her. You might want to pick her up if you're a huge Xiaomei fan just to have in your collection, but if you're only getting one Xiaomei ... this one's probably not it.
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing Xiaomei for this review!]
What surprises is she hiding in that chest of hers? While I've not played the Shining series games, I do like a lot of Tony Taka's character designs for the games, and that's doubly so when it comes to Shining Hearts' Xiaomei. I'm not too sure why exactly; could be the ca...
Apr 12 //
Brian Szabelski Figure Name: Creators' Labo #033: Nen-NenFigure Maker: YamatoRetail/List Price: ¥10,800Available at: HobbyLink Japan
Begin with the box? Why sure. It's a fairly basic box with a large window on the front, some smaller ornamental window slits on the side, and the large Nen-Nen illustration on the back. It also lists both the illustrator, Shunya Yamashita, and sculptor, the talented Mitsumasa Yoshizawa (a.k.a. REFLECT), who has worked with both Yamato and Shunya before.
Nen-Nen is an interesting figure. While my first thought went something along the lines of, "I hope she's not a leaner," Nen-Nen has a bit of liveliness to her look. She's posed in a fighting stance with her dress (if that's kind of what you can call it) fluttering in the PVC breeze. Rather than looking head on, she's oriented at more of a 90-degree angle, looking off to her left, with a hand on her sword and the other extended outward. She does indeed look ready for a fight, and if she weren't an original character, you might wonder just what video game she came from.
The base has a nice Chinese pattern on it ... but is otherwise a plastic circle. Stable, simple with a peg for the foot to rest on. Nothing much to complain about or really praise here.
Speaking of her feet, take a look at these shoes. Yes, she is preparing to fight in high heels with big red balls on them ... why did you ask? While the idea of fighting in heels might seem ridiculous, at least everything is looking good here. The paint lines along the detailed edges are clean, and even the small red, jewel-like spheres add a little pop of color to the blue and gold palette.
As with some of Shunya's illustrations, you get plenty of leg with Nen-Nen. Paint is even here with a nice off-tone for the stockings and some fancy ornateness on the top end. To be honest, they kind of give me a Chun-Li feel from the look, without the beefiness.
And here is the obligatory butt shot to get it out of the way. You can actually see she has an uneven butt, which makes sense a bit because she's got one leg up in the air like that. But wearing a thong bottom? For fighting? I know, Cammy does it, too, but I don't understand it. Maybe it's a range of motion thing. But yeah, she has a nice sculpted butt.
When you get up to Nen-Nen's battle dress, it really begins to sink in how good this figure looks. Shunya's design is shapely and eye-catching without being too exploitative (yes, even with that little boob window), but REFLECT's work here is what sets this piece apart. Just the way the dress seems to twist and fold along Nen-Nen's curves naturally, how it creases along her shoulders and upper arms; all of it looks wonderful. That liveliness, or activeness, I mentioned before really finds itself manifested in this part of the figure; Nen-Nen would be very different otherwise and perhaps a lot more run-of-the-mill.
Perhaps Nen-Nen's other great feature is her face; REFLECT has once again done a wonderful job capturing Shunya's style in a way that looks even better when the detail work is done. It's a much softer and youthful look than in Shunya's drawing, but I think it works out pretty well here.
Looking past the face, the hair has some definition in it, and there's a bit of a seam hidden in the hairline, as is commonplace with a lot of PVC figures. The little hair loops (I guess that's what we call them?) look nice but do feel a bit like they're at a standstill when a bit more movement could have been put into them. You know, unless Nen-Nen has been holding this pose for a good five minutes, in which case, I salute her balance and leg strength.
As for the upper body, I mentioned earlier how the creasing looks good, and you can see a little better glimpse of it here. It bunches in spots where it should and tailors itself around her arms in a manner that feels realistic. I think this is some of REFLECT's best work, on par or even slightly better than what he's done previously.
Taking a closer look at the left hand, which faces palm outward as part of her fighting stance, you can see how each of the figures has its own definition and even Nen-Nen's pink nails have not been overlooked.
The sword itself — technically a type of dao — is an extra piece that you'll have to fit in. Here, you can see Nen-Nen's right hand without the dao in it, and where it slots in. The dao is a two-piece accessory that separates where the hilt and handguard are, easily disassembling and reassembling. Put together, of course, and it looks like this:
Now, it's clear Shunya has taken some liberties in designing the dao to be a bit more fancy, with a unique shape and that gigantic circle at the bottom of the blade. You would think that might make the sword less battle-worthy, but again, Nen-Nen's whole design is very stylized and not necessarily set in realism. The good news happens to be that the paint here is excellent; no paint splotches to worry about, and the colors all have a proper hue to it. Again, you can't really deny that this is a gorgeous figure in every little nook and cranny.
Oh, and included in the package is a print of Nen-Nen and her sibling Non-Non giving her a bit of a hug. Or something like that. Maybe Non-Non isn't that good at hugs.
It's easy to see the cheesecake here and expect a very Shunya statue. While Nen-Nen does fit that bill, it also means that some of the good Shunya qualities are present here, too, teased out by REFLECT's gorgeous sculpting work. Nen-Nen feels a lot like a collectible made for the older collector, not because of that butt, but because there's no licensing behind it to appeal to younger folks. It's more a piece of art that people will love for its individual look rather than a collectible you'll get to represent fandom or as a status symbol.
Nen-Nen fits in well with an equation I've learned to respect for being accurate: Shunya + REFLECT + Yamato = good-quality figure that I'll enjoy. Get her if you're looking for something that's different.
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for sending Nen-Nen along for review!]
It's Shunya ... what else did you possibly expect? For most folks who know Shunya Yamashita, they are familiar with his work on the various Bishoujo lines for Kotobukiya. His pin-up stylings of popular characters have a lot of fans, and some definite haters, too, but he's als...
Mar 29 //
Rio McCarthy Figure Name: Neuromancer Yoko LittnerFigure Maker: Cerberus Project TM x YamatoRetail Price: ¥10,800Available at: HobbyLink Japan
We'll start off with the box, as always, which you'll probably want to take a look at the larger image that's in the gallery. Chris Seto taught us a lot about the origins of the Neuromancer line, as well as a lot about the line as a whole, with his Neuromancer Ignis review. I won't go as in depth as he did since it's already been covered, but I'll cater more to Yoko herself. As the box states though, this is the work of Cerberus Project TM and Yamato together in a joint venture.
There are quite a few pieces that come with Yoko, but not an extravagant amount. What you mostly have are pieces to the base, extra hands, and a different face and eyes. Of course you have her gigantic sniper rifle as well. What would a Yoko figure be without that?
Another thing you wouldn't think of her without are the needles for her hair. Those are just two of the accessories you'll find packaged in the box. At least you're greeted with a cute smile, and well.. a nice pair of something else. You can see it a bit in this photo, but my version of this face had a small red scratch on it, as if some paint had rubbed off from her hair. The other face you can switch to was fine, but I wish the little smudge could have been avoided here.
Speaking of the hair needles, here they are. The pair on the right are the ones that are to actually go in her hair. The straight pair are the ones she can hold in her hand. Granted they both can technically go in her hair; the right pair will just fit the way they're supposed to.
Before we head out for the real photoshoot, this is the main thing I noticed. Yoko can definitely stand up on her own, and I feel like she's better off doing so, even though I usually love having stands for figures. I really like the idea of the magnetic stand, like Ignis had, but I could not get her to stand up straight for the life of me. She can definitely be hard to balance because of her hair, and perhaps it's just me, but I had a heck of a time with this stand actually making her look presentable.
The magnet was also a bit weird. It's hard to tell from the picture, but when you have the magnet from the stand against her back, the magnets pull so hard to one another that it actually leaves gristly pieces from the magnet on the stand on her. You can somewhat see them raised up still on the stand in this shot, and the pieces are stuck on her back. You can wipe them off of course, but it's a little weird and gross, I'll admit.
Now, here's where the real photoshoot begins now that we're outside on a nice day, where for once there's no snow. You'll notice her hair needles are in now, but you need to be very careful with them. They are extremely bendable and seem very fragile. Be sure not to bump them once you get them in either, or you'll find them popping out and falling all over the place. They're very small, so be sure not to lose them.
Here, we have her long arm sniper rifle. It's based off of the Barrett M82, and seems to have all the bells and whistles if you ask me. Granted, I'm far from a firearms expert. The legs fold down for balance if you were sniping, and can fold back up as well. The clip can actually come out and shows a bullet on top of it should you pull it out as well.
Let's start out trying to recreate some Yoko poses, shall we? You can see that she does pose nicely with her gun, though I will admit that she does need it to balance a bit in this pose. Granted with the fight for weight between the gun and her hair, I'm honestly not surprised she needs a bit of help. Glad to see she has quite a bit of range of motion though.
From behind you can see that she's on her toes on one foot, while the other foot is flat. I think it's nice that this can actually come into play with this figure. A lot of times I've seen toe joints and just been blank for ideas on how to use them, except making them dance like Michael Jackson, but that's a whole other issue of mine. Oh, and speaking of range of motion? The ponytail of her hair is actually on a ball joint as well, so you can position it however you need it for your shot, within reason.
They really didn't skimp out on details for her. Her back shows her muscles nicely, which even though they aren't much, it's great to see the definition of her shoulder blades, as well as the mid-back itself. I feel like the joints are much less of a bother to look at in this figure as well, even if she doesn't have much clothing to cover them up.
Oh crap, Yoko, you lost your weave! Oh, sorry. We were just switching out those eyes of yours, my bad. Sometimes in progress review photos look kind of terrifying don't they? As you can see you don't need to put off her head just to switch the faces. You just pull off the front of her hair, pull of the face, pop out the eyes, put the new ones in, put it all back on and voilà!
Aww, now look. She's got that cute look to the side all ready for us! Looking cute and getting ready to fire, she's got herself ready to go when she's needed. There's only one real gripe I have, and it's that when you have her leg bent like that and the top part of her boot moves, you can see through to her leg, which has the stocking color on it. This makes it so that you can obviously tell it's a separate piece. I almost wish the lower part of the leg were white just so it wouldn't be so noticeable.
From behind it's not as noticeable, but once you see it, it seems to stick out. At least it does for me.
The boots themselves are actually very nice though. While the top part of the boot is a separate piece that does have the tendency to move around, there is a piece that moves that I felt was a great touch. The zippers! Yes, the zippers on the boots are actually poseable if you should feel so inclined to get that in depth with your posing. The paint on the boots looks great, and there's no complaints from me there.
Her hand holds onto the gun well, placing her finger right by the trigger as if she were going to be ready to fire. I think this is one of my favorite poses to have her in with the gun. She just seems ultra-cool to me for some reason.
Let's finally take a complete look at her from top to bottom. Her outfit looks just as it should, from what I can gather. I love that her stockings fade color in and out a bit in certain areas as they would in real life in the places they stretch.
Getting a closer look at the top, I love how her face is done. She looks like the cute, spunky girl people know and love from the show, and it comes across well, even in her angry face. Her cowl has a little bit of loose painting around on it. Some of the lines aren't as clean as they could have been, but it's far from dramatically off-base by any means. Her boobs are pretty well done, but I feel like that piece in between her cleavage should either be painted as part of the bikini, or not actually in there. It kind of looks like she has extra skin in there that shouldn't be when it's looked at closely. Again, from a distance, it's totally not an issue.
Glancing down further we can see her underboob is there. It's hard to tell, but each of her fingernails is painted as well, which is a nice touch. Her midsection looks nice, but her belt seems a little rough to me. I'm not sure what else you might even be able to do to make a white studded belt look any better though. Now, onto her thighs: while I like that you can see the meat sticking out above the stockings, it actually becomes hard to tell the front from the back when looking at her like this. Her booty that people like is kind of lacking, partly because of the poseability that her hips have. It's a shame, but some things do kind of have to be put aside if people want their figures to be poseable. She has plenty of boobage for you, though.
Her body has a nice curve to it as a whole, but she does have the issue of perpetually looking up due to her hair being so heavy. Other than turning her head, I really couldn't get her to tilt her head more upward, or downward, and actually stay in place. Have I mentioned how well the fabric in her outfit flows? Even though there's not much of it, her shorts do look nice and stick out in the front. Her boots also look awesome when the pieces line up properly like this. The fabric just seems to fold like a real pair of boots would.
The back of her bikini top is detailed well also. The red strings come behind and form a bow that have 3 yellow beads on each end. You can see a little red paint seeping through each bead, but it does help to separate them from one another and doesn't look bad when you're not right on top of it.
The last bit of accessory I'll show off to you is her goggles, or glasses, whichever you may call them. Instead of having to lay them on her face and finagle them around all over the place, it's actually quite simple. You just put the small little peg on the goggles into the hole on the back of her bangs, then put the front piece of her hair back on.
Look! They fit perfectly, and now we get a chance to look at angry Yoko while we're at it. She also stands perfectly like this, so if you're looking for a pose with a little less action to put on your shelf without the stand, this might be it. She's pretty tall, as she measures in a little over 8 inches tall when standing, so she'll probably fit in right along side some of your other figures.
Alright, so all in all how do I feel? Well, despite the negative things I might have brought up, I actually do really like the Neuromancer Yoko. Now, I'm far from saying I would spend ¥10,800 on it by any means. She's a great poseable figure, if you're not dead set on using a stand, but I would say for maybe half that price. Sadly, she seems to be going out of stock more quickly now since she was released in December, so if you're still wanting to get your hands on her you better try and do so quickly. I received her not even two weeks ago, and she's now discontinued, so it's time to start looking before it's too late. Good luck!
[A huge thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review sample!]
A gorgeous gal with all your poseable needs? Remember folks.. She's only 14. The plucky redhead that garnered our attention in figure-form several times over in the last four years is back with a vengeance. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's Yoko Littner may have been the subject of several figures, but jus...
Mar 27 //
Chris Seto Figure Name: Neuromancer IgnisFigure Maker: YamatoRetail Price: ¥8,800Available at: HobbyLink Japan
I don't think Ignis needs an introduction, but for the sake of completion, she's one of the main heroines in the eroge Jingai Makyou, which was developed by Nitro+. She was a HUGELY popular character several years ago, and had a huge number of figures released in a short space of time, but she then disappeared for a while before recently getting a small resurgence.
As for the packaging, Yamato were kind enough to provide a huge viewing window for potential buyers to take a closer look at her, though her true worth won't be tested until she's placed in a variety of poses.
The back shows off a few basic poses and the box on the bottom left makes sure that those who look will know that Yamato teamed up with Cerberus Project, a well known and fairly old garage kit circle, to develop her.
In fact, they made sure that you know that it was a collaboration at almost any chance they could get!
Once we get her out of her box, the first thing which I try with every poseable figure is the simple "will she stand on her own?" test and I'm happy to report that Ignis passed it with ease. Believe me, you can't imagine how many figures fail this test!
Aside from the simple test, there's one glaringly obvious fact about Ignis, and indeed the whole Neuromancer line when you hold her in your hands!
She's pretty damn huge!! In fact, Ignis is even taller than my Liquidstone Fate T Harlawn kit, which was the tallest of all poseable figures thus far. She's a good inch taller than figma T-ELOS, and pretty much fits into the 1/8 scale for figures.
Now, readers with good memories will know that this has been tried before, by Good Smile Company no less! Remember the ActSta line? That died pretty quickly, and didn't impress Mr Tubbs very much, as it was very much a jumbo-sized figma which didn't justify their considerably higher pricetag. But at ¥8,800, Ignis isn't exactly on the cheap side either! She's only marginally cheaper than Almecha KOS-MOS! Luckily, there's more to her than just a bump in size. In fact, there are a few features which make you wonder why other companies haven't done them yet!!
The first is a complete lack of any holes and pegs to connect the figure to the base provided! Instead, you get a smooth back with no marks or holes at all. To do this, hidden behind the top (and out of view) is a magnet which connects to one found on the base! There's less fumbling around to push the pegs into the connections as well. On the downside, the magnetic holders aren't as strong as the usual method, but unless you're trying to do a pose which has Ignis floating in the air, you won't have any problems. Even if you do try a pose like that, it'll struggle, but it's not impossible.
See? And yes, this is the pose used by the Cerberus Project Ignis figure which was also released by Yamato back in 2008.
The base itself is pretty bland but does have an Emblem etched on it and is more personalised than most bases for poseable figures. Just a bit of a shame that the "made in China" mark is so visible as well ...
And here's the magnet for the connecting arm. Just put it close to her back and it'll support Ignis and keep her upright, not that she actually needs it. Even without the base, she's incredibly sturdy!
In terms of accessories, Ignis comes in pretty light. Aside from her trademark sword and Uzi, the Neuromancer release comes with a second set of hands and two heads with different facial expressions, but these heads also come with a little trick!
If you look carefully at the back of the faces, you'll see that there are separate parts embedded inside them, these actually correspond to the eyes and mouth and are removeable!
Bit eerie, I know! But what this means is that, instead of having several faces for different expressions and with them looking straight ahead or to the side, you can just fit the correct eye set with the expression you want, which saves a lot of space and means fewer individual face parts are required! Previously, this was something only found on poseable garage kits and the HoiHoi plamo series. I'm guessing that size was a limiting factor which prevented the idea being implemented on smaller scale figures, but it's one of those "I wish other lines would do this" ideas!
But one thing which bugs me a little are thick lower eyelashes. For the most part, they aren't that noticeable, but they do have a tendency to draw your attention and they do look a little odd. She has them in the original art, but most figures don't put them in. Once you see them, you can't unsee them!!
As for build quality, the only thing to be said about Ignis is that she's solid, but not outstanding. Yamato definitely didn't try to max out the quality level of the build like Alter, but she's still pretty well made. Having said that, mine did have a few imperfections, such as a rough paintjob on the skin just above her left elbow. You might be able to see it in the larger version of the above image.
The sword also suffered a little. They clearly tried to give it a flamed look by having the colour get darker as you get closer to the tip, but the overall feel it gives is kinda plastic-y. At least they got the runes on there!
The uzi is a simple no-frills metal finish but there are a couple of nice touches, like the trigger guard which goes over the finger.
For the joints, Yamato decided to go for oversized discs for the knees and elbows. They stand out quite a bit but the elbows fare a little better. For the ankles, wrists and shoulders, they used ball joints similar to the Revoltech joints, but without the clicking in place. And by doing so, they made Ignis far more poseable than one would think!
And this was all done without the base holding her up, too!
The knees do allow for a little rotation as well to help with the balance but they can end up making the legs look a little crooked. For the most part, it won't be noticed, especially in the action poses, where the knees are often bent.
One thing I should also mention is that the skirt is cast-off. This is actually a good thing as it can really get in the way of some poses, as it's very stiff and has no give. The top can also technically be removed and the parts underneath look as though the makers gave it some thought but if you do remove the top, it'll be rather hard to put it back on.
So far, so good. But there was one test I put Ignis through which she failed at badly ...
She can't kneel! Not without having her leg stick out unnaturally at least. Then again, almost all poseable figures fail this test so it's not exactly a black mark on her!
And now, for some fun! Being a kendo practitioner, I was curious if a poseable figure with a sword would be able to mimic some basic kendo stances. And the answer was yes, just about!! This is a lot trickier than one would think. Many other figures are not able to do this, but the ball joints on the wrists allowed Ignis to hold the sword straight with both hands!
There was also a trick in the shoulders which helped as well! As well as being ball jointed and giving some limited movement to the collarbone areas, the shoulders were also double jointed to allow them to pop out and help with the more difficult poses! When popped out, the arms don't keep their postions though, so you need to push them back for her to hold the pose. So, there are some limit still, but it did help with some of the poses where Ignis held her sword in two hands.
Especially when I tried to get her into the Jodan pose!!
Rather frustratingly, even though she needed support for this shot (which shows the end of the cut if one was in Jodan) and is somewhat rough around the edges, her stance is probably better than mine ...
Ultimately, Yamato did a lot of things right with Ignis. The larger size of the Neuromancer figures will go a long way to convincing buyers that the higher cost may be worth the extra amount asked, and the other touches give us a glimpse into what future lines (or possibly even current ones) may try to incorporate in the future.
Where ActSta failed was that they were simply providing a blown up sized figma, which only served to highlight the limitations of the line, but with Neuromancer, Yamato have taken things further. It'll be interesting to see if the line has a future. The last release was Yoko from Gurren Lagann and she was released in December. With no other figures currently in the pipeline, we may be in for a wait to see if Yamato ... sorry, Arcadia continue the line once they get their new house in order or if competitors pick up on the ideas they have brought to the table.
It would be a damn shame if it just disappeared though.
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review sample!]
Like a bat out of hell, she'll be gone when the morning comes (maybe...) Let's face it: if you want to get your foot in the poseable figure line these days, you've got it really rough! Good Smile Company and Max Factory pretty much have a stranglehold which amounts to a near monopoly with their fi...
You know that company that used to be Yamato? Now they're Arcadia! And you know that girl that used to be Maxima? Now she's Sakuya! There's a lot of name changing going on, try to keep up.
As you've probably guessed, this is ...
While we have seen TERA's Elin before as a Cerberus Project garage kit and later as an announced PVC figure by Yamato, the details on her release date and price have been ... missing, for lack of a better word. In fact, so mu...
Yamato and Cerberus Project teamed up to make the 1/6-scale Dendrobium Sisters a while ago. It seems like they were popular enough to warrant a comeback. This time they'll be in slightly different colors.
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No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is Yamato's Sonico, more or less the same as the last one, except with a new design for her babydoll. Dubbed the "Strawberry Sorbet" version, the new Sonico is looking as confused and he...
You probably remember seeing Yamato's Yoko Littner for their Neuromancer poseable figure line. Well, here she is in her 8-inch glory once again, and wow ... she's looking awesome. Yes, you can see some of her joints and she c...
Perhaps you may have missed last year's appearance of Yamato's poseable Ignis, but the re-releases continue with a second opportunity to pick up this fiery vixen. A bit more sizable than some other poseable lines and closer t...
Way back in 2010 we brought word of Yamato's re-release of Odin Sphere's luscious Velvet. Well, apparently that just wasn't enough for this deadly Red Riding Hood, as come December you'll be getting your third opportunity to ...
We kept this gallery short and sweet, but that doesn't mean it won't pack a punch. Between Bayonetta, the shiny cast of Saint Seiya and the sexy Knee Socks, Yamato definitely has got you covered. In between, you'll find anoth...
Like last year, Yamato shared a booth with AAA Anime for San Diego Comic Con, bringing with them a mix of licensed figures and some of their more well-known fantasy-based statues. The most eye-catching things in the booth, th...
Man, time flies. I remember when Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was first airing back in 2007. I was fresh to the mecha world when I suddenly had this bombastic super robot show smack me in the face. It left an indelible impressi...
The (almost) infallible Tony Taka does it again, allowing Yamato to bring us this deliciously appealing Xiaomei from the sadly untranslated Shining Hearts. Ever the pirate at heart, this pretty kitty comes complete with a fai...
It's always interesting to see a lesser known character getting the PVC treatment, particularly when that character seems to have little going for them other than starring in some random hentai. In this case, Real Art Project...
Don't have a pressing need to sleep anytime soon? Went through the day not feeling terrified enough? Why not check out this "sexy" robot with a human face? I'm sure that will fill your discomfort quota for the day.
Buy stuff! That's what I'm here to make you do. Does it work? I hope so because if I can't buy a lot of things, then I'll make you do it for me! Then you'll be the one with the empty pockets! Ha! So, what can you go broke on ...
Isn't it amazing how many figures a couple of brief transformation scenes can inspire? Here comes Yamato's Kneesocks, the sixth PVC figure that's come out of the infamous pole-tastic sequences from Panty & Stocking with G...
Oh, hey, it's a Monday. If this Monday has you down, one way to make yourself feel better is to spend some money you don't have. So how about it? Might I interest you in something in today's Reserve or Regret? Maybe something...
A strange bunch once again for what is available in today's Reserve or Regret. It has me wondering if there will be any regret by not reserving today. I mean, for starters, there's Marusan and their soft vinyl figures of Godz...
I'm a big fan of Yamato's Creators' Labo line. Other companies tend to get jump onto bandwagons when choosing which figures to make, but Yamato focuses more on original or less popular subjects. I also like the work of Mitsum...
Apr 23 //
Brian Szabelski Figure Name: Fantasy Figure Gallery: Ritual (PVC figure)Figure Maker: YamatoRetail Price: US$119.99Available at: Yamato USA | Sideshow Collectibles | Big Bad Toy Store
So to start with, let's take a look at her box. Like Luna, we have a front that shows off the figure in a big window with info about the illustrator (Luis Royo), sculptor (Shin Tanabe) and painter (Yoshinori Yatake). One side features a photo of the figure and info about her, while the other side features the original illustration and her backstory. The back of the box also features the other releases in the Fantasy Figure Gallery series up to the release of Ritual.
Though the illustration is called Ritual, the character's name is Yelena, so if you hear me refer to her by that name in the review, don't be confused.
Out of the box, the first thing you notice about this figure is she is HUGE. At 13 inches tall, she is now one of the largest figures in my collection, and her sword adds another 6 inches of width. That did make doing the turn around shots a bit of a hassle (the sword kept poking my backdrop), so make sure if you pick Ritual up that you have quite a bit of space to display her.
Like Luna, I find that this figure has a very natural look to her body shape, and her pose — staring straight ahead, sword drawn, hand on her hip — is less sexy and more impatiently waiting to fight whoever (or whatever) stands before her. She looks like a warrior, from the dragon tattoos adorning her body to the tattered clothing she wears that blows in the wind. As with Luna, there aren't seam lines on her body to deal with, giving her a very clean look.
Perhaps a great deal of the credit here belongs to Luis Royo for his original source illustration, but make no mistake: Shin Tanabe and Yoshinori Yatake have done very well to make Ritual's Yelena feel like a real warrior in her pose and coloring choices for her outfit. Like Touch of Ice, she is a warrior who has some soft touches to her, and Yamato did a good job of being able to draw out both.
The base is circular and quite tall. It also has a very nice stone pattern to it, painted in black, that adds a bit of definition to the piece.
Here, you can see the only peg holding in the figure to the base. Because of how her foot is flat against the base's top and her other foot offers some support, leaning doesn't feel like much of an issue. However, and you'll see this better in a second, her other foot is not as flush with the base, leaving a tiny gap.
You can see a little bit of the gap on her left foot and the base if you look close, but thankfully, it's only a millimeter or two off the base.
Even her toenails have been painted, once again a nice little bit of attention to detail from Yamato. Unlike Luna, there's a tiny bit of paint bleed on the silver bands of her ankle guards, but no mysterious spots or paint that's well outside the lines. I like the darker brown color that gives the feel of a seasoned leather, and the sculpting folds only add to that appearance.
Working up her legs, we reach her ... well, her butt. Here, we get to see some of the translucent PVC castoffable clothing she has on. It's well textured with lots of individual folds while it simulates silk fabric flowing in a breeze. Like with Luna, the choice to use translucent PVC simulates silk pretty well, albeit with a bit more shininess than real slik might have. But it is plastic, after all, and it looks good twisting in the wind like that.
And here she is from the front:
The translucent white PVC looks good again here, with the gold accents giving a bit of contrast. Again, the plastic looks a bit fragile in those long, folding, twisting fabric-like strands. I imagine it would break if you put pressure on it because they are thin pieces, but they feel sturdy enough that if you're not throwing Yelena around, nothing should be breaking on this figure.
Now, as mentioned, she is castoffable, but you won't be seeing that in this review. Not because there isn't anything to show besides nipples ... but because of this:
If you can't tell, that's the part where things are supposed to fasten together, and I spent two hours trying to fasten it back together properly to get back to this point, at which point I kind of gave up. It's not the first time I've had a problem with castoffable clothing on figures (see: the SFW Santa Yui and her Santa suit) and I'd politely ask all PVC makers: in the future, please do not do this unless you can get it to work right every time. It's not a Yamato problem exclusively, mind you, but it annoys me when I have it pop up.
Zooming out from that little point of contention, we see her leather arm guard/bracers. Again, like on the legs, a bit of paint bleed in the silver areas, but that's about it. The folds of her leather and silk attire look very nice, and the hand pose seems very natural. Also, as a nice note, her bottom does castoff to show off her panties, which you can pretty much see through the translucent PVC anyways. The part that latches together rests under her hand, which can be hard to put back into place but with a little practice, it goes in without an issue. Also take note of how when the tattoo has a fade on the translucent part, which looks pretty cool.
Like Luna, Yelena has a natural look about her, though for this figure, her appearance more closely resembles Luis Royo's original illustration. The biggest changes are that she has more color to her overall compared to the original drawing and her eyes and lips seem to be a bit darker silver color. However, she otherwise looks faithful to the drawing, with the same tattoos and facial jewelry, all of which have been cleanly applied or painted. In my photo, there is what appears to be a scratch on her cheek, but having looked over again, it appears to be something with how the light reflects off my Ritual figure and not an actual surface scratch.
The side of her head features more silver jewelry, as well as the rest of her silvery blond hair. Some of the detailing on the braid could be a little cleaner, and you can see a bit where the seam for her braids attach to the rest of her head. But there's some nice sculpting on her neck and collarbone that makes up for it, which you can also see in some of the other shots.
More importantly, the rest of her big, flowing ponytail looks just fascinating. Not only does it catch the light well and create this shimmering silver glow, but the sculpting on the individual strands and the way it feels in motion like the other parts of Yelena are. Shin Tanabe has done a magnificent job throughout the figure, but perhaps the hair stands out as the best part of the sculpt.
Her sword slides easily into her left hand, and while there's a nice bit of detailing on the blade with weathering, the true eye-catching part is that hilt. It's three dragons or serpents, weaving to create the actual hilt itself. The paint job gives it a weathered bronze look without seeming too much like it's cast from the same PVC mold as the rest of the sword.
Here's a close-up of the crossguard (and if you didn't know that's what this part of the sword is called, you've learned something new today). The coiled dragons/serpents on the hilt end here with their heads forming the crossguard itself, and it looks awesome. There's not massive amounts of super-high detail here because this is such a small part on a mass-produced figure, but the detailing is enough to clearly make out the dragon/serpent heads.
Ritual is pretty much everything Luna was not. Despite a few small paint bleeds and the castoff clothing issue, there's little I have to complain about. She's an all-around gorgeous figure and very big one, to boot, with tons of detailing in her hair, her figure, her clothing, her sword and her face. Still, she's something I'd recommend mainly to fans of non-anime, fantasy based figures. Ritual doesn't come cheap, but she'll stand out in your collection for more reasons than her massive size.
Of course, if you're really digging her, you can go for the 1/4-scale resin Ritual statue at US$349.99 ... but if you're not quite that hardcore, the PVC Ritual should suffice.
[Thank you to Yamato USA for providing the review sample!]
On Saturday, we brought you the NSFW stylings of Yamato's Fantasy Figure Gallery Luna. Today, we've got a second review from the Fantasy Figure Gallery series, featuring Luis Royo's Ritual. Those of you who have a keen histor...
Apr 21 //
Brian Szabelski Figure Name: Fantasy Figure Gallery: LunaFigure Maker: YamatoRetail Price: US$99.99Available at: Yamato USA | HobbyLink Japan | Entertainment Earth | Big Bad Toy Store
So, as we always do, we start with the box. The front has a window showing off Luna on the inside, along with info about the figure to the left of the window over a faint photo of the figure. The illustration is smaller and on the front of the box in the bottom right corner, but you can see the full thing on the left side of the box. The right side has some descriptive text on the figure, while the back features photos and info on the rest of the Fantasy Figure Gallery series.
Also inside the box was a smaller version of the original illustration and a signed Certificate of Authenticity from Dorian Cleavenger. Always nice to get something cool like this!
Let's get her out of the box, shall we?
Luna comes perched on this huge Art Deco moon, with the base being airbrushed to look like the Earth. Standing about 8 inches tall on her own (with the base and moon adding two more), she's a pretty sizable figure. In her left hand, Luna is holding a falling star, while the right (via a peg) is holding onto her moon friend.
Getting Luna onto the moon itself isn't too difficult, and once she's stable on there, the rest of the base assembles very quickly. One of the things I like about Luna, in particular, is that at first glance, she doesn't have insane proportions, despite being a potentially NSFW figure. More on that in a bit, but kudos of Takuaki Tsushima for doing a great job on the sculpt.
Compared to the source illustration, the figure Luna has a much softer look to her than the illustrated Luna. The nose is a little wider, the eyes a little bigger and the lips a little more full. However, I do actually like it a bit better because she looks a little more angrier in the illustration. Maybe it's just me, though?
Her eyes do seem to be a little larger than normal, but the paint around her eyes is, with few complaints, well handled. My only real complaint on my figure is that there's a little less light blue on the left eye than the right eye (that is, our left and right, not hers).
You can also see some of the sculpting on her hair, which doesn't look bad at all from the front ...
... or for that matter, from the back. It's a bit better than some of the PVC blobs I've seen on some of the anime figures I've reviewed and makes Luna feel more like a slightly more expensive resin figure.
From behind, you can see that Yamato, like any Japanese PVC figure maker, loves their translucent PVC. In this case, Yamato is using it to give Luna's outfit a sheer look to it. I would say they succeeded. It also looks great to see how they've sculpted the folds in her outfit and how they pull toward the little jewels that they hang from, or that they would if this were real clothing.
The golden chains that are a part of her dress are cast onto the body of Luna and painted over, which can sometimes be a recipe for painting disaster. The good news? Yamato did not mess this up.
The base is a simple slice of sphere, airbrushed to somewhat look like the world below it. Nothing fancy here, but it does its job and keeps Luna stable.
The Art Deco moon ... well, I'll be honest, it looks like it's staring at her chest. Besides that ... it looks pretty cool, especially with the other Art Deco-inspired stars and moon charms hanging off it via chains. There's a lot of nice sculpting on the beard and especially on some of the outer designs (the four moon phases on the side in particular looks great), but a tiny bit of the black detailing paint appears to have come outside the lines on the beard.
Luna's boots are a slightly darker shade of pink and there's a bit of black paint bleed here and there on the detailing, which I should point out. By and large, though, they don't look too bad, especially when you're not staring at them at point blank range. The detailing work does its job and there are some nice things like the folds on her boot as she curls her toes upward. However ... there is a splotch of some sort on her boot that I'm sure you can see and I haven't had luck cleaning off yet.
As I mentioned further up the review, Luna's body is sculpted with some realistic proportions to it. Well, besides her bust, but even that doesn't feel like too much. She looks very natural, from the shape of her abdomen and sculpted belly button to the shape of ... well, her breasts. Again, the chain parts of her outfit are painted with precision on this part of her body, and everything looks good.
And in case you're wondering ...
Yes, they do come off. As much as I worried about the little nipple covers falling off on their own, they stay in place pretty well.
Sadly, Luna's not without some issues on the paint end. While I went looking for any seams (you can see some on the absolute bottom of her boots), I found scuff marks, paint mishaps and some discolored plastic bits. Being on the bottom of the figure might mean it's not that terrible, but it's also on an outward-facing part of the figure, so it sticks out.
So how is Luna in the end? Well, the sculpt is excellent, but the paint work could be a lot better in some places ... at least on my figure. She's also only a figure that appeals to a certain kind of collector, namely the kind that loves these fantasy illustration-based figures. I can't really recommend her to anyone who's only a fan of vinyl or anime/PVC figures ... or if you're not 18 or older because of the optional nudity. If you don't fall into one of those groups, Luna is an okay piece, not likely to be a big centerpiece, but a good compliment to other pieces in your collection.
[Thank you to Yamato USA for providing the review sample!]
It's been almost a year and a half since we took a look at a figure from Yamato's Fantasy Figure Gallery series, Black Tinkerbell. Of course, since then, the line has continued onward with several releases from new illustrato...
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