SDCC is not known for having amazing booths for PVC figures. Vinyl and action figures are everywhere, but PVC is shoved way in the back and most of it is outrageously overpriced. I saw a Sega Miku prize figure for $100 when she retailed for $20! The important thing to remember about conventions is to refrain from impulse buying. If you think you have found a deal, it is entirely possible that a booth down the row will have it for a bit cheaper or will not charge tax, so shop around!
I did not find much at SDCC, but I did find two figures for a rather outrageous price. They were Kotobukiya's casual clothes Asuka and Beagle's PSE Pro #5 illustrated by Range Murata. Each was only $10 and tax free, so it was nearly impossible to pass up! I found them both at ABC Toys' booth, and while they had great deals on a lot of figures these two really stood out to me. And $20 for two awesome figures is a great deal!
Let's start with Asuka, who is from way back in 2007. She is a 1/8 scale figure, but because of her position she is about 6" high. However, her base takes up a lot of room. If you saw her on our SDCC nightstand, you probably noticed how much space was covered just by her base!
I have a lot of Asuka figures, but this one definitely has one of my favorite faces. She just looks so sad! Asuka in figures is usually perky and happy, and I feel like this captures her character a lot better. The pose and outfit are taken from an illustration from the manga, but it also matches her personality in the show.
Asuka has a few quality control issues like some faint seamlines on her arm, but for a figure from 3 years ago she holds up pretty damn well! I would definitely pay more than $10 for her, even if I wasn't totally obsessed with Asuka. The sculpting, especially on her hair, is also very well done. She looks more realistic than most anime figures, especially with her slight frame and real-world proportions.
She does have one odd area, namely her left elbow which is REALLY pointy. If this was a brand-new figure that I spent $50 on I might mind, but as it is I find it easy to overlook little flaws when a figure is cheap. The "fabric" she is sitting on has a fantastic sculpt that seems to be much nicer than a lot of figures this old, so I suppose it all evens out.
One of my favorite parts of this figure is, surprisingly, her feet. Namely the way they are positioned, barely skimming the ground as if she is hesitant to truly relax. There is a fantastic sense of tension in her pose, as if she is ready to get up and leave at a moment's notice. She may be in casual clothing but she is certainly not relaxed or at ease.
Next up is the crazily-named Range Murata figure, who is even older than Asuka. She came out in 2006! I admit that I do not have anything produced by Beagle besides this figure, but it seems like they did a great job on her. I love the lines of her sculpt, how one leg is lifted up and she is looking over her shoulder like someone just called her name. It's a very evocative image, and it really creates a story.
Like Asuka, quality control is not fantastic but it is definitely passable. PSE has a few seamlines and her paint is not perfect, but all in all she is a solid figure. Her design also really stands out, and Murata's art is almost perfectly rendered especially in her face.
The bike is definitely the main reason I bought this figure. I mean, $10 for a girl on an AWESOME motorcycle-thing? I am not sure exactly what it is, but it looks like it could fold up into a little suitcase thing. Can you imagine how cool that would be?
PSE's outfit, while not perfectly rendered in terms of quality (notice the clumpy paint along the edges), is rather amazing looking. I love the combination of sleek and tech-y, all that gear makes her look like some strange cyborg girl. I have a thing for mecha-musume, and PSE here skirts that category quite nicely. I also adore the open back on her outfit, it creates such smooth, elegant lines.
Though it looks like PSE is secured to the base at numerous locations, there are only pegs under the leg that is on the ground. The bike you can move about, and the wheels on it actually turn! She seems fairly well balanced and if she leaned people would know by now, so she is definitely solid.
If you find either of these figures at a convention or on the interwebs for a good price, I highly suggest picking them both up! Sure, they are not perfect, but for their age and price you can't really find too much to complain about! And no matter how small, big, or PVC-friendly a convention is, you are bound to find one or two gems if you dig hard enough. Just remember to look around and try to conserve your money! Do any of you lovely readers have stories about convention finds you'd like to share?
Thanks to Stephen for taking these pictures, which were set on the hotel balcony. More pictures in the gallery, as always! Thankfully the figures escaped the chicken nugget and paper airplane flinging that took place on the balcony during the convention. SDCC, it's serious business.
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