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Tomopop Discusses: Wonder Festival 2012 Summer

4:00 PM on 08.06.2012 // Pedro Cortes

Each of the Modern Method websites has at least one event that utterly consumes the lives of the editors for several days in a year. Destructoid has E3, Japanator has Anime Expo and Otakon and Tomopop has Wonder Festival. Held twice a year, it's the event that dictates how broke we'll be for the following months. Even with what seemed like too many pre-event reveals, this summer's Wonder Festival dropped a ton of news from just about every figure company you can think of. Alter, Good Smile Company, Megahouse, Kotobukiya, they all had at least one thing that inspired figure-lust in our writers and readers.

With that in mind, here's a round up of the things that got all of us going on staff. While there are a couple of things that get some repeat attention, it's interesting to note the variety of things that got our attention. I know that in a couple of months, a recreation of the header will definitely be occurring for more than a few of us. Go ahead and hit the jump to see what we loved from this summer's Wonder Festival!

 Pedro Cortes

Man, there were plenty of things announced that will ensure that I will remain broke for the next couple of months. Figure of the show definitely goes to Max Factory's 1/10 Belldandy and Holy Bell. I remember seeing that figure back when I got into Ah! My Goddess! and getting a severe case of the wants. I'm glad that I'll be getting a chance to pick her up after being denied for over ten years! 

Besides Max Factory and Bell, Megahouse brought out the big guns with Crimin Nami and the (painted!) Sailing Again Perona. I've already got Crimin Nami on order, but I know that it's going to be a mission ordering Perona. Getting her first version was difficult and things have only gotten harder since. I also really like how Lacus looks, despite my complete lack of Gundam Seed knowledge.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Orchid Seed's Panty. The sculpt looks fantastic, though Orchid Seed has had some sub-par final releases. Here's hoping that it stays great when color shots come out.

Alter...well, Alter is Alter. They're arguably at the top of the figure world and they look to be staying there. Muramasa's Kongiku looks incredible, matching their stellar Momohime. Even though it's an old sculpt, their Stocking looks gorgeous as usual and I can't wait to see how they do Scanty.

Hmm, maybe I have a couple more things I can see around my house. An AC unit is optional, right?


 Rio McCarthy

Well, Wonder Festival definitely got my nostalgia senses tingling, that's for sure. Between my constant desire to own the Slayers color resin kits that Volks continues to put out, the Trigun pieces from Kotobukiya, and then the Ah! My Goddess! figure of Belldandy and Holy Bell from Max Factory, I don't know where to begin! All of those would be near and dear to my heart given my particular old-timey anime background.

As for normal garage kits, I won't even go there. I could always list off a bajillion pieces of characters from old school anime or games that I've loved, but I never have the time to put them together and my collection of unassembled garage kits keeps building. Guilty Gear kits...I'm looking at you among them.

Of course, I'll have to throw in my pre-order for figma Pit once that goes up, as that one kind of surprised me. I know they just released Kid Icarus: Uprising, but I really didn't expect anything out of it to be honest. I was happy enough to get that, so I'll for sure be ordering the figma version. Another thing that surprised me was FINALLY seeing Phat! Company's Bayonetta figure again! I'm glad to see that it wasn't MIA after all and that it will eventually be seeing a release date. I just hope I can afford it once it does!



"I'd like to discuss Summer WonFes in great detail and describe my admiration for a great many items but, in all honesty, I was distracted by the figma Pit announcement. It held my entire attention for a great while and just when I thought I was getting past it there came the announcement that Pittoo would be joining him.

Did other things happen at WonFes? Most definitely. Probably wonderful things at that. However, every time I try to think about WonFes all that comes to mind is Pit.  Granted, I should also be talking about Alter's new Nadeko Sengoku, Hasegawa's kits, the new Co-poche line, Happinet's stackable Tachikoma, nendo Iron Man (or Iron Nendoroid), the new archetype figmas, and those teased Avengers figma (all of which I needed to be reminded about) but it's just so difficult to get Pit out of my head. I'm really hoping that he doesn't get misplaced like figma Archer..."


 Natalie Kipper

What stuck out most in my mind was the mixture of the old and the new in terms of series represented. I mean, Dr. Slump? That is old old school. Then there were semi-recent shows like Madoka Magica getting new toys. The new Homura figure was very pretty and it was cool to see her in a different art style. And don't even get me started on those bears. Speaking of bears, I love that new Kuma (or Teddie) plush from Persona 4 that MegaHouse had on display. I already have two (one from the social link bundle and another from COSPA) but I really badly want this one. 

There were still, like, a bajillion representations of Hatsune Miku and frankly, I was a little disappointed at that. I know I should have expected it but I really would liked to have seen some other Vocaloids get more time in the spotlight, especially at such a big event. Miku is such a "safe" choice. I want more exploration into other characters in the line.


Tianxiao Ma

I missed WonFes. All of it. But going back through these posts, I can see there's plenty to get excited about (and some stuff to get not so excited about).

The figma Egashira 2:50 is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I've never even heard of him up until like two minutes ago but it is clearly the best of show here.

It's nice to see GSC is still milking the everloving hell out of Black Rock Shooter and Hatsune Miku. Maybe one day, when the earth has dried up and the sun is a red giant, GSC will move on to newer and more interesting properties.

I'm very much looking forward to Kotobukiya's Metal Gear Rex. I missed out on the ThreeA one, but this one will hopefully not break the bank.

Something that struck me as being strange was seeing the Bayonetta figures on display (one from Yamato, another from Phat Company). I like the game and actually do want both of them, but come on, the timing could be better.

Finally, the biggest news out of this WonFes is Alter's stuff. I felt their releases have been fairly lackluster as of late, in terms of "this is some badass stuff we're doing because we're Alter and we're the best in the whole damn world" type of figures. Now it seems like they're reclaiming their spot at the top, and that's gotten me amped up to see their prototypes in color.


 Jon Wills

Wonderfes brought a large number of very cute garage kits and figurines. The ones that excited me most was definitely Volks new Goury from Slayers. Though I know I will never have enough spare time to make him or a Lina Inverse, so I hope that those two get made into a 1/6th or preferably 1/8th scale figurine so I can fit them on my shelf, somewhere.

I really loved seeing all of the Vocaloid figures. Sometimes I think that the world has enough Miku, but then I see those works of art and I have to say I would love to own several of those, even of the same character because they were so cute or cool, often they espressed different moods or different ideas, and I liked that.
I'm hoping to see a lot of figures made into PVC figurines, but really only time will tell.


 Jeremy Crocker

OK, so a large part of my importing comes in the form of figma and I had a pretty mixed reaction in what was and wasn't shown at the event. By the time everything was done and over I ended up adding 15 new pieces to my MFC wishlist. I still can't believe they're doing Marvel figures, it kinda blows my mind that I'll have some of my favorite super heroes in scale with some of my favorite anime characters. Can't wait to see how they handle Hulk!
I was also surprised to see them going for more Black Rock Shooter animation figures. I really thought BRS was going to be the one figure from the line so I'm happy to be getting her some friends. Very happy to see Persona 4: Arena getting some love. Labrys looks great and Aegis is just different enough to separate herself from the others on the shelf. I've been getting really into Sword Art Online so Kazuto/Kirito and Asuna is a must for me.
I haven't played a Kid Icarus game since the NES days, but I'll be going for both versions of Pit. "Godoka" was a figma I never thought they'd make, certainly not as a mass retail release so that one has me pretty ecstatic! And then there's Scarlet Rain's Immovable Fortress from Accel World, not sure if they'll actually go through with making that thing, but it sure was an impressive sight!
On the other hand there were some pretty serious omissions from the show. Persona 4 (the original, not Arena) didn't add any new characters to its figma lineup so that hurt. I was sure they'd at least ad Rise and Naoto, but nothing doing, we have to settle for a new character and a Persona 3 character instead. Also sad that the rumor of Fate/Zero male characters getting made along with the long lost Archer figure didn't pan out. That one really hurt.
Not sure why of the new Black Rock Shooter figures they're making we're seeing the return of Dead Master and Black Gold Saw, but not an all new character like Chariot. There's even a Nendoroid being made. Really wanted to see more Dog Days figma made, but once again it seems like figma is skimping on the main characters.
Also wanted to say I was a bit disappointed that Revoltech only announced two new figures, seems like there should have been a lot more. Ah, but despite all of this disapointment I'll have no shortage of things to buy.


 Brian Szabelski

After Wonder Festival, I can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed. Not that I'm ungrateful about what we got, but there's not a whole lot that screamed out to me, "BUY ME" from this Wonder Festival showing. Lots of Nendoroids and figmas at the GSC booth instead of more static figures makes me think that GSC/Max Factory could be steering that way more in the future, and that makes me a bit ... well, sad. I don't mind either of those lines, but I'd much rather have a scaled figure than a more fragile, smaller figure.

Alter is continuing to deliver some quality figures, and their new Tales figures gives me hope one day we'll get a Tales of Symphonia scaled figure or two.

The big surprise was the Co-Poche line from Kotobukiya. Half figma, half Nendoroid and 100 percent a way to join the war between Bandai (Chibi Arts) and GSC (Nendoroid). The choice of Saber and some of the other GSC stalwarts, though, is a definite shot across the bow that Koto means business with this line. It'll be interesting to see if, because they have a more global perspective on sales thanks to their other licensed merch, they go with more male figures for the line than we see in the Nendoroid series.

Everything else was, to be honest, more or less a blur for me. That is a bit of an indictment among the other companies for not really releasing anything that made me take notice, especially Kaiyodo. Where the heck was the Revoltech presence? We had trouble finding new things from them at a show that THEY STARTED AND CONTINUE TO ORGANIZE TWICE A YEAR. Shouldn't this be a bigger thing for them? Maybe I'm just reading this wrong.

On the kaiju front, nice to see so many new pieces and a few new companies/makers! I wish I had more info about the individual pieces, but Max Toy Co. has some interesting stuff and I need to remind myself to ask someone about those Azumanga Daioh pieces. Especially now that they have Osaka.


 Chis Seto

I think Brian hit the nail on the head. From the corporate side of things, There was nothing which really stood out for me. I was quietly lamenting the sheer number of figma and nendo releases but they still sell so we'll still get releases, even if it is at the expense of larger scaled figures.

The two Bayonetta figures produced a wry smile as well. It's not often you see a figure get resurrected after 3 years of nothing! But why now? The game is also 3 years old now and the only thing we have seen from the witch is her appearance in Max Anarchy as a playable character! Optimists may be hoping that this is a sign of a sequel but there are limits to optimism...

Volks were the only company to show of something which really grabbed my attention, in the shape of their 1/4 scale T-ELOS but my desire to see her came from her original announcement back at their Hobby Round event, and she's still not coloured yet so things can still go horribly wrong. I doubt it though. Volks have yet to disappoint when it comes to their kits. Nevertheless, in her current form, I'm tempering my anticipation by quite a bit...

Moving on to the dealer floor, it was really heartening to see such a great number of new kits, and ones which look great as well! There was a worry in recent events that the GK scene was in terminal decline as every event saw less and less new figures and more old kits. This WF seemed to call that thought as a myth but at the same time, there weren't really any which made me scream DO WANT!!!! at the top of my voice. There were a fair few which I wouldn't mind in my collection but none which would make me get up and actively look for them. Maybe it's still too soon to say that everything is peachy! I think dealers are still trying to find the balance between doing what they want and impressing the community at large with dynamic and detailed works while simultaneously making their works simple enough to be appealing to companies in the hopes that they will buy them to make into PVC figures, like the Cerberus Project and Principality of Kagutsuchino figures seen in the GSC subsidiary booths.

Ultimately, this event felt like one which ticked all the boxes to get fans looking forward to the next 7~8 months but, crucially, lacks a killer blow or 2 to get us really excited.


 Chang Su

After the initial wave of excitement, this Wonder Festival has been relatively modest to me. It's not that I think it was a disappointing show, but more because my personal tastes doesn't match up with many of the notable trends. Male figures? Not my thing. Nendoroids? Pass. Black Rock Shooter? Not after the anime. Figma Avengers and Spider-man? Awesome news for most people, I'm sure, and I have confidence that Max Factory will do them justice, but as for me, I think I'm just going to patiently wait for figmas of Archer and the rest of the Persona 3 crew -- HAWWW, couldn't keep a straight face.

I've lost count how many new Miku Nendoroids GSC revealed, and I wasn't sure how to feel about that, but at the end of the day, I gotta respect them. If you've seen the GSC anniversary poll results, then you'd know that people are crazy for Miku Nendos. I don't know about you, but if I was the GSC boss-man, I'd be sailing off into the sunset oh my diamond-encrusted yacht while my underlings make enough Nendo Miku merchandise to make Hello Kitty seem modest by comparison. A business is out there to make money, so instead of complaining about GSC's infatuation with fathead Mikus, I'd like to thank them for even bothering to make things that aren't Miku Nendos. Stay classy, GSC!


 Yami Casas

I hate to say this, but I expected a lot more at Wonder Festival. Good Smile continues to bombard us with Miku and Black Rock Shooter, whether it's Nendoroids, figmas or PVC. I honestly thought we were finally going to see a lot more variety coming from them, but in the end, they're sticking to their cash cow. Other than their announcement of Fairy Tail's Lucy Heartfilia, nothing else caught my attention.

Megahouse, on the other hand, brought their A game to the festivities with all their upcoming P.O.P and G.E.M. figures. Of course, the one that I look forward to the most is Kira Yamato. Gundam Seed was the first Gundam series I watched and it introduced me to the mecha genre. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

The biggest surprise of the event was the revelation that Max Factory was the company behind Nitro+ChIRAL's DRAMAtical Murder Aoba figure. Since his teaser surfaced, I have been eagerly anticipating his painted debut at WonFes and boy was I floored. I hope this is a sign that Max Factory is going to produce more male figures, preferably from the boys love genre. A girl can dream can't she?


She can indeed, as we all of us on the Tomo staff dreams of unlimited funds to get all the goodies that caught our eye. I think it's safe to say that most of us will find ourselves heading over to our preferred sites to drop our greenbacks on some PVC in the next couple of months. Now that we told you our favorites, let us know what your favorites were in the comments below! We'd love to see what you guys out there in Tomo-land will be nabbing up in the next couple of months.

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Pedro Cortes, Features Editor
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