Plenty of bang for your buck
It's mostly been Persona 4 that has rampaged across the figure world lately, powered by the renewed popularity of the game after a Playstation Vita re-release, an anime adaptation, and a brand new fighting game. Fortunately, due to their participation in said fighting game, some of the Persona 3 characters have also returned to the world of plastic, most notably the much-loved robot girl, Aigis.
Max Factory have already made a figma of Aigis before, back in 2010, but they've decided to double down with a new version based on her updated appearance. So does this version live up to its name, or is it just a dolled up re-release?
First a note on that unusual name - it's because the fighting game we know in the west as Persona 4 Arena goes by Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena in Japan, in keeping with their habit of cool, but stupid, names. Aigis is also spelt as "Aegis" on the box, but since official translations have always used "Aigis," I'll be going with that for this review.
Other than that, this is a figma box - it's functional, but pretty predictable and won't be winning any design awards any time soon. What's important is that that big window lets you see everything that's inside, and that the blister packaging is excellent at protecting everything in the box while keeping those tiny accessories in place.
Out of the box, and it's immediately apparent this is one of Max Factory's more complex figma. Aigis's design calls for a lot of finely detailed paintwork and fortunately, this figure is more than up to it. Aigis is mostly made of made of matte white plastic, which has a nice soft-to-the-touch feel. Be warned, though; it's pretty easy to rub dirt off onto, so be careful when handling her with mucky hands. The paintwork is universally excellent, with lines like the thin gold rims on her hip-to-leg joints totally clean with no discernible paint splash.
From behind, Aigis is relatively simple, but the quality of paint continues to be high. Since she's got short hair, there's nothing to write home about hairstyle-wise, but the sculpt does make her 'do nicely spiky to avoid it degenerating into just a big lump of plastic. She's got the standard peg hole for figma stands in her lower back, but not the removable panel up between her shoulders. We'll get back to that.
One thing you might have noticed is that Aigis has these unusual shoe-like attachments on the bottom of her feet. Because her feet are (as they are in the games) more like hooves than traditional soles, she needs these miniature supports to stand up properly. I found they worked pretty well, and you'll see them attached throughout this review, but if you find them distracting, fear not; they can be removed and plug into the bottom of her feet via simple friction pegs.
Here's another shot which shows off some of the excellent close detail. Aigis's unusual whorled eyes are reproduced very sharply, and the detail on the hair framing her face is excellent. The "loops" on her shoulders are jointed and move back and forth to allow flexibility at the shoulders, though be warned they do pop off rather easily. The distinctive red tie is one of the most obvious visual changes compared to the older version (who wore a bow).
As you'd expect from a figma, poseability is absolutely excellent, especially since Aigis has no skirt (or indeed any clothing at all) to impede her. You'll get the standard, excellent figma stand bundled in as always. Aigis only comes with one additional face: the angry, battle face she's seen wearing in a few upcoming photos. There are the standard assortment of swappable hands though, including flat, open ones to replicate her "gun hands."
Though she only has two facial expressions, Max Factory partially make up for it by including an alternate hairpiece. Unlike the previous Persona figures, who came with glasses, Aigis instead models this badass RoboCop-style visor. It's attached to the standard figma removable fringe, so it can be used with either face.
Enough namby-pamby talk about posing and painting though, let's get down to what matters - guns! By far and away the defining feature of this new Aigis is a trio of massive pieces of ordinanace — a cannon, a missile pod, and an absolutely colossal chaingun. Each of them is mounted on a separate arm which attach to Aigis's back.
Remember that removable panel on Aigis's back I mentioned earlier? Pop it off and there'll be another peg hole, into which you can attach this three-way mount.
Each of the three weapons has its own mechanical arm, which plugs into the mount as shown. Max Factory have done their best to make the weapons as flexible as possible — each has three hinges: at the base, in the middle of the arm, and at the point the weapon attaches to the arm. Additionally, both the missile pod and the chaingun have mounting slots on both sides, allowing the side the arm attachers to to be easily switched.
The net result of this is an awful lot of flexibility when posing the weapons. You can use any combination of the three shuffled between the three points or remove one or two for additional space. This means that Aigis still retains a pretty wide range of articulation even with the full arsenal onboard.
The last accessory included is a nice muzzle flash piece which just pops onto one of the barrels of the chaingun. Speaking of the chaingun, it's the only one of the three weapons that doesn't really stand on its own, being a little heavy to be fully supported by the mounting arm. Instead, Aigis will usually have to grip it by the handle, but fortunately, the barrels can be rotated to make this a bit easier.
You've probably worked it out already, but this new figma Aigis is an absolute slam-dunk by Max Factory. It's got quality and detailing that would put much larger figures to shame, an excellent range of articulation, and an utterly badass selection of accessories. If you're any sort of Persona fan, this one should be pretty high on your wish list.
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