ACKS VFG VF-31J Siegfried – Review

INTRODUCTION:

This time around we have something a little bit different for the tabletop. It’s not very often that I get myself a model kit. I usually don’t have the time or patience to build them, and then once I have the assembly completed I often don’t continue on to do the stickers/decals or even (*gasp!*) the painting. However, that being said, I’ve always been interested in the model kits that are based on the various Valkyrie fighter jets from the Macross universe (or Robotech if you are more familiar with that title).

While the ACKS Variable Fighter Girl  VF-31J Siegfried (phew!) may not be a “proper” Valkyrie kit, it’s certainly not a bad place to start. The Variable Fighter Girl (VFG) model kits follow in a long line of mecha musume style figures which include Busou Shinki, Armor Girls Project, and the Frame Arms Girl figures. The VFGs have more in common with the Frame Arms Girl figures than the AGPs as the Frame Arms Girls are model kits that need assembly, and the AGPs are complete figures with removable armour/weapons.

This particular Valkyrie features in the anime series “Macross Delta“, and it’s a bit of a surprise that they would go with a generic anime style girl and not use one of the Walküre girls from the show. One of Macross’ core themes is the power of music/song, and Macross Delta continues the trend by introducing us to an idol group made up of 5 members, rather than the usual one or two singers. It’s a bit of a wasted opportunity in my opinion, I would have really enjoyed seeing the Walküre girls get the mecha musume treatment.  This is my first time dealing with an ACKS (Aoshima Character Kit Selection) kit, so let’s see how we go, shall we?

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Bits n bobs.

As expected from most model kits these days, all the parts are molded in different colours and then arranged on numbered sprues, which means that once it’s assembled the end result is a pretty decent model, even before painting. The text in the instructions is written in Japanese, but the pictures/diagrams are pretty comprehensive, so anyone with any sort of model building experience can jump right in and start building. Model building newbies on the other hand, might not understand straight away some of the steps that the instructions are trying to convey. It’s also worth noting that the whole kit can be built without any glue whatsoever and it still holds together quite well.

“Ms. Siegfried”.

“Battroid” mode

Flash forward, and here we have our finished products. The VF-31J Siegfried in its fighter mode is very sleek and seems to share a lot of its looks with its predecessor – the VF-19. Even before any paint is applied, there is plenty of detail on display and the panel lines are very refined and clear. In a way it looks very plain and it’s clear to see that for the best results, it’s going to need the full treatment (painting, panel lining, decals, sealing). I haven’t applied any stickers or decals on mine just yet as I might wait until it’s painted before I even attempt to apply decals.

Note: Unfortunately, with my kit there seems to have been some sort of mold/printing error which has left my fighter with a rather large hole in the fuselage. It’s quite a let-down and it’s even worse since it’s in such a noticeable location. Hopefully this is an isolated incident, and not a testament to ACKS’ quality control.

I can’t go into space looking like this!

The girl figure (“Ms. Siegfried”?) shares the same colour pallete as the fighter and she actually turned out to be a bit taller than I was expecting. Her overall design is very reminiscent of the Busou Shinki line with the way that she combines with the Valkyrie to form a sort of “power suit”, although without the modular/customisable aspects. Due to the softer plastics in the joint areas, she’s able to hold her poses surprisingly well. She feels very light in hand but that would be due to the fact that a lot of her sections are hollow and she’s made from a different grade of plastic that you would normally find in figures of her size.

Size comparison with Vervietta and Lirbiete.

ACCESSORIES:

Not a lot of options here…

There’s not a lot of accessories here. The Valkyrie doesn’t come with a lot of weapons and there are no weapons or items for Ms. Siegfried to hold on to. As a result, she only has a few interchangeable faces (and a blank so you can create your own) and a few spare hands – left and right open, “gripping”, and flat. There are extra sets of eye decals included in the kit, but no lip/mouth decals which is a bit odd, but also understandable since the spare face is fairly plain as it is.

Even though Ms. Siegfried can move quite well, there’s no stand included for her or the fighter to allow for dynamic poses or to display the fighter “in flight” so to speak. From a display point of view, it would have been good to have her set up with the fighter displayed close by in a flying position. I’ve found that there are mounting holes for display stands to plug into, and that Figma stands work quite well. However, it is disappointing that there is no landing gear included for the fighter to be displayed in a landed position.

To be fair, the Vic Viper fighters don’t have landing gear either.

One can’t help but draw comparisons between the VFG model and the “Vic Viper Sisters” from the Busou Shinki line. Each figure can be displayed separately, or in a combined mode with their fighters. Although, while the Vic Vipers can be transformed into a stand-alone robot mode, the Valkyrie can only form a sort of “power suit” for Ms. Siegfried whilst in Battroid/robot mode. There is an option for her to ride around on the Valkyrie in its “Gerwalk” mode which is nice. The Vic Viper girls miss out on a Gerwalk mode due to how their fighters transform into their respective robot modes.

Lirbiete’s robot mode.
Vervietta’s robot mode.
… at least Ms. Siegfried can stand up by herself.

ARTICULATION:

Ms. Siegfried by herself moves pretty well and has a decent range of movement. However, when combined with the VF-31J the robot/mechanical limbs tend to be a bit restrictive. The soft plastic in the joints gives the limbs a smooth movement, and because the limbs are pretty light it’s easier for them to stay in position. In combined mode, the Valkyrie’s feet are pretty stable, but it would have been nice to have some sort of display stand for the more dynamic poses.

She does however have a port and an adapter for display stands to plug into, and the aforementioned Figma stand works a treat. You will need to be careful when moving her legs, as the hip pieces tend to get in the way and can easily pop off.

Seriously, can we do something about these?!

CONCLUSION:

375mL drink can for scale.

I must say that I have mixed feelings about this figure/kit. Yes, it’s Macross and the girl figure is definitely cute, but for me there are just too many negatives to instantly give this one the coveted “must have” status. I’m hoping that the mold error that my kit has is a purely isolated incident. How that got past quality control is beyond me.

Not funny, you guys!

I’m somewhat used to the occasional transforming figures that rely on “parts-forming”, but this is next level. It really makes switching between modes a chore and while the end result may look kind of cool, it seems to be more trouble than it’s worth. There are too many small parts that need interchanging and sections that need to be disassembled and reassembled for my liking. Although the whole kit can be put together without glue, after a few rounds of “transforming”, you’ll start to figure out which pieces/sections can or should be glued together to stop them from coming apart during the whole process (ordeal?). This is definitely a “display, not play” piece.

If you’re a big fan of Macross and mecha musume, then you might enjoy this kit a bit more than I have.  I do love a bit of Macross (and I didn’t mind the Macross Delta anime series), but this kit is a bit of a sour note for me.  It’s also worth noting that now there’s another kit in the series which is the VF-31A Kairos (possibly worth getting if you’re into cat-girls as well 😉 ).  Just be wary of any mold imperfections if you do happen to get one.  It’s not due for release until December 2018, so there’s still time to consider if it’s worth getting.

The ACKS Variable Fighter Girl VF-31J Siegfried can be found at the links below along with other similar model kits/figures.

I mean really, what even ARE these things?
Hey guys, you haven’t seen any of my parts around here, have you?
… umm…
… I’m just gonna go now…

Good Smile Tachikoma – Review

INTRODUCTION:

The Tachikoma by the Good Smile Company had been a long term “Grail” of mine. And now that it’s in my collection I can most certainly confirm that it was definitely worth the wait. The Good Smile Company (along with Max Factory) are more famous for their Nendoroid and Figma  lines, so it’s interesting to see something a little different from them.

Box Front

The Tachikomas are a special type of A.I. controlled “spider-tank” (for want of a better word) that appear in the Ghost in the Shell franchise and this particular Tachikoma appears in the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series. Although they pack some pretty serious firepower, the Tachikomas used by Section 9 tend to sound and behave a lot like children. The A.I. component of their design means that they can operate independently, or with a pilot at the controls. They have small wheels at the base of their feet which they use to get around with mostly, but they are capable of firing off tow-lines from either side of their “abdomens”/cockpits which they can use to climb walls and perform other spider-like functions.

Box Back

Among all the varying Tachikoma figures available, what sets this particular version apart from the others is the inclusion of a small scale figure of the Major, Motoko Kusanagi. The figure itself appears to be quite tiny (less than 1:18 scale approximately) and is pretty well articulated. Just like in the TV series, the abdomen/cockpit of the Tachikoma opens up for the Major to sit inside and operate the controls manually.

Not pictured: cup holder.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Once you get the Tachikoma out of its box, the first thing you may notice is that it has quite a decent heft to it. This is due to the body, legs, and arms being made of a metal alloy. Only the abdomen is made of plastic, most likely due to all the moving parts in it. It’s a very good representation of the character, decked out in a metallic blue with silver accents and topped off with its characteristic white “bowling-ball” eyes (3 on the top of the body and 1 underneath the abdomen).

Everything moves fairly freely, and due the heavy nature of the body and limbs, the joints are extra “ratchety” to make up for this. As a side note: it’s typical for second hand figures to have weakened joints from having to support the weight of the body for extended periods of time. The wheels appear to be made from a hard rubber which may hinder standing because as the weight of the body presses down, the feet/wheels slide and the legs tend to splay out.

Walking on tip-toes so my feet don’t slide out on me!

The tiny (TINY!) Motoko figure that’s included is also pretty cool. This particular version of the Major is wearing her usual Section 9 tactical suit which primarily consists of shades of grey . It’s pretty well sculpted for such a small figure, even if it’s light on details. It’s also worth noting how fragile/delicate some of her joints appear to be. Although this figure appears to be quite poseable, I wouldn’t necessarily class it as an “action figure” (especially if you’ve had to pay a substantial “slow-poke tax” as I have). Great for posing and display, not so much for general play. The Major scales quite nicely with the Tachikoma and it’s nice to see them posed together.

Cover me!

ACCESSORIES:

Inside the cardboard box there’s a styrofoam piece that holds the Tachikoma, the Major, and an assortment of accessories. In the package you’ll find a set of interchangeable armour pieces that can be swapped out or re-arranged with the “lights” that attach to the abdomen/cockpit. Also included is an additional set of “feet” that have the wheels protruding slightly more so that the figure can roll around a bit easier. The armour pieces are plastic, whereas the extra feet are made of metal with a plastic wheel with the same hard rubber tyre.

There’s also a “mini-gun” attachment so you can replace the usual “cannon” main weapon for a “Gatling gun” variant. The Major herself only comes with 2 open hands and 2 right hands – one holding her pistol and one holding her trusty Seburo sub-machine gun. Unfortunately, the guns are moulded into her hands and therefore aren’t removable.

Also included is an instruction sheet and stickers that you can apply to the Tachikoma. It’s a bit of a shame that there wasn’t more accessories for the Major, but it’s kind of understandable given her small scale and that she’s technically the Tachikoma’s accessory.

ARTICULATION:

The Tachikoma itself moves as you would expect and the joints ensure that it can hold most poses pretty well. The joints that connect the legs and abdomen to the body feel a lot like the Revo joints that feature in the Revoltech line. They can offer full rotation around where the joint connects along with quite a sturdy click/ratchet. In this case it’s pretty necessary to have this ratcheting action in order for the legs to support the heavy weight of the metal main body.

Care to explain how tyre tracks got on the ceiling?

The legs and arms are also made of metal but aren’t as heavy. The “eyes” have a full 360 degree range of motion and can roll around similar to how a trackball works. The joints for the legs can rotate fully and have a sort of dual swivel system which allows the top of the legs to move up and down as well as backwards and forwards. The second joint in the legs also has full rotation, but the movement in and out is somewhat limited.

The arms are connected to the body with ball joints, but the range of motion is limited due to the body, legs, and the Tachikoma’s main weapon getting in the way. The end of each arm has a claw that can rotate and has articulated pincers that can individually open and close. The main gun can also move around a bit but its range is pretty limited. The “cannon” attachment also features a sort of “safety” muzzle cover that can be removed after its “pin” is pulled out (possibly a safety measure to ensure that a rogue Tachikoma would be unable to fire its cannon by itself).
The joint connecting the abdomen to the body allows for full rotation but can only tilt up and down slightly. The silver “spinnerets” on either side of the abdomen can also spin all the way around.

However, what makes this figure the definitive version is that it has an opening cockpit. Not just an opening cockpit, but also the inclusion of a little poseable figure of Motoko that fits nicely inside. The cockpit opens by pulling the top upwards and then opening the doors outwards. The doors also slide outwards slightly to allow them to open more. Inside is a fairly detailed rendition of what the interior would look like. It’s easy to see where the pilot would sit and how they would interact with the controls. Closing the cockpit is just a simple matter of reversing the process and having everything tab into where it’s supposed to.

What? I’m drivin’ here!

The Motoko figure that comes with this particular Tachikoma is pretty cool in its own right. It’s quite poseable and is a decent representation of the character given its small size. The head sits on a ball joint in the base of the neck which allows for a decent range of motion.

Her head can rotate fully and tilt forward to a fair degree, but can’t tilt backward very far, if at all due to the collar of her suit. The shoulders have a double ball joint and there’s a swivel just above the elbows.

The elbows themselves have a hinge that can bend to just past 90 degrees, and there’s a ball joint in the wrists. The ball joints in the wrists also allow for the interchanging of hands. The waist has a ball joint, as do the hips.

The joints in the hips allow for a decent range of movement, but it’s slightly hindered by the sculpt. There is a swivel just above the knees and the hinge in the knees allows them to bend to just past 90 degrees.

Her ankle area is surprisingly well articulated, with a ball joint just above the foot as well as a “rocker” joint in the foot which allows for a decent tilt left and right. All of this combines to make this figure of Motoko the smallest, yet most dynamic to date.

CONCLUSION:

The Tachikoma by the Good Smile Company is regarded as the definitive version of any Tachikoma figure based on the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series so far. It’s the most accurate and most poseable given its size and the inclusion of the Major as a figure that can fit inside the cockpit makes it a worthy addition to any toy collection, especially for all you Ghost in the Shell fans out there. It must be said however, that this particular figure is only available at aftermarket prices, which can be pretty crazy at times. It’s these crazy prices that push this figure into “Holy Grail” status for many collectors, so if you want it, be prepared to pay a hefty price for it.

375mL drink can for scale.

That being said, once you have this figure in your collection, you won’t be disappointed (just make sure you find one with strong joints that can support its own weight 😉 ).  For a much (MUCH!) cheaper alternative, Revoltech have released their own Tachikoma figures.  Although they are much smaller than the Good Smile version, they still come with some interesting accessories and can be a lot of fun to play with.  Also worth mentioning is the Perfect Piece Tachikoma which sort of sits in between the Good Smile and Revoltech versions in both size and price.  It’s a fairly detailed figure and it has a metallic finish as well as an opening cockpit, but the pilot Motoko figure isn’t poseable, or as detailed (or as much fun 😉 ).

The Good Smile Tachikoma can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Good Smile range.



You ready to go and fight crime?

I’d love to… but there’s someone already at the controls…
Wha…? Who’s in there?!
Come out with your hands up!
Umm…. Hi?…
Oh for… Get out of there!
You can’t go around stealing Tachikomas just because your movie sucks.

 

Figma Drossel – Review

INTRODUCTION

Drossel Juno Vierzehntes Heizregister Fürstin von Flügel – whew!

Now here’s a Disney “Princess” you may not have heard of. Coming up next is Drossel von Flügel (or if you’d prefer – Drossel Juno Vierzehntes Heizregister Fürstin von Flügel) by Figma. Drossel appears in the CGI animated series Fireball, produced by Disney in Japan. The Fireball series is about Drossel and her (quite large) robot companion/butler Gedächtnis making idle conversation in the midst of a war with humanity.

Princess? Yes. Pushover? Never.

Gedächtnis is Drossel’s servant and guardian, having sworn to her late father to protect her. Drossel treats him very much after the manner of the ‘spoiled princess’ stereotype (no doubt to further the comedic aspect of the show, but also in-synch with her appearance and the stylised postures she assumes).

Pew pew!

A running gag in the series is that, at the beginning, Gedächtnis waits for Drossel to arrive and is called by a name Drossel chooses seemingly at random (although some, such as Sancho Panza and Rasputin, infer an unambiguously subservient status upon him). Gedächtnis then attempts (in a gentle, butler-like fashion) to remind Drossel of his name, upon which she abruptly tells him not to interrupt. The episodes are usually nonsensical in nature, normally showing just the two characters , but a third character, a monkey-robot named Schadenfreude, joins them later.

I can’t see a thing with the blast shields down!

Fireball’s episodes are quite short at around 2 minutes each, give or take, and it’s possible to get through the whole series in about half an hour. There’s also a follow-up series called Fireball Charming which, although comes after the original Fireball, is actually a prequel to the story. Although the show is comical and light-hearted in nature, there is a certain air of mystery about the events happening outside Drossel’s home.

This particular style is guaranteed to add lift.

Very little is said about what’s going on outside, and it’s often left up to the viewer to “fill in the blanks”.  Even though Fireball Charming was made after the original Fireball, It’s clear to see which series has benefited from the advancements in CGI technology.  Sort of like comparing the original Star Wars trilogy with the prequel trilogy.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I don’t know… is it me?

Being a robot, first impressions are that she definitely has that mechanical feel while also appearing distinctly feminine. Her facial features are pretty much limited to her two large light blue eyes (that have a pearlescent shine to them).

Find your inner balance.

There’s not much else going on with her head except for her two large twin-tails that reach down to her knees. Her colour scheme is predominantly black and white and even her accessories maintain the motif. Thin black lines break up the mostly white overall colour. As usual, the Figma joints are sturdy and move well which really helps with poseability.

ACCESSORIES

Drossel’s Gear

Throughout the show, Drossel acquires some enhancements in the way of different headpieces and it’s good to see them replicated here. She has an assortment of interchangeable hands (left and right fists, open hands, splayed hands, item holding hands, and pointing fingers) and a large book, Prospero, that she and Gedächtnis refer to from time to time through the course of the show. Her enhancement pieces are the flight unit Obruchev, and a special headpiece that enables her to perform martial arts style moves. She calls it Karate, but her moves are actually more based on Capoeira.

Capoeira style!

Gedächtnis never got the full figure treatment. Instead there was a papercraft version that came with the original DVD release as well as a little PVC Schadenfreude figure to go with it. Both of these scale with Drossel so if you can find them (and have the time/patience for papercraft), then they might be worth looking into. Also included is the usual articulated display stand, instructions on how to attach and remove her accessories, and a snap lock bag to store everything in.

Karate style!

ARTICULATION

Ready for takeoff.

For such a mechanically styled figure, she moves quite well. Her head can rotate fully and has a decent left and right tilt. She can tilt her head down a bit, but can’t tilt back very much, if at all. The twin-tails can also move around to a fair degree. The ball joints at the shoulders allow her arms to rotate fully and they can raise up fairly well. The elbows can bend beyond 90 degrees which is nice and her upper arms can rotate at the shoulders. Her forearms can rotate at the elbows and the joint at the wrists can allow the hands to swivel as well as turn in or out.

I said, ready for takeoff!

There’s a ball joint in the waist area that allows for full rotation as well as a fairly decent tilt in all directions. The joints in the hips offer a decent range of movement, although it may be slightly hindered by the hip piece. Her knees can bend to about 135 degrees and the joints in the ankles, although also hindered, are able to move around enough to provide support for most standing poses. It’s not too difficult to get her into some really dynamic poses, but if it’s one thing that Drossel does well, it’s sass.

Stupid thing! Last time I let Gedächtnis order online!

CONCLUSION

Drossel von Flugel by Figma makes for a worthy addition to any toy collection. She has a unique style and although her face is expressionless, it is quite possible to convey her moods through the different poses she’s able to do. She has the right amount of accessories and is poseable enough to pull off all of her signature poses that she does throughout the series. If you can find the original DVD release that has the papercraft Gedächtnis and the little Schadenfreude figure, then that’s also worth looking into.  Even though Fireball first aired in 2008 (and Fireball Charming in 2011), it’s still possible to find a Figma Drossel for a decent price.  Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Fireball Charming version which can see some crazy after-market prices.

Figma Drossel can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Figma range.

So… you’re me in the future…
…then who’s that?
I dunno…. alternate timeline?
But check this out!
Tadaa~~ It was me, Hatsune Miku all along!
Luckily Scarlet keeps a camera handy for emergencies like these.

Figma Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois – Review

Introduction:

Now it’s time for me to review something that I’ve been meaning to get on the table for some time. This time around we have Figma Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois as she appears in the anime series Dog Days.  The name “Galette de Rois” is actually the name of a French cake, and in the land of Flonyard there are a lot of people and places that share names with desserts and pastries.  After a while of hearing about the territory of Galette doing battle against the republic of Biscotti, you can’t but help but get a little bit hungry.  😛

Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois

The recent revival of Ninja Warrior to our TV screens reminded me of Dog Days and how the battles between different nations are fought. In the world of Dog Days, battles between the different animal nations are played out in a giant obstacle/assault course. The show’s main character Shinku gets summoned to the land of Flonyard because of his athletic abilities and his prowess with Ninja Warrior-style obstacle courses.  Due to the whole sports-like nature of these battles, no one ever gets seriously hurt or killed (downed opponents simply “pop” and turn into “beast balls”), and both warring factions display excellent sportsmanship towards each other, with both nations’ field medics offering aid to whoever needs it.

The whole event also features live commentaries from guests from both sides. Both nations pit their strongest armies and warriors in this competition, but it is the Lord and General of the Galette Lion Territory Army, Leonmitchelli, that is the most feared opponent on the battlefield.

Just as dangerous without weapons

First Impressions:

Leonmitchelli is decked out in her usual battle attire consisting of a blue top and short shorts under a hard plastic skirt. Her hair is long with a light blue colour and her characteristic cat ears feature prominently. She also features her armoured forearms and knee high boots, and also wears a large dark grey cape with a light blue lining.

Do your part for the glory of the Galette Lion Territory!

The cape is also made of hard plastic, but at least it has two figma joints in it so it’s somewhat poseable. The colour scheme consists of mostly blue and dark grey, with the armoured parts painted with a metallic finish. As usual the figma joints move smoothly and seem capable of holding a pose without too much trouble.

You must tell me, who is your stylist?

Funnily enough, she shares a few design cues with Subaru Nakajima from the Magical Lyrical Nanoha: StrikerS series, specifically the jacket, skirt and tank-top/shorts combination.

The Style Sisters – ready for battle!
The greatest warrior in the Galette Lion Territory – not so good on skates…

Accessories:

Leonmitchelli comes with an assortment of additional hands. They consist of left and right closed fists, left and right splayed hands and left and right weapon/item holding hands.

Leonmitchelli’s gear

Normally there would be left and right neutral/flat hands but not this time around. Instead there is an extra right hand for holding weapons, only this one is in a fixed position. Probably due to the fact that the great axe – Granvale– can be a little bit heavy and the joints in the other hands can be a bit on the loose side. Her only face options are her confident/smiling expression and her angry/shouting battle expression.

The National Treasure of the Galette Lion Territory: The Great Axe – Granvale

Also included is her standard battle axe and an effect part to represent her magical Emblem Art power. I think that a clear plastic and a lighter paint would have worked better for this effect instead of the translucent plastic. As it is, it kind of looks like a little blob that just attaches to her wrist. A poseable figma stand is also included and a snap-lock bag to store all of her accessories in.

Emblem Arts, Level One – Activated!

Articulation:

Her standard battle axe can be just as powerful

She moves quite well, but loses some movement around the hips due to the nature of the hard plastic in her skirt. It is possible to get a little more movement by hiking her skirt up slightly since it’s not fixed in place. Even though the cape is somewhat poseable, it is also removable due to a clear plastic pin/plug that runs through the cape and into her back. Luckily this pin/plug is easily concealed behind her hair.

This clear plastic part holds the cape in place
Luckily it’s easily concealed

Her head can only rotate slightly, but it can tilt left and right okay. She can tilt her head down to a decent degree, but can’t tilt up very far – if at all – due to her long hair and the nature of the sculpt. Her hair is also jointed to allow for some poseability.  Her arms can’t raise very high but they can rotate fairly well and her elbows can bend to about 90 degrees. The joints in the wrists offer a pretty good range of movement, but the joint that attaches the hand to the wrist peg can be quite loose and won’t be able to handle a lot of weight. There is a weapon holding hand that is in a fixed position that will help in posing with the heavy Granvale axe.

Come get some!

The hard plastic skirt really hinders articulation around the hips. With it on, she can hardly move her legs. It takes a fair amount of force, (please exercise caution if you intend to do this!) but the skirt can be removed once you separate her body at the chest.

Room to move

She becomes much more poseable below the waist once you remove the skirt. There is a decent range of motion at the hips and the knees can bend to around 90 degrees. The ankles can tilt and rotate fairly well to offer you some stability for the more dynamic poses.

The ankle joints allow for some nice balancing

Conclusion:

I quite like Figma Leonmitchelli, she’s one of my favourites in my collection. She’s not without her flaws, but I like the overall result.  I had actually bought her Figma before I even saw the Dog Days anime, since I thought she looked like an interesting/cool character. The anime itself is a lot of fun to watch too, as a light-hearted adventure series.  Besides, what’s not to love about a cute cat-girl warrior with a giant f*ckoff axe?

Figma Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Figma range.



“You know you’re not a real cat, right?”

“What do you mean, ‘not a real cat’?”
“You take that back!”
“En Garde!”
“Hyaaa!”
An opening!
A swift attack!
“Now who’s not a real cat?”
“Time to get serious.”
“And I mean ‘serious’.”
“Wait wait! I’m not ready!”
A crushing blow!
“Impressive that you’re still standing after a direct hit. but you know…”
“…this is what happens when my opponents get defeated.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this beforehand?!”

Revoltech Geno Breaker – Review

Introduction:

This time around we have something a little different on the tabletop. Coming up next, we have the Zoids: Geno Breaker by way of Revoltech. Courtesy of the Zoids Wiki: Zoids (Japanese ゾイド (zoido)), short for Zoic Androids, is a franchise based around a series of plastic toy models designed and produced by Japanese toy company Tomy (now Takara-Tomy). First released in 1982, the models resemble a range of creatures including mammals, dinosaurs, and insects. The majority are in 1:72 scale with a wind-up or battery-powered motor to power moveable features, and feature snap-together construction and precolored parts. The original line of toys was released in Japan, Europe, and the United States in the 1980s.

Geno Breaker base model

The Geno Breaker (EZ-034) is a Tyrannosaurus-Type Zoid, and one of over 200 species of fictional biomechanical lifeforms depicted by TOMY’s Zoids model, toy, and media franchise. Based on the Geno Saurer, the Geno Breaker was first released in 2000, and the Zoid plays a significant role in both the Battle Story and the Zoids: Guardian Force anime.

Roar!

First Impressions:

It does come in quite a large box and some assembly is required, but once completed it comes out to be quite a large figure – a bit larger (and longer) than most Revoltechs. The Geno Breaker is quite literally armed to the teeth. It seems like everywhere you look around its body you can find some sort of armament. The colour scheme consists of plenty of red and black, broken up with metallic silver and grey highlights . It feels a bit heavy, and the clicky/ratchety nature of the Revo joints mean that it can hold a pose, but since there’s a fair bit of give between clicks it makes it feel kind of floppy. The Revoltech Geno Breaker might not be as detailed as a model kit but it’s still a pretty good representation of the character.

Attack Mode

Accessories:

Apart from the standard weapons, also included in the package is a pair of Revo-pliers (to help with moving and removing Revo joints), 2 Revo coins/chips, a little storage box, and a rod that attaches between the forearm and a claw to mimic the claw being launched from the forearm. There’s nothing really interchangeable here. Everything attaches where it’s supposed to and I’m not sure how compatible the equipment is with other Revoltech Zoids figures – apart from the things that are attached with Revo joints that is.

Geno Breaker’s Gear

Articulation:

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Although the Geno Breaker is a bipedal figure it has the standard ranges of movement that you would expect. The head can rotate well and has a decent tilt left and right as well as being able to look up and down pretty well. The jaw can open and close and inside the mouth you’ll find a small particle cannon muzzle that can be moved around and adjusted. It’s a bit odd that the horn doesn’t swing into a forward position as it’s sometimes depicted. It’s an easy enough joint to do, it could have even been a simple hinge/swivel joint, it’s just disappointing that it wasn’t included. It doesn’t harm the overall figure itself, but it would have been nice considering all the other added features present here.

Loaded up and ready for battle

There’s small Revo joints at the shoulders and elbows that allow for a good range of movement and the claws can open and close. The wrists peg in to the forearms for easy removal to add the faux “cable” to show the claws being launched. The larger Revo joints in the waist and hips offer added stability and provide plenty of movement. The knees and ankles also have the larger joints and it’s here that the “clickyness” of the Revo joint may prove to be annoying when trying to get the legs into the “right” position. The large feet make standing easy and there are “stabilizers” that can fold down at the heels. The calves have panels that can open up to reveal more details behind the legs which is also a nice touch.

The large blades can stow away nicely behind the shields

The tail is pretty interesting in itself. The segments are connected by Revo joints and each segment also has additional joints for the “vents” to open, to mimic the effect of a charged particle beam attack being fired from the mouth.

Charged particle laser ready to fire

The “backpack” holds two very large pincers/claws and also a booster. The vents from the booster can lift up and down and the claws are mounted on two long arms that can move about pretty freely. The “clicky/ratchety” nature of the Revo joints is really useful here as it helps to keep the arms where you want them. The claw blades have a nice, sturdy swivel and are finished in a nice metallic silver. When not in use they can swing back around and be stored under the big red shields.

Shields up
Blades out, ready to pounce
Or you can have a combination of both

Conclusion:

The Zoids: Geno Breaker by Revoltech has been a welcome addition to my collection. I missed out on Zoids the first time around and it’s good to see action figure versions of popular Zoids being made. There are also non-motorized model kits available that sacrifice motorization for greater poseability.

The Revoltech Zoids: Geno Breaker can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Revoltech range.  You can also find more Zoids figures and model kits here.


Orichalcum is hunting a very dangerous prey
The Geno Breaker senses danger
Uh oh…
Orichalcum narrowly avoids a devastating attack
No choice but to try and create some distance
An ally enters the fray
Yes! Reinforcements!
We might have a chance if we join forces
To be continued…

S. H. Figuarts Sailor Moon – Review

The 2016 Christmas break came with a glut of Transformers due to the new Titans Return range doing so well. I’ll eventually get around to reviewing some of the new stuff I got, but for now I’m doing something still “old school” – just not Transformers related. This time around it’s Sailor Moon by way of SH Figuarts!

Since originally airing in the early-mid 90’s, Sailor Moon has gone on to become a cultural icon that’s well known by anime fans and even non-anime fans alike. In fact, it was Sailor Moon that set a new benchmark for “magical girl” shows and since then the name has become synonymous with the genre.

Sailor Moon

A large portion of what makes the show so popular has often been copied, imitated, or referenced (I, myself, love a good transformation sequence 😀 ). To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sailor Moon anime, the show has been rebooted in the form of Sailor Moon Crystal (to mixed reviews) which follows the manga (or comic if you will) events more closely. I’m somewhat familiar with some of the names and terminology used in the original Japanese version, but I will be using names and terms used in the English version as that’s the one most familiar with me.

First Impressions:

Yay!

It’s a very good representation of the character and is instantly recognisable. She has that slender figure and her tell-tale extra long twin-tails that extend down from the buns on the top of her head. She’s decked out in her standard Sailor Scout outfit, the paint apps and decals are pretty good and she features a nice, clean sculpt. On closer inspection the paint apps may be a bit off, but not so much as to distract from the overall feel. Her hair is translucent in some places and her long twin-tails are somewhat movable. Her joints move freely and seem strong enough to hold even the most dynamic of poses.

Sailor Moon says: “Put ’em up!”
Or Karate style if you prefer.

Accessories:

Sailor Moon comes with an interesting array of accessories. Included in the package is her companion/mentor Luna the black cat. Luna’s head can rotate fully and tilt slightly due to a ball joint in her neck, but that’s as far as her movement goes.

Luna

There are interchangeable hands (left and right splayed hands and closed fists, right hand pointing finger and “peace” sign, right hand for holding her wand, a right hand with her Moon Tiara in attack mode attached, and a slightly open left hand).

Moon Tiara~~
Magic!

There are 2 Moon Wands – one with crystal and one without. A selection of 6 interchangeable faces is included – if you bought the 1st edition version that is. The 1st edition version features an extra “crying” face and a happy/winking face. The standard set includes a happy/smiling face, a shouting face, and 2 serious faces, one with tiara and one without (to simulate the Moon Tiara Attack). Also included is a custom display stand with “Sailor Moon” printed on its decorative heart-shaped base.

Moon Wand
I have the power!!

Articulation:

Her head has a fairly decent range of movement. It can rotate a full 360 degrees, can tilt left and right, and can tilt down okay but can’t tilt back very far due to the base of her hair. Her twin-tails have ball joints so they can move around a bit, but they might have a tendency to pop out if moved too far in one direction. The shoulders have ball joints which allow for a good range of movement – the collar can limit her range though. Her elbows can bend just past 90 degrees and the joints in the wrists offer some good movement.

Ka~me~ha~me~~
Haa~!

There’s a ball joint in her upper chest that allows for some decent twisting and tilting. There’s no joint in the waist, probably due to maintaining the sculpt, but the ball joints in the hips give a fairly good range. Her (teeny tiny) skirt is made from a soft plastic so it shouldn’t hinder her movement so you should be able to create or re-create some of her more dynamic poses. The knees can bend to about 270 degrees and the joints in the ankles offer some nice tilting and twisting.

“Fighting evil by moonlight!”

Conclusion:

Sailor Moon by SH Figuarts is a definite must-have for anyone familiar with the series. The figure itself is pretty good in its own right, and there are enough accessories to keep things interesting. It’s possible to collect all the Sailor Scouts now so you can build the full team. Even now prices are still reasonable, so building the whole team won’t be too much of a hassle. She’s lots of fun and would make a worthy addition to any figure collection.

Sailor Moon can be found at the links below along with the other Sailor Scouts and other figures in the SH Figuarts range.

The next generation of Magical Girls
It’s Tuxedo Mask!
Dynamic entry!
For you, my Princess
Hey, wait a minute!
Not quite the result she was expecting…

Figma Motoko Kusanagi (Double Feature!) – Review

Now that the internet is buzzing with news of the live action Ghost in the Shell movie, I think it’s time to review a figure of everyone’s favourite anime cyborg – Motoko Kusanagi.  This time around we’ll be having another double feature where I’ll be reviewing 2 versions of the Major.  Both coming from the Figma stable, we have Motoko as she appears in the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, and Ghost in the Shell Arise.  Although each figure represents the Major, they each have their own style.

First Impressions:

Motoko Kusanagi - Arise version.
Motoko Kusanagi – Arise version.

Arise Motoko comes to us in a mostly all black, skin-tight, special ops outfit which is broken up with various seams and other details.  There is a dark grey section that covers her arms and shoulders that is reminiscent of the jacket that the wears sometime later.  Her hair comes in a deep blue finish and the face is a bit different from the one that most of us will be familiar with.  The customary com ports that she has on the back of her neck are also present here.  This particular version is an earlier model of Motoko since the events that take place in Arise happen before the Ghost in the Shell movie that came out in 1995 (which has been given an updated remake in 2015).  She’s sporting a holster on her hip in which her sidearm can be placed which is a nice touch.

Stand Back
Stand Back
Freeze!
Freeze!

Stand Alone Motoko appears in a light blue outfit and it appears that she’s elected to put on some pants this time around.  Her initial outing in the Stand Alone Complex series has her getting around in pretty much just a body suit, tights, a jacket and boots (when she’s not in her tactical gear that is).  It also appears that her jacket had to be modified to allow for her “enhancements” in the chest area.  Stand Alone Motoko has more alike with the movie Motoko, only more anime styled. She also appears to be slightly taller and a little bit bigger than Arise Motoko.  Her “jacket” has slits near the shoulder joints to allow it to flex a bit when you lift her arms.  Be careful not to leave her arms lifted for too long or the plastic will keep its position.

Motoko Kusanagi - Stand Alone version
Motoko Kusanagi – Stand Alone version
Stand Back
Stand Back
Freeze!
Freeze!

Accessories:

Both Motokos come with the usual figma standards – display base, snap lock bag. And each has the usual array of interchangeable hands – left and right splayed hands, closed fists, and weapon holding hands.  In addition, they each have hands designed to hold their own sub-machine guns (Stand Alone Motoko’s sub-machine gun comes with a removable silencer), and they each have their own handgun.

Motoko's Gear
Motoko’s Gear

Stand Alone Motoko comes with two hair pieces – one straight and one to show a wind-swept look, and three faces – neutral/smiling, serious, and shouting.  Oddly enough, she comes with two different chest pieces.  I can see why they would include such a thing, but it just strikes me as odd that they would bother to go to that length for “that” specific detail (really, Max Factory…).

Motoko's Gear
Motoko’s Gear

Arise Motoko comes with three hair pieces – one plain and two with visors attached – one to show it being worn over the eyes and one to show it above the eyes.  She also comes with three faces – neutral/smiling, serious and “extra” serious.  Both figures also come with a spare wrist joint.  Something that I think all the newer figmas come with.

Mission Complete
Mission Complete

Articulation:

Arise Motoko’s head has a good range of movement.  She can look up and down as well as manage a decent left and right tilt, and turning is not an issue.  The shoulders move pretty freely and the joints are solid enough to hold poses well.  There’s a ball joint in the upper chest and the waist which allows for some nice twisting and tilting.  Her left hip moves freely, but the right hip is hindered by the holster.  It seems likely that the strap could be easily broken if it becomes over-extended.  The knees and ankles move well enough and are also solid enough to hold poses well.  It can be a bit tricky to balance Arise Motoko due to her “tactical heels”, but not impossible.

fisticuffs
Ready for fisticuffs…
kung-fu-style
…or kung fu style
Target Engaged
Target Engaged

Stand Alone Motoko’s head can look down a bit, but can’t look up very far, if at all, and can only manage a slight left and right tilt.  Turning is also not an issue.  The slits in the jacket allow the shoulders to move more freely without breaking up the overall shape.  The ball joints in the upper chest and waist also allow for a decent twisting and tilting motion.  There are no holsters or straps on Stand Alone Motoko’s hips so she’s able to move her legs around to a good degree.  Both figures are quite poseable in their own right and it’s not too difficult to get them into some dynamic poses/scenarios.

fisticuffs2
Ready for fisticuffs…
kung-fu-style2
…or kung fu style
Target Engaged
Target Engaged

Conclusion:

It’s a shame that there isn’t a Figma Motoko from the original Ghost in the Shell movie.  Maybe they might consider making one when the new live action movie gets closer to its release date.  At any rate, these two figures make a worthy addition to the collection.  Arise Motoko offers a glimpse into her past whereas Stand Alone Motoko offers us a glimpse into her future in regards to the original movie.  It’s interesting to see the same character presented in two quite different bodies.

stand-by2
Stand By
stand-by
Stand By
I can't see a thing with the blast shield down...
I can’t see a thing with the blast shield down…
375mL Drink can for scale
375mL Drink can for scale

Arise Motoko and Stand Alone Motoko can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Figma range.

 

 

tachikoma-battle
It’s time for After Hours Tachikoma Battles! Mikasa Ackerman stands in as referee
fight
And…. fight! (Arise Motoko quietly confident)
solid-hit
A lucky shot staggers the challenger!
follow-up-attack
The champion capitalises!
winner
We have a winner!
not-a-good-winner
Stand Alone Motoko is not always a gracious winner… (and Arise Motoko hates to lose)

Figma Shizuo Heiwajima – Review

Next up we have Figma Shizuo Heiwajima as he appears in the anime series Durarara x2.  Shizuo first appears in the first installment of Durarara and it’s quickly established that he’s the most dangerous man in Ikebukuro.  It’s not too long before he shows off his habit of throwing vending machines at whoever happens to be putting him in a bad mood.  It turns out that he actually hates violence, but sometimes his emotions (and adrenaline) get the better of him.

Shizuo Heiwajima, takin a break.
Shizuo Heiwajima, takin a break.

The anime Durarara centres around a district in Tokyo by the name of Ikebukuro and some of its more colourful inhabitants.  Mikado Ryuugamine has always longed for the excitement of the city life, and an invitation from a childhood friend convinces him to move to Tokyo.  Not long after his arrival he encounters characters that he never would have thought possible, from the super-humanly strong Shizuo Heiwajima to the mysterious Black Rider who rides a black motorcycle and wears an all black riding outfit.  It’s not just the people that Mikado meets in his new town that piques his interest.  He soon learns from his friend Masaomi that gangs are operating within the district.  The Dollars and the Yellow Flags seem to be the more dominant ones and it seems that Masaomi knows more about them than he’s letting on.  From there the story twists and turns as the different groups of characters go about their daily lives and their paths cross in interesting ways.

First Impressions

He looks very tidy in his bartender’s uniform.  He has quite the slender figure, offset with his scruffy hair.  Shizuo is not quite the happiest of chaps so his alternate faces are a testament to his badassery.  His vest is made of a softer plastic so as not to hinder articulation in some areas.  The figure itself has the usual figma polish – the lines are nice and clean, and the paint apps are spot on.  Most of the individual pieces are moulded in coloured plastic so there’s not a lot of paint apps on show here except for the alternate faces.  All in all, it’s a pretty good representation of the character.  Especially since figmas seem to excel in the anime figure department.

On the phone
On the phone
How did you get this nuimber?!!
How did you get this number?!!

Accessories

Shizuo has a penchant for extreme outbursts of strength so it’s fitting that he comes with a street sign that appears to be freshly ripped out of the ground.  Included in the package are a spare forearm and a spare hip piece to represent a “hand in pocket” pose.  There is a hair piece that has his sunglasses attached and he comes with 3 cigarettes.  The hands in the set include left and right closed fists, item holding hands, splayed hands, open hands with holes to attach a cigarette, and a right hand holding a mobile phone.

Shizuo's Gear
Shizuo’s Gear

The three faces in the package are his default serious face, an angry face, and a nasty smirk.  The nasty smirk would probably be the closest thing that we’ll get to a smiling/happy face from Shizuo.  Also included is the usual articulated stand, a spare wrist joint, an instruction sheet, and a snap-lock bag to store everything in.

Articulation

Shizuo’s slender build helps with articulation in most areas, but he’s not without a few issues.  His head can’t tilt back very far, if at all,  due to his hair (short as it is), but it can tilt down okay.  It can turn left and right all the way around and can only manage a slight tilt left and right.  The arms can lift to about 90 degrees at the shoulders, and they can rotate all the way around.  He has a decent bend at the elbows which can allow him to touch his nose or do a “glasses push” pose.

glasses-push
Glasses push

The waist and hips have a good range of movement.  He can just about do the splits but can only lift his legs to the front and back to just under 90 degrees.  The knees also can only bend just past 90 degrees.  The joint in the ankles can allow for turning and tilting movement and there is a hinge at the toes of his shoes.  It wouldn’t be too difficult to get him into some more dynamic poses.

High kick
High kick
Bartender style martial arts
Bartender style martial arts
Street sign, freshly plucked.
Street sign, freshly plucked.
You want some of this?!
You want some of this?!

Conclusion

Figma Shizuo Heiwajima is a definite purchase for fans of the Durarara series.  The series itself is also worth watching, especially for those who like to see different character arcs cross over and interact with one another.  For me, the series felt like it was a slow build but by the end of the series it turns into quite a roller coaster ride.  Along the way we learn a lot about the each of the characters in the story, and the three “main” characters face their own challenges and undergo their own changes.  I’m really excited for the Celty figma that has been announced – but I’m not sure if there’s been any mention of her bike being made.  If Racing Miku can have a bike, then so can Celty!  In the meantime, I’ll need to look into figma Izaya Orihara so that Shizuo has a target to focus his rage at.

Bartender and Maid - together at last!
Bartender and Maid – together at last!

Figma Shizuo can be found at the link below along with other figures in the figma range.

Hospitality Showdown
It’s time for the Hospitality Showdown!
Shizuo moves first
Shizuo moves first
Follows up with a kick
Follows up with a kick
Gets countered
Gets countered
And receives a solid punch from Ryomou
And receives a mighty punch from Ryomou
"Is that all you got?"
“Is that all you got?”
"Now it's my turn!"
“Now it’s my turn!”
"Get back here!"
“Get back here!”
Half time at the ol' Drink Can
Half time at the ol’ Drink Can

Armor Girls Project MS Girl Wing Gundam (EW Ver.) – Review

Next up we have Armor Girls Project Mobile Suit Girl Wing Gundam (Endless Waltz Version) (whew!).  The Armour Girls Project line specialises in the mecha musume style that incorporates cute anime style girls with anime style mecha/robotics.  The Armor Girls Project (AGP for short) uses characters from anime shows such as the ever popular Gundam series, Infinite Stratos, Strike Witches, and most recently Kantai Collection.

ms-girl-wing-gundam-ew-ver
Mobile Suit Girl Wing Gundam (Endless Waltz Version)

First IMPRESSIONS

Once you remove everything from the packaging it sort of feels like a model kit (of which the Gundam series is famous for).  There are a lot of small pieces and at first it’s not very apparent as to what goes where. Thankfully, instructions are included.  The girl included in the set is certainly cute in her mostly white body suit and short blue hair, and she appears to be poseable enough.  She seems to be around the 1/12 scale which would make her a similar size to Figmas or Revoltechs.  All the armour pieces seem to just attach to wherever they’re supposed to go which makes me wonder if they’ll hold their positions well enough.

Isn't she cute? ^_^
Isn’t she cute? ^_^

ACCESSORIES

There are a lot of pieces to contend with here so hopefully the photos will do them justice.  Apart from the armour pieces, the set includes left and right open hands, closed fists, open fists for holding weapons/handles, and hands for holding guns.  Weaponry consists of a long rifle and a beam sword as well as forearm mounted blades and a shield.  It appears that the shield can only be equipped on the left forearm.  I would also like to add that while the two faces that are included are nice, it would have been excellent if a more “serious” face was included in this set.

Wing Gundam Gear
Wing Gundam Gear

ARTICULATION

The base figure is fairly well articulated.  The head can do a full 360 turn and has a good left and right tilt. She can look down okay, but can’t look up very far which is surprising with her short hair.  Her shoulders can’t lift up very high but they can rotate all the way around as far as the sculpt allows.  Elbows can manage a decent bend and the wrists are able to rotate and bend to a satisfying degree.  There seems to be a ball joint in the chest that allows a fair twist but only minimal tilting.

"Knight" Mode
“Knight” Mode
"Knight" Mode
“Knight” Mode

The hips on the figure that I have seem to be quite stiff.  I should be able to get more movement than I’m currently getting, but I don’t want to overly stress the hip joints.  The figure seems to be quite delicate and I wouldn’t want to break the hips by trying to force it too much.  Knees and ankles offer a decent range of movement and the joints are firm enough to be able to hold some good poses.  Once equipped, the armour pieces may hinder poseability in some areas.  It then becomes a matter of working around it somehow.

In Flight
In Flight

CONCLUSION

MS Girl Wing Gundam (EW Ver.) by AGP makes for a pretty good example of the mecha musume genre.  It is possible to go for a “light armour” look by scaling back some of her equipment.  However, unlike Busou Shinki it doesn’t have that modularity with the pieces that allow for interchanging and customising armours.  With AGP girls, they appear to be compatible with other figures in Bandai’s Robot Spirits range, which should allow for some mixing and matching at least.  One thing that I have noticed about this particular set is that some armour pieces don’t quite connect as well as they should.  It’s pretty easy for some pieces to pop off which can be annoying when you’re trying to get a pose just right.

"Brawler" Mode
“Brawler” Mode
"Brawler" Mode
“Brawler” Mode

MS Girl Wing Gundam is a fine display piece and it has the added benefit of having a cute anime girl figure to pick up and play with at any time.  The AGP Gundam Girls are a nice alternative to the usual model kits that are associated with the Gundam series, and they also provide a fresh new outlook on some of the more iconic Mobile Suit designs.

Stand By
Stand By

She can be found at the link below along with other figures in the AGP range.

Wing Gundam Girl featuring Origami from Date-A-Live
Wing Gundam Girl featuring Origami from Date-A-Live
Wing Gundam Girl featuring Origami from Date-A-Live
Wing Gundam Girl featuring Origami from Date-A-Live
I believe this is yours...
I believe this is yours…
Yes! I was looking for that!
Yes! I was looking for that!
AGP Kung Fu School (375 mL drink can for scale)
AGP Kung Fu School (375 mL drink can for scale)

Figma Kirito and Asuna (Sword Art Online) – Review

Coming up now, we have a double feature starring Figma Kirito and Asuna from the anime series Sword Art Online.  I figured it would be easier to do a combined review of the two since they are from the same show and it would save me from repeating myself too much.  Also, don’t they make a lovely couple? 😀

First Impressions:

Kirito
Kirito

Starting with Kirito, he’s decked out in all black gear (which gets him the nickname “Black Swordsman”).  His black coat makes up much of his shape and is broken up with various lines and grey buckles. The bottom of his coat is split in two pieces which are jointed at the waist area.  He looks like a bit of a scruff compared to…

Asuna
Asuna

The lovely Asuna who looks elegant in her mostly white outfit with red trim and skirt.  A stark contrast to Kirito’s all black motif. Asuna’s dress is similar to Kirito’s in that it is also split in two with joints, however, the joints sit a bit lower on the hips.  She carries a certain air of regality about her.

Accessories:

Asuna comes with 3 interchangeable faces – neutral/happy,  serious,  and grumpy.  She comes with 2 swords – Lambent Light and Silveric Rapier,  each with its own sheath), but only one can be equipped on her left hip at a time.  An assortment of interchangeable hands are included – left and right open hands,  left and right closed fists,  left and right splayed hands, and left and right weapon holding hands with different holding angles.  She also comes with an effect part for her sword to represent a series of rapid thrusts – typical for her choice of weapon which earned her the nickname of “The Flash”.

Asuna's Gear
Asuna’s Gear

Kirito also comes with 3 interchangeable faces – neutral/happy, shouting, and a worried/lazy face (to compliment Asuna’s grumpy face).  He comes with 2 swords (Elucidator and Dark Repulser), each with their own sheath and both of these are able to be worn on his back with a special attachment.  A set of interchangeable hands are included which contain left and right closed fists, left and right splayed hands, and left and right weapon holding hands with different holding angles.  Kirito has single and double sheath holding attachments so he can wear one or both of his swords on his back.  Also included are 2 effect parts to represent a slashing motion from his swords.

Kirito's Gear
Kirito’s Gear

Both figures also have a flexible, clear plastic stand and a snap-lock bag to store all their accessories in.

Articulation:

Both figures offer about the same range of movement overall.  Kirito’s head movement is hindered by his hair so he can’t look up too well (if at all).  Asuna’s head however, despite having a lot more hair to contend with, actually moves a lot better that Kirito’s due to having a softer plastic and an extra joint at the back to move the hair out of the way if need be.  Both can turn their heads left and right to a good degree and have a good left and right tilt, but again Asuna edges out Kirito in these departments.

Crossed Swords
Crossed Swords
Double Slash
Double Slash

Arms move freely but I’m afraid to lift Asuna’s too high due to the straps that drape over her shoulders.  I’m worried that the straps might break if stressed too much, even if they are a flexible plastic.  Both figures have a joint in the chest area to allow for body twists and have flexible plastic around the hips to allow the legs to move more freely.  They can pretty much do the splits, and are able to sit down, even though you wouldn’t think so given the amount of plastic back there.  You do sort of have to “cheat” and have the coat/dress trailing out the back though.

Ready...
Ready…
Attack!
Attack!

Both are able to pull off some pretty nice poses, dynamic or otherwise and it’s a lot of fun to pair these two together.

375 mL Drink Can for Scale
375 mL Drink Can for Scale

Conclusion:

Both of these figures would make a worthy purchase, and it’s hard to own just one of them.  I had purchased Kirito first and after seeing pictures of Asuna I realised I had to get her as well (that grumpy face was too much to pass up 😀 ).  They can be found at the links below along with other figures in the figma line.  Also worth mentioning is the release of other figures from Sword Art Online now that season 2 is out there.

Piercing Thrust
Piercing Thrust
Low Stance
Low Stance
Dual Wielding
Dual Wielding
"Why aren't you training?"
“Why aren’t you training?”
"Get up and train, damn you!"
“Get up and train, damn you!”