I have a ridiculous amount of toys. The majority of my collection revolves around Max Factory’s figma line. These 5-6 inch figures, mostly if not entirely designed by Maki Asai, launched in January 2008 and took the action figure world by storm. Figma’s popularity stems from the perfect marriage of numerous articulation points and gorgeous sculpting. It’s why I own over sixty of these things, and that’s not including the dozen or so on preorder.
One of the reasons why I decided to write for this site (other than the promise of women and booze, which wah assures me will happen one day) was to have a platform to review various figma figures from my collection. I had a buttload of them available to review, but ultimately decided to wait until Bakemonogatari’s Hitagi Senjougahara and Xenosaga’s KOS-MOS ver. 4 arrived. They eventually showed up mid May, and I expressed my desire to wah to have these reviewed as soon as possible, as shown here in this chatroom re-enactment:
<bonertown> figures came in, I’ll do a review this weekend
So I took photos immediately and had wrote a quick draft, with plans to finish the next day. Then:
Whoops. My apologies. But hey, at least I got it done! That should count for something, right? Anyway, before I start the reviews, I should note that I took these photos incredibly fast and ended up with some color cast on a few of them, so they don’t look great. Photos in future reviews will look better, I assure you. In any event, let’s begin!
Hitagi Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari
April 2011 release
MSRP: 2800 円/$35
Hitagi Senjougahara is one of several female characters featured in Bakemonogatari, a light novel series that was turned into a hit popular anime series by SHAFT and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (cue hearts and sparkles of awe in wah’s otherwise dead and soulless eyes). If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend it. That said, I could be speaking to the choir here, considering the show’s runaway success in Japan.
If you are unfamiliar with figma, the line is known for packing in a stand and a huge amount of accessories with each figure, all of which can be sealed inside a figma branded zippage storage bag (a rather ingenious move I‘d love to see replicated by other companies). In Senjougahara’s case, she comes with two alternate heads, an alternate hairstyle and several sets of hands placed on a rack (another brilliant move). A few of these hands also hold various things. One hand holds a box cutter, while another holds a stapler, which will fit into the mouth of Koyomi Arararagi, the protagonist of the series and release number 97 of the line. A pair of hands hold various office supplies: scissors, rulers and staplers. Now, I would be careful while handling these particular set of hands, as the various bits are composed of thin plastic and can be prone to breakage; the scissors on one of the hands came off during the photo shoot. Although the break was easily fixable, it’s still something to think about while swapping various parts in and out.
Which brings me to the next point: although figmas can be durable, do not expect to have a field day with these guys. They can be played with, but don’t expect them to last long if you have your toys do E. Honda head butt torpedoes all day long.
But displaying them? That’s what figma excels at; the sculpting here is strong, easily capturing Senjougahara’s demeanor. The paint work on the figure also retains a high level of quality for a figure of this size. All the details here here, down to the designs on her panties. The build quality on this figure also feels better, with stronger joints compared to recent figma outings (Black Rock Shooter’s Black Gold Saw, for instance, cannot lift her sword at all). Points of articulation can be found at her neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, a (limited) ab crunch, waist, hips, knees, ankles and even a joint on her ponytail. You can easily come up with some interesting poses for her, like so:
She’s a strong addition to the figma line, but good luck finding her; she’s completely sold out in Japan, as is Koyomi Arararagi. And although both are available as a preorder at Big Bad Toy Store for a (I imagine) limited domestic release, the prices are also marked up. If you can manage to track both her and Arararagi down for under $35 each, jump on them. While you’re at it, be sure to pre-order the upcoming Mayoi Hachikuji and Suruga Kanbaru too because those are also sure to sell out just as fast.
KOS-MOS ver. 4 from Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra
April 2011 release
MSRP: 4800 円 / $60
KOS-MOS hails from the Xenosaga universe, based on games released on the Playstation 2 from 2002 through 2006. Initially planned as a hexalogy, the series was cut down to three episodes after the lukewarm reception to the lackluster Episode II. It’s worth noting that Episode II also paved the way for an incredibly awful animated series based on the first game and, in more relation to this review, the laughable figure included in the Episode II Collectors Limited Edition.
This near bootleg quality figure spoke of the quality of Episode II in general, which effectively shortened the life of what could have been a stellar epic RPG franchise. The so-called “Jashin MOK-KOS” figure included in the Collector’s Edition is so bad that I couldn’t find any of the original images taken of the figure; it has been erased out of existence from the internet. Considering the fact that the internet is a repository of information that is written in permanent marker, that’s saying a lot.
Fast-forward to 2011. Max Factory has redeemed KOS-MOS in many ways with the figma release, based on the much better Episode III game. KOS-MOS ver. 4 sports the most accessories seen yet for a figure in the line. I mean, look at all this shit!
Two G-Shot gatling canons with their own muzzle effect accessories, an R-Blade, a pistol, a chest piece with the Phase Transfer Cannon, an alternate visor and the Dragon Tooth, a cannon with a detachable blue blade. She comes with all of this on top of her standard set of hands and an alternate face with blue eyes (which is explained throughout the course of the third game). The sculpt is amazing, easily washing away the taste of the Jashin MOK-KOS. Which I will show again, in case you forgot.
The sculpt gets every single detail from the game model. She comes with blue translucent hair, which appears terrific when lit underneath. It even goes as far as to sculpt her ass, which is a first for the line (Fate/Stay Night’s Rider barely has one, sadly). There‘s a fair amount of articulation here: two hinges for her hair, one for her neck, two each for her shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles, two hinge joints for her skirt, and a swivel for her upper torso, as well as extremely limited movement forward and backwards there as well.
There are a few nitpicks I have. Her hands with the extended trigger fingers are practically the only hands that can hold her weaponry, and it can be daunting to get the various weapon handles to squeeze in. I’ve found that getting the handles in at an angle to slightly bend the thumbs slightly is the best way to make them fit. Also, although there are two small rods that fit in vertically on the gatling guns, I highly recommend investing in a di:stage for the rods to insert to. These run at about 6 to 8 dollars depending on which one (I recommend the Extension Stage) but will save you huge amounts of frustration as the rods can barely manage to hold the guns up. It’s not impossible without the stage, but it will take some time and a bit of trickery and finagling.
Finally, I’ve found that the paint quality on KOS-MOS isn’t as strong as other figures in the line due to the amount of details found on the figure and design itself, which means some overpaint in a few places and lack of paint in others, but it’s still pretty good considering the ornate amount of detailing.
It’s certainly not the Jashin MOK-KOS, that‘s for sure. Remember that? No? Here, let’s remind you:
KOS-MOS comes with a lot of stuff. This reflects in her price point, which comes in at 4800 円, easily the highest of the main figma line. But like the earlier reviewed Senjougahara, she sold out incredibly fast at all the retailers; even Big Bad Toy Store sold out, and they had her at $75. However, in the last week or so, she has once again come in stock at AmiAmi at a slightly discounted price of 3980 円 ($50). If you want her, I highly suggest paying the money now before she sells out and eventually skyrockets in price.
Look at it this way: at least you won’t spend 17,000 円 on it now like some people did for the Episode II Collectors Limited Edition. You know, the one with the Jashin MOK-KOS figure.