It Figures (No. 3) Misaka Mikoto


It may have been awhile since I’ve done an It Figures post, but anyone that’s followed the site with any regularity knows that they’re here to read posts by Lisa Marie Bowman, or maybe Arleigh, but if they’re here to read anything from pantsukudasai56, then they’re in for a long wait in between entries.  My latest entry was about a little show called Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, and keeping with that theme, I have the latest figure I’ve received who also happens to be the protagonist of that show, Misaka Mikoto.DSC00040

First off, this box is big enough to hold an entire Spartan.  Is that Master Chief in there?  Ok, I really only took this pic as a sort of comparison.  My TV is a 55″ screen, so you can see just how big that box is.  Incidentally, the show that I’m watching is Yozakura Quartet.  All in all it’s a pretty average show, so there won’t be a post dedicated to it, but it’s not like it’s a terrible show.  Just one of those shows you watch if you have nothing better to do.  Anyways, that’s all I’ll ever mention of the show, and no, Master Chief is not in this box, although he would almost fit (not really)  The box winds up being 9180 square inches of space.  By far the largest box I’ve ever received from Glorious Nippon, but is this the size of the figure I’m reviewing?DSC00042

No.  There’s two figures in here.  Still, two figures for a box this size is pretty impressive.  The other figure is of the Princess of the Crystal by Good Smile Company, and she in herself is almost worth a post.  But today we’re focusing just on the FREEing Misaka Mikoto (FREEing is also a subsidiary of Good Smile Company, so getting the two in one box makes a certain amount of sense)DSC00043

Even though it’s not as large as you’d think coming from a shipping box that size, this is still a 1/4 scale figure, which is FREEing’s forte.  While they also do the normal 1/6 to 1/8 scale figures, they’re mostly known for doing the larger 1/4 scale figures.  For those who don’t quite get what I’m saying, it basically means that if you increased this figure’s size 4 times what it currently is, you’d have a life size figure.  For the curious, 1/1 size figures do exist, and they also cost several thousands of dollars.  Far more than even this reviewer can afford to spend on a figure, regardless of how awesome it would be to own one.

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The first thing I’d like to point out about this figure is a big difference between her and most other figures.  A lot of other figure collectors would probably spot this right away, but for the uninitiated, here’s something to look at.  She doesn’t have a standard base like so many other figures.  That stool is what supports her, an unlike a lot of other figures, she’s not attached to it by pegs or screws.  She’s just sitting on it, with most of the figure weight being put directly on the stool, and a small amount being put on her foot which is touching the floor.  While this is an interesting choice, it also leads to the possibility that she will not be quite as stable as a figure that has a base that it’s pegged in to.  Still, from my experimentation, it seems that she will remain quite stable, so the chances of her falling off the base are fairly slim, unless you live in an area that experiences a lot of earthquakes.

DSC00045The backside of this figure stays faithful to the bunny girl motif that Japan (and I) so dearly love.  FREEing is well known for its bunny girl figures, having done them for highly popular series like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and lesser know but still well loved series like Sora no Otoshimono, so naturally they’re not letting their customers down with this series.  This is actually their second figure from the series, with “good friend” Kuroko Shirai already having debuted in a similar outfit.  So, they’re no strangers to making sure that their figures look good from any angle.

DSC00046Dear Jeebus, she had no face!  Ok, this is a fairly new thing for the 1/4 scale FREEing figures.  Usually with this line, you get what you’re given and that’s that.  But for these figures, they’ve given us the option of changing out the faces.  The face that I showed you earlier had her smiling.  That’s all well and good for most people, but for fans of the series and people that feel they know Mikoto well, that just isn’t good enough.

DSC00047This face is much more suitable to her.  Anyone that has watched the series would know that if Mikoto were to find herself forced to wear a bunny girl outfit, that she would be very uncomfortable doing so.  So it’s great that FREEing had the foresight to include a second face that makes Mikoto look as though she is highly embarrassed to be seen wearing such an outfit.  Now, to each their own of course, so if you liked the previous face then by all means display her as such.  However, for people like myself who feel that Mikoto would normally show a lot more restraint in this situation, this secondary face is a great addition to the figure and I’m thrilled that FREEing gave us a choice.

DSC00048One other aspect that I’d like to focus on is the stockings.  This just goes to show the attention to detail that FREEing made to this figure.  It would have been so easy for them to just paint the stockings on and call it good, but that’s not what FREEing is all about.  You can’t easily tell from this picture, but I’m here to tell you that those stockings are actual net stockings and not just painted on.  What I mean by that is, I can grab a portion of the stockings and pull them off from her legs.  Now, granted, you can’t actually removed the stockings entirely, but the fact that they are actual fabric stockings and not just molded plastic means a lot to figure fans.  These small attention to details makes a figure like this worth putting in ones collection.

All in all, a big part of FREEing’s draw is the sheer size of their figures.  Not many companies make figures larger than a 1/6 size.  But regardless, if it was a large sized figure with poorly sculpted features, it wouldn’t matter what size it was.  With the inclusion of a secondary face, FREEing tackles any problem I might have had with this figure, and makes it one that would be welcome any any serious collector’s home.  This kind of attention to detail is exactly what we all expect when we get a figure related to Good Smile Company.

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It Figures (No. 2) Akari Mizunashi


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With my first It Figures column, I talked about one of the more impressive figures in my collection with Godoka.  With this installment, I’d like to talk about what I consider the crown jewel of my collection.  I’m referring to an Azone BJD, or ball jointed doll, of Aria main character Akari Mizunashi.  For those that have followed my posts in the past, you might remember that I listed Aria as an anime you should be watching.  Akari and her boundless enthusiasm and endless amounts of joy at discovering aspects of Neo Venetia is a big reason for that.

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Here is a full view of Akari.  Unlike most standard figures, there are some big differences when you start talking about BJDs.  First off, they’ll almost always have actual cloth clothing.  Second, they’ll have wigs instead of molded plastic hair.  Another thing that makes this figure so special is its size.  It’s a 1:3 scale figure, while most other figures are 1:8 or 1:6.  Even the 1:4 scale figures are not very common, so a 1:3 scale is very much a treat.  The President Aria that she’s holding does not come with the figure, but rather it’s just something I added on separately because it seemed fitting, and for a reason I’ll talk about in a little bit.

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Here is a close up of her face.  Azone has a reputation for making good representations of various characters when they give them the BJD treatment, and this is no exception.  Now, there is a difference between this BJD, and say a Volks BJD.  That is this one has painted on eyes, where most Volks dolls have glass eyes inserted into the eye sockets.  While I personally prefer the glass eyes, to some people they can give the dolls a sort of creepy look.  This style is much less creepy and more likely to be pleasing to fans of the series.

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This is the main accessory that she comes with, her oar that she uses to row her gondola.  I do not often display her with the oar for a simple reason.  It unbalances her terribly.  That base you see under her feet is all that supports her.  There are a couple weak magnets in her shoes that keep her attached, but with her size, it’s not nearly enough to keep her from tipping over.  The oar itself is a full 40″ long and made of wood, so if its weight shifts even a little, she’ll topple right over.  Perhaps if I had a big enough display case where I could lean the oar against it, I’d use it in the display more often because it is really nice.  As it stands though, it took me 5 minutes of fiddling around just to get her to stand properly while holding that oar for this picture.  Much easier just to display her with President Aria.

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As I mentioned, she uses a doll wig instead of molded hair.  Because of this, it takes a little more care to keep it from getting frizzy, but the benefits speak for themselves.  It just cannot be compared to molded plastic hair.  I suppose if one were so inclined, they could do her hair however they wanted.  But, the way it’s meant to be is the best.

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They made sure to take into account the layered look of her hair, as it is in the anime.  Of course, her most distinctive feature is, as Akatsuki always puts it, her sideburns.  Akari is always quick to point out that they’re not sideburns, but whatever you want to call them, they’re adorable either way.

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Just another view of her, this time from the back.  Her uniform is quite faithfully recreated, with a bit of wire in the hem so even it can be posed in the manner that you choose.  This is a nice touch in case you wanted to pose her in an active type position where it wouldn’t make sense to just have the dress laying flat.

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Throughout most of the series, Akari is shown as a Single, which is a level of apprentice gondolier.  This is signified by her wearing one glove.  This is an indication to the public that she cannot take passengers in her gondola without a full fledged gondolier, or Prima.  The glove is able to be removed, so if you so chose, one could display her as a Prima, but I just think the look of a Single suits her more for display purposes.

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One slight downside to her, besides the lack of really good stability, is the fact that she doesn’t really have ankle joints like a lot of BJDs do.  This is because her boots are not really meant to be removed since that’s how she’s made to stay on her base, and so they felt there was no point in putting on ankle joints.  While I can see their point, it does reduce the ability to pose her a little bit, since she can only bend on her knee joints and just slightly forward on the ankles.  Her feet will shift forward slightly, but not nearly to the extent that a person can bend on their ankles in real life.  Beyond this one little nitpick though, she’s a fantastic figure.

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It’s always nice and puts a smile on my face to have Akari welcoming me home with open arms.  Now some might be wondering, what’s she wearing under that uniform?  And to them, I say, none of your business!  Yes, as perverse as I may be most of the time, Aria, and Akari by extension, is serenity.  It’s the one and only show where I will not look for perverse elements, I won’t look at h-doujinshi of it, and I certainly will not look up Akari’s dress at her panties.  She is wearing them, all BJDs tend to have panties and a slip, but I just have no desire to sully her by doing that.  Even I have some semblance of morals now and again!

This figure is certainly not for everyone.  For one thing, the joints tend to turn some people off.  For others, the sheer size of the figure makes it inconvenient to display.  But the main sticking point for people is likely the price.  I was lucky enough to find and purchase her in Japan when I visited there back in 2008, and I got her for the bargain price of 80,000 yen.  At the time, I was getting slightly more than 100 yen per dollar, so she cost me a little less than $800.  That may not seem like a bargain to many, but considering how she now goes at auction for $2500 or more, that is a fantastic price.  I’ve personally been offered $2000 for her, but she is definitely one figure that I will never part with under any circumstances.  She’s just that kind of good.  Some people might look at figures as mere toys, but I think of them as closer to daughters, and I’d never sell my daughters for any price!

It Figures (No. 1): Godoka


For some time now, Arleigh has been trying to get me to write up a post about figures.  We both enjoy collecting them, and my collection of them is rather extensive so there’s certainly no lack of material.  Again, it all came down to motivation to just get started, and what motivated me the most was my most recent acquisition, the Good Smile Company version of Ultimate Madoka, or as she’s better known, Godoka.

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Yes indeed, the contents are fragile, and very valuable.  Many Bothans died bringing this….ahem, wrong story.  Anyways, this is one thing I really appreciate about the Japanese.  That’s no cheaply made, reused, been sitting in the back with people taking naps on it kind of cardboard box.  That’s a sturdy, never before used, highly protective one.  Plus they put just the right amount of packing material inside to keep the figure from shifting, but not so much that it crushes it.

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And that effort paid off.  Here she is, safe and sound in the comfort of my own home, without nary a dent in the box.  The boxes themselves are often times practically works of art.  On them they usually show the various angles and options one can do with each figure.  I know Godoka is yearning to be free from her plastic and cardboard prison, but first I think one needs to appreciate just how big this box is.  This picture doesn’t really do it justice, since there’s no basis for comparison.

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Now this one gives you an idea.  That’s about 14.5″ wide, and the box is pretty much square, so that should show that they didn’t mess around with this figure.  The boxes for the other figures in this series were only half this size.  But now that we’ve had our fill of boxes, let’s get her out of there and take a better look.

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Here we have a look at all the various pieces that comprise her.  While this may not be a lot by some figures standards, by a scaled, static figure this is a lot.  In case it’s not easily seen, in addition to the main figure, she had two different bows, two sets of wings, an arrow and of course her base.  What also probably isn’t easily seen is the fact that the plastic tomb is not only held together by the snaps and tape, but also with twisted wire.  This last part is always a pain in the rear, so be sure to keep a pair of wire cutters handy.  Trying to untwist those wires by hand is not a fun task, and I do not recommend those without much patience to attempt it.

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Now we finally get to see Godoka free from her constraints.  And let me tell you, she’s no lightweight figure.  A good amount of weight is in the dress of hers, which is good since that’s where she’s going to attach to her base.  The pattern of stars on the black interior of the dress is a very nice touch, and GSC did not skimp on the details.  One thing to be wary of is her hair.  It feels pretty fragile, and the ends are very pointy so if you’re not careful, she could very easily snag a piece of clothing and possibly snap a strand of hair off.  I thought it was going to happen to me a couple times as I was getting later parts put on her, but thankfully I managed to avoid any catastrophes.  Ah, I can hear you now.  “But pantsukudasai, when you say she’s detailed, just HOW detailed, if you know what I mean?”  Oh, I do know what you mean, yes indeed.

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Homu Homu would be drooling in envy.  Yes, in keeping with a fine tradition in figures, they made sure to sculpt a pair of panties on her.  Sadly, it’s just a very standard pair.  Some figures get very fancy underwear indeed.  Still, it’s this attention to detail that makes collecting so worth while.  And when you think about it, it certainly makes sense.  I mean, if you’re going to have a figure in a dress, it stands to reason that she’s going to be wearing something underneath it, doesn’t it?  And since one must appreciate all aspects of their figure, it’s only natural that I’d flip each figure over and check out their pantsu.  Nothing perverted about that in the least!

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Now here she is with her bow and arrow.  As I mentioned earlier, she comes with two different bows.  The other bow does not have the pink energy charge around it and it just her regular sprout bow.  I assume that’s if you want to display her as if she’s already fired the arrow.  I think it looks much better with the arrow and the charged bow.  The only downside to this is that the bow doesn’t feel particularly sturdy, and as you move the figure the top wobbles in a way that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me.  Still, for the most part the figure is going to be safely behind glass, and other than the vibrations from me walking past, it should be kept stable.  It’s not like I live in an earthquake zone.  A great deal of care must be taken when getting the arrow into her hand.  Her hand is removable, so I’d recommend taking it off and then attaching the arrow.  It can only go in one way, so don’t try forcing it!  Also, there are many little barbs on the bow and the arrow that could easily snap off if improperly handled.  They didn’t do us any favors by wrapping some plastic around the bow either.  I had to carefully cut the plastic wrap off, because those barbs I mentioned earlier made it difficult to slide off otherwise.

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The next troublesome point were the wings on her feet, but this was more a troublesome aspect simply because it’s not very clear which wing goes on which foot.  When you try putting the correct wing on the correct foot, it slides on snugly and securely.  While this might seem like the obvious thing, in some cases they don’t get all the slag out of the slots for the holes, so things like this don’t always fit right.  Luckily for me, when I tried them the other way, it worked just fine.  You can kind of see in the bottom corner of the picture, but it does come with instructions.  The reason why they’re sitting there, unused is two reasons.  First off, I’m a guy.  We don’t need no stinkin’ instructions.  Secondly, they’re in Japanese, which I cannot read a single word of.  The pictures they show aren’t terribly helpful in deciphering what one is to do.  At any rate, you can probably guess, but those wing tips are very fragile too.  Take your time, and you should be fine.

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The last detail to add to her are the wings on her back.  These thankfully were very obvious how they needed to go, and other than having to weave the right wing in between a couple strands of hair, it went on quite painlessly.  Again, the details they made with the sculpt of the figure are indeed stunning.  The way the dress flows, the ruffles in it, all her accessories, it made the wait for this figure from when I originally ordered it back in June all worthwhile.

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This group shows her from various angles.  It’s truly a satisfying feeling when you finally get your figure all assembled and ready to properly be displayed.  Certainly another run to Ikea is in my future so that I may properly save her from the evils of dust.

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Lastly, I felt it fitting to have her shown with the other figures in her line.  On the right we have the pairing of Kyoko and Sayaka, and on the left we have the pairing of regular Madoka and Homura.  In the middle, with Godoka taking careful aim, we have the hated Mami.  No one is romantically interested in Mami.

I’ll end this with saying that while she might be a bit spendy for some people, I feel that Godoka was worth every penny I spent on her.  If figure collecting is your thing, don’t delay on grabbing her as fast as you can.  She’s still available now, but when a figure looks this good, it’s tough to say how long she’ll be around for.  If you wait too long, the only way you’ll get her is by forming a contract with a certain someone….