Review: 1/7 Caster Plain Clothes ver. by Flare

*My first intro was deleted somehow, so this review is a tad brief as I don’t have it in me to rewrite all that*

Today we’ll be looking at Flare’s 1/7 Caster from Fate Extra CCC. Caster is not only my first figure by Flare, but one of my favorite characters!

I like many characters, but there’s a precious few that I rate above the rest and prioritize finding merch of simply because they appeal to me very much personally. Caster is one of those(I have a list of the others on my MFC profile if anyone is curious *sweats*), but when the bondage-riffic designs from CCC began to get figures, I was able to easily pass on them. However in addition to the black leather and strap-fits, cuter casual outfits were also introduced, and I preordered Flare’s casual Caster right away.

Flare is affiliated with Alter, but to be honest, I do not know the exact reason for their existence. Offshoot companies like Orange Rouge or Altair are often created to serve a specific niche(in these cases, male figures), but I do not know if Flare is one like this, or if they simply utilize the same resources as Alter. Regardless, their quality is often on par.

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Review: 1/7 scale Sallya/Tharja by Goodsmile Company/Max Factory

*Does jumping jacks* Are you ready for another review? I hope so because it’s time to put your hands together for Goodsmile Company and Max Factory’s 1/7 scale Sallya/Tharja from Fire Emblem: Awakening!

While Sallya is her Japanese name, I assume that most people reading(including myself) know this character as Tharja, so I will be referring to her with that name for the rest of the review.

Fire Emblem: Awakening is the 13th installation in the Fire Emblem tactical RPG series, and in the game, you play as the tactician to Prince Chrom of Ylisse and help lead him to victory and a bright future. Along the way, your army gains many new additions, and interacting with the game’s cast of colorful characters is a definite high point. Characters like the Mage Ricken and Dancer Olivia join automatically as the story moves along while others like Thief Gaius and Villager Donnel are optional, but worthwhile additions. Tharja is of the latter, and can be recruited(or not) during Chapter 9 outside of Plegia castle. Plegia is Tharja’s homeland, and she along with Henry, is one of the Dark Mages who leaves the enemy lines to join you. As is fitting for their craft, Dark Mages have twisted personalities, so Tharja is always occupied with curses and the Avatar character(AKA Robin) who she has an unhealthy obsession with. Regardless of her unsettling personality, Tharja’s shapely body and revealing outfit ensure her popularity.

Oddly, I remember the day Tharja’s preorders opened, and thinking that she looked like an interesting character from one of those games I would never play. Fast forward to this summer when I played Fire Emblem: Awakening, which took over my life, and I found myself looking at Tharja again. To be honest, even after playing, the figure took time to grow on me as her alluring pose did not quite mesh with my impression of Tharja, and seductively posed figures are not something you find in my collection. But when you have interest in a character, more money than sense because it is summer, and something pops up on amiami preowned for retail price, what is a girl to do? Soon enough, Tharja, along with other figures, was EMS’d to my house(did I mention more money than sense?), and it was time for the moment of truth. An unboxing and a few casual shots later, and my my feelings were clear. Let’s see her box!

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Review: Amiibo Reflet/Robin

Today’s review isn’t on a figma, nendoroid, or scale! Instead, it features something from the latest infuriating craze! Unite your screams of anguish and frustration as we introduce Reflet/Robin from Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Amiibo lineup!

Amiibos are Nintendo’s venture into the “toys-to-life” genre which utilizes NFC chips in small figures to unlock characters or features in video games. Other lines in the genre are Skylanders and Disney Infinity. All three proved surprisingly successful, but unlike the other two, Nintendo tried to increase the collector’s value of Amiibos by releasing them in small waves with emphasis on the most well known characters. This strategy was unexceptional in Europe and Japan, but created a frenzy in the US. Nintendo’s distribution practices have left characters like Pikachu and Mario very easy to get while characters like Reflet/Robin from less well known series like Fire Emblem can be difficult to acquire.

Reflet is the default Japanese name for the avatar character in Fire Emblem Awakening. The avatar is a tactician and Awakening allows you to customize their name, gender, and appearance, and even reclass however you choose. According to the Fire Emblem wiki, Reflet is French for “reflection” which is perfect for a character who can become whatever the player wants. Reflet’s name in the English localization is Robin which was most likely chosen because it is an androgynous name and also starts with an “R”. Because this is an English review, I will be referring to him as Robin from now on.

Since the Awakening avatar is customizable, their appearance is not canonized, and promotional artwork often features characters like Chrom or Lucina instead. The few times that the avatar is shown, a hood obscures their face. This is true also in the game’s opening and movie sequences. Seeing how much effort was put into ambiguity for the player character, it is funny to see that when the avatar was added to the fighting game Super Smash Bros., all of that was tossed aside for the default name and appearance.

Appropriately, I first saw Robin while playing Smash Bros. in a hotel room at a convention. I had never played before, and as my eyes slid across the lineup looking for a pretty lady to play as(these things matter to me), I saw him. He had white hair(my favorite thing ever), he used magic(my second favorite thing ever), and he had a long coat(my third favorite thing ever). He was perfect. Afterwards, I bought Fire Emblem Awakening to find out more about him, and loved it. Of course my other automatic reflex was to see if there were any figures of Robin, but I only found the overpriced Amiibo. Then when I was checking amiami one night, I saw the Amiibo for retail and preordered him.

Amiibo Robin is still not easy to find, and this is the only figure of him, so I wanted to give people a look at him from a figure collecting perspective.

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Product Review: BJD Geta by Poisonbleu

Picking up with product reviews again! In care you forgot (several months have passed since my last one), product reviews focus on items which are handmade or different from my usual reviews. Today we’ll be admiring a pair of geta which I bought for my Dollfie Dream, Kanade.

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First let’s introduce Poisonbleu. Poisonbleu is an Etsy shop run by Amubleu who is located in the USA. Poisonbleu’s main products are knitted items and Japanese geta for dolls. Items usually go up for sale in batches, and although there is nothing for sale at the moment, browsing the shop’s completed sales provides an overview of the sweaters, shoes, teddy bears, and even adorable Totoro knitted hats your dolls can be the proud owners of! I purchased from the shop at the end of March, and my purchase arrived in this cute little bag!

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Review: Nendoroid Red

Knocking out the reviews! I’m very happy to be reviewing this figure because it is from one of my favorite series ever. Presenting…nendoroid Red by Good Smile Company!

Red is the protagonist of the Generation I Pokemon games. As Red, the player begins a journey in Pallet town and can choose Charmander, Bulbasaur, or Squirtle as a starter Pokemon. Red eventually disbands Team Rocket, collects eight badges, and becomes the Kanto Champion making him among the most accomplished of ten year olds. Red also makes an appearance in Generation II where he can be battled atop Mt. Silver and in Generation V as a champion at the Pokemon World Tournament. In the anime, Red’s counterpart is the far less accomplished and talented Satoshi/Ash Ketchum. However, Red did appear in the Pokemon Origins anime special which more closely followed the storyline of the game. Red is also in the Pokemon Adventures manga. In short, he’s everywhere.

Pokemon is what began my interest in Japan(that sounds so sad), and while I’ve collected many figures of Pokemon over the years, I’ve never found many good figures of the human characters. There wasn’t much hope for good ones either. Then Good Smile Company announced a nendoroid of Red! Unfortunately, nendoroid Red was limited to Japan as a Pokemon Center exclusive. It was possible to get him via proxy or a forwarding service, but I decided not to. I ended up regretting that decision as Red’s aftermarket price soared to $150. Then the USA Pokemon Center came to my rescue with a special US release. Red sold out quickly, but I bought him as soon as I found out making him finally mine!

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The box is a simple design with Red’s name on it. But what is fun about this being a US release is that the box is in English! *gasp*

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Product Review: White Dolly Story Animetic Eyes

Hello, and welcome to a new little section of the blog…product reviews!

These product reviews are inspired by fellow blogger Littlebearries of The Majokko Shop. One of my favorite things was when Littlebearries would do a mini review of little items she’d found for her dolls. The reviews were refreshing to read and lead me to a lot of interesting shops. I also liked how they called attention to various talented people and interesting sites. I don’t know if Littlebearries has had much time for blogging lately, but as I’ve gotten more into dolls, I’ve found myself seeking out unique items as well and wanted to share them!

Our first product review is something essential for every Dollfie Dream…eyes! Having the right pair of eyes is important not just so your doll won’t have big empty voids in her face, but because a good set can give your doll the personality to bring her look to the next level!

Surely by now you know Kanade?
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Review: figma Saber 2.0

Woohoo another review! This time it’s figma Saber 2.0 by Max Factory.

Behold Saber, stoic King of Knights, as she appears in the new Unlimited Blade Works anime adaptation. The UBW arc of Fate/Stay Night was first made into a movie, but was obviously simplified, so this is the first time any arc other than the original has become a full anime. This arc focuses on Rin and Archer’s story, but as is the way of the world, Saber needed another figma.

Saber has a long history with the figma line. Her first iteration was figma #3 released back in 2008. Variations like Saber Lily, Casual version, and Alter were then made before we saw the original Saber re-released in time for Fate/Zero in 2011. The 2011 re-release was virtually the same as in 2008 with little to distinguish it or reflect the improvements to figma design. But since then, figmas have changed enough that characters like Miku Hatsune were entirely re-vamped into a 2.0 version instead of a mere re-release. Saber is the second 2.0 figma and an obvious choice since she is so popular with figure makers and fans. I intend to eventually have all Saber figmas(only missing Alter and Nero now!), so I ordered her, but was honestly not very excited since I already had a figma of Saber in her blue dress. Saber 2.0 was then delayed several times, further decreasing my excitement levels. I figured(haha) Saber would be a boring but necessary addition to my collection, but upon opening and playing with her, was pleasantly surprised and even impressed. What impressed me so? Let’s find out!
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Review: 1/8 Natsume Takashi Renewal Version by Alter

Could it be? The first Never Outgrew Toys review since *checks* forever?!
This isn’t just the first review in forever, it’s the first of 2015, so let’s introduce our subject!
Today we’ll be looking at Alter’s 1/8 Natsume Takashi Renewal version from Natsume Yuujinchou.

Now to learn a little bit about this series. Let’s start out the review with some help from my good friend, Wikipedia sensei:
For as long as he can remember, Takashi Natsume has had the ability to see spirits, inheriting the power from his grandmother Reiko. Upon her death, Reiko bequeaths to her grandson her Book of Friends, a book containing the names of spirits Reiko had bullied into servitude. The Book of Friends is a highly prized item in the spirit world, and spirits haunt Takashi constantly. Whereas Reiko formed the contracts, however, Takashi spends his time dissolving the contracts and releasing the various spirits that come to him for help.

So why am I using a Wikipedia summary instead of writing one of my usual passion-filled six paragraph rants? That’s because I know nothing about the series *shot*
Now, it’s not that I have no interest in it. I’ve heard that the series has some semblance to Mushi-shi(although more lighthearted) which I adore, so I do intend to check it out one day. So how could a figure from a series I know little about bypass my strict PVC purchasing guidelines? Simply put, Alter’s Natsume is what I think of as a legendary figure.

Naturally there are few legendary figures, but those which exist are ones most can recognize. Many are even grails for people, but as I see it, a legendary figure is one which can be appreciated regardless of source material and purely for being a beautiful piece of art. Another figure I’d consider legendary is Momohime.

The original Natsume figure was released in July 2010–shortly after I became interested in figures. Natsume has since been highly regarded as a beautiful and well-done figure, and I’ve seen him in photographs many times throughout my collecting “career”. But while I always appreciated and admired Natsume, it was never enough to buy him. This was because of not knowing his origin and being content to admire from afar. However things began to change when a renewal of this prized figure was announced. A renewal was different from a re-release because it meant the figure would be entirely redone with a new sculpt and updated paint. I still paid Natsume little mind until his preorders opened. I saw him listed and clicked on his page expecting the usual 100,000 yen. So when it was ~6000 yen instead, I preordered immediately. Yes, Natsume was an unplanned addition to my collection, but as I admired his promotional pictures, I knew it was meant to be.

Fast forward a few months, and Natsume is here! Was he worth it? Let’s find out!

Oh, another first I forgot to mention. This is my first snow review!

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Double Review: Figma Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman

Could it be? A post that’s not Figma News Fridays? And it’s a review?!
That’s right! Today we’ll be looking at some figures I have owned for a long time now and even photographed months ago, but just haven’t had the time for: figmas Eren Jaeger and Mikasa Ackerman by Max Factory!

Eren and Mikasa come from the series Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan which has garnered worldwide popularity. Attack on Titan takes place in a world where humanity’s existence has been threatened by human-like monsters known as titans. To avoid being devoured by these beasts, humans built strong walls to live within which granted a century of peace. However a disastrous breach results in the destruction of Eren and Mikasa’s home town and the eventual loss of one of the walls which reminds humanity of life’s fickle nature and forces it to combat titans once more.

As the main character, Eren possesses the will to destroy all titans and he and Mikasa become soldiers to learn to fight them. While Eren is impulsive and reckless, Mikasa is composed and strong. Her desire is not to destroy all titans, but to protect Eren and this desire with her inherent skill groom her to become a top soldier. These figmas depict the pair half way through the anime series when they join the Scouting Legion which is known for its low survival rate and striking green cloaks.

Attack on Titan figures attacked Wonderfestival following one of my bouts of not watching anime(I’m in one now by the way *sigh*). When I first saw the figmas, I did not plan to pursue the series. However, when I saw the anime on Hulu, curiosity drove me to see what the fuss was about, and I was quickly hooked. A few episodes in, I knew that the figmas would eventually be added to my collection, and a few months later, here they are!

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