Figure wise this year has been the biggest letdown by far since I launched the site back in 2011. This may be due everchanging personal preference and a busier schedule but flashing underwear and gravity-defying pairs can only take you so far.
One of few highlights has been Alphamax/SkyTube who continous the path of steadily improving yearly not only in their craft but also with the variety of figures they’re offering. I thought I’d mention the secret weapon they have against Native in Tony Taka but that too will soon be forfeit.
While A&S peaked most others plummeted. Native went rogue in a maternity hospital and Orchid Seed starting messing with different colors instead of ideas. Good Smile Company, Max Factory and Alter all had some marvels this year but none that really screamed “Come shoot me!”. I should probably keep murder terms to a minimum to avoid confusing Google but you get the idea.
Honorable trio covered on Neath Grim
With a mere six figures reviewed this year the selection isn’t very generous but I’ll still go ahead and mention those that stood out the most in my eyes.
My one gripe with Iris is that SkyTube slimmed down the character from the Tony Taka illustration it is based on. The fact that they made her sit on her knees rather than standing up is a non-issue but neglecting all the curves that came with the character is to say the least, unfortunate.
Gripe aside it’s a solid figure by the figure maker and I applaude them for even trying to make such an outrageous character/outfit work in the first place, a feat they (mostly) pulled off.
This makes it the eighth reviewed figure craving the floor in where the elusive brain favored the masochist over the perfectionist. Yet another reason to mourn light spill.
The rest is all there however; the teasing aspect, the suggestive looks, hand movements not meant for moral eyes, the impression that she clothes are coming off and out of a hose down. It’s getting less interesting with each piece one removes, just the way I like it.
Neither stellar production nor material used won one over when it comes to Q-Six’s Kanoko Kikuchiya but that expression alone had me filled with anticipation, anticipation that later resulted in great satisfaction. As a hobby figure photographer this figure served as a reminder to why I’m constantly drawn towards objects covered in shadow.
Honorable trio not covered on Neath Grim
3. Kitami Reika by Dragon Toy
What was that about bosomy women in flashy undergarments being a bad thing? Ramblings of a mad person, surely. To be fair though, for me, Kitami Reika is all about the (where have I heard that one before?) face. That face may very well give you hints of unspeakable things but it does so with precision. There’s also a secondary head and face giving you less precision and more predicament but in the right light and angle it does the job with ease.
In recent months I’ve grown quite fond of erotic offerings from figure makers such as Dragon Toy as they’re both interesting and challenging to work with once unraveled from their multi-layered boxes. There’s no such thing as too much skin and if figure makers put in equal amounts of effort similar to the mainstream selection then I’m all for it.
Unfortunately for Kitami there was only room for one figure showing off bodily fluids this year but with 2014 now coming to and end another slot or two will free up for the sake of scaring and embarrassing friends and family members alike.
Typing these words while browsing official shots won’t lessen the burden that comes with regret so it’s probably a good thing that she’s sold out everywhere.
2. Kasugano Sora by Alter
I can’t quite put my finger on why I find this figure so captivating in its simplicity but it just works for me, and who doesn’t treasure a devoting twin sister.
Alter seldom disappoint when it comes to detail in their work and this figure is no exception with hair and clothes being crafted at the highest level. For some reason however I rarely grab Alter figures as they’re far more interesting for me to look at rather than photographing them.
The one issue I have with this figure is that nothing comes to mind photography wise and that’s not a good thing in my book as portrayal has come to triumph collecting in recent years. Quality wise on the other hand, no complaints what so ever. Now if Alter would (announce and eventually) release Yuzuruha from Oboro Muramasa then I’d really have something to look forward to.
Kasugano has been covered on Reflective Boundary.
1. Tharja/Sallya by Max Factory
Possibly one of the easiest decisions many figure collectors had to make this year was grabbing Tharja/Sallya and put her up on display. A top-notch production in every shape and form, making men weak at the knees and women grit their teeth in envy.
Max Factory tend to outdo themselves every now and then and Tharja was a prime example of that recurrence earlier this year. People were buzzing over this figure months ahead of its release date and once March hit the buzz turned to hard-earned praise.
The cool thing about Tharja is that you could remove her entire lower body and she’d still have the best expression to all competitors. Slap some navy blue and gold on there and we’ll have ourselves a ball as our eyes wander heel to heaven. It’s easily a favorite not only this year but over the years as well with Max Factory truly nailing the sculpt.
So why wasn’t this outstanding figure covered on this site? If you’ve ever been to a Ghost concert Papa Emeritus II has all the answers to that one.
Plans? What plans?
The looming new year is already off to a great start with one of my most anticipated figures going up for pre-order in the first quarter of the year. I expect there to be few reviews over the coming months unless companies challenge and surprise themselves (and me). There’s also a few reviews in queue that I hope will be done in a decently timely fashion.
My intention is still for more articles on figure photography and post-processing to be written because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to see the insides of someone’s brain. I still prefer to cover the question “Why?” over “How?” as I see it more rewarding for a person to understand why they’re doing something rather than just following suit.
Collecting figures is still very much enjoyable and even more so photographing them and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. With the parting words for this year I wish the readers of this site a fulfilling end to these past twelve months and a refreshing start heading into 2015.