Wednesday 26 February 2014

Wonfes Winter 2014

The following the a true to life reaction of Poke the Merch upon seeing Winter Wonder Festival 2014: "My god, it's ALL Kan Colle!"

We're not kidding. We might even be a bit traumatized. Sure, there were other figures here and there, but it was mostly Kan Colle. How one series became so dominate in terms of representation is a mystery to us. We suspect conspiracy (or overwhelming firepower). So we ducked our heads, peeled our eyes, and sought out the few figures brave enough to stand among the crush of personified war machines.

Jenn's List
The Want

Max Factory's 1/7 Psychic

I'm psyched to see Max Factory continue their 7th Dragon 2020 line. For no particular reason, I feared they would stop after releasing Idol Miku (she seemed like one of those end-all releases). Considering I already have Samurai, Hacker, and Idol Miku, is there any doubt I would skip Max Factory's Psychic? Besides, Psychic's prototype is killing it. Look at that leopard print and those legit bell-bottom stockings. That's some serious 60s-80s-futuristic fashion fusion right there. Mix in a mean smirk, a gorgeous body, and some good ol' Max Factory quality, and who am I to say no?

Alter's 1/8 Asuka

Alter didn't have the most impressive WonFes showing this time around. But hey, at least they got their act together well enough to pump out a gorgeous Asuka.

See, my enduring complaint about Asuka figures is that, for whatever reason, the market is saturated with vapid, happy Asukas that just don't reflect her self-destructive-bitchy-badassness (oh look, my first Mammutwörter). But this one breaks the mold. Just look at her world-weary expression. That's pure Asuka grump. You can almost hear her sigh of annoyance. She's seen some shit, and now she's got more shit to deal with. Ugh. Awesome. Plus, her quality is obvious. My wallet is ready!

FREEing's 1/8 Racing Miku Sepang

She's cute. She's tan. She's mostly naked. Enough said.

But seriously, of all the Racing Mikus out there, this one strikes me as most memorable. Her beach-pixie characterization is a welcome deviation from the standard, sleek, sporty Racing Miku look. She looks like she's having fun. Genuine fun, not the sort of exaggerated, commercialized fun you witness in mascots. I look forward to her undoubtedly gorgeous, semi-transparent wings. Oh, and I like her buns (the ones on her head). 

Amakuni's 1/8 Beelzebub

When I first began collecting the Seven Deadly Sins line, I swore to obey the compositional rule of odds, i.e. I will collect either 3, 5, or all 7 Sins, so that I can arrange them advantageously on the shelf. (I impose some...weird collecting rules on myself sometimes). Having already procured Leviathan and Lucifer, and skipped Asmodeus, I planned to round out my collection with Belphagor and be done with it.

But then Beelzebub got a paint job, and oh man, what a paint job! That semi-transparent skirt! Those clear, detailed eyes! And she's cute! Although there are still aspects of her I'm not too big on, such as her bright orange base, everything else looks deliciously high quality. So it looks like I'm reneging on my prior promise to collect an odd number of Sins, unless, of course, Satan comes out swinging. 

GSC's 1/8 Mikasa Ackerman

I was worried when Mikasa's sculpt came out with weird looking hair, but it seems GSC heeded our cries and fixed it up. Now she looks perfect, with her high-flying action pose, business face and gorgeous paint job. I have nothing else to say except, TAKE MY MONEY AND BE DONE WITH IT. Oh, and humour me by making a Hange please, because crazy scientists make my day, every single time.

The Watched

Union Creative International LTD's Psycho Pass figures

Despite my whimsical exterior, I really enjoy serious shows, especially if they come with a yummy sci-fi atmosphere (cause my favourite passtime is mentally navigating what-if joke), and Psycho Pass was one of the few shows I really enjoyed in the last few years. Sure, it emulates Minority Report, but hey, I really enjoyed Minority Report too, so I'm not complaining. Plus, it has Akane Tsunemori, one of the best female leads I've seen in a long time. The only thing holding me back is my unfamiliarity with Union Creative International LTD as a company, and their lack of prototypes. 

Orchid Seed's 1/8 Satan

Excessive red is a surefire way to my heart. If the colour red were a person, I'd snog them. Thing is, Satan came out more of a tomato-soup red than the sultry, heartblood red I was hoping for. Also, isn't she supposed to have more magenta on her? Hmm. So instead of shooting to my Want list, I'm watching her and hoping her weird colours are due to bad lighting or an incomplete paint job.

Alter's Magical Emi

This came out of the left field, and holy sheet, am I glad it did! I have never seen an episode of Magical Emi, the Magic Star. Still, the presentation of this figure was enough to leave me breathless. Her delicate hairpiece, flowing ribbons, soft colour palette, all converge to promote a girlish delicacy that's rarely found in the figure world. I've always been a fan of art nouveau. Something about it's symmetry, contrast, and flatness appeals to me. Kind of like vectors (which I also enjoy). I don't even care that she's missing her legs.

So what's stopping her from making my Want list? My lack of knowledge of the character, and her distinct presentation. She has such a different feel that I can't really see her in my collection. In many ways, she reminds me of Max Factory's Belldandy. Absolutely beautiful, but ultimately not for me. Still, we'll see. I have a feeling much will depend on her price.

Megahouse's 1/8 Marika

I got all excited when this Marika was announced, then became considerably less excited when I realized her coat was red instead of black. Nothing against red, of course, but this Marika is plagued by the same not-quite-red issue as Satan. Red is a very specific colour. Unlike blue, which looks great in just about every shade, red begins to look like crap crud if it leans too far into pink, magenta, orange, or any other off-red variation, and Marika's coat is far too saturated for my liking. But I like her pose, and I like her sass, and I like the way she crosses her legs. So...

GSC's 1/8 Ceil Alencon

Damn, GSC. You can really come out with some gorgeous stuff if you apply yourself. I haven't played God Eater 2, but when have I ever needed context to pick up a gorgeous girl with impractically enormous weapons? The details in her hair, skirt, and weapon appeal to my perfectionist heart. Plus, she has a lovely face, and you know how I get around lovely faces (i.e. all swoony). Her one downside? Price, of course. And shipping price. I don't even want to imagine how much she'll cost in total.

All of the Homuras. Seriously.

I've been meaning to get a Homura for a long time, only to be disappointed by most her figures. Maybe I'm picky because she happens to be the type of character I respect, a.k.a. a professional, efficient, hard-working lady who isn't afraid to get her hands messy while still maintaining a sense of humanity and purpose (I mean, if we disregard the Madoka Rebellion, where she goes a little loopy). I want my Homura with guns everywhere, hair everywhere, steel in her eyes, standing on a pile of dead Kyuubeis, not looking bored, being awkward in a bikini, or dolled up like some cheerleader. The one costume I might make a exception for are yukatas, cause...yukatas.

At the moment, it's a toss-up between FREEing's 1/8 Yukata Homura, GSC's 1/8 Haregi Homura, or Aniplex's 1/7 Homura. A part of me still really wants demi-witch Homura with gorgeous, splatter-wings, but the chances of getting one seems remote now that Akuma Homura has made her debut (I guess I could get Akuma Homura to match Godoka, hmm, decisions, decisions). I guess I'll wait and see if any of them tickles my fancy. I can be patient. I guess. Like a stalker.

Everyone's Kan Colle

If I had an accurate moniker for Wonfes Winter 2014, it would be "The Kan Colle Show". Not that it's a bad thing. Don't get me wrong. I'm just surprised at how absolutely everywhere they were. Usually, girls with big guns are a no brainer for me, but the sheer number of figures made me hesitate. There are certain series I refuse to collect (even if they're gorgeous) because I know my collector's mentality would drive me to buy the entire godforsaken collection and I'd be out on the streets panhandling for PVC. This is true of Alter's Hyakka Ryouran line, and now, also of any Kan Colle line. This doesn't mean I don't have my eye on some of their more unique sculpts though, namely, GSC's Wo-Class, and to a lesser extent, Max Factory's Yamato.

Suich's List


Good Smile Company's Link Nendoroid

Last year, Good Smile Company announced a Nendoroid for Link from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It took me by surprise, but I was excited that a big figure company like GSC wanted to release a Nendoroid for Link. I thought, finally I can put a Link figure on my shelf!  I was actually hoping GSC had a sculpt for him at Wonfes, but they instead surprised me with a painted version!

One of my favourite things about this figure is the pose.  I love how Link looks as though he's about to conduct with that tiny baton!  It definitely makes me want to play Wind Waker HD again.  I wouldn't call this a downside, but I noticed there's a hint of eeriness in Link's expression.  With the dark gradient in his eyes and the shadows of his bangs covering half his face, he looks possessed and almost evil. That smile doesn't help either.  I mean, Link looks great and very much like his in-game design, but his expression can really throw me off.  It's funny because the game is so bright but we're going to get this evil little guy.  I'm expecting him to come with at least one more face and a few props.  I'm actually crossing my fingers for a little pig from Outset Isle!

I'm probably going to buy this little guy.  Him or the Sakura Kinomoto Nendoroid...or both.  I want to see if the quality of GSC's more recent Nendoroids are better than their old ones.  I still don't like how my Totori falls apart, but maybe GSC's much better now.  If I do get him, I'm going to see if I can swap that evil face with my other small figures.  Then everyone can look evil!

FREEing's 1/8 Kagamine Len - Senbonzakura

I love Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F.  I picked the game up when it was released in North America and I had so much fun that I decided to import Project Diva F 2nd. I ended up liking Vocaloids a lot more thanks to that game.  Seeing the characters dance so merrily on my television screen in various costumes just made me grow fonder of them.  I guess I just like them all animated!

One of my favourite songs from Project Diva F is Senbonzakura, which is where Len's costume comes from.  All the characters look fantastic in their Senbonzakura outfits, so it's no surprise they're getting figures made.  Len's little bang-bang pose here is absolutely adorable and I love how his cape flows. I would be incredibly excited about this figure if I wasn't concerned about his face.  I admit I'm not very fond of FREEing's 1/8 Miku - Senbonzakura figure because of her face.  It's definitely different from all the other Miku figure's I've seen out there.  It's new...but is it a good new?  Maybe I just have to get used to it.  One of the major selling points of a figure is the face after all, so if I don't like Len's face then unfortunately it's a deal breaker.  I'll have to wait and see how Len looks when he's painted.  I have a feeling his face will be similar to Miku's.  Maybe he'll look better with it.  I also really hope FREEing keeps his eyes blue too.

Good Smile Company's Sakura Kinomoto Nendoroid

It's hard to say no to buying Sakura because she's from one of my favourite classic magical girl series.  Plus she's just plain cute.  I do love that GSC kept her classic look.  Sakura's got it all!  The little winged costume, her staff, a clow card, and even her stuffed sidekick, Kero-chan!  I may just cave and buy this adorable little lady.  I'm really looking forward to seeing her extra face(s) and props!

On another note, I almost laughed when I thought Sakura was giving the finger, but that's just the way she holds her cards.

I hope they bring out a Syaoran nendoroid someday.  I would definitely buy them both.  Gotta pair them up after all!

Ash's List


Megahouse's 1/8 Dandy

The insane, surreal and fabulous Space Dandy is a series that hits my nostalgia button hard and brings me back to the days of after-school cartoons but with an adult twist. Considering that the series is still relatively new, this figure announcement came as a delightful surprise. Looking like the badass alien-hunting mofo he is(n't at all really), this 'BooBies' aficionado is throwing some serious smolder my way as Dandies are wont to do. However, it's not ALL good. I feel deflated taking in those proportions. His legs appear oddly stout compared to his torso and rather than being from the G.E.M. series line, he's part of the not quite as reliable Excellent Model line. I also would have preferred if he wielded his gun instead of his fishing-rod-sword thing, even if it would have been rendered ineffectual by his legendarily bad marksmanship. Despite the myriad drawbacks I just listed, and barring any unforeseen disasters, Dandy is still a must-buy for me because he's Dandy, baby. Now just announce a QT and Meow, so I can get the whole Aloha Oe crew!

Megahouse's 1/8 Kise Ryouta

Megahouse is clearly determined to continue posing its Kuroko no Basket characters frozen mid-play, gravity be-damned. It's a good thing Kise is smiling otherwise this pose could be viewed as an impending sports injury. Sculpt-wise, Kise is a beautiful specimen, just like Kuroko. He has taut muscles and dynamic action. The good folks at Megahouse even made the effort to painstakingly sculpt his shiny earring. I worry about finding space for a figure whose pose is so very...splayed. I also wonder about his optimum display configuration. From the position of his face, it looks like he's meant to be viewed from above but the placement of his limbs suggest otherwise. I can only hope a killer paint job will somehow solve my conundrum. 

Alter's 1/8 Natsume Takashi (Renewal)

Yes, I own the original but that doesn't stop me from wanting the renewal as well. Leave it to Alter to look back at their already lauded older figures, a singular sample by which most other figure companies would bolster their reputations, and instead think to themselves, 'What is this crap? We can do better than this'. Using newer techniques, they're breathing fresh life into the already exquisite 1/8 Natsume and Nyanko-sensei. Natsume's face is much more like his manga version (which is admittedly better) and Nyanko-sensei is chubbier (an obvious improvement). All this while retaining the exquisite and tranquil beauty of the original figure. I am looking forward to seeing the paint job.

FREEing's 1/8 Kagamine Len -Senbonzakura ver.

When you're a Vocaloid fan and a male figure collector, desperation is the name of the game. This translates to my wallet-shriveling, 'I'll take it where I can get it'-mentality. Am I disappointed at the lack of KAITO? Yes, very much so, but Len's adorable, lively sculpt puts a smile on my face. FREEing did a rather admirable job in capturing both his cuteness while utilizing the naturally beautiful flow of his Senbonzakura costume to its fullest. Like Suich, I worry about how his face and eyes will turn out. Senbonzakura Miku has solid black eyes and a contentious face but its possible that Len, by virtue of his younger age, might be able to pull off what she could not.


Good Smile Company's 1/7 Natsu Dragneel and Gray Fullbuster

I may not know anything about Fairy Tail but whatever, look at those abs. I'm happy to see GSC getting into the male figure scene. A quick internet search reveals that Gray is eighteen so I feel a lot less creepy about leering at his scarred, rippled chest. There are a lot of things to love about Natsu's figure as well. He's tan, he's buff, his hair is gorgeously detailed and that transparent flame is gloriously rendered. I'm also looking forward to Gray's paint job and hopefully, like Natsu, GSC will incorporate his elemental ice magic somewhere into his sculpt. Last year, Max Factory demonstrated their intention to make serious dents in my wallet. Now, years after their Len Kagamine figure, it seems like GSC has finally decided to enter the male figure game in earnest.

Union Creative International Ltd, Wit Studio's Levi

Heichou's looking damn slick. I can't help but imagine him with an Italian-American accent, making offers that prove to be irremissible, and having doors closed in peoples faces. The little teacup is adorable too. While most figure companies aim to present the battle-ready, 'hero of humanity' Levi in his capacity as a hacking and slashing maestro, UCIL actually captured the other side of his character. This is the Levi who's in a position of privilege as a high-ranking officer of the military, engaged in the backdoor wheelings and dealings that ultimately have a greater impact on the future of humanity than all the Titan expeditions and pyrrhic victories combined. It's a sad truth but doling out emotional gut-punches is sort of this series' metier. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with UCIL's quality so for now, I'll be keeping an eye on this Levi figure with the sort of qualified optimism I'd never dare feel while reading the series itself.

tack-on list (because there were a crapload of other Attack on Titan figure announcements):

Okay, so it wasn't on the scale of Kan Colle, but Attack on Titan did have a fairly decent showing at Wonfes this year. Various figure companies, both famous and relatively obscure alike, have brought forth a contender in the form of an Attack on Titan figure. Sentinel drew first blood with their Levi figure and they already have prototypes for Eren and Armin. While Sentinel seems to favour grim, determined, pre-battle poses (see: they stand still while looking vexed), Kotobukiya's Eren is right in the thick of a fight, flaunting that 3-D maneuver gear like it's 849. I've read a lot of complaints about Kotobukiya's Eren looking nothing like the character. He does look younger, and certainly more wide-eyed but it isn't the face with which I take the most issue, it's the hair. By that same token, Sentinel's Eren appears to have a bad case of Saiyan-forehead and while w'ere on the topic of potentially wonky heads, let's talk about Sentinel's Armin. I'll concede that he's adorable but that's a given and you'd really have to screw up somewhere for him to turn out otherwise. It's their decision to give him such voluminous hair and an open-mouthed expression that gives me pause. I'm reserving judgement until I see their paint jobs.

After seeing their beautiful Mikasa prototype, I have high hopes that GSC will deliver when it comes to Eren and hopefully, the other members of the Attack on Titan cast. Depending on how his prototype goes, I will probably throw my lot in with GSC when choosing my Attack on Titan figures.

Along with Armin and Eren, Sentinel also announced plans to release Erwin and Hange. Hey, I hear no one say, I thought you only collected male figures! Why is Hange listed here? Well you see, No One, Word of God has yet to confirm Hange's gender and has elected to keep it deliberately ambiguous even when asked outright. So there you have it. Not that it really matters either way. Based on clues from the series, my theory is that Hange would self-identify as an androgyne, Titan-sexual and damn it, that's good enough for me! Okay, so the frugal part of my mind knows that I'm just using this ambiguity as a convenient loophole to my stringent collecting rule but to that, frugality, I say tough titties (which Hange may or may not have). I'll probably get Ozymand-Erwin too (though not necessarily Sentinel's). Though I have to ask, did he always wear a bolo tie and how did I manage to miss that? Though I suppose it's a good thing it's there because otherwise his aura of genius would make him virtually unapproachable. The presence of a bolo tie is probably a calculated faux pas on his part that's meant to trick people into thinking he's capable of erring like the rest of us. I can't wait to see those prototypes!

And that concludes our bi-annual Wonfes spazz out. Even with the field flooded with Kan Colle (and to a certain extent, SnK), there are some undoubtedly gorgeous figures coming out way. We at Poke the Merch are bracing our wallets and facing the storm. Onward ho, into the new year!

So, what tickled your fancy this time around?

Signing off,
Poke Crew


  1. Interesting lists of you three.

    Racing Miku Sepang is great, her tanned appearance has something wild. After I lost all interest in Belphegor, Beelzebub really convinced me on the event, maybe my third and last from this lineup. Yeah I fell in love with this Ceil Alencon, everything is awesome about her.

    The Kantei Collection avalanche was sick, still I don't feel the instant urge to get them all, Max Factory and GSC made the more interesting ones, I really want to get Kongou and maybe Musashi.

    Aww this Sakura Kinomoto Nendoroid is so cute, I loved the show, I would also like to see a new scale figure of her.

    A lot of guys on Ash's list, I liked Tachibana Makoto from ALTAiR a lot ^^
    This Levi on the couch is cool, I like sitting figures quite a bit and this dude would fit in nicely.

    Aside from this, I liked Samurai Princess Muramasa – Himeji Castle, Yagami Tsurugi, Sora no Otoshimono – Ikaros, Comic Market – Original character, Dragon’s Crown – Sorceress from Orchid Seed and Sword Art Online – Asuna & Yui was super cute.

    1. That wave of Kan Colle was amazing on many different levels. I'm really interested in Wo-Class right now. She has a really interesting design. I like how she looks like a giant crab-jellyfish of doom. Actually, as much as I like some of the cute ship girls, I find myself more interested in the enemy vessel designs. I guess I'm a real sucker for darker tones. =P

      I too have been waiting for a scaled Sakura figure to emerge from the void. I would buy her in a second. Older series need representation too! Having a Magical Emi figure pop out of nowhere gives me hope. Come on figure companies!

      I still ordered Belphagor, cause her chubby, sleepy expression is too cute to resist, but Beelzebub really surpassed my expectations with her paint job. She looks amazing! Satan turned out disappointing though. Her paint job looks so flat.

      How could I forget Sorceress? Of course I'll be watching her too. I need her to complete my Dragon's Crown collection. And Tiki too. I love that Himeji Castle is listed as 1/300! =P