Sunday 30 October 2011

1/8 Maxima Enfield (Kotobukiya)

I tend to be harsh on Kotobukiya, and for good reason, but when Maxima Enfield was announced, I decided to give them one more try—a final chance to prove themselves, if you will. Why? Well, her dress is awesome, and she has a  ponytail. There just aren't enough figures with ponytails.

Am I really that shallow?

You overestimate my depth, dear friends. Of course I am.

I have an issue with buying figures I know nothing about. In hindsight, it probably wasn't a good idea to get into the Shining line. There are dozens of figures and none of them strike me as especially well made (except, of course, Alter's Houmei and Max Factory's Kureha). After Maxima, I promised I would not buy another Shining figure, unless it was absolutely spectacular, but knowing me, I'll probably renege within weeks.

—not that Maxima's a bad figure. Oh no, despite her prosaic pose, she strikes me as one of the more interesting Shining girls. She has her good points, and a spectacular dress. But, as they all say "Every silver lining has its thundercloud" (or so I assume), and so does Maxima—but more on that later.

Like with all Shining figures, Maxima's box is clean and aesthetically appealing. The colours are simple and clean. The patterned windows are a nice touch. Sometimes I get the feeling Kotobukiya puts more effort into their boxes than their figures.

Maxima's pose is—static. She's standing about, card in the air. She has a sword, but it appears merely decorative. She's not standing in any imaginary wind. The highlight of Maxima is her dress. If anything, the Shining series comes up with some sweet outfits. I would have loved to see a figure of her in an action pose, dress flared like some deadly skirt-o-swords.

Immediately I'm a little put off by her ponytail. It hugs her body much closer than it does in promo-shots, and isn't flexible enough to risk adjusting.

Brown-white schemes always reminds me of mocha, but Maxima has a purplish tinge that elevates her above the realm of caffeinated drinks.

Wikipedia tells me nothing of Maxima's personality, but I dig that smirk of hers. She strikes me as the sarcastic type (which could only make her awesome). I could use more 'tude in that pretty face of hers, but being a Shining girl, her expressive abilities are limited.

On a side note, Maxima's bangs are surprisingly full.

Maxima reminds me of a flirtier Xecty. Must be all the brown—or the generic Tony Taka face.

As forementioned, Kotobukiya did a wonderful job on Maxima's hair. While her ponytail leaves something to be desired, the area around her bands and head are scrupulously detailed.

With her bland colouration and barely-interesting pose, Maxima runs the risk of being boring. Fortunately, Maxima's dress is unique enough to stop her from becoming one big monotonous blah. The pattern on her breasts is immaculte (probably stencilled). Her collar and frills give her a slight European flair.

As usual with Kotobukiya, my biggest issue with Maxima is her shading. It looks like the painters applied a base layer and gave up to work on their eight other upcoming figures (really, Kotobukiya would be a better company if they stopped pumping out figures and concentrated on quality for once). With a dress as stiff as Maxima's, the nonexistence of her shading becomes quite noticeable. Fortunately, the stark white lines distract from its dullness. I'm going to stray from my usual Kotobukiya-ragging here and praise them on her lines. In the most part, they're kosher.

There's a slight purplish tinge in her "swords" that don't show up in promo pictures.

Oooh, clean.

Maxima's dress is flexible, which is a relief since I periodically knock over my figures. My greatest fear is that one day they'll lose their flair and end up hanging like limp petals (thanks for nothing, gravity). Still, despite their softness, they're stiff enough to do this:

"Legs? Who needs 'em?"
Now, for the close-ups. Every figure looks amazing from a distance, but up close is where the great separate themselves from the masses.

Usually, when I'm assessing a figure, I stare at their collar. Collars seem to be a good microcosm of a figure as a whole. Clean collar, clean figure. Scruffy collar, scruffy figure. Don't quote me on this though.

Maxima's collar is not without blemish. There are slight paint errors and some roughness in the sculpt. Kotobukiya's paint itself is somewhat grainy.

There are no great errors in maxima's sculpt, but there are small inconsistencies, namely, unwarrented seam lines and general coarseness.

There's choppiness on her side. As a matter of fact there's choppiness on her opposite side as well. At least she's symmetrical, I guess.

More choppiness on her hand and arm.


Remember when I praised Kotobukiya on the sculpt of Maxima's hair? Yeah, well, it's not all good news. Her hair seam doesn't seem evenly glued, with the gap increasing near her ears.

On the bright side, look, an earring! Does it kind of look like silver snot hanging from her—sorry, no one needs that sort of image in their head.

Surprise! Maxima is cast-offable!

Wait, what? Cast-offable where?

Oh, right, you can remove her translucent skirt-like garnment, exposing—sort of—her undergarnments. Let's be honest, it's not the most revealing cast-off. It's better from behind, where you can just see a slip of butt.

Oh for heaven's sake, let's just get rid of that dress and take a good gander at her unmentionables!

Maxima's underwear is—interesting to say the least. I'm not quite sure how it works. It looks at least partially glued to her skin, but at least it's pretty. Maxima has a tiny waist. No girl should have a waist so small. Eat some food, woman!

If there's one thing Kotobukiya does well, it's semi-transparent leggings.

But those boots, my, I've never seen anything so flat. Really, no shape whatsoever. No shine either! Talk about dreary.

Is it just me, or are Kotobukiya's figures getting larger. Maxima dwarfs most 1/8 figures, but seriously, her base adds 10 pounds millimeters.

To sooth my suspicions, I placed her next to Xecty. Yes, it's obvious they're built to different scales, but Maxima's still about the same height. Maybe she's just a tall character.

Like with most Kotobukiya figures, Maxima looks good from afar. She's easy on the eyes, and has one of the best dresses I've seen in a while. It's only when you get close that the small mistakes begin to take over. As long as you don't stick your nose in her face (or any other part of her) her inconsistencies remain blissfully hidden.

So, did Kotobukiya redeem themselves?

Not really. I must admit I wasn't really expecting them to. I know Kotobukiya can do good work (I have figures to prove it! I swear!) but when it comes to their Shining series, stuff happens, or rather, stuff that needs to happen doesn't, and I end up at least partially disappointed. I feel like Maxima has the potential to be a good figure, if only they added one more layer of paint, or gave her a little more swagger, or touseled her ponytail a little more. If only, if only...

I can't say I recommend Maxima to anyone. She's a decent figure, but she didn't wow me in any way. At 6800 yen, she's not exactly cheap, considering 7800 yen will get you Alter's Asuka, who blows Maxima out of the water in every way possible.

Maxima is set for re-release in November.

The Run-Down
Box: 7/10 (It's pretty)
Base: 4/10 (It's cheap white plastic)
Pose: 5/10 (Relatively boring)
Sculpt: 7.5/10 (Some seam issues, great dress)
Paint: 6/10 (Very little shading, some roughness)
Overall: 6.5/10 (She's nice to look at from a distance)

Manufacturer: Kotobukiya
Price: 6800 yen
Purchased from: AmiAmi

Burning the midnight oil,

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