Sunday 1 January 2012

January: The Dreaded One

Oh god, it's 2012! It's the end of the world. We're all DEAD! We're all—oh wait, we're still intact. Well, good! That just means more merch.

But before we move on to the spectacular monetary dedications we've made in Janurary, let's all stop for a moment, contemplate our new year's resolutions, and thank the Mayans for making us look like fools. Don't stop for too long though, or we'll leave you behind! Janurary isn't called the Dreaded One for no reason. It's earned its reputation, and how. Follow us and bask in the splendor of Janurary's material offerings!

Janurary is really a (excuse us) bitch. Firstly, it's teases us spectacular products. Secondly, it fails to grant us the promotions we need to fully satisfy ourselves. For three, well, there is no three, there's only one and two. For sanity's sake, we've restrained our excitement to our top 10 most anticipated products. Any more excitement and we might explode (no sexual innuendo suggested). Let's begin with the most spectacular.

1/8 Miku Hatsune - Love is War DX ver. (Good Smile Company)

Jenn:: Love is war.

Suich: Hate is peace.

Jenn: Black is mango.

Suich: That makes no sense!

Jenn:  Whatever anaologies we may throw, there's no doubt that this rendition of Miku equals love.

Suich: Which equals war.

Jenn: Apparently. Alter is my favourite figure manufacturer, but figures like this are almost enough to convert me to GSC. We've seen Miku a dozen times, but we've never seen her like this, namely, grundgey, angry as hell, and totally badass. I like that she looks more mature too.

Suich: I absolutely love the grunge on the speakers!  I has a great effect and works as an excellent selling point.  Of course, Miku's pose is amazing.  I personally love the angry, sort of crazy expression painted on her face.  It's a breath of fresh air from the usual happy, silly Miku.  Any Vocaloid or Miku fan should have this in their collection, assuming they can afford it of course.

Jenn: I thought seriously about buying Love is War Miku, but I had already ordered Lacia, and their release dates are were too close. Plus I wouldn't have room for her and her goliath base. Speaking of which, I'm appalled they decimated her base in her standard release. After all, it's what makes this Miku unique. They could have at least included the little speakers on top.

Godly vs. Fart
Suich: I totally agree.  The standard edition really sucks compared to the full version.  The lack of speakers makes it almost pointless to buy.

Jenn: I'm going to go ahead and call it now. Love is War Miku for figure of the year. Her pose and sculpt already look amazing. Knowing GSC, her paint job's going to be nothing short of godly. The intensity of her face is absolutely breathtaking. I can't imagine too many figures getting more spectacular than this.

Death metal Miku!
Jenn: Pass (this decision will haunt me in the future, I can feel it)
Suich: God I wish I could....

1/7 Black Magician Girl re-release (Kotobukiya)

Jenn: Oh, Black Magician Girl, you naughty girl! What are you doing to my nostalgic childhood memories?

Suich: Making them sexier.

Jenn: Touche. I admit, I have reservations about Kotobukiya, but after haunting user pictures of her online, she doesn't seem to have too many major flaws. I'm a bit worried about the shine of her hair though. Hopefully it's less plastic than it looks.

Suich: It's a good thing the creator directed the sculptors on this one.  The Black Magician Girl figure really looks like the Black Magician Girl from the anime.  She wears an adorable expression that beckons you over.  She totally seduced Jenn.

Jenn: At the risk of being creepy, I'd tap that, although she already seems satisfied with her staff. Truth me told, it's the winky face that got me. It's just the right combination of let's play and come get me. Plus she's Black Magician Girl, the very same that giggles and gains power when her boyfriend's dead. She's adorably psychotic that way.

Suich: As cute as Black Magician Girl is, I'd totally ogle Kuriboh first.  I have always been fond of that fuzzy little creature and I'm glad it's included in the package.  It can never get enough love.

Jenn: Hmm, somehow ogling Kuriboh makes my comments about BMG so much less creepy. Thanks man. You're always coming through for me.

Suich: I've always got your back, bro.

Jenn: Yes!
Suich: I'll pass.  I'll admire Jenn's copy.  And maybe I'll steal the Kuriboh.

huke's First Art Book - BLK


Suich: I'm excited for you!

Jenn: I'm excited you're excited because I'm excited!

Suich: Let's stop.

Jenn: Deal. I'm glad I held out on buying all huke's doujinshi. I had a feeling he would eventually release an art book, being the unstoppable freight train artist/designer he is. After all, not every artists can claim they spawned an entire franchise with a single picture (Black Rock Shooter). Besides redjuice, Huke might be one of my favourite artists ever. His monochromatic, grundge style is so filthy, and I mean that in a purely flattering manner. Truly.

Suich: Huke certainly creates gorgeous pieces.  His grungy style is done so well that he's got Jenn drooling over his works. Of course, I think they're beautiful as well.  I love how detailed the sample art pieces are.  I'm also a fan of Steins;Gate. I'm very impressed by redjuice's designs and happy that they're included in anime nowadays.

Jenn: So far, it looks as BLK will be mostly filled with commercial Black Rock Shooter/Stein's Gate work, but I'm excited to see what other pictures they'll include other than the ones we're all familiar with. At a hefty 240 pages, I'm sure it's full of wonderful new eyegasms.

Like this one!
Suich: Did you just invent a word?

Jenn: Damn straight I did.

Suich: Strange words come out when great merch is released!

Jenn: There's no official cover yet, but honestly, it could be a badly scribbled happy face for all I care.

It'll probably be something like this, but 10x dirtier.
Suich: I'll admire Jenn's book when she gets her copy

1/7 Saber Lily (Good Smile Company)

Suich: This has to be one of my favourite Saber figures to date.  She has a very elegant pose and the way her dress flows simply draws my eyes toward her.  This outfit certainly trumps her usual blue armoured outfit in my opinion.

Jenn: Strangely enough, I've never been interested in the Fate/Stay figures despite their obvious appeal. Of the series, Saber Lily certanily has the most appeal. Her gaze is killer. She has all the right folds and creases. Her sculpt and paint are obviously top notch. Her pose is dynamic and engaging. As Suich mentioned, Saber Lily is easily the most elegant of GSC's Saber series. I'm especially fond of her costume. Despite whatever impracticalities it presents in swordplay, it's certainly easy on the eyes. I can't understand why I'm not enamored with this figure.

Sabers UNITE!
Suich: You have to admire a girl who fights in pretty dresses.

Jenn: Or stilettos. Her base is also a plus. I've always been a fan of crumbling things, so it's natural that I dig her crumbling checkerboard base. Incidentally, I can think of another crumbling checkerboard base I'm very fond of.

BRS anyone?
Suich: If you love Saber and you missed out last time, here's your chance to grab her!

Jenn: Although I have to mention, by this time, her pre-order's already sold out everywhere. That's just how high demand is.

Suich: Cynic.

Jenn: I prefer the term "party-pooper". It's so much friendlier.

Jenn: Impossible.
Suich: Nope

1/7 Super Sonico - Bondage - Candy Pink ver. (Orchid Seed)

Jenn: Hmm, two girls on their knees this month. What does this mean?

Suich: Things are getting hot in here?

Jenn: (So take off all your clothes!) I've wanted Super Sonico bondage version for a while now. I blame all the wonderful reviews of her all over the net! Shame on you all!

Suich: Super Sonico has a cute face, but I have to say this isn't my type of figure.

Jenn: Suich is the chaste one of our partnership, but yes, Super Sonico is super cute. Must be her lack of a nose. She looks superbly proportioned, with the exception of her squished-bun breasts (but even those have a certain appeal). I love that Orchid Seed gave her some chunkiness. I also love her short shorts, because by definition, everyone loves short shorts. I admit the black version of this figure appeals to me more than the candy pink. Pink has never been a colour of forte in my eyes, but black leather is always in style. That being said, pastel colours suit Sonico splendidly. It offers a whole other atmosphere.

Suich: I know she isn't wearing much, but it feels like there's an overload of pink for this figure.  She has pink hair, pink clothes, and even a pink guitar to match.  The colours work well together (especially since there's a bit of blue and white included), but I must agree with Jenn.  Black is always stylish.

Jenn: To me, the appeal in this figure lies not only in her mostly-nakedness, but also in her tiny guitar. I love miniature version of things. Minature golf. Minature horses. You get the point.

And the underboob...
Jenn: Unfortunately, I missed her pre-order...
Suich: Nope, not my kind of figure

Persona 4 - Izanagi (Mega House)

Suich: If I had not already ordered the Izanagi Figma by Bandai I would have considered picking this one up. He's a bit bigger than the usual figures, being 25 cm tall.  He's a badass Persona, since he's suppose to mimic the bancho look.  In fact his pose screams, "Come at me, bro!"  If I have to point out something I don't like about this figure, it's the pegs on his base.  They look cheap.  They make Izanagi look cheap! I understand that Mega House probably wants Izanagi to look like he's floating but they went in the wrong direction.

Jenn: I laugh every time I see his crotchguard (then I hide). I'm glad a company finally decided to make a full-scaled Persona figure that's not Aegis. His pose is absolutely delicious, although I have to agree with Suich about the pegs. White plastic props? How uninspired.

Suich: If you have him at a certain angle, he gives you a pretty creepy look, but that just shows how flipping badass he is.  Those eyes definitely make him seem like one of those shady gang members, but again, it makes him badass.  I have to wonder why he's looking sideways instead of straight forward.  I suppose it works out fine since he looks good from both front and side view.

Jenn: I'm not sure I'd want him glowering at me while I sleep though.

Here's lookin' at you, kid.
Suich: Indeed. You know, I do like how cool his outfit looks.  It would have been nice if Izanagi's coat had a little more movement in it, but at least it still has nice clasps and creases!  If you're a Persona 4 fan, I highly recommend you pick this figure up.  Izanagi certainly deserved to have his own figure.  Now we can all enjoy him on our desk (possibly next to our many Aigis figures)!

Jenn: I find a lot of guy figures simply don't have enough detail, but Izanagi`s looking good. I might be asking too much, but I would love to see an Izanagi figure that included the MC of Persona 4. Now that would be worth dishing out for, not that I really go for guy figures (for some reason).

Suich: Persona 4 MC is pretty awesome!

Jenn: Naw, he intimidates me
Suich: Not this time. I would have considered it if I didn't already order the D-arts one...

1/8 Remilia Scarlet - Curiosities of Lotus Asia ver. (Griffin Enterprises)

Jenn: Touhou, Touhou, how I've become obsessed with beating you. I dream of vibrant fractal patterns and ZUN trumpets. One day I'll reach Remilia's stage on a respectable difficulty level. Till then, I'll always have fan art and YouTube videos.

Suich: Touhou sure is popular these days.  I have to admit I do admire the character designs though.  They're often quite cute.

Jenn: Her pose isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but I love her hair and bat wings. It seems Griffin is putting more work into making their figures more detailed. Ultimately, I backed from ordering her because of Griffin's notorious quality control issues. At 7400 yen, she's not exactly cheap, but damn, does she look good in promo shots.

Suich: I really like the creases in her dress and wings.  It feels like Griffin put in some effort to make Remilia look more detailed.  Sure, her pose is a tad plain, but judging by the stock photos, the extra details in the outfit make up for it.  I'm usually not fond of wavy hair, but it looks really nice on Remilia!

Jenn: There are many versions of Remilia out there, the most impressive being Gungnir ver. The question, however, is not which Remilia is best, but why this version doesn't have cat eyes. Cat eyes might have sold her, I think.

Fan-edited for maximum awesome.
Jenn: No, if only she had cat-eyes...
Suich: Nah, not a big enough fan.

Mikumo Original Collection - Marukunaru - 02

Jenn: What is it?

Suich: It's something awesome and hilarious.

Jenn: Can I eat it?

Suich:  You can try.

Jenn: It certainly looks edible, like some hybrid cotten candy/marshmallow. I bet it would be sour, with a squishy, sponge-like texture. This "figure" is inspired by this video, which by all standards is just a big moepile. I laughed when I first saw it though, and it's just about ridiculously amusing enough to buy just for kicks.

Suich: I just really want to poke them.  They're all lying there, so cute and happy and relaxed. They're also very pudgy!  I just want to poke their stomachs!

Jenn: I'm decidedly upset about the lack of Luka. Where is my husky jazz-girl puff cat, and why does she get left out of so much?

Suich: There is only enough love for three characters in this series!  Luka isn't one of them, apparently.

Jenn: Sad face.

Jenn: YES, I mean, NO, I mean, PSYCH! No, the answer is no.
Suich: Nah

Miku Append Nendoroid (Good Smile Company)

Jenn: Suich, does she look chunky to you?

Suich: Just around the waist, yeah.

Jenn: She looks chunky to me. Maybe it's because I've been spoiled by her slender figure version. Nendoroid Miku Append doesn't come with as many accessories as I'd like, or the effortless elegance of her full-scaled figure, but she is cute.

Suich: She's cute, but I think I only like the upper half of her.  The semi-transparent blue hair receives a thumbs up from me.  I'm used to her usual teal coloured hair, but this light colour is a nice breath of fresh air.

Jenn: Yes, if only she didn't come with legs. Her ability to levitate renders them moot anyways. I'm digging the new peppermint hair colour too, though it does run the risk of looking like toothpaste. The transparency is indeed cool. It lends to her weightlessness. I'm also digging her pimpin' new look. The futuristic touch really emphasizes her synthetic nature. I think I'll hold out for another company to take a stab at a full-scaled Miku Append though.

Jenn: No, hug denied!
Suich: Nope

1/8 Madoka Kaname (Good Smile Company)


Jenn: Oh Madoka, you're too young to become sort-of god. You need to live life. Breathe air. Party with friends. Then cease to exist.

Suich: Yeah, Madoka's not experienced enough to be god-like. Well, at least she was girly enough to be a Mahou Shoujo.

Jenn: Of the five Mahou Shoujo Madoka girls, I like Madoka's outfit fourth best. I guess that makes it the second worst (in case you're wondering, the worst is Homura's, because she's not allowed to have pretty things, or good endings, or Madoka). For what the show does, Madoka's outfit is almost too generically "magical girl" to fully appreciate. Her top could use a few more creases too. If you haven't watched the show, this figure probably isn't very exciting.

Suich: Madoka's outfit wins in the cute, typical magical girl category.  It's not stylish like Mami's or Kyouko's. The top part could be more decorative, but I really like the pink piece opening up like a flower near the bottom.  I guess I shouldn't expect too much out of this young lady since she designed her out outfit (in the anime).

Jenn: I'm so-so Madoka's skirt. It looks weird from a side angle (like she's stuck in a muffin top), but redeems itself from below. No, not for the panty shots, but for the sheer amount of ruffles. And her shoes are adorable. Just sayin'. I'm tempted to get her simply because Mahou Shoujo Madoka was the show of 2011. It deconstructed the magical girl genre so hard we all know it'll never be the same again. Since she's by GSC, we already know she's going to be high quality.

Suich: It's true.  Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is one of the best shows of 2011, which is why little Madoka here will probably sell well.  Her figure looks quite accurate to the original character design.  Leave it to Good Smile Company to please its customers.

Jenn: Pass. I'm waiting for a Godoka figure.
Suich: Nah, not a fan of hers

Suich: Well, we survived the first day of 2012!  It looks like we can all still buy merchandise!  Isn't that just swell?  Now you can check out the new items for January and buy, buy, buy!

Jenn: Live another day, spend another dollar. It's all good. This is a really long preview, and we got excited over a lot of things we haven't even pre-ordered (that's because they're all awesome). We promise February's preview will be shorter and easier to handle, and March's, and all the rest of them in fact.

From all of us at Poke the Merch, we would like to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR, and thank you for visiting our site. Every time we see a hit on our stats page it makes our day a little brighter.

Love you all,
Jenn and Suich

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