Wednesday 1 February 2012

February: The Month of Love

It's the second month of 2012 and here in Canada, it's cold. Therefore, when we call February the Month of Love, we're being somewhat ironic. It's hard to love anything when your eyelids are frozen together.

But enough of that cynical slander! Here at Poke the Merch, we're optimistic. We call February the Month of Love because we love what's coming, not because we're hopeless romantics or smart-asses or anything like that. As usual, we're all about the merch, because naturally, merch make the world go 'round.

So what are we excited about in this excrutiating chill?

1/7 Touwa Erio (Alpha Max)


Suich: pose!

Jenn: Denpa Onna to Seishun is really weird. Just watch the opening to get a better idea of how weird it is. Given that it's produced by the same company that produced Bakemonogatari, it's not unexpected that this show carries many of the same aspects (beautiful animation, dialogue-heavy, disjointed scene cuts), and like Bakemonogatari, all other characters pale in comparison to the main character.

Suich Erio sure has a short skirt, but I'm guessing that's how typical small (young or old) anime girls look these days.  It's part of a trend, but it seems to work well with Erio's pose and the way her top is arranged.  Look at that shirt slide...

Jenn: On first glance, Erio looks rather boring. Her outfit isn't too special. Her pose isn't too dynamic. What I do like is her floppy, disheveled look. It's true to her character, and just unique enough to work. 

Suich: Yeah, the disheveled look is what truly makes this figure unique.  That, and I'm actually quite fond of her shiny blue hair.  The amount of creases and curves coming down from the back just screams pretty to me.

Jenn: I've never ordered an Alpha Max figure before, so I'm nervous about their quality, but the hair on Erio is too much to resist! Her face seems to be the main area of contention, and it doesn't represent her 100% (or even 90%). Erio seems to be a slippery character for most companies to properly portray, and all Erio figures fall short on her face in one way or another. That being said, I think Alpha Max did an admirable job.

Jenn: Yes, the hair calls me.
Suich: Nah.

1/6 Aegis - ART WORKS ver. (Alter)

Suich: I'm going to start by saying this is the best Aegis figure out there so far.  Numerous companies have developed some relatively decent Aegis figures.  Then Alter came along and crushed them.  Crush them all hard! They even crushed themselves!  She's gorgeous here! Thank you, Alter!

Jenn: Aegis is flying! Flying like the wind! Flying like an airplane! At least, that's what her pose seems to imply.

Suich: To me it looks like she's just leaping off a surface.

Jenn: Leaping of off a surface like an airplane. Alter's Aegis is 1/6, which means she towers over all other Aegises. Her base seems quite small though. I wonder if it's enough to keep her balanced, especially given her forward lean.

Suich: She should tower over the other Aegis figures, including the first one Alter made!  Alter's Aegis 2.0 is far superior!  Just look at how beautiful and tall she is.  Aegis' hair has a warm shade, she's got a gorgeous expression, she's leaping like an elegant plane (yes, it exists now!), and she's actually got an interesting base! 

Jenn: If there's one thing I love it's detail. Just look at the texture on her sides! The tiny print on her shoulders! The rips on her leggings!

Detail! Detail everywhere!
Jenn: As much as I like her, no
Suich: It's a bit out of my price range, so no.

1/8 Orihara Izaya (Alter)

Jenn: Looks like everyone's favourite Trollolol is being immortalized.

Suich: By Alter too. Who (and by who I mean Durarara fans) can say no to this guy?

Jenn: He's so feminine. I love it. From the back he looks like he's doing a girly twirl, and it's awesome. That right Izaya, strut your stuff for Shizuo. For no particular reason, I'm obsessed with the fluff on his coat.

Suich:  The fluffy coat is probably the best part!  Look at how it sticks out!

Jenn: I would order him if I weren't so creeped out by the prospect of having him in my room. If I don't order him, I'm afraid he'll call a hit on me. What is this feeling? Could it be...CONFLICT?!

Suich: Yes, I can see why you fear him.  If you have Izaya on your desk or shelf and then equip him with his little knife, you'd better be afraid. In any case, I'm sure fans will order him once Shizuo is released.  You can't have Izaya without Shizuo after all.

Jenn: I love to hate him. Every time he gets hurt I feel warm inside. I must get Alter's upcoming Shizuo, which is reason enough to get Izaya. I would love to have the pair of dysfunctional batshit crazies on my desk, having a domestic and whatnot. 

"Hi honey, I'll be home by six!"
Jenn: I missed his pre-order. Hoping for a restock now!
Suich: Nope.

1/8 Naoe Kanetsugu (Alter)

Jenn: Stop. It's hammer time.

Suich: That was horrible.

Jenn: I regret nothing.

Suich: You rarely ever do.

Jenn: I never watched enough to Hyakka Ryouran to see Naoe in action. If it's anything like the rest of the show, her appearance would involve more fan service than smashing. Of the Samurai Girl series, I find Naoe's design the most insipid. Besides her sakura patterened leggings, there's really nothing about her costume I haven't seen before. It lacks pizzaz. It lacks awesome feudal-meets-modern-kimono-sailor-suit action. What I do like about this figure is her huge hair and weapon.

Suich: Naoe is...special.  I certainly agree with Jenn.  Her design isn't particularly dazzling but at least her expression differs from everyone else's.  Actually, I think the highlights of this figure would be the accessories.  The little bells hanging from her pigtails add a nice touch.  And her shiny hammer is awesome, of course.

Such a beautiful hammer, and yet all I see are buns...
Suich: If you look at Naoe on some angles she can be frightening as hell.  I certainly wouldn't appreciate her smiling at me like that at night.  I wouldn't be able to sleep.  Or I'd sleep, but have nightmares.

Jenn: I'm scared. I'm scared because if Naoe smiles any harder, she'll dislocate her jaw.

A perfect case of hysterical happiness.
Jenn: No, I'm afraid of her shipping price
Suich: No, she's more crazy than cute

Menma Nendoroid (Good Smile Company)

Jenn: Ok, so Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai wasn't the best show. The characters were good, the premise, ok, but there was just way too much crying. I don't mean boo-hoo crying either. I mean over the top, theatrical, almost funny, head-over-heels synchronized bawling. Menma's not my favourite character either (I find both Anjou and Tsurumi more interesting in general), but there's something very adorable about this nendo.

Suich: I can't say I've watched this anime, but I'll trust Jenn's description of it.  Menma looks really adorable in nendo form.  I think her floral base is quite unique compared to the other standard, boring, semi-transparent nendoroid bases with holes in them *coughTotoricough*.  Menma has cute expressions, but to me, her dress is quite plain.  Maybe that's why she got a nice floral base.  GSC had to compensate for the plainness of Menma's dress.

Jenn: I can see lots of uses for that white dress. Can anyone say PJs?

Suich: PJs!

Jenn: Unfortunately, GSC made her arms too long for her body. Menma doesn't seem proportionate, which doesn't mean much since nendos aren't proportionate to begin with. Stranger still, they didn't give Menma a crying face, which is almost expected given she cries almost every episode. Instead, they opted to give her a peaceful expression...not that it's bad or anything, I guess.

Dum dee dum...
Jenn: I'm breaking my own rule about not pre-ordering nendos, but yes.
Suich: Nope.

That concludes our February preview!  There aren't many hearts in there now, are there?  In fact, this time we have some crazy looking figures (Izaya and Naoe).  But just cause we don't have many hearts doesn't mean we don't feel the merch love.  Stick with us, and we might just promise more lovey-dovey stuff in March! 

Feelin' the love,
Jenn and Suich

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