Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Mikasa Ackerman

Figma Mikasa from Max Factory/Good Smile Company

Attack on Titan is probably the hottest property in anime right now, so it's no surprise that a whole bunch of different companies are getting in on the merchandise game with a variety of statues, figures and more. Leading the way with poseable figures is Max Factory and their Figma line, which is a match made in heaven for collectors everywhere. In fact, the initial shipments of the figures sold out so fast that they received re-releases/second shipments in a matter of months. Kicking of the Titan line is Mikasa Ackerman, with Eren Yeager, Levi and Armin Arlert following up closely behind (the latter as a Wonderfest/GSC store exclusive).

Those who bought this figure (Eren and Figma) from Good Smile Company online store should also receive a special di:stage designed liked the rooftops from the show. It's a pretty cool extra, but something I can happily live without.

Figma boxes get a makeover

Although not much has really changed hereA second tray insert lurks behind

It's been quite a while since I last bought a Figma, however during my absence the line has adopted a simpler and more uniform design across the board. Rather than a basic design that comes in variety of different colours/patterns depending on the franchise, the boxes are now split into two solid colours. The top half still changes depending on the figure, but the bottom is consistently a solid black with all the information printed minimally on the left hand side. The right is just solid black save for the tiny Attack on Titan logo in the corner. The general idea of the back is pretty much the same, only now all of the pictures are boxed off and show off GSC's "official pics" grey background.

Honestly, opinions are going to vary on the new style of packaging. It's probably going to get more boring as more releases are done in this style, but for Mikasa I think it's pretty effective.

Salute!

Such wonderful detailHighlighting the arm issue

As soon as the initial prototypes were revealed, Figma fans knew they were going to be getting something special with Attack on Titan. The overall sculpting is perfect, the detailing flawless and the paint apps nice and crisp. The only real area the clothes get into the way of the articulation is the forearms, which can't go straight down to the side due to the extra bulk coming from the soft plastic jacket. It isn't much of a deal breaker because odds are you wouldn't be buying a super poseable figure just to place in such a lifeless pose, but something I did notice when doing basic profile pics of the figure. The only other thing that may bother sticklers for accuracy is how the stand hole is unfortunately placed in the middle of the Survey Corps logo, leaving a rather noticeable hole. Again, the amount of posing variety (especially when factoring in the accessories I'll be talking about a bit further down) means it doesn't feel like big deal, but if it really bugs you that much you might want to avoid looking at the figure from behind...

One thing that really makes Mikasa stand out is that she doesn't have basic Figma hands either. Nope, instead she's showing off some really nice ball jointed hands just like the ones seen on standard S.H. Figuarts. But what makes it more interesting is that Max Factory have improved on Figuarts' biggest shortcoming - the wrist peg is a long cylinder rather than a tiny ball that needs to be clicked on. This makes changing the hands absolutely effortless, with no fear of breakage AND a greater range of motion. With Bandai seemingly switching to basic Figma-style hands for their new releases, it'll be interesting to see if Figma will be making a total switchover to these in the months to come.

Titan fighting badass

Blowin' in the windA good look at the 3D Gear

Though she may be stuck in her garrison uniform, there are still a few different options for Mikasa clothing wise. Her favourite scarf is removable, and can be replaced with a standard shirt collar piece for those who want a bit more uniformity in their Attack on Titan ranks. However if you're going for a Survey Corps look, a windswept green cloak is also packaged with the figure. Using it doesn't require removing the scarf, so all that needs to be done is popping off the head, putting the cloak on and then popping the head back on.

Other accessories include three alternate faces (the default stoic look, a slightly angry face and a REALLY angry face) and a total of 10 changeable hands. Of course, these are the basics one comes to expect into from a Figma, taking us on swiftly to the main event...

Launching into battle

Shooting hooksThe "you hurt Eren" crazy face

Just as any good Attack on Titan human figure should, Figma Mikasa comes with her Three Dimensional Manoeuvre Gear for Titan combat and just general swinging around like a badass. When taken out of the tray this highly detailed accessory feels heavy, flimsy and generally quite daunting to attach to the figure, but rest assured once everything is in the right place it couldn't be more stable. The 3D Gear not only plugs into the back of the Mikasa (in a hole below the one for the stand), it also plugs into each side of her hips and then further down the top of her legs. Everything fits nice and tightly, barely obtrusive on the figures posing capabilities. While she is able to stand freely with the 3D Gear attached, odds are you'll be using the included stand for these sort of poses anyway.

With the 3D Gear ready to go, the wide variety of possibilities of the figure suddenly become so much more apparent. The blades handles plug into the loose wires, the blades themselves can detach like the show, grappling hooks are included to shoot out of the Gear - complete with gas-cloud effect parts for either side. Also included is one giant jet stream which not only attaches to the back of the Gear, but also fixes to the stand so that the figure can jut out even further. But without a doubt the coolest feature of them all - working grappling hooks. If you miss the days of gimmicky action figures, just plug these things in and have Mikasa dangle from your radiator, desk or whatever those plastic hooks can get good purchase on. Just brilliant.

Best of the best

Free ridin'Kids' toys all over again

When I first watched Attack on Titan I particularly bothered about collecting the Figma, however that mindset quickly changed after about five episodes and they were all suddenly in my pre-orders list. I don't regret that decision at all, because Mikasa has turned out brilliantly - easily one of the most fun and versatile figures I own. Much like the preview pictures teased, Max Factory have excelled themselves and this release stands leagues above most other Figma in sculpt, accessories and gimmickry. If all the Attack on Titan Figma turn out to be this good, then this is a collection you won't want to miss out on.

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