Sunday 6 May 2012

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Ika Musume

Despite this being the fourth Figma I've bought, it'll be the first time I've done a review for one for this blog. Not sure why I never did the Evangelion girls (long story short - they're great figures and well worth buying if you're a fan), but there we go. Therefore my first Figma review (but probably not the last) is of the 123rd entry into the mainline, and none other than Ika Musume (or Squid Girl if you prefer), star of the Shinryaku! Ika Musume anime and manga series. Tired of failing to conquer the surface world in the name of the sea, she's trying new tactics by invading toy collections instead.

Much like her animated self, Ika Musume is pretty short. In fact, she's around 2/3 the height of your usual Figma. Her skirt is made from soft PVC to allow lots of flexibility, and has a full range of motion in the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and feet. The fact she has pretty big shoes means her she has a good centre of gravity too and can be posed quite easily without a stand if you don't want a big obtrusive arm sticking out of her.

Like most Figma, Ika comes with a huge array of accessories. These include two front hairpieces (one cut short like in episode 12 of the first season, and another that I'll go into more detail on shortly), and extra head for the short tentacled hair), three facial expressions (happy, determined and upset), a huge selection of hands varying from pointing to fists, a pint glass (with removable beer!) and two plates of food. And of course, as with every Figma release (Bandai should take note) she comes with a jointed arm stand which can be plugged into her back. The hands may seem small but are really easy to remove since they use a hinged peg rather than a ball joint like similar scaled figures, but balancing the food using them is a real pain - protip: don't mess around with the open hands for ages only to realise using the open fists is far easier.

But by far her best accessory is the second hairpiece, which has two very long POSABLE tentacles. These tentacles are pretty durable, and can be used to hold things and even curled. Using the stand to lift Ika into the air also means you can pose her terrorising other toys while walking on her extended tentacles. I was a bit scared to test the limits of them (I'm always worried I'll break wired things) but there are plenty of possibilities to explore.

If there's one problem with Ika, it's one that plagues a lot of Figma and isn't just exclusive to her - the problem of paint transfer. I'm not sure if this is a common problem with the figure, but the short hairpiece on mine doesn't slot into the headpiece well (it stays in place, but not as firmly as it should) and I had to apply a bit of extra pressure to force it in. When I removed the piece after taking a few photos, I noticed the blue colouring had transferring onto her forehead, and the same applies when I removed her bracelet pieces. To be fair these areas would be covered when displayed so it's not a huge issue, but still one I thought worthy of attention.

I don't buy Figma very often so I don't know what is the norm in terms of quality, but Ika Musume is a fantastic figure. What she lacks in stature she makes up for in posability, accessories, movable tentacles and just plain fun. If you only have one water dweller invade your shelves this year, make it this one.

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