Wednesday 11 February 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Motoko Kusanagi S.A.C. Ver.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi S.A.C. Ver.

You don't particularly have to be an anime fan to have heard of Ghost in the Shell. The 1995 film by Mamoru Oshii is widely considered one of the greatest anime films of all time, and the original manga and subsequent anime productions have also enjoyed their fair share of success. So with the franchise having just celebrated its 25th anniversary, it's the perfect time for Max Factory to bring lead character Major Motoko Kusanagi to it's ever popular Figma line! This particular version is based on her appearance in the Stand Alone Complex television series, with another figure based on her recent Ghost in the Shell: Arise redesign also teased for the future. Will a movie version also be teased to complete the trifecta? Who knows, but the Stand Alone Complex look for the Major is arguably her most recognisable look at definitely the version most worthy of joining the line first.

Box Front

Box BackInsert Tray

Another Figma release, another box that's completely identical to all the others save for the colour. When Figma first introduced this new style of box a year or so ago I had nothing but praise for it and while I still like them, the lack of having anything to ever say about them has gotten a bit boring and I miss the more unique prints each one would have. Kusanagi's box in particular would have looked fantastic with some of the neon cyberpunk scenery that helped make the Ghost in the Shell franchise so captivating in the first place. Anyway, Figma Motoko Kusanagi comes in violet coloured packaging - which doesn't quite match the purple of her hair but is close enough to get the point across. While the black section on the front includes the relevant Stand Alone Complex logo, it also features a little 25th anniversary logo to commemorate the occasion too. 

The Major arrives

Figure frontFigure back

Kusanagi cracks a smileBadass in the windDoing what the Major does best

Motoko sported a fair few costumes over the course of Stand Alone Complex and it's sequel series 2nd Gig, and in typical Kusanagi fashion not all of them were entirely practical wardrobe choices. So for this release Max Factory have gone with what is probably the most middle-ground of the Major's looks - not the padded body armour nor the semi-naked jumpsuit. It was the correct compromise to take, resulting in a Kusanagi figure that's sure to appeal to all tastes. The Figma line is always most comfortable with its anime figures, and the Major is definitely another winner in that respect. One thing I'm not especially a fan of though is the glossy finish they've given the jacket. It separates it from the rest of the outfit well enough and looks close enough to the material it's made of in the show, but looks rather tacky compared to the snazzy matte finish the rest of the figure has.

The figure sports the Figma line's usual impressive level of articulation, but the Major's wardrobe does end up hindering it in a few areas. First we have the neck, which is double jointed by can't really get all that much movement out of that bottom joint thanks to the jacket's rather constricting collar. Likewise the shoulders are capable of plenty of movement, but just don't seem to do quite as much as you'd like them too. Google image search Kusanagi and you'll see plenty of shots of her with her arms outstretched and both hands on her gun, and many of these poses are just impossible for the figure to perform. Expecting a complete human level of movement out of her might be a bit too much to ask for, but a figure like the Major needs that little bit extra to really capture the character. Still, what the figure CAN do is still nothing to scoff at, a double-jointed waist providing plenty of movement for posing potential. The figure even sports separate toe-joints - something that's common on a lot of figures these days but something Figma seem to mostly save for the more action-orientated characters they put out.

But now it's time to talk quality control, and unfortunately my comments when it comes to Kusanagi are not of the good kind. Not only are the legs on mine rather loose (the right one in particular popping off frequently), but the faces just don't seem to fit firmly on the head at all. This wouldn't be a problem usually as the hairpiece could just pin the face in, but the hairpiece is ridiculously loose. I lost count of the times the hair and face would just drop off whenever I was using the standard hairpiece, so thank god Max Factory included an alternate one. But more on that a little bit further down.

The printed neck ports

One other key detail Max Factory thankfully included on the figure is the six ports on the neck, which have been printed on nice and cleanly for such small details. The limited neck articulation means it's a bit difficult to have all six on show without pushing the head forward, but rest assured they're all there. It seems like such a little thing to single out when it's so integral to the character (along with Ghost in the Shell in general) that the figure was never not likely to have them there, but just seeing them there impressed me nonetheless.

The Seburo C-26A rifle

Under heavy fire!More rifle actionThe Major busting through

More action shots

Next we come to Motoko's accessories, and the first thing that be addressed is the first thing everyone probably noticed in that plastic tray of hers - the spare pair of boobs. Yes you read that right, Motoko comes with an alternate chest piece. And for a very good reason! The second pair has been designed with more space underneath the bust, providing considerably more range for the joint underneath to replicate proper action poses. Getting Motoko into the sort of poses where she has both hands on the handgun would be impossible without this piece. So there's one pair of breasts for the more basic poses, and one for getting physical. Glad that's all been cleared up.

Other than that, Motoko's accessory count is pretty much what you'd expect it to be. There's three swappable faceplates (smiling, standard and shouting), five pairs of hands, an alternate "windswept" hairpiece, Seburo M-5 handgun and Seburo C-26A rifle (with detachable silencer). A smiling face is definitely something worthy of including with this release, but honestly it just felt completely out of place every time I put it on the figure so I can't see it being something I use all that often myself. Meanwhile the big rifle (which looks pretty rubbish without the silencer, so making it detatchable seems a bit pointless) is an absolute pain to get into her hands the first time, but if you consult the included instruction manual and pictures on the back of the box/online it won't prove too hard in future attempts. But favourite piece among the bunch is definitely the alternate hairpiece, which just adds so much more life to the figure even when it's just in a basic standing up straight pose. Plus it helps that it actually fits firmly into the head unlike the other hairpiece.

Oh, and of course there's also a clear Figma stand included with the figure - something common to all Figma releases and not specific to Motoko. Although she does also come with the angled adapter piece for the end - something that's included more on a case by case basis.

Cracking another smile

Section 9 on the jobMore Figma bootyMajor Motoko Kusanagi, reporting in!

Figma Motoko Kusanagi is one of those figures where I'm extremely happy to own it, but can't help but feel a little disappointed by. The sculpt is pretty much everything you could ever want in a Motoko Kusanagi figure, but the articulation leaves a bit to be desired. It's far from awful, but doesn't quite reach the level you'd want out of a figure as action-pose heavy as the Major. What's worse is the QC issues my figure is riddled with, which while could admittedly just mean I got a dud doesn't make it any less excusable. If you're in the market for a decent representation of such an iconic manga/anime character than this is exactly what you're looking for, but those looking for something more might end up feeling a little underwhelmed by this release.

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