Monday 11 June 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Mizuki (Selene)

Release Date: April 2018 
RRP: 6296 yen 

Even though it took long enough to finally get to making one, there was no way that Max Factory was going to stop at just one Pokémon Figma. Good Smile Company have got a rather extensive little cast going with the Nendoroid line now, but when it comes to their articulated cousins where do you go after Red? After starting at the very beginning, it's time to jump to the latest generation of Pokémon games with the release of Figma Mizuki - aka the female trainer of Pokémon Sun & Moon. After travelling the islands of Alola, helping Lillie and Cosmog from the threat of Lusamine and the Ultra Beasts and becoming the first trainer in the region to tackle the Pokémon League, Mizuki now takes her place as the second Pokémon character to be part of the Figma line.

Not even something as exciting as another Pokémon on release can persuade Figma to break away from their simplistic packaging layout, with Mizuki coming in a larger style square box that's half green and half white. Not quite as a colourful as one might hope for a trainer hailing from the sunny region of Alola, but it still looks pretty good despite how basic it is. The big open window neatly shows off everything the release has to offer, with the fact Rowlet has been placed in the box backwards perhaps the most perfectly in-character bit of packaging placement I've ever seen. The back and spines of the box feature the usual array of GSC stock imagery, and then inside you'll find the figure and accessories spread nicely across a single plastic tray.

Additionally if you're one of those people that can't bear to go without an accessory, there's also an exclusive bonuses to both the GSC online store and Pokémon Centre. This additional accessory comes in its own black plastic bag, simply featuring numbering and Japanese text to identify exactly what it is. Inside the accessory itself is in then yet another clear bag, separated off into different sections for both the accessory and its accompanying stand.

Directly based off the artwork for Pokémon Sun & Moon, Figma Mizuki is based off of the default outfit she has at the start of the game rather than any of the customisable options you can play around with as you progress. The sculpt and colouring of the figure is as faithful as ever, right down to white t-shirt being moulded underneath her trademark flowery top. The summery colour palette is the perfect look for a trainer hailing from the tropical Alola region, and makes a the paler shades make a nice contrast to the more solid colours in Red's design. However one of my absolute favourite touches with the figure is that the iconic "chicken" hat is completely removable without leaving any sort of egregious tab poking out of the head. The hat was always going to be removable because of the alternate faces, but for it just to leave a tiny hole that's barely noticeable is both unexpected and appreciated - especially since you can actually play the game without wearing the hat.

Anime-style girls are what Figma do best so it should be no surprise to hear that Mizuki wins in the articulation department too - not really offering much in the way of surprises but hitting all the right notes Figma figures usually do. The smooth Figma joints provide plenty of movement in all the key areas, allowing Mizuki to pull off all those crazy Z Move poses she'll need in battle. You may not be able to see it but the figure does in fact have a torso joint underneath that wavey flower top, so while it might not have as much movement as if it were completely on show the baggy top does still allow a little leeway to make poses that little bit more human. The only real criticism here is the design of the shoulder joints, which while perfectly functional do perhaps jut out a little more than they need to. All this means really means though is that in some poses the sculpt doesn't look quite as clean as it could, and even that can be avoided with a bit of careful repositioning. 

Mizuki's basic accessories include an alternate smiling faceplate (aka the one expression your character makes in almost every cut scene in the game, whether it's appropriate or not), shoulder bag, Z-Ring bracelet and Pokéball. Scale clearly wasn't something the designers weren't completely going for with this figures, as the Pokéball is significantly smaller than the one that was included with Red. Unfortunately this not only means that the details aren't as sharp, but the Ball doesn't fit quite as snugly in the designated hands either. Thankfully the same can't be said for the other accessories, particularly the bag which comes complete with the Island Challenge Amulet. Also included as usual here is a standard Figma display stand, but what's particularly interesting about this one is that it rather prominently has all of the Pokémon copyright information printed on the base. Seems rather strange to be on a completely generic accessory, but maybe it just had to go somewhere and this was the best place for it. 

But of course those are just the basic accessories, the good stuff is of course the Pokémon on bundled into this release. Just as Red came with the three Kanto starter Pokémon, Figma Mizuki comes with all three Alolan equivalents – Litten, Rowlet and Popplio. Each Pokémon is in a fixed pose, scaling nicely with both Mizuki and their Kanto counterparts. The quality of these figurines are fantastic, and definitely what help make these releases feel extra special – even though the fact we're finally getting articulated Pokémon trainer figurines after all these years is pretty special in itself.

Finally there's the matter of that GSC Store/Pokémon Centre exclusive accessory, which in this case is none other than the Rotom Dex! As was the case with Red's Pikachu this comes in two different variants, with the GSC Store's "Chatty ver." sporting an open mouthed expression and the Pokémon Centre's simply sporting a generic grin. Either way the Rotom is a solid figurine that cannot stand up on its own, instead relying on an included ball-jointed display base. If you'd rather pose it floating a little higher up, it also fits perfectly into the standard Figma display stand as well. With the Rotom Dex being such a big part of Pokémon Sun & Moon it's a more than a little disappointing to see this made into an exclusive accessory, but one can assume that Max Factory either wouldn't or couldn't overload these releases with too many mini figurines. If you're happy to pay the extra for the Rotom Dex though you won't be disappointed – it's a beautiful little accessory that really helps complete this release.

While she may not carry the iconic status of her predecessor, Figma Mizuki is another solid release in what will hopefully expand into a frequent range of Pokémon figures. The Sun & Moon trainer is a little more in line with what collectors can usually expect from a Figma, but when that includes a great sculpt, vibrant colours and a good range accessories that isn't by any means a bad thing. Any flaws are minimal at best, making the only real deciding factor for buyers whether they want to pay that little bit extra for the Rotom Dex or not. Just one Pokémon Figma was never going to enough, so here's hoping the line continues beyond both this and the forthcoming Lively Lillie figure.

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