Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Display Case: Max Factory Figma #002 Haruhi Suzumiya

Where there is yin there must also be yang. In my case, where there's a review of a western action figure there should also be a review of a figure from the east, the land of the rising sun, the ever-popular Japan. So why not make one more installment of The Display Case focusing on an imported figure? When it comes to imported Japanese collectibles there's a very small chance that you'll end up disappointed with what you've received. That's usually how good the products are. Action figures are no different. There are three major players in the imported action figure business that collectors go gaga (no, not THAT gaga) for: Revoltech, S.H.Figuarts and Figma. In this review we'll be looking at a Figma figure to be specific. While Max Factory, the makers of Figma, are readying to celebrate their 100th release, let's turn the clock back to when they just began the line and take a look at their second release. Though, there IS one thing I need to know from you before I introduce her. That is.........well..........do you believe in aliens, ESPers or time travelers?

Haruhi Suzumiya is a high school student who can definitely be defined as "quirky". How so? Well her main goal in life is to find anything supernatural or out of the ordinary, thus making life less boring and more exciting.......oh and she also has the power to mold the universe in her image or even destroy it, but she doesn't know about it. See? Quirky. She is the main character of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya", a popular series of light novels that spawned a popular series of manga as well as an even MORE popular anime series, of which I am a huge fan. It also gave us a ton of merchandise, such as plushes, clothing, wall scrolls and figurines, such as our Figma here....


Compare the Figma Haruhi here to anime Haruhi up top and you'll see just how dead-on the sculpting is to the source. From her recognizable school uniform and yellow ribbons to that ecstatic face that says "You're an alien, aren't you?! Aren't you?!?" The uniform is so nicely done, with creases, wrinkles and the appropriate shading for them. The only issue one might have is the size of the head, but that's because at first glance it seems that way. Once you get a good look at her you'll see that her hair is why she appears to have a big noggin. Besides this optical illusion everything else about her, sculpt-wise is pretty much perfect.


One thing I absolutely love about Figmas are how they go about coloring their figures. There is little to no paint on this figure. Everything, from her skin tone to her blouse, is dyed plastic. That means there's less of a chance of accidentally scratching or scuffing the figure and leaving a noticeable mark in it's place. The paint that is there is very well done and of good quality. Her eyes kind of boggle be, though. They're really, REALLY well done, but they seem too well done to be paint. The only conclusion I could come to is the use of water slide decals, which are advanced, high quality stickers that require careful handling to apply. Overall, a fantastic paint job and very collector-friendly


My favorite part of Figmas has to be the posability. These things shine at this. The main joint that runs through the figure is a ball hinge of sorts with pegs to connect all the parts together. This combination allows for the maximum range of motion for every part of the body as well as eliminating the use of typical ball joints. With these joints Haruhi here can pull off just about any pose you can think off. You wanna pose her in a casual stance? Go right ahead. Want to show her in a fighting pose or fly-kicking? Totally doable. If you can think it, you can do it. That's the glory of the Figma joint system.


Another cool thing about Figmas are the number of accessories that come with. The typical stuff usually includes alternate body parts or faces but specific pieces that compliment the character in question. Haruhi comes with a plethora of alternate hands for things such as holding stuff, pointing, etc. as well as alternate feet allowing her to wear either her interior or exterior school shoes. Next up is an alternate pouty face if you don't want Haruhi looking all cheery and excited or a calm, confident face for when you want her looking mellow or in thought. Swapping the faces is very simple. Just remove the front of the scalp, pop off and swap the faces and then reattach the scalp. The seams in the head are well hidden and the gimmick works extremely well. Lastly there is the alternate arm band as well as a special hand to go with it. The arm band Haruhi has on in package reads "Brigade Leader", since she's the leader of the S.O.S. brigade. However, you can pop off the arm and switch out the band for another. The second one reads "Director". This is a reference to Episode 00 as well as "The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya" saga where she, along with her S.O.S. brigade, makes a movie to show at their school's Arts Festival. She even has a special alternate right hand holding a molded director's megaphone to go with it. Add the trusty triple-jointed stand that comes with every Figma and you have a pretty damn good pile of parts.


If you couldn't tell from all the praise, this is a highly recommended collectible. Yes, collectible. Because calling it a toy doesn't seem right. She may seem small at first, but once you open her up and mess around with her you'll see that there's much more to her then meets the eye. Superb sculpting and articulation, fantastic paintwork, a simple yet effective set of accessories all come together to create a piece of work that any Haruhi fan would be foolish not to own. If you're a Figma newbie then Haruhi or any of her obtainable alternate versions (Currently 3: Summer Uniform, Middle School and Disappearance) are great figures to test the waters with. While the Winter Uniform version we saw in this review is a little harder to find due to it's age, the other versions of her are still out there and go for around $30 online, which is the best place to search for these types of imports. If Haruhi has been any indication, we'll be diving back into the Figma pool a few more times in the future. So stay tuned...!

No comments:

Post a Comment