Tonight's guest review is from Vincent
Spensieri, better known to some of you has Calbretto over on the Simpsons
Collector Sector. Take it away!
I know Iím a bit late reviewing these figures seeing as they were
released in December, but since theyíre just starting to show up at import
stores, itís forgivable. Iím a huge anime fan, as some of you might know
from my website. I pick up
many different anime-based figures whenever I get the chance, especially
when itís for a show that Iím really into. Love Hina is one of those
shows that Iíve really grown fond of. So when I heard that there was going
to be a line of super-articulated figures coming out, I just had to get
them! Theyíre made by Japanese company Epoch C-Works. The best thing about
these figures is that they have interchangeable heads!
Iíll be review series 1: Naru Narusagawa and series 2: Motoko Aiyanami.
They are arguably the most popular characters from the show, so itís no
surprise that they were made first. The next wave is starting to ship and
contains Shinobu Maehara: and Mitsune Konno, with wave 3 coming out in June.
Series 3 is set to contain Mutsume Otohime and a 2-pack of Sarah MacDougal
and Su Kaolla. For some reason the main character Keitaro is absent from the
Enough talk about who Iím not reviewingÖ on to the review!
Packaging - ****
Iíve never been one to pay much attention to the packaging of action
figures, but I still can tell what packaging is good and what is bad. In
this case, the packaging is done very nicely. You can see the figures
nicely, each displayed in a cute pose accurate to the character. The
writing on the card is done in foil so it has a really nice effect. It was
hard to get a picture of Naruís card due to the gold foil blending in
with the yellow package in the photo. The cards also feature nice artwork,
with a cute sketch of the girl behind the figure. Flip the card over and
you have some great pictures of the figures as well as some of that crazy
Japanese writingÖ what does it say? Who knows! You have to love the
crying Pacman warning at the bottom left though.
Sculpting - ****
They honestly couldnít have done a better job. The figures are dead on
likenesses of their anime counterparts, from the big, shiny eyes to the
poses and clothing detail. The folds in Motokoís clothing is done very
nicely, as is Naruís skimpy little towel. Speaking of which, itís
not removable but a separate piece of rubbery material. And no, she isnít
anatomically correctÖ although you can take a peek under there. Itís
about as big a thrill as youíll get peeking at your sisterís Barbie
Iím a hair freak, so the first thing I look at on an action figure
is the hair. These two beauties have wonderful hair! Theyíre sculpted
in two separate pieces so thereís no lack of detail on it. The
accessories are also sculpted extremely well, especially the texture on
the rocks for the hot spring.
The bodies on the figures are proportionate. Motoko is a bit taller
than Naru, just like on the show. Hand sculpts on the two are nice as
well, with Motoko being able to hold her accessories with no problem.
Paint - ***1/2
These figures are painted beautifullyÖ so why the half point off?
Theyíre painted too beautifully! I donít see why they painted Motokoís
hair and shirt instead of making them out of that color plastic. The paint
on the little nub thingies that connect the bangs to the rest of the head
on Motoko is already rubbing off. I can see this paint wearing off if the
figure is played with too much or dropped. But these are collectorís
items, so Iíll assume that many who buy these will just keep them in the
Articulation - ****
Iím sure many of you are familiar with Japanese import
figures. Many have two or three points of articulation tops. Look at
Bandaiís Dragonball Z figures. Many just moved at the shoulders. Same
with most Final Fantasy figures too. But itís different with these
babiesÖ both feature 14 points of articulation. Fourteen points and
they still manage to keep the figures looking amazing!
Motoko has ball-jointed neck, a slanted swivel at her chest plus
t-shaped hips, shoulders, knees and toes. She also has swivel joints at
her elbows and at her socks. She can assume many poses, looking great in
all of them.
Naru has the same amount as Motoko, just in different places. Naru
has a ball-jointed neck, the same slanted swivel at the chest plus
shoulders, knees, thighs, and a v-shape at the hips. They made an odd
choice at her elbows though. Instead of making the standard knee/elbow
joint, they made two cut joints, one straight and one at an angle. The
effect is still the same as a normal joint, pretty much.
One thing I donít like about the articulation is the knees. Whatís
with the ugly joints? They could have concealed the knee joints better..
Accessories - ***1/2
Motoko has some nice accessories here. She comes with a display sword,
another sword that has a removable sheath, a hat and a display thingie
with Japanese writing on it. You can also count her outfit as an
accessory since it comes apart into four pieces. Oh yeahÖ I forgot to
mention her clothes are removable. Donít get any ideasÖ she has her
undies on under there!
Naru comes with a rock base with attachable water line, to simulate
her sitting in the hot springs. She also comes with Tama-chan, the pet
flying turtle of the dorm. She can either be set on a clear plastic rod
that sticks into the rocks, to simulate flying, or be taken off and
Iím a little disappointed that Naru doesnít come with another set
of clothes. She seems kind of naked just in that skimpy towel. It would
have been nice if she had come with her yellow sweater and red skirt
Head factor - ****
These figures have a great feature: the heads can be switched around!
Not only can you switch around the heads on the figures in this line,
but if you can get your hands on a set of Love Hina vending machine
figures from Japan, you can use those heads as well. I've ordered a set
of the vending machine ďWater-LineĒ figures, but I donít have them
yet so I couldnít take pictures of the figures with those heads on.
Price - **
Iíve given it a two since these are imports. They are very expensive.
The site I ordered them from was selling them for $35 Canadian each,
plus shipping from Japan. Iíve seen them in import stores for $54.99
Canadian. I donít think youíll do much better than that though since
these babies were 2900 yen to begin with.
Overall - ***1/2
These are great figures for a Love Hina fan, or just a fan of cute girls
or great action figures. They do lose half a point for the price, but
seeing as the first Love Hina DVD is available in North America now,
these figures just might show up in comic stores some day soon. If they
do, then please do yourself a favor and pick them up. They are two of my
favorite figures of all time. Even more than my Barnyard Commandos hehe.
Figure from the collection of Vincent Spensieri