Yesterday I was overjoyed when I found out that a company by the name of Kurushima was releasing a Ruri Hoshino figure, and not just any Ruri figure, but one of her before she became a captain. If any of you don’t know who Ruri is, all you have to do is take a look at my banner, gravatar, or any of my profile pics. She has been the unofficial mascot of Nopy’s Blog since its inception and is my favourite character of all time. Unfortunately, the anime she comes from, Martian Successor Nadesico, is from the mid-90′s, so good figures of the younger Ruri are almost non-existent. Most of the ones I’ve seen of her are garage kits from over a decade ago.
With that in mind, it was only natural that I would purchase this figure of Ruri returning from the bakery in a polka dot dress without a second thought, even with the hefty price tag of 14200 yen. However, I am now faced with a dilemma. A day after this figure of Ruri was put up for preorder, another figure showed up on the front pages of my favourite online figure stores.
It figures that they would post the regular edition Ruri first to give time for rabid Ruri fans like me to buy, then hit us again with the limited edition Ruri. This one comes with a pink dress rather than a polka dot dress, a bread bag with a different design, and different coloured shoes and hair bands. As far as I can tell, everything else is the same. I like both the polka dot dress and the pink dress, so my problem is whether to get both or get one.
There are several problems with getting both. First of all, they are both in the highest price range as far as figures go. I have 5 figures in the $100+ range and each of them was purchased after careful consideration. I wouldn’t mind spending that much for 1 figure, but spending double for two figures that are almost identical seems illogical. Secondly, these are cold cast figures. I haven’t owned or even seen a cold cost figure in person before so I don’t know what they’re like, but the general consensus I’ve found online seems to be that they’re not as good as PVC (few, if any, reasons are given). Lastly, these two Ruri figures are from a manufacturer I’d never heard of until yesterday (Kurushima), so I know nothing about their figure quality.
The good point about getting both is that this is a once in a decade opportunity and I won’t be kicking myself later when the one I didn’t get is sold out. According to MFC, there has only been one prepainted figure release of young Ruri in the past decade, the rest have been of her 16-year-old form. If I decide to get one though, my problem then becomes whether to get the polka dot version or the pink dress version. This problem has got me flustered, so if anyone has any insight they can share on cold cast figures, Kurushima, or these two particular figures, I’d be happy to hear them.
All of this thinking over a figure has got me thinking though, what brought me to the point where I’m actually considering spending $300 on a couple pieces of plastic?
Before I started collecting figures, I thought that figure collectors were wackos. I mean c’mon, what kind of person would buy that many “dolls”? That all changed when I bought my first figure at a local anime convention, a 1/8 Haruhi Suzumiya by Max Factory.
When I first opened it, I thought “wow, this looks nice, it’s so detailed,” but then I noticed something was wrong. I’m sure all of you figure collectors can tell right away from the picture above just what it is. I compared my figure with some promo shots I found online and thought that mine looked rather dull. As a complete newbie to figures, I thought that maybe it was like those McDonald’s commercials where they show you a beautiful burger that looks nothing like the sloppy things they actually serve you. I continued thinking that until I saw pictures of the same Haruhi figure that other people had bought and noticed that they looked way better than mine.
It took a while to come to the conclusion that I had been duped. My very first figure was a bootleg. You can see the difference between the bootleg Haruhi and the real Haruhi below.
The fake Haruhi is made out of a harder (more brittle) plastic, has a poor paint job, has her arms in the wrong position, has a face that it too far in, has a red armband pin, and her base is yellowish and uneven. I was impressed with the figure despite all of the obvious flaws, so just imagine how blown-away I was when I got an authentic Haruhi figure a few months later. The amount of detail and the overall quality of a real Haruhi figure was just mind-boggling to someone like me, whose last experience with a plastic model was a $10 Transformer from a department store.
Between the purchase of my fake Haruhi and the arrival of my authentic Haruhi, I had actually gotten another figure. This was around the time when Good Smile Company/Max Factory was starting to see massive growth and they were experimenting with new things, one of which was nendoroids.
With my Haruhi turning out to be a fake, my very first authentic figure turned out to be this Light Yagami nendoroid.
If you look up Light’s nendoroid number, you’ll find that he’s nendoroid number 12, one of the earliest ones. While nendoroids have changed a lot over the years, the thing that drew me to them in the first place still applies today. They’re just soooo cute. Nendoroids now make up over half of my collection.
Haruhi and Light set the precedent for collecting highly detailed and cute figures, but it was another figure that set the amount of money I was willing to spend on each.
Working with the Haruhi craze of 2006-2007, Freeing released massive bunny girl figures of the characters as their first foray into the world of figure manufacturing. I don’t know if it was due to their size or the use of actual mini fish-net stockings, but these things were expensive.
I had no concept of preordering figures at the time and everyone wanted this particular one, so I had to pay quite a bit more for her. Including shipping, I paid $177 for this Haruhi bunny, the most I have ever spent on a figure. I was a bit disappointed with it when I opened the box. First off, there was a scratch on her right bunny ear. It wouldn’t have been too bad if it was a small scratch that could be painted over, but this one was deep. Secondly, there are some very ugly black splotches all over her legs underneath the fish net stockings. I was so upset with this figure that I decided I would never spend this much on a figure again.
That brings me back to the problem I have now. I was hooked on collecting anime figures after seeing how detailed and cute they could be, but do Kurushima’s Ruri figures have the quality and looks to justify their purchase, and should buying two nearly identical figures be considered the same as spending more than $177 on a single figure. Such is the life of a collector… If any of you aren’t figure collectors and are considering starting, make sure you have a LOT of money.
Note: Some of you may have noticed, but this was a test-run with my new camera and a light box I made. Let me know what you think.