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Astro Toy
Luka Megurine Figma

by David Cabrera,

Luke Megurine Figma
Series: Vocaloid
Maker: Max Factory
Price: $30-40

Astro Toy must be scheduled for holidays, huh? We've been here Halloween, Thanksigiving, maybe Yom Kippur, now Christmas. I hope that those of you who celebrate it had a great Christmas (please note: I am writing this from the past where it hasn't yet happened. Hello, future!). In a Perfect World, there'd be a Yamato Ingram and a DizzyPVC under my tree. Also, the tree would shoot lasers and yell a variety of hot-blooded and heroic battling phrases. Did any of you get cool otaku gifts, particularly toys? Let me know in the comments!

I don't think Figmas need any kind of introduction anymore, but this character does. Luka Megurine (like her cousin Hatsune Miku) is a Vocaloid: a synthesized computer voice program. There's no anime or manga “source material” here, just the program and the attached character design. All the content-- songs using these characters’ voices and their accompanying music videos-- is done by fans, of which there is no shortage, for other fans. These artificial pop idols are the darlings of Japan's other YouTube, Nicovideo, and they're so big that lately they're havingconcerts. That's right, live concerts. You know, nobody who came up with Sharon Apple would have guessed that in fifteen years we'd have actually built her.

To the extent that Vocaloids have personalities, Luka is the husky-voiced, glamorous, and mysterious one. Her voice was provided by YuuSakaki-sanAsakawa, so I'm kind of obligated to like her. The Figma is an attractive sculpt of a very ornate character design: if she were an anime character, Luka would probably look a lot simpler. The many small details-- tattoos, bits of jewelry, and so on-- can only look so good in this scale, but the wind-swept hair and dress cut a striking figure.

Kind of like last time (except it doesn't ruinthe toy), Luka's perpetually swished-out dress looks nice. However, it effectively keeps her legs from moving around too much. There will be no dance moves at this party, Luka: you stand still and sing for the nice people in an orderly fashion! If this were Revoltech, we might have a broken-up dress that moves around, but Figma's always going to sacrifice in the direction of aesthetics. The usual Figma stand will be more necessary than usual: between the wide dress and the heels, Luka has some problems staying up on her own.

Luka comes with a mic with a stand, one alternate head (a “singing” face), and the usual Figma assortment of hands. Maybe it's because there's already one rather large accessory in the box (we'll get to that), but I'm surprised there aren't more alternate faces for a wider range of expressions. Luka can grab the mic stand, but the look on her face still doesn't rock out, you know? There are no extremes of expression. Only having the option of straight-faced or gently singing really makes posing the figure that much more boring. I have to imagine that she's playing a very formal concert where the theme is Jojoposing and act accordingly.

The strangest thing about this figure is obviously that Luka comes with a huge tuna named Ooma-san (as seen in the hit Luka song I Want ToEat A Tuna-- no, seriously). The gag is appreciated, but in practice there isn't a lot for her to do with this thing. She can sling it, you can put it up on the mic stand (I don't think this use was intended, but it's doable), or you can suspend it mysteriously in mid-air with the Figma stand. I'm kind of surprised the toy doesn't also come with an “octopus Luka” head like the Nendoroid does: I had imagined this meme was popular enough for every Luka figure. I really want to like the tuna, but it's obviously packed in at the cost of more practical accessories, so I'm torn.

As Figmas go, this one's honestly a little dull. The tuna accessory is kind of cute, but there's not a lot else going on here. I understand that the character's a blank slate, but action figures that can't emote aren't a lot of fun. The whole point of Vocaloid is projecting feelings onto them, right? I've never had a bad Figma, but it's very possible for them to be boring, and this one's definitely something I can only recommend, half-heartedly, to existing Vocaloid fans. I kinda wish I'd gone with the Nendoroid instead (but we have an extremely important Nendoroid coming up in the future...).

Want this toy? We got it at HLJ for about $29 before internationals shipping, and BBTS has it for $39 before domestic shipping.

Merry Christmas, everyone: Astro Toy is signing out for the year. We'll meet again soon. All we gotta do is just be friends.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze.

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