Astro Toy
Figutto Hitagi Senjougahara

by David Cabrera,

Figure: Figutto Hitagi Senjougahara
Manufacturer: Griffon Enterprises
Price: $50-60

I'd just complained of “Figma fatigue” in the last month, as we've reviewed two of Max Factory's action figures in a row (it's slow around here lately, alright?). I'm always looking for new and interesting toy lines to run, but it's very hard to keep things within the range of this column without staying in Good Smile, Kaiyodo, or Bandai territory.

So today we're experimenting with a lesser-known line from Griffon Enterprises called Figutto! The subject is the heroine of the recent too-big-to-be-licensed megahit (in Japan) Bakemonogatari (which has been translated as Ghostory), a TV-series-size web of otaku in-jokes, moe archetypes, and untranslatable Japanese wordplay. This line appears not unlike Figma, but we paid quite a lot more for it. Will the extra expense really add up to a higher-quality product? Are these guys trying to say “Figma, but good?” But Figma is already pretty good!

I am skeptical about this major burn, but dammit, it's my job to find out what the truth is. Let's go, Astro Toy! Let's go, science!

Once again (last time was RevoltechBladeLiger), we have to talk about something mundane that's a big deal to us importers: oversized boxes. There is about as much in the Figutto box as there is packed in with the average Figma, but the box is about one and a half times the size (both in height and width) of the very efficiently packed Figma box. The entire bottom portion of the box is devoted to another, empty box. So not only is the figure more expensive, you're going to pay significantly more to import it: we paid about $80. Is Griffon trying to justify the high sticker cost of the figure by simply putting it in a huge box? Not a great sign.

I was concerned (and perhaps, I admit, curious) about this figure because I'd found an awfully misleading and likely Photoshopped set of prototype photos online alongside store-taken shots of the actual toy, which look significantly worse. Which of the two toys pictured here was the real thing? So many questions! I couldn't resist.

Thankfully, once we open the box and examine the figure, a lot of our worries disappear. While it's clear that the prototype photos were bold, filthy lies, the figure we see here is certainly a class above Figma. The scale of the figure itself is a bit larger, and the sculpt and paint job boast superior detail.

Here's a closeup on the top: note the many wrinkles, the accents in the paint (especially on the puffy shoulders) and the distinctly sculpted pens. Also, a floppy tie. There's a joint at the chest, like our last piece, but the range of movement isn't so radical and the weird floating-boobs effect seen on Mari never takes place. This toy looks significantly better than usual, and when put next to the Figma of the same character, the superiority of the sculpt is evident. Of course, it had better look nice, considering it cost us so much.

And here's a back view. The many long strands of Hitagi's hair are nicely shaded, all go off in their own directions and separate individually at the bottom. There's this one weird strand in the middle that's very noticeable and looks like it's stuck on there separately. I have no idea what's up with it.

I also want to note here that the front of the hair is attached to the face by magnets. Magnets are so great. I already made the joke about “how do they work” on this column, but seriously, they are the best. Sometimes an action figure has an annoying connecting bit-- some peg or slot-- that you have to fiddle with to pull off, and maybe you get scared you'll break it, and really, who likes to fiddle? Magnets just do it. They just go. Every toy should have magnets. This is what you're getting for that money!

(Snikt) LET'S GO, BUB.

Accessories are not excessive, but this isn't a character who carries a lot: aside, of course, from her ever-present collection of school supplies. Pens, boxcutters, and Miltons stapler are all included in the package, along with the usual extra hands, faces, and, as a bonus, the ghost crab seen early in the series.

I think it's a bit strange that for a self-described tsundere character, Griffon only included three very subtly different faces that aren't much expressive of anything. One is a slight smile, one is a slight frown, and the very last is the mouth-slightly-agape expression that we'd expect to see from the blushing heroine of a dating sim upon finding out that yes, the cake is for her. This girl carries a boxcutter. I want a little fierce, here.

That aside, Griffon is seriously committed to one-upping Max Factory with this line. Rather than the Ziploc-like “Figma bag” that carries all your accessories, we have a huge clear plastic box: the “Figutto! suitcase”. A container of some kind was definitely needed-- some of the accessories are way too small not to get lost otherwise-- but I feel like it's a bit much compared to the bag. Maybe it's because I know how much this added to the cost of the item. Maybe I'm fixated on giant boxes. Maybe I'm Maru.

Jeez, these guys even want to outclass Figma on stands. Check this nonsense out: the stand has three different attachments-- one like the normal Figma stand, a huge, bendy one, and a smaller version of same. The bendy attachments are obviously the most interesting of the three, because somehow the thin strip of plastic is more than strong enough to hold the figure up any way you might think of. I had a funny picture planned for this but, well, uh... It was so much fun messing around with the stand that between the peg in the back, Hitagi's hair (the regular stand attachment has problems with the long hair: her head gets pushed down almost by necessity) and my hand that the peg in the bottom of the stand outright snapped off inside of the stand. I'm sorry, and if you buy the figure yourself try and be more careful than I was when you try the Superman-with-scissors pose.

So is this better than the Figma of the same character? Clearly, yes! Is it “$60-80 good”? Cause that's what it'll run you. We've certainly gone out of impulse buying land; though I should note that the yen-to-dollar exchange rate has Figma and Revoltech soaring rapidly out of the impulse category themselves.

Speaking for myself, I think that once you're at $60+ you have to have a certain degree of character love going on to shell out. This is why I call a $60+ Chogokin robot “cheap” and why it wasn't even a difficult decision to spend $200 on Gaogaigar.

So I must ask you: do you like Senjougahara a little less than half as much as I like Gaogaigar? Do you just really, really want to take her skirt off (undocumented feature: if you wanna see Hitagi's scissors-themed underwear that bad, go pay up!)?  Well then, get on it, this thing's great! Nice line, Griffon: I didn't think I'd ever say this, but you've saved me from Figma. I think we'll be seeing Figutto again soon. I mean, they're doing Death Note, you know?

The low price for this figure right now is Hobby Search, at about $52 before international shipping: we didn't get the toy from Hobby Search, but we paid about $22 to ship that big box out, so keep it in mind.

In closing, please be aware that not every cat fits in every box.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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