Astro Toy Figma Princess of the Crystal
by David Cabrera,
Alright, guys, you can all come back, I've finally bought a figma of a cute girl character again. It really has kind of been a while, huh? Well, you know how it is with figma: you've seen one, you've seen most. Today we're going to look at a figure for a character whose dress alone is so powerful that the figma had to be a deluxe.
This is the Princess of the Crystal from Mawaru Penguindrum, a fantastic recent show from Utena director Kunihiko Ikuhara about penguins, stalking, terrorism, and old-guy rock. The character herself is sort of a magical girl; she insists upon a grand entrance in any case. That's all I'll give away about Penguindrum.
Here she is out of the box, looking absolutely unimpressed with you. It is worth noting that, true to character, this figure comes with no happy faces. This blank stare is the most jovial you will see her. Anyway, it's a good-looking figure. I was a little worried when I started to see prototype shots of this figure that had lousy paint, but thankfully the toy I have in my hands looks a lot better than those shots did. Sculpt and paint are good for all the little details in this very unique outfit, with no glaring flaws. Articulation is decent.
From the back, you'll note that the hair is jointed on two sides, so as to make it easy to get the stand on. After all, the figure's balance is too off-center to stand up on its own. Probably that hat, huh...
And when you take the hat off-- AAAAAAAAH!! Here's what happens. As is common for characters who wear a hat, a secure fit is guaranteed with a protrusion at the top of the head. As you can see, they were serious about this one. The fit is reasonably snug without the hat quite getting stuck to the head. (I should note here that I especially like the eyes.)
If you want to display the Princess without her hat, there is a replaceable front hair piece for that.
But if you know Penguindrum, you know that the magical girl transformation isn't complete yet! These frilly bits at the upper arm are part of the transformation (as is the scarf, which is removable) and have been included as separate arms. There is a good reason for this aside from the transformation process: their shape noticeably blocks some movement in the upper arms, especially because these frills are made of hard plastic.
The huge dress is most of the plastic in this set (maybe larger than the figure itself is?) and likely led to this being a deluxe figma. It is kind of a figure unto itself: there's articulation and everything! The back of the skirt comes off, and the dress is clipped on. With this on, the Princess no longer has need of a stand.
A major extra in this set is the inclusion of the whole happy family of helper penguins we see in the show. Considering the penguins are sold by themselves in many forms, this is kind of like getting a little set of gashapons along with the main figure. Penguin #1 has a (working) mirror, and Penguin #2 has a handy bottle of bug spray. Penguin #3.... wears a little bow because she's a girl penguin.
The Princess can also stand on the penguins. This is vitally important. As you might imagine, it's also an extremely precarious position for which a stand is required. There are tiny indents in the penguin's heads for the point of the high heels to rest. Ouch...
Speaking of which, the stand is basically the same as has been used in the line for years, but for this figure there's an attachment to get under the long hair and around to her back. On the plus side, this piece stays snugly in the figure without worries, which often doesn't happen in the figma line. On the minus side, it does not like to stay attached to the stand. The preferred stand here... is definitely just the dress.
This is the first figma release I've seen in a while that's honestly impressed me on all fronts. Great job to Max Factory and Apsy. This is a demanding character design, and they nailed it. If you're a fan of this character-- and I am-- it's an easy buy.
This is a much larger set than the typical Figma, so it's going to cost significantly more. We preordered ours from Amiami (typically the best price you can get) and paid about $75 shipped. All the really good figures for this character are coming out soon: a Nendoroid and a beautiful PVC are on the way.
(So where's the Masako figure? Masako's the best character. Gosh.)
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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