Astro Toy Figma Ultimate Madoka
by David Cabrera,
Figma Ultimate Madoka
Series: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Maker: Good Smile
If you're really serious about your spoilers, this character's existence is kind of a series spoiler. So, uh, spoiler warning?
Anyway, it's been a long while since we bought a figma for the column: this is because they are ubiquitous, decent-but-average, usually bare-bones, and must be bought well in advance due to Good Smile's frustrating but very effective “preorder now it's or gone forever” strategy. Have you ever tried to just go to Amiami or HLJ and look at the Figmas you can just buy off the shelf? There just aren't any. So we try to keep our eyes open for significant releases in the line. I think this one counts as significant!
“Ultimate” Madoka (“Chief of Police” Madeleine Dokes in the dub) is the form of the character that we see for a few significant moments in the climax of her series. Obviously she made a big impression: this release is preceded by a beautiful-looking fixed-pose PVC and will be followed up by a Nendoroid, as is customary.
(Side note: I saw used Ultimate Madoka PVCs all over Akiba when I was in Japan, and at Don Quixote they were buying them back for chump change. Does anybody know what was wrong with that figure? I was really surprised and curious.)
It is usually a little sobering to take a figma out of a package and take that first peek, because what's inside is never quite the same as the crisp prototype whose pictures are all over the box. Specifically, the colors are just much brighter: probably Photoshop. This is usually the case in the lower price ranges, but when the picture's on the box (like Terry a while back) I always find it particularly striking. Whether it's Revoltech or Figuarts or figma, there'll always be that (Japanese language) disclaimer somewhere on the box, mark my words.
That said, it isn't bad looking at all: in fact, it's among the most beautiful figmas I've seen. Like with the last figma we bought, the gigantic, billowing dress is the real main attraction here. It looks okay from the front, but when you turn the figure around, it starts to look amazing: this tremendous mass of material flapping in the cosmos. The silky white sheen of the top part of the dress, the faintly reflective bottom part, and the starfield painted on the inside seriously impress.
The next thing you notice when you take this out is that due to the extreme design of the costume, it isn't a terribly playable figure. The dress is massive, much larger than the girl herself. Though you can lay it down, it's really meant to be displayed hanging in the air. Sprouting out of the back of Madoka's head are three plastic stalks of pink hair nearly as long as the dress is. I hadn't even put the wings in at this point!
Most of the stuff hanging off the figure is articulated and moves to some extent, but Madoka can only just barely stand on her own two feet. She can't even put her hands at her sides! You will almost certainly want to display her aloft, using the included stand.
Now the stand is the normal Figma stand, with an attachment which connects with some difficulty to a hole on the underside of the dress. It is no stronger than usual, so it's only barely up to the task of holding up this massive chunk of plastic, which has got to be the weight of several Figmas. Once you've got her balanced, don't you touch that stand or she'll probably start to tip again. If you're going to display this figure I strongly recommend you put her somewhere she can't fall from.
Considering how important the stand is here, and the fact that the character is actually supposed to be floating in space, the support seems a little flimsy. Way back, we reviewed an Evangelion figma that came with the pilot's seat. That came with two stands, and it probably wasn't as heavy as this. This is very much a “set it up and don't touch it again” figure.
With the sheer mass of plastic already in this package, one can't really expect a pile of extras as well. What we get is the all-important weapon, the wooden bow which fires Madoka's universe-bending arrow.
Both bow and arrow are poorly secured in Madoka's hands, especially that damned arrow, which is tiny, sharp-edged enough to pierce your skin (seriously!), and must be tucked into a completely inadequate gap under Madoka's thumb. If you touch the arrow at all once you've set up, it will definitely fall out. This really made me wish for, at least, a separate hand with a arrow permanently attached. This was a pain in the ass on Sagittarius as well, but that figure did have a more sensible “arrow hand” which at least worked sometimes.
Other than the bow, it's the usual Figma hand assortment, one extra face, and that's it. Seriously, it's a really big dress. It's like two Princess of the Crystal dresses.
This is a beautiful display piece, but be aware that due to the extreme character and costume design, the functionality, movement, and so on are not the same as a typical action figure. The design isn't well-suited to a super-posable line like figma, and it even begs the question, like Square's Play-Arts line, “why not just buy a fixed-pose statue?” Well, in this case the statue in question is on sale at double the price shipped, so perhaps there's that.
We paid a little under $60 shipped from Amiami. Note that when I bought Princess of the Crystal-- a set comparable in size and shipping weight to this one-- when the exchange rate was at its worst, we paid $75. This doesn't just go for toys; it's a good time to import anything you might want from Japan right now. I still can't believe the yen took a dive starting right after my vacation...
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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