Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Figures - Viral & Nia by Uplark

One of my favorite things is collecting figures. I'm not even really sure how I got into it, but it became a complete addiction of mine. I've sunken ridiculous amounts of money on my collection. I swear, being a nerd is a lot like being a drug addict, except it's not illegal. But that aside, I'm here today to show off the two newest additions to my collection -- Uplark's Viral and Nia figures.

Suri and I went half and half on Uplark's Kamina figure last Christmas. Since I'm the one who doesn't have a hyper-destructive younger sibling, the expensive figure lives with me. So having basked in Kamina's glory for a year, I know Uplark puts out quality products.

A good friend of mine who writes for Tomopop keeps a pretty close eye on the toy scene, and alerted me that Hobby Link Japan had these two figures on sale shortly after Christmas. A brilliant move on their part since I was no longer broke and yearning for something new for my shelves. It still cost me a pretty penny -- $130-ish for the two of them and shipping. But honestly, since on their own they're normally about $100 each, it was a bargain.

I picked Viral and Nia up from the post office this morning and when I took them out, I was not disappointed.

I pulled Nia out first since her box was smaller, and I instantly fell in love with her. She's got a certain rather lovely elegance about her that I noted right away when I got her on her base and set her on the table to get a good look. And her face is just so charmingly "Nia".

She comes with an alternate head that you can change out of her later pre-skip look after her hair had been cut. But for some reason I can't look at her with short hair if she's not wearing her adorable pink Gurren-dan hoodie, so that head has been left in the box.

I think my favorite thing about this pose is her feet.

I love how one foot is just about off the ground. It's a nice little detail. I also love the bend in the strap on the back of her shoes. Being female, and having a mother with a million-and-five shoes, I don't think that the one on her weight-bearing foot should be bent out so much, but still it's nice that they at least acknowledged the way womens' shoes actually work instead of just painting a red stripe down the back of her foot and calling it a day.

I also love the lace detail on the back of her skirt.

I have to admit, this was pretty much the last thing I noticed about Nia's outfit when I watched Gurren Lagann, bit I always thought it was rather charming and I love the way it's handled here.

Now let's cross the spectrum from cute to completely badass and take a look at Viral, shall we?

Viral is absolutely glorious. I've seen this figure in person before (though it was in it's box) so I knew it would be, but being able to get up close to him was fantastic.

He has a great, classically "crazy Viral" face going on, though unless you're looking at him from a certain angle, it's really hard to see it. He's a figure that definitely needs to be displayed on a shelf above eye level. Otherwise you just totally lose some of his charm. But even so, it's impossible to miss the great details on this figure.

The best is his weapon. Uplark, you get a gold star for this. It's all knicked and worn and scratched, as if he's been slicing up bitches left and right! And you know he has been. It's Viral for christ's sake. You don't have to get up close to really notice it but it is something you'd have to be really looking at him to notice.

But the one thing about this figure that can't go beyond notice? Viral's hands are enormous.

Now my hands are really tiny, but I've NEVER had a figure with a hand much larger than the end of my thumb. I can only say that because of Kamina. The rest of them are roughly the size of my thumbnail. But I can fit an entire finger in Viral's huge cat-hand. I'm pretty sure it's for dynamic effect, but I'm certain Viral's hands aren't normally that ridiculously huge. None the less, huge hands mean I can make him hold smaller things...

The best I had on hand was Ririn from the "Bleach: The Styling" set, who will probably be a snack for Viral until he figures out that she's a stuffed animals and not a bird.

All in all, there is no way I regret spending the money on these two. They are absolutely gorgeous. Judging by a slip of paper that came in Nia's box, Uplark also has a Darry figure out (or on the way) so I hope to get her, and pray they eventually do a Simon to round out the collection.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Little Prince

Last year, I spent six months of my life adapting Antoine De Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince" into a 16 page comic. I dove into the project head first and never looked back. And since then I've seen references to it surface time and time again. I now own four different copies of the book (paperback, hardcover, paperback in French, and a pop-up book) and have been enjoying pick out references to it in other media.

After I finished the project, I took a trip out into the city with Suri. This was when Union Square's huge Virgin Megastore was closing, so everything was ridiculous levels of cheap. So, while looking around in the children's section, to my surprise and wonderment I found a box set of the entire 26-episode animated series from the 1980's.

I've had it for months now but just haven't gotten around to watching it. But tonight I decided to pop in the first disc and take a swing at it. The first few episodes were separate from the story in the book and was primarily Prince going around to various countries and saving lives or something. He went up in a hot air balloon, got trapped on a grounded ship, went looking for gold, and nursed an injured seagull back to health. All wonderful little stories with wonderful little morals for little 1980's children. And children today. I should raise some kids on this shit.

Then I hit episodes 5 and 6, and they were ones more closely derived from the book. Episode 5 focused on the Prince and the Pilot and was really adorable and was a nice adaptation from the book into the context of the series. The Pilot is also the narrator for the whole series, so we'd heard him talk before and he was incredibly, hilariously French (though it's pretty appropriate, given the book).

But episode six was focused on the Prince and the Rose. Aside from Swifty, who is some kind of space-bird, who kept telling Prince to go travel the galaxy, it actually stuck pretty closely to the story in the book. The whole thing was half an hour of deja-vu for me really, because it matched fairly closely (though was highly expanded upon) to what I'd done for my project. It was a little hard to watch sometimes! But in a good way!

I'm really eager to make my way through the next three discs. I don't get to see the Fox until late disc 3, but the 80's handled this series very beautifully and gracefully and I am so excited to watch the rest.