As 2019 is beginning, most of the future grails we covered last year will become coveted grails. With that being the case, we thought to look back to our opening year and reminisce over our most favorite figures we presented in 2018. Please note, this list separate from our categorized list of favorite figures. If you would, please have a look at the one as well.
Before we begin, let’s be clear which figures are eligible for inclusion.
- 1. Figures we covered from Aug. 2018 (our inception) to Dec. 31st, 2018.
- 2. Future Grails only, figures in ‘Another Chance’ (re-releases) are not eligible.
- 3. Variants of already released figures are OK
- 4. R18 figures are OK
- 5. Nendoroid, figma, and plastic models are OK. It may change in the future.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s begin with the count-down of our 10 favorite figures of 2018!
Based on an illustration by the famed Tony Taka, we’re starting off strong with FLARE’s Sakuya -Female Teacher ver.-
Unlike the many Sakuya / Maxima Enfield figures, she’s not wearing the outfits that she wears in-game. Also, she has a softer expression than she normally does, now she sports an almost playful one. Sakuya comes with two face-plates and the option to remove her glasses, giving you four different ways to display her. Her dark grey suit with its light pinstripes go well with her coffee-brown hair and fair skin-tone. Her purple hair-ribbon and under-garment subtly disrupt the cohesion of the dominant colors, catching your eye.
There’s nothing jarring about FLARE’s Sakuya, the colors are soft and the details are clean. While this is a fan-service figure and some many not like that. But even so, this is a genuinely fun figure of a beloved character, Sakuya.
Based on a card illustration for THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, we have the idol / book lover who refuses to remove her jacket! Regardless of whether she’s willing to remove her jacket or not, WAVE’s Sagisawa Fumika is a worthy entry on our list of favorites.
Fumika is a relatively simple figure, but in this case, there’s simplistic beauty in the details. The jacket she refuses to remove is partially transparent, allowing her skin to be visible at certain points. Such as the tips of her elbows and edges of her shoulders. Adding to the transparency, there is an abundance of creases, giving the jacket a light feeling.
Now, her somewhat plain swimsuit and the so-called ‘Azure Boundary’ cannot hide her toned body, which deserves mention. From her slender left leg, moving up her defined pelvic bone, and her slightly muscular abdomen; her body’s muscular definition is not so prominent as to disrupt her slender physique. All-in-all, she has a great pose with detailing and expression to match. Her uncertain defiance to remove the jacket almost makes me want to tease her.
Fumika has been named in our categorized selection of 2018
Here we have the ANIPLEX+ exclusive Bunny-senpai from the currently popular “Seishun Buta Yarou”. Mai-senpai dons an outfit meant for pure fan-service incredibly well and without a hint of fan-service. Her hair, flared as if she’s quickly turned; with her fingers loosely locked behind her back and with lips slightly parted. There’s longing expression in her eyes.
Unlike the common glossy black bunny-suit, Mai along with her outfit is completely matte. Furthermore, instead of fishnet stockings, her stockings are a light to medium light brown with the appearance of nylon and allowing it to blend with the suit itself. Going from her longing expression to her pose and color scheme, it’s simply outstanding how well she looks.
Mai has been named in our categorized selection of 2018
7thCharacter Name Chiyo Series The Sister of the Woods with a Thousand Young Maker REVOLVE Scale 1/8 Scale
REVOLVE’s care and attention in sculpting and painting Chiyo-nee is painfully obvious at first glance. It is for that reason why she’s our choice of all current Chiyo figures and on this list. Done in a mostly matte tone with the right mix of gloss, her subdued and almost pastel color-scheme quickly subverts any frightening feelings she might be trying to convey. Belying her true, caring nature, she has a playfully, sadistic look in her narrowed eyes; it’s as if you could be devoured at any moment.
Starting with the rich brown strands and going all the way to the blue tentacles, her long, flowing hair has been flawlessly detailed and painted. While not the focus, the suppleness of her bosom is shown by how her breasts are cradled and partially spill over the sides. Similarly, the same is said for her abdomen, pelvis, and thighs. Looking at REVOLVE’s Chiyo, she has the power to make you envious of “Those with an Elder Sister”.
She came out of nowhere and we’re very happy she did! The steely no-nonsense look in her eyes cuts sharper than the blade she’s about to draw. The glimmer of Sakura’s metallic-red armor effortlessly flows with her off-white robe. In doing so, it lends an overall earthy tone to her attire which smoothly contrasts with her hair’s pink and white gradation. It is her light complexion which places the two distinct color-schemes together in harmony.
If her expression wasn’t enough, her entire pose reinforces the serious atmosphere she emits. But with the seriousness, there’s skilled elegance as well. For example, like with how her wrist is bent as she delicately grips the sword’s scabbard. The one who came late in the year, Yae Sakura, has an undeniable presence and is breathtaking on sight.
Hitting the half-way mark, we have a gentle smile greeting us. Kurumi’s soft, yet not too sweet smile hides her true, psychotic nature (available as an AmiAmi exclusive). Such as her barely closed corset, there are other things to distract you. However, it is the clean shape of her jaw and chin which shines beyond all else, making her face one of the absolute best we’ve seen all year.
Other things of note are how her legs and feet are positioned; they look to be almost pigeon-toed, yet without much emphasis but enough to lower your guard. Forgetting the detail, the iridescent glow of her corset by gradually darkening Kurumi’s traditional orange is superb by itself. The final highlight is her reflective mirror-like base with its Zaphkiel motif.
She barely comes out tops against Alphamax’s outing for our choice—however, a win’s a win and one at gunpoint no less.
Her pale skin creeps beyond the borders of her monochromatic Gothic Lolita dress; with its seemingly endless supply of frills reacting to the gust of wind. The well-placed red roses in her hair and on her outfit introduce color and break the bleakness of the muted colors. With a smirking glance on her face and her hair whipping backward with some coming around her face, KADOKAWA’s Kurumi has all the style in the world and some to spare.
Whether you like her cool like this, psychotic, or sweet, Kurumi is Kurumi and that’s why she’s on our list back-to-back!
While she didn’t place in our favorite swimsuit ranking, Usada Yuu is third most favorite figure of 2018. Based on an illustration by saitom, Usada Yuu captured our attention from the moment she was announced at WonFes. It took some time, but she was finally painted and it was worth the wait!
Her blocky 8-bit sword coupled with her controller shows the fun nature of her original design while referencing the game theme which she’s meant to parody. SkyTube did an excellent job with her sculpt and paintwork. Her hair is layered with enough intricate detail to be viewed from any angle. It starts with a subdued tone at the top while gradually shifting toward a more intense lilac one at the tips. Similarly, Yuu’s gaze which isn’t straight ahead, but is shifting off to the side, is another highlight.
Contrasting with the illustration, her face looks more mature. This may a contentious opinion, but I think her more mature-looking face suits her already-mature body a bit better. She looks to be in her late-teens or early-twenties now. While she is an R18 cast-off figure, there are no unsightly seams ruining her design, allowing you to display her in whichever manner you choose.
While both versions are technically the same, we regard the ‘DX’ or Deluxe Edition (if you’d prefer) the definitive version. The wait has been long and as of writing, there’s still a long ways to go (2B releases in September 2019).
Starting from the very top of her head and going all the way to the bottom of her thigh-high boots, 2B’s sculpt is filled with striking detail from every angle. Even the smallest features have received the utmost care. Such as the stitches of her goggles and her Gothic-themed outfit including the laces of her boots.
Due to the off-white matte paintwork, there’s a ceramic tone to her sword with intricate detail visible there as well. Her boots have a shine reminiscent of nylon to them. As with thick nylon boots, they give the impression of stiffness with the reluctance to crease. I wasn’t initially a fan of her uncovered face and greatly favored the covered one from the onset. However, my initial dislike greatly reduced upon appreciation of her narrowed gaze and slight parting of her lips (which isn’t present in the covered version).
A criticism from some, is that her stance is simple with some wanting an active pose instead. While individual preferences are just that, a case could be made for her imposing ambiance. With her face uncovered and her eyes shifting upward, you ask the question if she’s going to attack. The fingers on her left hand are twitching; those on her right are tightly gripping her sword. Slightly behind her left foot, her right ankle is curved inward. Leading you to believe that her attack, if there is going to be one, will be a swift.
The impressive size and dynamism of her pose, coupled with the extreme attention to detail OrcaToys placed on every aspect of her design. Ranging from the faded red bandage around her arm to the grey one, covered with dirt, around her leg, and even the dog tag around her neck, sees her as our favorite of 2018!
Much like Yae Sakura, there’s an intense look of determination in Erza’s eye as leaps forward with her vibrant scarlet hair fluttering in her wake. Her body, which is not lacking in the slightest, sees the muscles in her abdomen tightly defined. As well as the thigh muscle in her leg as she’s pushing herself forward with it. Despite her muscular appearance, her flesh is still soft enough for the strings of the bikini top to cut into her back.
Figure bases are usually secondary, but as you’ve seen earlier, this isn’t true all of the time. And it certainly isn’t the case now either! There’s power beneath her steps, causing the loose bricks to cave and the rubble to crumble underfoot. Due to her large size (she’s 1/6th scale), we’re looking to see whether an additional stand will be needed to hold her. So far, none of the promotional nor demonstration images have included one.
We cannot conclude without mentioning her utterly exceptional paintwork. The definite highlights are her armor and how the faded brown leather complements the metallic silver wrist and shin guards. The weathered effect of her equipment further adds to her impressive nature in which even those unaware of the source material can appreciate!
And with that, we have our top 10 favorite figures for 2018-2019. If not OrcaToys’ Erza Scarlet, which figure is your favorite for the year gone by? While it was stressful in selecting, we had fun reminiscing over we really enjoyed introducing to you. On behalf of MyGrailWatch, I hope you enjoyed the list and will join us again next year!