Number 4 in Good Smile Company’s Madoka Magica 1/8 PVC Figure Series, enter Miki Sayaka! Short_hair, zettai_ryouiki, swords, mmm… the tag-list goes on. Though she may have an innocent smile and sweet teenage charms, piss her off and she’ll cut you up good! :D
Sayaka and Me – A Cautionary Tale
When I first encountered this figure back at WonFes in February 2012, I was hesitant. It looked alright, but have you seen Good Smile Company’s Bakemonogatari line? Next to that, their Madoka Magica figures are a bit lacking. They really could’ve done a lot more, and they would’ve sold! But instead they decided to play it safe– and they sold anyways. So that’s how it is. Well, as much as I love Madoka Magica, I decided to hold out for something better. Sadly, as of yet no other company has put out any respectable 1/8 Madoka figs.
And then the awesome looking Sakura Kyoko 1/8 was announced. Like a dream come true, how could I possible resist. As a huge Kyoko fan, I immediately reserved it. Friendless Kyoko is a lonely Kyoko, so I decided to get her OTP companion Sayaka too! (杏さやprpr). A few months ago when the original Kaname Madoka 1/8 figure was released, they were on store shelves for weeks. So this time, to my regret, I sort of dawdled and missed the online pre-order period for Sayaka. But no worries, I thought, as I had planned to get her at the local figure retailer. Release date rolled around and…
つД｀)･ﾟ･｡･ﾟﾟ･*:.｡..｡.:*･ﾟ *tears* …Game over, right? Well luckily there’s something called Yahoo Auctions Japan, a wonderful place full of hard-to-get things, albeit for a price. Lesson learned? Hopefully.
Protip: Stay on top of figure pre-orders! Not only do you get a nice discount, there’s nothing like the regret of forgetting to pre-order something and then having to secure it through auctions at 20% over retail.
1. “The hair is a different color!!”
I think the Japanese and worldwide Internets are united in surprise over the hair on the mass-produced figure. It’s definitely a darker shade of blue than in the promotional photos. It’s also lacking some of the nice smooth gradient that everyone was expecting. GSC even did gradient hair on Nendoroid Sayaka! Personally though, I think that it looks fine and indeed matches the color of her in the anime a little better, but I wonder what the reason for the change was. Did they run out of light-blue paint? Or perhaps they wanted to save a bit on costs, since her hair is now the same color as her boots on the retail figure.
2. She’s sexy!
The prototype photos didn’t show it off, but there really are some nice angles on Sayaka. Curves that I never know she had. Perhaps it’s because in Magical Girl form, she gains more than just height! I have no complaints about the sculpt; though it’s a relatively simple figure it certainly has been very well done. When empty-handed, she’s really just cute. 普通に可愛い。Adding the optional sword parts, she still shows off her carefree personality from the earlier half of the series, but with a little extra spice. Rawr.
3. The base is better!
The base is a thin, translucent plastic disc that tapers to be flush with the display surface, and it has a blue tint to the edges. As opposed to the prototype’s conventional clear base, this one is minimalistic and classy looking. Not really ambitious per se, but a cut above average. I like it.
Sayaka in Pictures
Recently I’ve been a little bit disappointed with Good Smile Company. Not dissatisfied to the point where I wouldn’t buy their figures, but certainly concerned. Perhaps it’s because lately they’ve been lax with the QC at their outsourced production line, or maybe it’s because they’re being a bit too ambitious and releasing too many figures these days. Issues are bound to occur, but take for example the 1/8 Hachikuji Mayoi from Bakemonogatari – she has a ribbon stabbed into her lower lip by a peg, as opposed to properly held in her teeth like in the prototype. This didn’t go over well with customers, and Hachikuji certainly didn’t deserve it, especially since GSC’s Nadeko came out so nicely. Nendoroid quality is also dropping these days, as anyone who has compared Made in Japan to Made in China can attest to.
For Sayaka though, they’ve done alright. I’m definitely happy with this figure. Would I rush out to buy Madoka, Mami and Homura? Nah. But it makes the anticipation for Kyoko that much greater. September 2012 couldn’t come sooner! Better pre-order her while you still can. And let’s not forget Ultimate Madoka -that’s more of what I like to see! I really hope that GSC doesn’t slack off too much and strives to live up to its reputation in the years to come.
Postscript: Photo Notes
- Nikon D300 + Tamron 28-75 2.8, hand-held.
- Pulled the D300 out of storage for the 1.5x DX crop factor, and the Tamron has a 1:3.9 reproduction ratio. I’m still not sure if DX or FX is better for figure photography, what do you guys think?
- Background: roll of random white cellophane sheet I found in my kitchen
- Lighting: 58 watt fluorescent continuous room light overhead, on-camera flash for fill ＼(^o^)／