If you have any interests in figures, you know that annual cons are a big gateway to announce new figures and reveal exclusives to particular cons. The convention season was looking pretty grim due to COVID-19, but when not one, but three online cons streamed last weekend, we were treated to behind the scenes footage of Good Smile and Aniplex’s Revolve studios, as well as a bit of a glimpse of the people and process it takes for a figure to be conceived and finally released.
Anime Expo Lite had two panels that were specifically about figures or model kits. The first being Good Smile Company’s Crib video, and the following day Gundam’s Merchandising panel by Bandai Namco Collectibles. I’ll take a relay more details of Good Smile’s video, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Good Smile is located in Akihabara, Japan, and takes up several floors of a building. The tour started in the main lobby where oodles of Nendoroids and Figmas lined the wall. Good Smile’s newest line, Pop Up Parade, also had a small presence. Good Smile seems to do it, including taking all their photos of their figures. It takes on average two to three hours to complete one photo session with a figure.
If you are a fan of Good Smile products, you definitely know who Kahotan (https://twitter.com/gsc_kahotan) is. She is the company’s social guru, and she was featured in the video. We were also treated to a prototype room, introduced to a sculptor, and shown around various office spaces. One of the most surprising treats was definitely seeing many of the Good Smiling Racing cars that are located in the parking underneath the office building.
While Good Smile did not reveal anything new in their video, con exclusives of the following can be found at the Good Smile US site: https://www.goodsmileus.com/ax-lite
• Nendoroid Mako Mankanshoku: Fight Club Two-Star Goku Uniform
• Nendoroid Izuku Midoriya: Costume y
• Nendoroid Luna Lovegood
• Nendoroid Snow Miku: Snow Parade
• Nendoroid Subaru Natsuki
• Nendoroid Sakura Matou
• Figma Rider/Mordred
• Figma Ritsuka Fujimaru
Over at the Aniplex Online Fest, they took a bit of a different approach in the “How to Make Figures” panel. We did get a quick glimpse into Revolve, the company that exclusively makes figures for Aniplex. At Revolve, both a sculptor and painter presented a bit about their work and the tools they used. Most of the time, however, was dedicated to speaking with the directors and diving into their process of creating figures from idea to completed figure on the market. They were later joined by seiyuu, Norika Shitaya, who voiced Sakura Matou in the Fate series. They spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the process of how the Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] THE MOVIE Sakura Matou – Makiri’s Grail – 1/7 scale figure came to be.
Aniplex also talked about their new line of action style figures, BuzzMod, that are highly posable. The first figure of this line released was Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer. The next in line is Edward Elrich from Full Metal Alchemist. Though Aniplex describes these figures as action figures, they are not cheap. Tanjiro’s retail price is listed on Rightstuf for $131.98. This new figure line is definitely for collectors. All of the other Aniplex Online Fest items can be found at https://aniplex-online-fest.com/store/ or https://www.rightstufanime.com/landing/aniplex-online-fest