Welcome to the first of a (hopefully) weekly series covering new import figure releases. Each well, I'll be picking my favorite releases from AAA Anime, the biggest distributor stateside of imported PVC figures. While they only sell wholesale, they keep a handy list of pre-order items and new releases currently shipping to stores. I'll be referencing this list Friday evening each week and picking one figure from the batch of those shipping this week to highlight.
Let's take take of the obvious question first before we do anything else:
Where do I get these figures?
If you're lucky enough to live near a comics or anime specialty retailer, chances are they'll have a merchant account with AAA and will either stock popular figures regularly or be able to special-order them for you. Online shops like eStarland, Entertainment Earth, TMPanime, and Toyslogic, among others, are also options. Be wary of buying from Ebay, though, as there are a lot of bootlegs on there (and the sellers will use pictures of the real thing to fool you). It's a good rule of thumb to buy from retailers in North America and Japan to ensure you get authentic goods.
So, out of all the figures AAA shipped to retailers this week, which one gets the nod as the best of the pack? Actually, there wasn't really much of a contest this week - the best figure stood out immediately.
Xenosaga Episode III: KOS-MOS Ver. 4
No matter what your opinion is on the Xenosaga games, you can't deny that this figure looks freaking amazing. KOS-MOS stands poised for combat, her long hair flowing elegantly behind her. The sculpt is smooth and sleek, and coloring and paint work is stunning. Perhaps most striking are the effects on her hair - it's made from a transparent light blue plastic with paint carefully applied in layers in certain locations to give it a realistic yet ethereal appearance. Absolutely beautiful! However, no matter how gorgeous she is, the $70+ asking price from many retailers is likely to be a turn-off to all but the most die-hard Xenofans and figure nuts. Still, if you absolutely love KOS-MOS (or just pretty female figures in general) and you've got a little less than $100 burning a hole in your pocket, you simply can't go wrong with this beauty.
Availability status: AAA Anime themselves are already completely sold out of this iteration of KOS-MOS. This one's likely to become very hard to find in the near future, and if it does become scarce, expect resale prices for it to skyrocket. If you absolutely must get your hands on this one, don't wait too long - snap it up before the price gets even crazier!
Honorable Mention: Kino from Max Factory
Max Factory is probably my favorite PVC manufacturer - their product has a consistent standard of sculpt and paint quality that very few other manufacturers can match. Kino from the wonderful (and highly underrated) anime/novel series Kino's Journey retains the typical Max Factory quality. She's also an anomaly in Japan's current figure market by not being either a busty bombshell or pure moe-bait. Well worth checking out if you're a fan.
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