Max Factory’s Asuka was released near the end of 2011, but it somehow missed my review pipeline. I didn’t even unbox it until the spring of 2012, though now it’s a mainstay of my display cabinets. This figure appeals to me in many ways: tight body suit, glossy red finish, cute facial expression, and it’s Asuka.
I quite liked Max Factory’s 1/6 scale Mari, and this Asuka is the companion piece. Disappointingly Max Factory hasn’t announced anything about a Rei figure, but I’d love to see one to round out the female pilots.
I think the Asuka figure beats out Mari in a few areas. I like the face more as it’s a somewhat more animated expression. The test plugsuit has been reviled by many in the fanbase, but I can’t bring myself to hate it. It’s silly and the transparent midsection is completely unnecessary, but fuck it I like the way it looks. I’m all about bare torsos and midriffs. Also I think Asuka’s test plugsuit is much, much better looking than Mari’s green abomination.
Max Factory did an admirable job producing this figure. There’s not much to say really; it’s solid all around. By solid, I mean really solid – it has quite a heft to it. Unfortunately that weight translate to poor handling (what is this a car review?). The figure itself is connected to the base via a couple of pegs on the left foot, and they’re not especially beefy pegs. Asuka will wobble like a drunk man on a carousel. She hasn’t toppled off the base entirely, but it does make me nervous just moving her around.
Aside from the stability issue, this is a pretty great figure. The paint job is just top notch from the skin tones to the shading on the hair and finally to all that glorious glossy red and orange. There is a metric ton of gloss varnish on this and I love every bit of it. The sculpt is quite nice, capturing plenty of detail in the hair in particular. I like the way the opaque part of the test suit rides so tantalizingly low (obviously the thing Asuka is slightly embarrassed about). That sentence totally makes me sound like a creeper but whatever. How many people actually read this far?
The figure’s bodily proportions put a lot of emphasis on Asuka’s legs. That being the case, I kind of wish the test suit didn’t have those weird veiny-looking wires running down the thighs. As for the pose, it definitely fails the Hawkeye test. Human spines aren’t supposed to bend that way. It became a weird distraction during the photo shoot, actually, as from some angles the spine can look like it’s bent 90 degrees backward. Ouch.
After more than a full year, this Asuka is still one of my favorite figures. It’s nothing fancy, but I like owning Asuka figures and this is one of the best. Compared to Alter’s version, the base isn’t as cool but I like the face and pose a bit more. This Asuka is sort of representative of Max Factory’s whole MO. They produce well-made figures, aren’t afraid to go large scale, but use fairly conservative designs.