I reviewed Yamato’s Kneesocks figure last month and came away very impressed by it. I had both Yamato’s and Alter’s versions sitting around, and thought Yamato’s would ultimately end up being the better Kneesocks. Still I figured I’d give Alter’s figure a fair shot sometime. Today my new macro lens arrived (apparently delayed by the “Midwest storm” that dropped a whole three inches of snow on us), so I decided to take it for a test run and do this review.
Alter’s figure differs from Yamato’s in several ways: it’s smaller, somewhat more cartoonish, has no weapon, and is standing on both feet. In terms of making an impression, I think Yamato’s is definitely more striking. She has a presence, whereas Alter’s version is far less ambitious. Still I like the character’s design: long ponytail, very short skirt, the all-important zettai ryouiki, little devil wings, modest chest, and glasses. As with Yamato’s figure, my favorite element of this one is the legs. At 1/8-scale they’re harder to appreciate, but I still think Alter did a good job with them. Her confident/cocky pose looks great atop those long sweeping legs.
There was only a slight bit of assembly required, but it was really annoying. Kneesocks comes with glasses, but they’re basically just tiny bits of wire bent into the shape of glasses. They are the easiest objects in the world to lose (though Alter thankfully provides plenty of spares). You have to remove the fringe piece of her hair, where you’ll see two holes on either side of her face. The glasses slide in them, but not easily, and the tiny size certainly didn’t help.
I kind of took it for granted that Alter figures would always have impeccable build quality, but it’s kind of not up to par on this figure. Not being up to Alter’s standards doesn’t mean it’s bad, though. A macro lens will pick up the slightest of imperfections, but to the naked eye this figure is visibly better made than most. I noticed a bit of messiness around Kneesocks’ fang and on the paint job for the crisscrossing lattice part of her outfit. Traditionally Alter keeps even these tiny details meticulously clean, but they slipped a bit here.
It was a bit of a struggle figuring out how to shoot Kneesocks. I wound up taking probably 100 or so photos before cutting down to 22 keepers. That’s around twice the amount of work I usually do for these. While I like this figure overall, the lack of any particularly interesting details made it a tough shoot. So I decided to just mess around with some flashes and gels and see what would happen.
Revisiting the Yamato and Alter comparison, I definitely like Yamato’s Kneesocks better. The scale is part of it; Alter rarely ever goes bigger than 1/8 whereas Yamato thrives in the 1/6 range. The main thing, though, is just a lack of creativity on Alter’s part. There are infinitely many poses you could put a girl in, but the one Alter settled on isn’t particularly unique. It looks fine, but it makes no impression. Alter stuck to her design, and created a good interpretation, but didn’t waiver from the base design at all. What happened to the Alter of old, who made stuff like this? Hopefully they haven’t hit on hard times.