Ultimate Madoka, also known as Madokami, Godoka etc, was perhaps the most anticipated figure of 2012, both for me and the wider figure community. Like most of Good Smile Company's large figures, she's exceptionally detailed but difficult to assemble. Unfortunately, she was also rather expensive. AmiAmi charged me ¥10,960 for Ultimate Madoka, but due to her size and weight I was charged an additional and unexpectedly high ¥5,110 for shipping for a total of ¥16,070 or around £118.16 at the time. Unfortunately, I also got charged £32.96 in customs for a grand total of £151.12, which almost certainly makes Ultimate Madoka my most expensive figure by far! Thankfully the figure itself was a present (I know you read this, so thanks again!) and so thankfully I only had to pay for shipping and customs.
Madoka's box was huge,certainly the largest figure box i've ever had. Of course, this meant that her shipping box was even bigger. Normally AmiAmi packs their stuff well but I was surprised how loosely packed Madoka was. Thankfully though, Madoka and her box were undamaged. Unpacking her was another matter though, the plastic innards were secured by lots of sellotape and parts of Madoka were even secured by twist ties - the annoying hard to remove sort that many toys come. I'm glad that Madoka was well packaged internally but it's going to be difficult to pack her up again.
Assembly was a frightening experience, I was always scared that i'd break something. The main body of the figure, Madoka and her dress, is quite heavy and as a result difficult to attach to the base. Next, the foot wings are attached, this wasn't so difficult but still requires a fair amount of force to get them in. Then, the wings need to be attached, these slot in to holes on Madoka's back. However, Madoka's epic hair makes getting the wings in to their slots securely rather challenging. Since it'll be even more difficult to get them out and i'm moving in a few months, I decided to leave her right wing loose for now.
Finally, the most important bit - Madoka's bow and arrow. Two bows are provided, one small one and one large one complete with flames. The bow comes in two parts and you'll need to put the top part in to her hand and then the bottom part clicks in from the other side. Again, this requires quite a bit of force but at least it's secure. Once this is done just add the arrow, thankfully Madoka's hand rotates so you can add it in without her epic hair getting in the way.
The final result looks fantastic from any angle. The detailing is extremely well done and I couldn't find any defects, as expected from Good Smile Company. However, Madoka does pick up the smallest of vibrations rather well and does shake quite a bit - especially with the large bow. This should be OK, but something to definitely keep an eye on. I wish she was somewhat easier to assemble, but I expect that she would then be very difficult to package as a result. As a small bonus, the box liner is removable and helps to create some rather awesome looking pictures.
I am a huge Spice and Wolf fan. I fell in love with the Spice and Wolf universe via the light novels and the anime only made it sweeter. While I own a lot of the novels, manga and the US DVDs/Blurays, disappointingly I do not own any character goods or merchandise. Sadly, this holds true for a lot of my favourite series, which tend to be popular among a more mature, and richer, subset of the anime fanbase and hence merchandise for these series tends to sell out extremely quickly. Holo figures are one such notable example.
Kotobukiya has re-released their Holo figure twice now and it has sold out very quickly both times. I almost came close to obtaining her at the start of this year, but the site I bought her from later informed me that she had sold out.
Recently, I discovered a new site - Plamoya. They seem to stock a lot of rarer, but still new, figures including the re-re-release of Kotobukiya's Holo. Part of the reason for this is that their prices are a bit higher, but they are also less known. I'm not going to complain though as it's allowed me to obtain a lovely figure! Plamoya dispatched Holo very quickly and packed her fairly well - the box was a standard cardboard box with some paper buffering, but Holo's box was wrapped within bubblewrap. Consequently, her box is in a perfect condition, more so than any other figure i've ever had. Unfortunately, I was charged for customs and Parcelforce here in the UK charge you the customs duty and £13.50 extra for the privilege for having customs duty charged. Anyway, enough complaining about Parcelfarce and on to the figure itself!
The figure's pose shows Holo running through a wheat field with her arms outstreched. The figure has been posed very well, although as her face looks downwards you may wish to place her at eye-level rather than below in order to see Holo properly. A great amount of attention has been placed on the hair which flows out behind her. Holo's distinctive white-tipped tail pokes out from her dress and is also modelled very well. Her outfit is a green top and dress complete with a sash. While this suits her well, I prefer the blue dress and top that you normally see her in. There are figures of Holo in that outfit, such as this one by Good Smile Company but they are very expensive - at least £250!
Holo's skirt is removable and the underside is actually tasteful unlike some Holo figures. Of course, I still think she looks much better with her skirt on. The paintwork and attention to detail is good, for example the wheat pouch's string is actual string rather than being painted on. One downside of this figure is the base. While it looks reasonably good and suits the 'scene', it is made out of plastic. Holo's legs are also quite difficult to push on to the base and I had to use a significant amount of force to get them on. While doing this, I made sure to support the base from underneath to prevent it from breaking as it is hollow.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the figure and Plamoya, who i'm sure will be getting a lot more of my money very soon! At the time of writing, they still have Kotobukiya's Holo in stock - grab her while you still can! I also ordered one of the Spice and Wolf phone straps, despite my phone not having anywhere to attach a strap. However, I plan to hang the strap with the rest of my anime connection.
Unfortunately, my camera isn't great but i've done my best to take some pictures of my new Holo figure.