Oops paiseh.. A few years back, I told my friends that I would only collect action figures of human characters, not that of monsters. I have to eat back my own words now as in the end, I actually bought Final Fantasy VIII Guardian Forces Series by ARTFX Kotobukiya and completed them all! Haha..
I cannot find information about the original release date/year nor about the original retail price. The set was released as 2 versions: coloured and clear. There are 8 figures: Ifrit (comes with Tonberry), Siren (comes with Cactuar), Shiva (comes with Carbuncle and MiniMog), Odin (comes with his horse, Sleipnir), Gilgamesh, Diablos, Bahamut, and Cerberus (comes with Angelo). This series is also known as the Build-a-Ragnarok series as in the first release of Japanese version, each GF comes with a piece of Ragnarok. Upon completing all 8 figures, these pieces can be combined to build the spaceship. Unfortunately, the US version did not come with the Ragnarok pieces. Instead, I read that the Ragnarok was sold separately. Other than that, the main difference is that Japanese version comes in grey packaging box while US version comes in red packaging box. Anyway, due to cost issue and ease of finding, I am getting the US version.
To be honest, I am quite amazed with this set. Firstly, the size of the figures are amazing. Diablos, Bahamut, and Cerberus are about 30cm long in their widest part. And considering that these were produced many years ago (I am assuming at least 10 years ago), the quality of the plastic used is definitely more awesome than the plastic nowadays. Initially, I only bought Cerberus because of Angelo. I thought it would be cool to have Angelo to accompany my Squall and Rinoa PlayArts figures. The high quality of Cerberus tempted me to eventually collect them all. The packaging boxes are much thicker and sturdier than the boxes used nowadays.
Enough with words and let pictures paint a thousand words.
|Final Fantasy VIII Guardian Forces Series by ARTFX/Kotobukiya|
|Ifrit (and Tonberry)|
|Siren (and Cactuar)|
|Shiva (and Carbuncle and MiniMog)|
|Cerberus (and Angelo)|
In total, I forked out $512.97 which is about $65 for each figure. Considering the size and the shipping fee, I think it is not bad. Considering the recent figures which are always close to $100 each, I think it is good. Lol. Of course the amount could have been lower. I did not know that there is a local seller who is selling Shiva and Cerberus cheaper than what I paid. It could have saved me $40. After I purchased Diablos, there was another seller which could have saved me another $30-$40 (not sure because I did not ask about international shipping fee from him). Oh well, that's life. At least I no longer need to hunt for these items online. Yay!