Here is another Final Fantasy VIII collection which was released in 1999, not too long after the release of the game in the same year. I consider them as rather ancient and they are proofs that action figure technology has improved greatly. They also show that Kotobukiya is indeed one of the finest action figure manufacturers since back then. Even nowadays, most action figures are in the scale 1/8 or 1/7. Having scale 1/6 figures in 1999 was certainly something extraordinary and hence explains the extraordinary price tags too (6800 Yen each).
It is unfair to comment how "bad" these figures are by today standards. Firstly they are made of hollow vinyl materials, instead of the commonly used PVC nowadays. Vinyl is harder but more brittle. It is difficult to squeeze the weapons into the grips and too much force will result in breaking the figure at the point where force is exerted. To illustrate how brittle vinyl is: even forcing the figures out of its plastic packaging may result in breakages. Yup, it is THAT brittle. They also do not withstand impact as good as PVC and some parts may break or snap when the figures fall. Secondly, bleeding paint and glue jobs are common. Not sure whether aging also plays a part on this. The paint may also scratch off very easily. Thirdly, manufacturing "defects" are pretty common as many of the figures are unable to stand on their own.
However, I have to admit that Kotobukiya did a terrific job with the facial expression. I have to admit that the faces are even better than Final Fantasy VIII Play Arts from Square Enix (although I don't know whether mine are original or bootleg). Except for Quistis, I think the rest are very similar to the in-game illustration. Oh ya, these figures come with a card and serial number too even though nobody knew how many were ever produced.
Squall Leonhart - Sleeping Lion Heart
The first one in the series, he looks much kinder and friendlier than he is in the game. My serial number for Squall is #14509. I like the details like the yellow inner side of his leather jacket, the Griever engraving on his Gunblade, as well as the metal chain at the end of the Gunblade. It is quite difficult to squeeze in the gunblade to his grip but it is possible. However, I dislike his stance. The hand position is in a masturbating position o_0 if he is displayed without his gunblade. With his gunblade, the metal chain often gets stuck between his crotch. And it is difficult to take a nice picture of him because the gunblade is outstretched so far. Sigh.. Interestingly, he is unable to stand properly without holding his gunblade. Don't know it's manufacturing defects.. or simply aging.
Rinoa Heartilly - Wing Heart
So far, no Rinoa action figure in existence whose face is similar to the in-game illustration. However, as compared to other figures, Rinoa from this set is perhaps the most similar. She looks pretty (other Rinoa action figures looks atrociously ugly) but her standing position is also quite akward. She can stand well on her own although I don't think anybody will stand with this pose in real life. Oh ya, my serial number is #6013.
Seifer Almassy - Cross Sword
Seifer is the heaviest among all, perhaps due to his overcoat. I love his stance. The air of arrogance is there without making him look evil. In fact, he is quite handsome here. However, I can't have him hold his Hyperion. That sucks.. I tried forcing it to his grip and I "tore" his grip. Bleah.. Vinyl sucks.. Hard and brittle. Lucky I never forced harder or else the grip would totally come off from the rest of the body :( A very small part of his Hyperion broke and I did not take notice of that :( By the time I realised it, it was too late to ask for some compensation from the seller. Bleah.. He is also unable to stand.. I don't know if he is supposed to be like Squall: unable to balance on his own without the gunblade. His serial number is #5631.
Selphie Tilmitt - Illusory
Selphie is my least favourite character but I have to admit that she looks pretty here. Her face gives a more mature look rather than the playful and mischievous in-game Selphie. She looks better without the nunchunks as it is quite weird to hold the nunchunks that way and I expect a more animated pose while holding the nunchunks. I have 2 Selphies: 1 without serial card and with one part of her hair snapped and 1 undamaged one with serial number #6676. Both are unable to stand, with or without her nunchunks. Sucks!
Terrible.. looks like Kotobukiya runs out of idea to give a nickname for Laguna. Could have called him "Man with Machine Gun" or something mah.. Laguna is the first one which I own. I found it during Anime Festival Asia last year for $50. I brought him home.. and just brought him back to Singapore last week to meet the other 5. Hehe.. Laguna can stand with or without his weapon and there is little problem with making him holding the gun. However, the face is rather ugly as it is too "long". He looks chubbier in the game. His hair has more volume than his face making his head rather disproportionate. Bleah.. Perhaps that's why Laguna is the most commonly on sale and the cheapest too. Poor guy.. He is not really the main character in the game so it is quite rare to have an action figure of him. What a waste to make him this ugly :(
Again, Kotobukiya runs out of idea to give her a nickname. My favourite character in the game so her face here is a disappointment. She does not look pretty.. Sigh.. She looks stern and angry here.. Aaargh.. Her grip is too small for the whip to go in so I am unable to display her with her weapon. I bought 2 of her (serial number #3496 and #3731) simply because she is my favourite character. She tends to be quite expensive so when I found 2 which were rather cheaper, I bought them. Unfortunately, 1 shared the same fate as Selphie, a tip of her hair broke.. And I realised it too late to get some compensation. GRRRR!! Anyway, good thing that she is able to stand and her stance is quite sexy as a whip holder :) if only the bloody whip could go inside her grip.
If only Kotobukiya made Zell and Irvine, this collection would be complete and perhaps would simply be the best of all FF VIII action figures out there.. Hoho.. Cost-wise, I got them for not more than their original retail price, and some are lower.
Okay just some more pictures bah...