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    Square-Enix Final Fantasy XIII Play Arts Kai Vol.2

    Three more l'Cie join the group...















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    The first Final Fantasy game was released for the original NES system in Japan in 1987 as a last ditch effort by struggling software developer Squaresoft. The game ended up being a success, and with releases in North America and Europe, grew to be one of the biggest franchises in video game history with not only games, but also anime, manga, film and of course, collectibles. Now Square-Enix has released the highly anticipated next installment to the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XIII. The first series of figures based on the game included Lightning, Vanille, and Snow all with the exciting improvements made in the new Play Arts Kai figure line, Now, with Vol. 2, Sazh (Katzroy), Hope (Estheim), and (Oerba Yun) Fang complete the cast of playable characters turned into hyper-detailed action figures.


    Packaging:

    The second series of Final Fantasy XIII Kai figures come in packaging exactly like the first series, which in turn is very similar to other entries in the Play Arts line, minus the J-hook and with a tad larger box overall. Each box features and blue and white, swirling design reminiscent of the Crystarium menu of the game. The front and side windows offer a full view of the enclosed figure and its accessories, which is protected and held in place by a clamshell tray. Each character also has their own uniquely colored insert behind the tray. On the outside, each figure package has an image of the character on the right side panel, as well as an assortment of photograph on the back and a look at other characters in the line.

    Sculpting:

    Much like the first series of figures, fans will notice the increased size of the new figure line. But hand-in-hand with that is the improved sculpting that brings out many of the small details of each character’s costume. Each figure has a combination of hard and soft PVC that helps the sculptors better capture the individual styles of the fighters.


    Sazh might possibly be the best figure out of both series when it comes to capturing the in-game look of the character. Not only is his costume dead-on, but his goofy smile, facial proportions, and afro are all perfect. His costume features a long coat made of the soft PVC with various buttons sculpted on the lapel. His pants have attached holsters to snap his pistols into, which fit perfectly, but aren't necessarily realistic, as they don’t have any sort of straps to hold them in. Despite how good he looks, he still has one of the most disappointing features or lack of a feature of any character: the exclusion of his Chocobo. It could have been a separate accessories that could snap on his hand or head or just permanently sculpted somewhere in his afro, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.


    The figure of Hope, much like the character, is fairly uninteresting to me. I put him on the same level as Snow with a fairly plain and unembellished outfit. He has quite a few soft PVC clothing items including his jacket, part of his pants, straps, and a pouch. The sculpting on his hair is one of the best in the line and captures his look from the game pretty well despite the thickness.


    Fang, like Vanille before her, is the most visually interesting figure in the second series. Her outfit, which is modeled after an Indian Sari, consists of a piece of fabric that is wrapped around several times in various directions. This look is achieved by using the soft, flexible PVC. While her costume has various details such as bangles, her lined belt with animal pelts, and strapped sandals, the most impressive sculpting is on her spear. The hair and face of the figure is also gorgeous. While the likeness is not perfect, the figure overall looks fantastic.


    Articulation:

    One of the highlights of the Play Arts line has always been the articulation and the “Kai” series is no exception. Each figure in the set features an impressive amount of articulation, anywhere from 22-29 points, giving fans the ability to recreate some of the coolest poses from the game.


    Paint Application:

    Just like the first series of figures, the paint apps are good, but not perfect. However, there are far less issues with paint run-ons and bleeding on this series than its predecessor. There aren’t as many intricate details on this set of character’s costumes, but we do see some great work with the transfers. The designs on Fang’s Sari, Hope’s handkerchief, and all three character’s faces are all perfect. They also did a great job of applying Fang’s markings on both of her arms. Each character in the set has also been accented by airbrushing, mostly on the characters skin, but also on various parts of their costumes. I must also point out that Fang suffers from the same unpainted joints that Vanille and Lighting had in Vol. 1, which is even more noticeable due to her darker skin tone.


    Accessories:

    Each character in the FF13 series features at least one or two accessories, but no more than four. Fang includes an extra hand and her double-bladed spear. Sahz includes two hands as well as his dual pistols. Hope comes with one hand and his foldable Boomerang. Unlike the Vol. 1, this series of figures does not include the new Kai display stands, which really isn’t a huge loss. While I’m happy to see Hope’s Boomerang articulated (which was not the case with Lighting and Vanille’s weapons), I would have liked to seen Sahz’s pistols able to combine like they can in the game, but it’s a small gripe.


    Overall:

    While I don’t feel this set was a strong as the first release, I think they are overall better quality. The two sets together are a must for any fan of the Final Fantasy series, as the six characters make up the playable party members in the game. Now it will be interesting to see if we get any more characters turned into Play Arts figures aside from the upcoming transforming Odin. The recently revealed Serah (Lightning’s sister) may be the last figure in the line, but the summon Bahamut (Fang’s) or perhaps Alexander (Hope’s summon) would make great additions as well. The Square-Enix Final Fantasy XIII Play Arts Kai Vol.2 is available now at most major online retailers including Square-Enix’s own online shop.


    Review Samples Courtesy of Square-Enix

    Review & Photos by Michael Klein


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