I promised to do one of these comparison posts since I bought my first figmas several months ago! I think the only thing which surprises me more than how long it took me to write this post is the fact that, as far as I can tell, nobody else has even tried to do the same!!!

Whenever this topic comes up, it always seems that the model of choice is always Figma, and I wonder why? Is the series that much better than fraulein?  So, to satiate my curiosity, I decided to compare the ones I have, from design to posability. The accessories for the figures won’t be counted although the way they are placed on the figures may be.

The main bulk of this post will be comparing Figma Kanu to Fraulein Asuka but just for a bit of fun, I though we would start with comparing Figma Saber to the original Revoltech Saber (the one which was released before the fraulein series was announced).

Match 1: Revoltech vs Figma

Given the age of the original Revoltech saber, one would think that figma saber would have at least a few advantages over her older sister.

From a design perspective, Figma definitely has the upper hand here. Aside from keeping to a look more like the original design, the figma design also hides the shoulder joints far more effectively and generally makes the figure look less bulky.

Note, however, that while the figma is less bulky, that doesn’t mean that the overall design is any more or less correct. Armour is meant to be bulky afterall, and without it, you are left with…

I don’t know about you, but I feel that the body is too small for the arms and head, even if just a little. And for the purists, don’t worry, the chest is still pretty flat.

In terms of posability, there isn’t much to it, surprisingly! The figma is able to bend the arms back a little more, but there’s next to no difference in leg posablity. I was also able to balance the revoltech on one leg without any assistance in the pic above, something I could not do with the figma.

A close up of the 2 shows a good comparison of the shoulder joints as well as the faces. For reasons unknown, the kaiyodo figures (including frauleins) all have a redesigned look which makes their faces rounder than the original design.
One could argue that it makes them look cuter, and some designs do benefit from the slightly different look, but in this case, not so much.
It’s mostly down to a preference thing. I do like some elements of the revoltech design, but saber doens’t quite look like saber…

And to finish off, an action pose with Dark/Alter Saber.

Overall, it would seem to be an overwhelming victory for figmas in this case, but that wouldn’t be the case as the fight was much closer than it would first appear.
If presented with the choice, I think most would choose the figma, and with good reason, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel all that different from the revoltech. It’s almost like it’s a mark 2 of the revoltech. The same basic design, just made thinner, more streamlined and with some minor adjustments. The disc joints also allow for a larger degree of motion that the revoltech joints, which only snap to hold certain angles. That can cause a few problems when posing and the figma does feel a little better to hold.

Or, if you want to be really evil, you could say that Figma saber is what Revoltech saber would look like after Liposuction and a bit of cosmetic surgery!!

And don’t forget, there is no Figma version of Dark/alter saber!!!

Main event: Fraulein Vs Figma!!!

And now for the main part of the show!! Again, for the design aspect, the figmas have gone for a look closer to what people are used to in the anime/manga while the Frauliens tend to sport a more rounded look along with exaggerated proportions. And again, the preference is down to the individual, but I think many would prefer the look closer to the original. (Personally I lean a little towards the rounded, cute look)
One thing I also noticed is that, in general the revoltech figures, fraulein or otherwise, are much easier to stand on their own than figmas…

The joints themselves seem to be closely matched in terms of how far they can bend but overall, Frauleins are more posable than figmas, in part due to their larger number of articulation points. Fraulein has 19 points to figmas 15, but I’ll get into detail on that later…

A closer look on the design differences on the faces.

And one for the arms which show the difference in design for the joints. figmas opted for n obvious and (IMO) ugly disc joint while frauleins went for a design which doesn’t use joints at all. Instead, the 2 parts are held together by a pin with areas left open to allow the parts to rotate around eachother.

A shot of behind the kness, which makes the joints on asuka more obvious. You can see where are gaps in the parts to allow the leg to bend.

Bending the legs at the hips, the fraulein starts showing a bt of weakness as bending of the legs exposes the gap between the leg and body. At first glance, the figma seems unaffected but this, but that it primarily because the panties hide the joints from view, that’s what they are there for!

But that neatly brings us to one of the major design comparisons between the 2. For figmas, I feel that they take a character, make a figure out of it and then try to hide the imperfections, such as joints, as best they can, while frauleins have a base model which incorporates the joints into the design and their characters are mapped to that, instead of the other way around.

The above shot shows how they even used the removable panties to hide the joints from view. Without the panties, it looks like this.

The wrists also follow this design philosophy. The interchangable hands for the figmas are fed into the wrist with a small ball at the end of the connector preventing the hand from falling out again. The hand then bends to mimic wrist movement by the mechanism shown above. One problem with this design is that the wrists will not be able to hold the hands in as tightly as you keep swapping the hands as the joints become more and more loose.

Now, “stumpy” or “megabuster” jokes aside, here’s what they did with frauleins. You can see in the pic above that the joint was made to match the wrist size of Asuka, that’s because the whole thing IS the wrist. The hand will be fed to the open end and all wrist movements will be done with that particular joint.

Simply place something on the wrist (optional) and presto

Another bit think about are the shoulder joints.

Here’s saber showing off the figma route, a ball joint design connecting the shoulder to the arms. This option allows for very easy movement and manipulation as well as a great degree of movement, but is ugly as sin! Hence why they hide it using shoulder pads, or whatever they can find.

Fraulein went a different route and used regular joints to hold 3 parts together to mimic the shoulder joints. The main advantage (which will come into play later as well) is that the joint looks far more natural and doesn’t need anything to cover it up. The downside is that it takes far more effort to pose compared to the ball joint, although the degree of movement is very similar.

For a comparison of the 2 systems, here’s Kanu with her arm outstretched and the sleeve of her t-shirt rotated so as to not hide the rather obvious ball joint.

And here’s Asuka doing the same pose. this was achieved by moving the main shoulder joint up while rotating the main arm to maintain a natural look. Much more work than with Kanu, which was simply “lift the arm.”
Some people have complained that the arms of their frauleins fall off too easily, but I’ve never really had that problem. In fact, for myself, that’s more of an issue with my figmas, specifically, the right arm of my saber has a tendency to fall off all the time when posing. But then, that enabled me to take a pic of the joint without worrying about damaging her.

And now, into the home stretch! For the last section, I thought I would have a bit of fun and have the 2 attempt to mimic eachothers poses. The results were a little surprising…

First up, We have Rei copying the fighting stance of Kanu as seen in last weeks post. Not a bad attempt, but it could be done better if I had put in more effort. There’s no real reason why Rei can’t fully copy the pose, I just got lazy…

Next up we have Kanu copying Asuka in her standard sitting pose. This is the pose I normally keep Asuka in. Kanu tries to keep up but I couldn’t get the pose right, possibly because the pose utilises the rotational joint on the frauleins thigh, something figmas don’t have so the twisting has to be done using the upper body section for figmas. Kanus ass also doesn’t touch the ground.

And finally, we have rei’s standard seated pose. This pose tested the limits of the fraulein posability and took me ages to work out. Unsurprisingly, Kanu can’t even come close to replicating it. Ignoring the issue with the hair, it was simply impossible to raise the legs to the necessary height to complete the pose without having them pop out!

So there you have it, Frauleins are found to be more posable than figmas, but require more work to get the best out of them.

The advantages don’t stop there either. Remember in my figma post that I didn’t expect a figma rider, even though other Fate/stay night characters could be used? Figured out why yet? I mentioned it above in this post and it’s because of the way the shoulders are designed.
using the ball joint design, it’s not possible to make a good bare shoulder look good! Gurren Lagann’s Yoko, Idolm@aster figures and the recently announced bunny haruhi cannot be done on figmas for that very reason.  The design may change later to try and work it in, but it won’t be possible on the current system. Not even my liquidstone fate testarossa was able to work a rounded ball joint in without making it look somewhat out of place but that didn’t have the connection as a ball joint as well!!
In short, the Fraulein design allows for more varied designs as they don’t need to hide any of the joints.

The soon to be released Saber Lily, which comes with the limited edition version of Fate/unlimited codes, might try and challenge this notion, but we’ll have to see how successful she will be when she arrives on my doorstep.

So from my little investigation, it looks like despite some apprehensions regarding some minor redesigns on the looks, frauleins are technically superior, more posable and capable of pulling off a larger number of designs, so why does it seem that everyone prefers Figmas?

I believe that it’s due to the selection. Goodsmile were very cunning in licensing characters which have a much broader appeal than those in the fraulein stable.
In the west especially, people are far more interested in getting characters from lucky star, haruhi or ikkitousen as they are far more popular and generally well known compared to Idolm@ster.

There are signs of changes, with the release of Yoko and a fraulein haruhi being made for the wii game, and the bunny version in the works so maybe the popularity of the fraulein line will benefit from introducing more universal characters to their lineup but in that respect, figmas still hold the cards.

I think that covers the main points, but if you have any comparison questions or requests, then leave a comment and, if there are enough, I’ll do a second post to answer them all. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to mess around with my figma Nanoha and Fate!!