Goodsmile's Pop Up parade figures have been pretty consistent in impressing me with their quality for the budget price-point. In addition, the sheer breadth of series covered is also incredibly impressive, with Pop Up versions of characters from many major anime franchise in attendance ensuring that pretty much anyone can find something they like in the range. I'm a huge fan of Kotobukiya's Bishoujo line, but that's not stopped me ordering the Pop Up Chun Li to go with her premium pretty-girl incarnation. For under £30, why not?
So, in almost random pick of the series, I ordered this demure looking Rei Ayanami (long haired version). Wearing her classic plugsuit, with it's glossy white finish, signature "00" print and black detailing, it's only the long hair that marks this out as anything other than "classic Rei".
The overall sculpt is very sharp and I like it a lot. The vulnerable stance is very endearing, with Rei holding one arm while standing awkwardly, an expressionless face embodying the character perfectly and loths of lovely tresses of hair cascading down her back and over her shoulders, it's a lovely piece that EVA fans should immediately warm to.
There are a few places where the budget does show, in particular there are three pretty obvious joins in the hairline that could have been handled a little better, and as always, the base is a smokey grey plastic. In truth I don't mind bland bases, because the figure should really be the star, but when done right, a detailed base can really make a figure pop. In this case it's an acceptable budgetary constraint.
The paintwork is mostly sharp, though there's very little wash in the hair, which is a shame. There are certainly different shades of blue in there, but it's very subtle. Sadly, there's some chips on the left shin which are quite noticeable and especially unfortunate that there are four in a row, making it look like she's been bitten.
I can't really talk about the Pop Up range without mentioning the slew of ABYstyle Studio figures that I've been covering this year, since the two share a price point and a similar market. It must be said that ABYstyle Studio have been significantly upping their game since I started looking at their figures, with their recent Yu Yu Hakusho figures even having detailed bases instead of the matte/gloss logo style they started with, not to mention transparent effects parts and even glow in the dark variations of larger figures. Pop Up Parade certainly has the edge in choice - far more female characters is an instant attractor for me, as well as the sheer scope of what's on offer - but I have to say that the quality of the ABYstyle Studio figures has been superior. I hope they both drive each other so that the fans win ultimately win out, but I would love to see Pop Up Parade take on character covered by ABYstyle Studio for direct comparison.
As for Rei, well this is still a great purchase for the price. I like smaller figures as it makes the details seem sharper, especially on plainer designs like this. There are more expensive versions of this long-haired design available, but for a simple and attractive representation of the character, I think this is a wonderful little figure and a further credit to Goodsmile's budget endeavours.