Playarts Kai: Noctis Lucis Caelum
Updated: Mar 8, 2019
The first #Playarts_Kai review of the year and who better pave the way (Um, Terra?) than the Prince of Insomnia himself, Noctis Lucis Caelum! Been waiting for this figure since late last year; this actually came out some time back but waited a little bit to get my piece and I'm glad I did since the reissue seems to have fixed some of the flaws I was seeing in the first batch. At any rate, let's get into the review.
As with all of my reviews on this blog, let's take a look at the box that Noctis came packed in. The one thing about Playarts that I have learned through the years I have been collecting is that they are in the high end arena--to put it simply, they are like an amalgamation of #Figma and #HotToys (using the term Hot Toy loosely). I will talk about the figure in regards to that comparison, but as far as their box, they have that expensive and very artistic box, but it gives you a window, very import feeling design. It's a Final Fantasy XV Playarts Kai; I know that's obvious, but I will have a few Playarts Kai that are Final Fantasy related on the horizon that are not meant for their respective titled Final Fantasy (Dissidia NT, if that drops a hint).
Noctis is going to be the only purchase from this wave that I'm going to go through, I think. As I mentioned, price point wise, they're not cheap and I don't like Gladious, Prompto, and Ignis that much.
Here is the window box I am talking about. I won't be able to show off the bio since the box doesn't open very well without having to force it, which in turn, will break the box. Playarts Kai's boxes I keep for future storage for the figures in the event I have to transport them, so yeah, this is what you get. I'm sure people who read my review aren't going in my page for the box of the figure.
As far as accessories go, you van look at it in two ways: for the ones we get, they are really well done and the other way is: we are lacking some serious accessories for a price point as high as Playarts Kai. The swords he comes with are intricately detailed. I am impressed with both his Engine Blade and The Sword of the Father's sculpting; from the hilt, to their unique designs, to the added features that are only found on each blade, they are both given so much care and attention that it's hard not to admire them.
Again, great contrast between the silver and the dark blade. It's easy to miss some of the details when not fully looking at the weapons up close. Not much else to other than I am enamored with these weapons. The other side of my opinion about his accessories is the lack of. Missed opportunities with special effects to replicate warping (or a phasing weapon), and also, Playarts Kai has never ben good with providing alternate faces and Noctis needs one. Not only to simulate certain expressions, but the red eyes for his summoning would have be a nicely put homage to his in-game shenanigans.
Now I don't want to spend too much time on this, but I will bring it up: the infamous Playarts Kai stands. They're not good. Not even decent. They require assembly and once assembled, they don't do what they are supposed to do; if they do, they don't last very long. Playarts Kai hasn't done anything to improve them nor make them innovative. Each figure I have held in the Kai version has it and none of them worked out the way I thought they would. So you won't be seeing this stand on my next review.
On a side note, I've always wanted to see how Versus XIII would have turned out. But we got FFXV, and I suppose that's not something to gripe about since I do like FFXV even with all its faults. Now with Noctis' new design, it's still very similar with his Versus XIII look but less intimidating. But Noctis' new look for his numbered Final Fantasy does come with its own details. Some that are not as apparent in-game for me. Look at those skulls on his shirt--I thought they were just random patterns, but this figure definitely show it off just fine. And there are sculpting everywhere here; the buttons, the pockets, every wrinkle, and every bit of fine detail that one would want with a leather jacket are found in plastic form.
Just from first glance, one can definitely recognize Noctis' default outfit from FFXV; Playarts Kai does a fine job making sure that details are caught and it definitely shows. I'm impressed with how much this figure made me appreciate Noctis' outfit a lot more. While FFXV had always clung on to the idea of 'a fantasy based on reality', Noctis' default outfit has a lot of things making it unique without being too vibrant compared to previous Final Fantasy titles. While, no, it's not my favorite idea for a Final Fantasy, at least I can say that the outfit is more appealing when the details can be seen.
Now a far as paint details go, my only real complaint is anything that has to do with his skin and his hair. It's not as sharp and clean as I expected it to be. The hair has a few things that are questionable in terms of the shading and then the skin just looks a bit too bland; no shadowing makes it look too 'doll-like'. But then again, Final Fantasy males and females have always been about perfect complexion and fantasy based--unmeasurable appeal and just plain waifu material (yes, even the guys). But the clothing is the one thing that really took me off guard. It just looks black form most promotional pictures I saw in the past but believe it or not, there is a coating of brown that gives his outfit the leather look. his shirt has a shade of grey around the collar area that allows the skull designs to stand out. The shoes are done well and I don't show it at all, but they have red bottoms, much like they do in the game. And once again I'll point out that the care of coloring and choices of colors mirrors with his weapons. Every little hint of silver, grey, etc, jut looks pronounced and well done and it makes an all black outfit just look good.
Now articulation should be something that is a no brainer when it comes to a high end and BIGGER version of Figma/Figuarts/etc. Problem is, Playarts Kai has some flaws when it comes to their articulating fun factor. They have some weird choice with some of the joints they use and before I go further about this, no, it's not about how weird their elbows and knees look when posed--that is an issue, yes, but I mostly have qualms with their ankle joint that makes it hard to get a pivot without sacrificing stability/aesthetics.
That same ankle problem can sometimes jeopardize just a normal standing vanilla pose, which is rather frustrating since standing still like the pic above should be one of the easiest thing to pull off. Also, because he doesn't come with any kind of special effects, the range of movements he's given is harder to convince and replicate in-game movements because of the missing link. Like I said, Playarts Kai has some good aesthetics, but the moment I start taking advantage of the articulation their figures are supposed to have, figures like Noctis starts to look awkward in some angles. Really a downer, honestly since I thought Playarts Kai has adapted with the market after all these years.
In the end, I still like this figure a whole lot. I know I pointed out too much flaws, but a review is not a review without it. Noctis being my first Playarts Kai for this year, my first in a long time, I would think that it would be a bit more defined and have more to offer in the areas that it went awry for me (kind of like my feelings on FFXV itself). But in the end, Playarts Kai Noctis Lucis Caelum still looks great and for the accessories we got, it's still awesome. He resembles the Prince of Insomnia well enough and FFXV is actually a Final Fantasy I enjoyed and can find the great things about it unlike some true Final Fantasy fans. At the end of the day, I recommend this figure to anyone who is a Final Fantasy XV collector. Though be aware of the price point you are getting into. I'm hoping my review gave some insight to anyone looking to justify said price point for what it has and does not have.
Until Next Time!