It really is the era of 1/12 scale collecting when one of the premier action figure collectible companies start to make offerings in that scale. Square Enix has a thriving Play Arts Kai line that, although a bit controversial with regards to its stylistic depictions of non-Square Enix characters, is one of the most sought after collectible lines to date. But because the 1/12 scale (or 6″ for you, Hasbro fans) is the current “scale to be” among toy collectors, it was only a matter of time before they will try to take a slice of the pie.
Called “Bring Arts”, the line previously only offered Kingdom Hearts characters that made collectors mistake the line to be KH exclusive. That all changed when it also offered characters from other Square Enix games like 2B from Nier Automata, Kaine from Nier Replicant, and Fei Fong Wong from Xenogears. This review will focus on the Bring Arts 2B figure.
I have not played Nier Automata or even its indirect prequel Nier Replicant. But the character design of 2B is enough to capture my interest. Still, pre-ordering the figure is more of a knee-jerk reaction to a seemingly beautiful toy than a serious and conscious decision to consider taking up the line that I even forgot I ever pre-ordered it. Luckily, it wasn’t a wasted purchse.
I’ve been struggling to find a wiki entry about Bring Arts that the best description I can think of is that its concept is pretty much “Play Arts Kai on the 1/12 scale”. But even that doesn’t really do it justice, since Bring Arts does bring a lot to the table that you can’t find in Play Arts Kai.
2B is a finely sculpted figure that scores high marks in accuracy and faithfulness to the source material. The biggest thing I noticed is that the figure doesn’t inherit the PAK style of sculpt and with 2B, it’s actually a good thing. Although Bring Arts as a line does not really eschew PAK visuals, they’re somewhat toned down in relation to its more famous older sister.
The figure and its accessories have a high level of detail that in some ways is even better than PAK. The plastic seems to be the same as the one used by its older sister line, with 2B’s hair being translucent with fine details.
The accessories are also finely detailed to a high level of consistency that we’ve come to expect in PAK. And that is saying much because their scales are very different and it’s expected for PAK accessories to be incredibly detailed because the scale favors them. But Bring Arts holds its own. Given that the plastic they use seems different from the one that SHF, Figma, and MAFEX use on their figures (it feels closer to Hasbro, actually), they are still comparable to them.
A successful 1/12 scale action figure line is defined not only by its design, but how articulated its figures are. Bring Arts 2B has a good amount of articulation that allows her to go head to head with others lines in the scale but that’s just about it. 2B has almost the same amount of articulation as PAK figures and while that’s not bad by itself, in a scale dominated by SHF, Figma, MAFEX, and Hasbro, that’s pretty unremarkable. It does have the effect of making the figure feel more sturdy than PAK since the latter’s articulation sometimes works against it.
What the seemingly “average” points of articulation does is make the figure function properly, and it doesn’t fall apart as easily as PAK figures tend to do. Mind you, the figure is articulated enough to mimic in-game poses. I was even able to make it mimic the poses of a cosplayer. Again, it’s not as insanely articulated as other lines in the scale, but it works.
The only real drawback is that the design can sometimes get in the way of the pose. Like 2B’s skirt is made of plastic, so it can sometimes hamper some extreme poses. Those puffed shoulder sleeves can also pose a challenge when trying to recreate some poses that has 2B lifting bother her arms up. But these drawbacks are common among 1/12 action figures, and they don’t really detract from my over-all enjoyment of the figure.
Bring Arts 2B has her sword, a set of hand poses, an alternate head, two robots, a stand, and a bucket…for whatever reason (remember, I haven’t played the game, so I’m not really familiar with why a premium priced figure has a bucket included). As far as accessories go, it seems Bring Arts went all out with this one.
As mentioned earlier, the accessories are all finely detailed. The only real problem it seems is that 2B went on to have two weapons in the game and she only comes with one but includes other accessories that make a great diorama. Talk about giving with one hand while taking away with another. But in this case, it’s not a completely bad thing. It allows the figure to have a character of its own by utilizing all the included accessories to re-enact some scenes from the game. It also shows that Bring Arts is very capable of going all-out when it comes to accessories, so that may indicate something good in the future.
Despite collectible action figures being more “for show” than play, Bring Arts 2B is durable enough for you to actually play around with it. Think of it as something in-between Hasbro and SHF: you have the details, sculpt, and paint-apps of an SHF with some Hasbro-levels of durability. It’s still not a figure you can toss around ala Hasbro, but it can take a bit of punishment that can destroy a Figma or SHF.
While my personal aesthetic preferences tend to lean on the “realistic” side, I can appreciate a 2D character in its full, action figure glory. I did grow up playing Squaresoft – later Square Enix – games after all. I had a lot of fun playing with Bring Arts 2B.
One of the things that the Bring Arts line has shown me is that Square Enix can make really good 1/12 scale action figures that are even better than their flagship Play Arts Kai line. So good and so positive are my feelings about this line that I already have a “wish-list” of characters I hope to see in the future, particularly the Final Fantasy line. My first Play Arts (not the Kai) figure was the Advent Children Sephiroth followed by the Advent Children Cloud Strife with Fenrir. The now defunct line has since been superseded by Play Arts Kai with its larger scale, higher price, supposedly better detailing, and inconsistent QA standards.
I mean, who am I kidding? This is Square Enix, and each and every toy-line they make will eventually make figures of characters from the one series franchise they have that kept them relevant. I just hope they do it full-swing. I always wanted an Advent Children Cloud with his Fusion Sword both combined and separate. With this line being wholly Square Enix, the Final Fantasy VII Remake coming, and Bring Arts seemingly willingness to include an insane amount of accessories, I just might have my wish.