So I FINALLY completed my ARIA Punit collection from Megahouse! I picked up my last piece of the set (Alice) on eBay a week ago. It all started when Aika and Alicia went on sale at HLJ in February 2010. I had just finished up reading ARIA at that point and at $20 a piece I dropped them in my cart without hesitation. I didn’t get so lucky in price with Akari and Alice, they each cost me a little under $50 (which is about their retail price). But considering they were released in 2008 I guess I should count myself lucky that they weren’t more popular and thus more expensive in the secondary market. Although one of the reasons they weren’t so popular might be because they have a number of design flaws. I took many more pictures than what you see below, if you want to see more go to my Aria Punit album here.

The rest of the girls have their boxes and poorly designed hats in storage, so Alice will be the only one to model the whole outfit :) Alice is a nice character but is also probably my least favorite of the group. But saying Alice is my least favorite character in ARIA is like saying that a certain type of sushi on my plate is my least favorite of what’s there. Basically they’re all special treats that I enjoy, but some more than others. I would have preferred they used a different expression for her, but I definitely can’t claim that this expression isn’t characteristic of her. She makes a similar face here, although I’d say the surprise in her face is more subtle in the linked image than in the figure. Also I only just realized that her name is likely inspired specifically from Alice in Wonderland, her last name being Carroll really doesn’t seem like a coincidence (Lewis Carroll is the author of Alice in Wonderland). Perhaps everyone else’s first and last names are linked more than I realize?

I think Akari is the only one in the set that’s worth the full retail price. I think this little Punit captures Akari’s spirit better than any any other figure out there…although considering the competition that’s not saying much. I don’t think Solidworks did that great of a job on her face, and besides that I think there are only trading figures. Well there is a custom Akari Dollfie Dream out there that would win as best Akari item ever…but unfortunately it’s a one of a kind. To be honest I REALLY find the lack of ARIA figures out there shocking. ARIA seems to have enough of a following to have more quality merchandise available, even though its been  a while since the manga came out.

Alicia looks great too but there’s simply no competing with Good Smile Company’s scaled figure of her. Best ARIA figure ever! I wish they had done more characters, as much as I think Alicia is lovely Akari is the heart and soul of that series! This Alicia is the most difficult to get to remain standing up than the rest, I wrestled with her for a few minutes every time I had to move her. I believe her hair makes her a bit more unbalanced than the rest.

Aika was the easiest to get to stand upright throughout this whole process. Her expression is a bit plain compared to the rest, I would have preferred they choose a different expression but that’s not a deal breaker for me. Aika was a character I liked a lot, I think she was a wonderful friend for Akari. I’d say she was my 2nd favorite character in the series but Akatsuki slowly worked his way up to 2nd place for me 😉 oh how I wish I could have gotten more story out of ARIA. But it’s better to be left wanting more than being let down by the ending of a drawn out series.

The ARIA Punit Collection have some of the worst designed hats ever! It’s not just that they don’t fit on the head either, they look like they don’t even match the scale of the figure. They look like they were designed for a larger scale figure. I have no idea how they got the hats to actually look decent in the prototype pictures. Also the stands they come with aren’t a stable way to support their weight, to be sure they won’t fall I let my collection lean up against some manga. The poseability is limited, and the clothing is hard to adjust. But in my opinion the Punit Collection is a decent (and affordable) way to have figures of these characters. There should be better options out there available for ARIA fans, but there just aren’t that many options. So I recommend them with reservations, but keep in mind I love every collectible ARIA item I own because I love this series sooooooo much! So basically I’m completely biased!