November 20, 2012

[Toy Review] Lightning FFXIII-2 Play Arts Kai

[Review Updated: 06-07-13]

I always wanted to buy Square-Enix's Play Arts figures ever since it was first introduced years ago. But I don't have enough money to buy one during those years and it's hard to earn cash. Now those days are over and I finally got my first Play Arts (Play Arts Kai) figure.

Here she is!

Lightning's iconic pose in FFXIII-2 where she gets ready to fight Caius Ballad
It takes approx. 10 minutes to make her stand like that
She's Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII-2. She's a Knight of the Goddess now. This figure is hard to resist because of its beauty and elegance, plus it's very detailed and very true and accurate to the concept arts and renders from the game. I saw this figure during my random toy hunt and I said to myself "I want one...". And she's selling like hotcakes. I had a hard time getting this figure.


The front and back of the classy packaging

Opened front cover showing the summary of the game and the figure.
(Yes, the figure and accessories are already taken out of the box.)
Anyways, The packaging of the figure got a premium feel to it. I don't have the right words for this... It looks like a coffin. The front cover shows a picture of the figure and FFXIII-2 and Play Arts Kai logo, it's velcroed and can be opened like a book. Inside, you will see a short background info about Lightning and the game's story and the figure itself. The backside of the box shows the figure's different poses and some other text details.

Lightning can now breathe outside the box
Packaging includes: Lightning FFXIII-2 figure, Gunblade, Shield, one right gripping hand, one open left hand and a complimentary tissue, I mean "manual". Unfortunately, it doesn't include a display stand/base.


Like I said earlier. This figure is very detailed and accurate. Her face and head sculpt now looks better compared to the original version of Lightning PAK.

Looking at Lightning on 4 sides
5 angles of Lightning's face
Nice overall paint app to the face. Her eyes have a glossy finish applied to it. While its a good thing, but in different angles and lighting she looks like she's about to cry. The lips are rosy pink which makes it look more natural compared to the "thick red lipstick" of her FFXIII figure. Eyebrows have poor paint job. I guess it's intended to make it look like a real eyebrows. Her face while showing her neutral or gloomy side, it makes an optical illusion of changing her expression from gloomy to headstrong and stoic when adjusting her head in different angles.

Awesome light armor
The armor looks great, all those details and very nice paint jobs makes this figure awesome. You can see the detailed straps, linings and textures making the soft leathery parts of the armor feel like real leather.

The back of her armor
The backside of the figure while there's nothing much to discuss here is highly detailed too. The shoulder guard can move because it is connected by a ball joint so that it can't limit the arm movement that much.

Lightning's hair being exposed to the light
Her hair is soft and translucent so that the light can pass through it. This makes the hair feel and look a little realistic/natural when exposed to light (I'm a fan of translucent hair on figures btw)

The arms and legs

Her arms and legs are very detailed, I didn't see any major paint slacks and bleeds here. The pointy elbows and knees looks great. The armor parts makes a good job on covering the joints of the figure.

To me, the feather skirt is the greatest design feature of this figure.
The lower part is where there's some stuff to mention. That feathered skirt thing is made of soft rubbery plastic, painted and shaded very well and it's separated to two parts so that the left leg can move freely. A little hard to adjust the leg though because this skirt is in the way. 


The Lightning figure have few accessories. It's understandable because that's all she have for the entire game even on the DLC. Unless you want to have the Odin Eidolith and the gun version of her Gunblade.

Lightning's equipment
Lightning's is already contented on what she have to save the world. She got the Gunblade, Shield, Pair of fists (default), Right gripping hand and Open left hand.

Lightning's new Gunblade just look at it. It's awesome
The Gunblade now looks more like a traditional sword, as usual, its very detailed and well painted. It's a little heavy for the figure, plus the sword doesn't have a peg hole for steady holding, the gripping hand can't hold it well and keeps falling, you'll need to find a sweet spot to lock the sword in.

The round shield, very detailed too but not that fancy
The shield is kinda boring but it's sculpted and painted nicely with a glossy finish, even the backside of the shield have minor details. It got a Goddess Emblem sculpted in front of the shield and looks like a separate piece. Square-Enix really pays attentions to detail even on the boring parts of the figure.

The translucent arm clamp for the shield

The shield have 2 parts. The shield itself and the clamp. Connect them both first before attaching them to Lightning's left arm. In the game, the shield is floating that's why the translucent clamp is the best solution to simulate that effect on the figure.

Shield punch!
The hands/fists are sculpted and painted pretty well. The open right hand is to hold the Gunblade while the open left hand is just to give a gesture.

Her fighting stance is the same in both games
Even with a shield, her fighting stance never change. And it looks like she's really intended to have a shield on the first game.

[Left] The epic pose
[Right] Holding the Gunblade backhanded style... and a plausible Dissidia pose


Lightning figure is so well articulated, you can pose her in any way you want, but of course there are some limitations because of her design.

Doing a defensive to offensive stance
Head can move in a natural way, it cannot rotate 360 degrees, it can look up/down/left/right but not that much. The reason is that her hair and shoulder armor are hindering her head movement.

Don't mess with Lightning!
Both arms are well articulated. The shoulder and bicep can swivel. The elbows and fragile looking hands are ball jointed and ratcheted so it clicks into position when adjusting them. Chest and waist movement are passable. The hip area is ball jointed, her right leg can move freely, while her left leg movement is limited because of her feather skirt. Knees are double jointed and it's ratcheted. Feet are ball jointed and also ratcheted.

Lightning: "Hmph!"
The shoulder articulation can make the arms closer to the chest making the pic above possible.

Lightning: Come and die!
Charging attack
For more dramatic poses, of if you want to imitate the poses that you see at the back of the figure's box or in the internet, you'll need a display stand. In this case, I used a different method.

Jumping or landing.
This is the pose of Lightning in Amano's logo artwork for FFXIII-2
For more dramatic poses, of if you want to imitate the poses that you see at the back of the figure's box or in the internet, you'll need a display stand. In this case, I used a different method.

Lightning and Kadaj back to back
FFXIII-2 Lightning's is at scale with the old Final Fantasy Play Arts figures. Meaning that she's awkwardly smaller than the FFXIII PAK figures. For FF PAK and PA scale accuracy, I compared Lightning to Kadaj. Kadaj is a little smaller than Lightning. The wikis/forums say that Lightning is 5'6 and Kadaj is 5'5 so the scaling is pretty accurate so far and I will get the Dissidia line and other figures for more scale comparison.

Lightning vs. Kadaj
I knew that they won't get along

Play Arts Kai quality issues are so random that some owners will not encouter them. So I will list those that I found in my Lightning figure

1. Minor painting issues on the leg armor and feet (Paint bleeds and poor feet painting)
2. Arm and shoulder guard easily pops out, but can be put back on without any problem
3. Double jointed leg is a little weak and wonky. Felt like it will come apart easily
4. Right foot's pointed back area is folded (Check the pic above)
5. Left foot is not connected well. The ball joint's peg is exposed making the figure hard to stand "strictly" straight (I managed to fix the left foot by forcing the ball joint into the hole in the ankle area)


Quality and lack of stand issues aside. Overall, I'm very happy with this figure. Lightning FFXIII-2 PAK action figure is a great addition to your PAK or purely Final Fantasy figure collection. She looks fragile, but It's just a facade. She fell 3 times from the shelf to the floor (4ft.) and nothing on her breaks, even the small stuff is very durable. And get her ASAP, she's really cheap now and always getting out of stock in stores.

And check out this pic and enjoy! :D [Added: 06-07-2013]

I can't believe she held that pose for a long time to get photographed :D
Thanks for my sister for holding the LED light while I take this photo.
I think I did a pretty good job on editing this picture.

Cheers and Happy Collecting!


  1. She is beautiful. What I really fell in love for is her blade. The detail on that thing is amazing. As the owner of Gabranth and Squall, I have to say Square Enix's Play Arts blades are really a masterpiece themselves.
    Though my Squall is quite fragile compare to your Lightning. Whenever he falls, his body broke into halves (the torso comes out). I get heart attack every time. Seriously. Now I have to pose him in very secure area (cramped beside a very steady Nero) and a music box. Sigh~

    1. Gotta love Square-Enix's complicated weapon designs LOL

      Squall's torso problem is common, many Squall figure owners complain about this. But still, Dissidia Squall is an awesome figure, much better than the old FFVIII Play Arts version. My complaint about my Lightning figure is the semi-lose shoulder guards and her not properly connected left foot, it makes her difficult to stand straight. I kinda fixed the foot by slamming her foot flat straight on the table.

    2. hey guys, try using bostik's blu tack, it's a reusable adhesive. you can buy in national bookstore. you can use it under their feet to stand still or in the loose joints to remain intact without damaging the figure. :)

    3. Thanks for the tip, buddy! I will use blu tack for my next action figure review. :D. I just hope the blu tack won't get messy through numerous uses.

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