So I guess it’s high time I posted about my adventures (or rather misadventures) with the latest Version 2 Cloud figure from Play Arts Kai (aka v2 Cloud PAK).
So as you may already know, I’m a massive Cloud Strife fan! Tekken 3 and Final Fantasy 7 made up most of my childhood after moving to New Zealand, so Hwoarang and Cloud were both my centres during that time.
And naturally, to soothe my collector itch, I was desperate to own any Cloud merch at all – be it a keyring, a badge or even just a poster. But there were none. Afterall, I grew up in little old New Zealand, the secluded island nation far away from all things cool (and luckily also something else less cool in these past 2 years ^^”). All I had was fanart I’d spent hours sketching plastered all over my bedroom walls. Little Mary would’ve never dared to dream for a Cloud plushie or figure.
So imagine my utter shock and excitement when I stumbled across Cloud action figures from Play Arts Kai in the year 2017. By that time, they had already released the Advent Children and the Final Fantasy Remake Cloud. So of course, I insta-bought both. Then they released a limited colour version of Cloud in his iconic FF7 purple attire in 2018 so of course, being the loyal Cloud stan I was, I had to get him too! At that time, I was still blissfully ignorant and fearless of defects so I boldly ordered directly from the US Square Enix store and had it shipped to me from a forwarding company (this essentially voids any claims for refunds/returns in case of defects).
Fortunately, this Cloud arrived mostly perfect (the stand bags at the back came loose, but that’s nothing major). Perhaps the quality control back then was better, because out of the eight Final Fantasy PAKs I bought that year, only Prompto came with glaring defects. Here’s a picture of him with his sexy shoulders.
This brings us nicely to my very memorable experience with the latest v2 Cloud PAK. The v2 Cloud looks amazing, he’s impeccable in likeness and aesthetics, and is hands down the best Cloud figure to date. All fantastic news, until you realize the defect rate has gone straight through the roof and you’re now getting completely drenched by rain. Seriously.
My first Cloud I preordered from Amiami came with hideous black dots embedded in the plastic at the front of his hair, so I returned him for a replacement.
Honestly, for a figure that costs $200-300NZD, you shouldn’t have to deal with these sorts of defects. And all this fiasco happened while covid was rife with no vaccines in sight, and international flights were incredibly limited so return postage to Japan was ludicrous. From memory, it cost $120NZD which was essentially over half the cost of the figure itself. Fortunately, Amiami reimbursed this in full, and the replacement figure they later sent me was thankfully perfect.
Now this would’ve been a pretty smooth and happy ending to my v2 Cloud PAK adventures if I’d been satisfied with having just one v2 Cloud. However, the Cloud stan in me itched for more – after all, this was “hands down the best Cloud figure to date” right?! I must have one to keep perfect and dust free in box, and another one out of box for display. Right?! So I proceeded to order ANOTHER v2 Cloud, this time locally from Mighty Ape. I assumed any returns would be much easier and cheaper to arrange.
And this is where the nightmare really begins. The first one from Mighty Ape came with a chipped nose and messy paint defects. Organizing a replacement took needlessly long. There was a lot of back and forth, and responses were often delayed by up to 4-7 days at a time. Finally, my replacement came after over a month? And this one was even worse! He had floating hair, messy lips, loose hips and a loose wrist! No way was I keeping a $290NZD figure like this (Mighty Ape charges more for him ($290NZD) than Amiami ($200NZD) even including international shipping and GST)! So I reached out to Mighty Ape again. I’m certain they were all sick of me by now ^^” that crazy Cloud lady lmao.
Anyway, because it was already a replacement figure they only offered me the option to keep him or return for a refund. I chose to return him and order one from Amiami instead, hoping I would have better luck there. My Prompto with the sexy shoulders also came from Mighty Ape, so I wondered whether they just stock the “bad batch” – either “re-released” ones or from an inferior factory? That’s what I chose to believe anyway, to settle my anxieties about getting yet another defective Cloud from Amiami. To my relief, my fifth and final Cloud was perfect. So that fortunately ended my v2 Cloud saga.
And before you all roll your judgy eyes at me, I must mention that it isn’t just me having all these issues with v2 Cloud. My colleague, another fellow Cloud stan, also had to go through three Cloud figures (all from Amiami) before getting a decent one without significant defects. So between the two of us, we had to go through 8x Clouds to get 3x good ones. That’s like a 60% defect rate! Neither of us had any problems with the previous Cloud PAKs. I owned three Clouds before v2 Cloud and she owned seven, so it’s quite a decent sample size too!
So yes, I can finally rest easy now that I have two good v2 Clouds. This brings my total Cloud PAK count to five! Though after such a sour and stressful experience, I don’t think my heart’s up to purchasing any more PAKs. So unless the next Clouds are super freaking unbelievably amazing, I think I’m fully done collecting these.