I have had my eyes on this figure for a while, but since it was sold out everywhere I just could not seem to get my hands on it (and then I had bigger issues on my mind). But today I finally received her, after about a week from when I placed the order. My hat off to Solaris Japan for their expedient service.
It looked well sculpted, well painted, and well posed. Of course, I know from experience that the official pictures do not always convey the truth, so it was with both anxiety and anticipation that I unboxed my latest procurement.
The shipping box was somewhat damaged, so I was afraid the same thing would be true of the packaging for the figure, but to my relief it was unharmed. As I unboxed the merchandise I realized that it was not at the level I had expected from seeing the official photos: it was far better!
This is the only figure so far that has exceeded my expectations. With my Sora figure I had really high expectations to begin with, so while it met them, it did not exceed them. But this figure's execution blew me away!
I usually start with the sculpting and posing as they share alot of common criterias, but with this one I think I will start with the feel of it. Starting with the base it gave a sturdy impression and had some weight to it. It was not at all flimsy, and the attachable pillar fit snugly in its sockets, both on the base and on Azusa's feet. So already here I had a good impression of what the quality would be like.
Next was the figure itself. It had some weight to it, as do all PVC figures, but somehow it just felt like it had been sculpted from a sturdier material. It might have something to do with the guitar, which is a masterpiece in its own right (I have seen people selling guitars like this for around €30).
That was all very subjective, so let us move on to more objective matters (if that is possible in a review).
The sculpting is excellent with great attention to detail, to the point of making the source material seem like half-finished sketches. There are wonderful creases in her clothes, a guitar complete with strings and all that other stuff guitars always seem to have, clearly visible details like the seams of her clothes (even on her panties which, thankfully, are hardly visible at all), and it even comes with interchangeable nekomimi mode. The hair is somewhat finicky to remove, but it is not too hard.
Remove the hair by pulling it forward, not up!
The jumping motion adds liveliness to the figure, beautifully emphasized by the natural-looking flow of her hair. She looks very happy, and it is quite easy to imagine her being on a stage with her fellow Houkago Tea Time members. It is just masterfully done. If I had to number the flaws, which I probably should since this is a review, it would be three things, of which only two will be visible at a time.
The first thing would be quite obvious: her mouth. While it does not bother me that much, it does seem somewhat rounder at eye-level than I would like. It looks perfectly fine if she is placed somewhat higher than eye-level.
The second and third things are actually related. The hair in the normal mode does have a rather noticeable edge to it since it is removable. The nekomimi mode will fix this and make it look very natural since it sports a headband, but in return there will be a small gap by her right ear that looks a bit unnatural.
Aside from that, it is rather flawless!
So, onto the most important part for me: the paint job!
Kanpeki desu! If you don't know what that means, google it, or just look at this figure to, well, figure it out. First of all, let me hark back to my review of Kuroneko's Swimsuit version by Orca Toys. In it I stated that I have seen too many black haired figures without any highlights or shading on the hair. Well, let me just say that this figure is an example of black hair done right! It is highlighted with a perfectly nuanced shade of grey, making the hair look like a well thought-out and important feature of the figure, rather than as an ad-hoc annoyance on the painters' part.
The shoes just look amazing!
The rest of the color palette is somber but colorful, blessing the figure with a mature, classy feeling. There is shading on all parts of this figure, to my big excitement, but just to be a stickler for details, I do wish they had given her skin a little bigger contrast. I will not hold it against it too much since everything else with this figure is just extraordinary, and makes a strong bid for the second place in my collection. I guess she and Yukimura simply will have to share the second place (two figures by Alter in the top three? Go figure...). My favorite so far is still Kasugano Sora, though. Why? There's just no beating her paint job.
From this angle she looks rather shy and cute.
Now a short notice about the future: I have ordered a few new figures (check my collection if you want to know which ones) and so I plan to do reviews on them as soon as I get them. I suppose I will receive them the following weeks, but after that I will have to let up on my purchases for the time being, so I can start renovating my apartment.
If you have any questions or just want to give me your thoughts on this figure, please leave a comment.
Thank you for reading!