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As someone who likes to keep track of fujoshi characters in anime and manga, I also tend to keep an eye out for merchandise if only to see how much coverage these characters are getting. Aside from the manga and anime they come from, there tends to be not much else, but one thing I’ve noticed is that, over the past months or so, multiple fujoshi character statue figures have been announced or released… which might actually make 2013 the Year of Fujoshi Figures, but we’ll let that slide.

First up is Wave’s “Beach Queens Shiguma Rika” from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai. A member of the “Neighbors’ Club,” Rika is a genius who is not only into homosexuality but also “mechasexuality.” All of the other female characters in her show, as well as from many other series, are in the Beach Queens line.

Next is Ryuusuke’s “Narumi Nakuru” (NSFW) from Mayo Chiki! A glasses-obsessed high school student, she gets her very own episode at the very end of the anime. This figure is not only expensive as all get-out, but it’s gigantic at a whopping 30+ cm in height. An important warning, this figure’s clothing is removable, so it may not be the best display piece.

Then there’s the “Excellent Model Limited Sazanka Bianca” from Aquarion EVOL. I wrote about her recently, and one thing I have to say is that in an interview with the writer of the series, Okada Mari, she mentions that Sazanka was meant to be a much more minor character but that she gained popularity after episode 4, which revealed her status as a fujoshi. Sazanka’s figure is an exclusive.

Coming from the Winter 2012 season is the Nendoroid Koujiro Frau from the popular Robotics;Notes. A programming genius, Frau (real name Furugoori Kona) is something of a recluse, and talks in real life almost entirely in internet slang. Might we expect a full-size figure of her at some point?

Finally, if you want to count it, there’s this “Gray Parka Service’s Homoo.” Homoo is an ascii art-based character from the mesageboard 2ch, and is meant as a parody of fujoshi and their behaviors. It (she?) crawls around on all fours, exclaiming “Homoo!”

So all in all, kind of a crazy year if you happen to be into fujoshi characters and you enjoy buying figures. That said, I have to wonder why there’s this increase, at all. Sure, there was the Ogiue figure from 2007 (which I gladly own), and some Ohno figures before that, but there seems to be an unusually high amount, likely because we’re seeing more fujoshi characters appear in these ensemble cast anime. With more shows out and on the horizon, I would not be surprised at all to see a figure of, say, Akagi Sena from Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii wake ga Nai.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Heartcatch Precure!‘s Kurumi Erika, so when I saw that the Megahouse “Excellent Model Cure Marine” had come out some time ago, I considered purchasing it, only to be held back by the fear that the figure might not be worth it. However, when I happened to see this figure in the Dealer’s Room at Otakon, I found myself immediately drawn to it. Debating the purchase, I took the advice of my good friend and mahjong comrade, Astro Toy columnist Dave, and went for it anyway.

If you’re not familiar with the character, watch this.

The figure cost me about $110, more than I’ve ever had to pay for one, but I have to say it looks really, really good. I mean, I’m no figure reviewer (despite the Hato Kenjirou review from last week), but pretty much all of my fears were assuaged. I didn’t just take photos of her at all of these angles just to have a variety of images to show, I wanted to actually make a point that the figure looks really good from all angles.

The hair alone is quite remarkable, gradually getting more translucent as it reaches the tips, and even giving it a nice silhouette, as can be seen from the shadows above.

What originally caused me to hesitate getting this Cure Marine figure was actually the promotional image used, which revealed a prominent shadow on the figure’s jawline and caused her face to look rather flat and awkward. Another problem I had with it was that the pose felt uncharacteristic of her.

They seemed like rather glaring flaws, enough that I felt it better to hold out and wait for a possibly better figure, but when I actually looked at the figure in person I realized that these weren’t issues at all.  Chalk one up for actually seeing the product instead of ordering it online, I guess! This is also why I think the cost was justifiable, as even if I had found a cheaper method online, it would’ve only been about $5.00, maybe $10.00 savings, and I wouldn’t have been able to really make sure that the figure looks good.

The way even intense shadows are cast on Marine’s face don’t end up flattening her face, and the pose itself looks a lot better when not displayed at that very specific angle with that specific lighting. Instead, I feel like it really captures the character’s spirit, though if I were being selfish I might actually ask for a show-specific pose, and possibly even the ability to switch out her face for some of her sillier expressions, a hallmark of the character.

In fact, when you look at Cure Marine up-close, the details really come through. Everything from the bow on her chest to the little pouch where she stores her transformation device (the “heart perfume”) to the straps on her back are painted carefully and clearly, with no real bleeding compromising the look of the figure.

If there’s anything I’m worried about when it comes to this figure, it’s the fact that the whole thing is pretty much balanced on one leg. Granted, it’s more accurate to say that it’s balanced by the large platform that Cure Marine’s one leg is attached to, but I’ve seen medium-to-large PVC figures such as this one get warped over time to the point that the figures start to practically fall over. Obviously I can’t tell at this point, but I’m going to be keeping an eye on it to see if the plastic starts to fail.

Cure Marine doesn’t come with much in terms of extras, but one thing worth pointing out is that the figure includes her animal sidekick, Coffret. It doesn’t really pose, and it seems to be made of a cheaper or at least less smooth plastic than Cure Marine herself, but it’s not much of an issue. All you do is stick Coffret on that clear stick and pose him at any angle.

The “Excellent Model Cure Marine” is my first real figure purchase in a long, long time, and I feel that it was quite worth it in the end. It’s a figure I can look at it over and over and find something good to talk about. The only question left is, will I get other Heartcatch or even other Precure figures? It’s not in the cards at the moment, but who knows? I didn’t think I’d buy this one either.

While Genshiken-related merchandise remains relatively sparse in the grand scheme of figure collecting, Kodansha recently collaborated with Kaiyodo to bring two Hato Kenjirou figures to loyal readers.

The first figure comes from an issue of Monthly Afternoon and features a standing Hato, while the second one comes from a limited edition Japanese release of Genshiken Volume 11.

Featured here is Standing Hato. As can be seen from the photos, the quality of the figures is trading-figure-level, so it won’t match up to a really good model, but as far as trading figures and gashapon figures go, it’s actually fairly impressive. There doesn’t seem to be any significant bleeding in the paint job, and even the details on the purse hold up to a certain amount of scrutiny.

Aside from the seams separating the pieces which make up Hato’s hair, there aren’t any really noticeable flaws, and even that is just part and parcel for the level of figure we’re getting here. The flower pattern on the dress and the details on the denim jacket also look good.

Next up is Sleeping Hato, otherwise known as Unconscious Drunken Hato.

Aside from some minor flaws, the second figure is just as solid as the first. They even did a good job on the toes, which I get the feeling would be enormously easy to mess up on a figure this small and relatively inexpensive (it came packaged with the volume for a bit extra, though I can’t remember exactly how much).

Because Sleeping Hato has to be constructed from more parts than Standing Hato, the seam in the dress between the torso and the legs is much more noticeable, though I don’t find it to be the biggest deal in the world. Again, given the typical quality of these figures, this one does a good job. You’ll note that they sculpted his hair to match the fact that he’s supposed to be lying down.

Actually, Sleeping Hato comes with one additional feature that most other figures lack: It’s a refrigerator magnet!

There’s a small magnet sticking out of Hato’s back which I’ve chosen not to photograph, but it’s pretty much what you might think it is. Are your to-do lists for grocery shopping feeling a bit lonely? Do you wish you had company for your magnet souvenirs from Japan? This crossdressing fudanshi figure successfully accompanies all fridge doodads! What’s more, 9 out of 10 people can’t tell that it’s a man!

So there we go. Both figures at this point will be pretty difficult to find, especially because they were both packaged as extras. I’m certainly not the biggest fan of Hato Kenjirou, but I have to say that both of them look good if you judge them by overall figure standards, and great if you judge them among their peers.

How can I make such a wild claim that the Drossel Juno Vierzehntens Heizregister Fürstin von Flügel from Disney’s Fireball is the best Figma, when she’s only just recently been announced on their site?

Simple. Drossel is a robot and also a girl.

Despite recent attempts by Goodsmile to man up the Figma line with the world’s deadliest assassin and a gay porn star, Figmas are mostly known for being a fairly girly set of toys. Girly set of toys for guys, that is. Whether it’s Haruhi, or Konata, or Konata dressed as Haruhi, the big beefin’ robots are usually left to Kaiyodo’s Revoltech line. Which is all well and good, except that when it comes to having poseable joints, giant robots tend to fare better than fleshy meatbags in terms of having elbows and knees which make sense.

But now you have Drossel who, as stated above, is both robotic and feminine. Her joints make sense, and she possesses much of the trademark cuteness that the Figma line is known for. And she’s got the twintails. In a sense she’s the first Complete Figma.

Drossel goes on sale June 2009. As I don’t actually own it, I can’t recommend it per se, but really, check out dem knees.

Official sources for Genshiken Second Season

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