I don't like many Japanese cartoons, also known to geekdom as anime, but I will occasionally find a series that floats my boat. Kill la Kill (or Kiru Ra Kiru on the Wikipedia page, which I'm pretty sure is just "kill la kill" with a racist accent) fits that bill.
Awesome fight scenes? check.
Big action set pieces? check.
School girl outfits with short skirts? check.
Huge scoops of fan service? check!
If you're not familiar with the series, it's another winner from the makers of Gurren Lagann, the anime that brought us Yoko Littner. Click the link. That should tell you pretty much what you're in for.
The show follows rambunctious school girl Ryuko Matoi, as she searches for the person who murdered her father. The path eventually leads to the student council president of Honnouji Academy, Satsuki Kiryuin.
She gets her butt kicked.
Afterwards, she finds a "sentient sailor uniform named Senketsu, a Kamui (神衣, lit. "Godrobe") which is completely made of Life Fibers, which transforms her" (again, Wikipedia). And that it does. Her already revealing uniform gets transformed into something a half-step up from a T-back and pasties.
Basically, this show is fight scenes, upskirts, and underboob.
You can see why it's popular?
I've yet to watch it past the first episode (Hey, I'm busy, okay?) but when I heard Figma was making a Ryuko Matoi figure, I just had to have it.
It has been awhile since I ventured into Figma territory. I've avoided that side of the toy aisle due to 1) a few regrettable purchases and 2) the premium prices.
Original Figma figuress in particular cost at least a couple of grand, and in the case of some of the ones with more accessories or more expensive franchises, you'd better be prepared to shell out somewhere near Php 3,000 - Php 4,000 for one. My Figma Avengers Thor cost Php 3,400. But when you have winners like their Kanu Unchou and Samus Aran, the cost feels less of a blow.
Less of a blow. A couple of grand is still a pretty big hit. That's two Deluxe Transformers. Or four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures.
Or like twenty happy meals.
When you open the toy, you'll find out that it's got a good amount of accessories in the box. You get a couple of alternate faces, two versions of her extra large scissors sword (the Katatachi basami regular and buttagiru modes), four pairs of alternate hands, and one of those awesome Figma stands (just about the best figure stand for this scale out there).
It's easy to lose stuff when you open the tray and box, so be careful to do so on a large table where you can easily find anything that falls out.
Ryuko Matoi stands just under 6". The Figma line isn't made to scale, so trying to even bother with that kind of discussion is pointless. If we're just talking height, she's just as tall as any Marvel or DC figure, but with the anime proportions, she should be smaller. As it is, she's eye to eye with most of my superhero figures, but has a head the size of a planet.
The figure's made of a mix of hard ABS plastic and softer PVC which allows the figure to have the skirt and straps that are part of the character's Kamui, Senketsu, but retail most of the range of motion that the joints are built for.
Speaking about the range of motion, the articulation on this figure is fantastic. Now that I've got another Figma female figure, I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't start on these instead of the Revoltech Fraulein figures. The way the joints work is so smooth and easy that it makes posing extremely fun.
Really the only problem area when it comes to posing this figure are the two lapel pieces that mount on her chest. They're held in by two very bendy posts that aren't locked in there, so sometimes slide out. They come out so often, mine are starting to show stress marks on the post from all the action.
But again, the rest of it is awesome. Balance is excellent, motion is easy, construction is solid. All in all, a great figure to play with.
As with the Kanu Unchou figure, this one comes with a small, clear, 3-jointed figure stand. The "arm" of the stand is constructed from two posts connected by hinge joints and a small, hexagonal base. For this size figure, it's perfect. The toy is connected to the stand by a small post at the end which plugs into a hole (approx. 3mm) in her back. There's also a small adapter which gives you an angled post at the end if you want to pose her in a standing position which requires extra support.
It's also great for smaller Marvel Legends figures that have those vestigial holes on their backs or feet. I would't try it with the larger ones however, as that's how I broke my last one.
The extra parts are easily changeable. For the face, you need to remove the head, then remove her hair (the bangs covering her forehead) and then remove the face in use. From there, it's just plug and play. You reassemble the head with the new face and push it back onto her neck.
Same with the hands, though with the posts there being so small, I'd be very careful when doing it. Personally, after this I'm keeping her weapon wielding hand there from now on to avoid having to remove it.
No review about Kill la Kill would be complete without talking about fan service in the show, and in the show's character design.
If you don't know the term, "fan service" refers to the practice of including themes, references, and appearances of certain characters and/or things in TV and movies that pander to a particular fan base or demographic. Probably the most prominent fan service is the kind targeted at horny, lonely, young men (and women). For shows meant for guys, like Kill la Kill, that means a ton of T and A.
While anime has (sort of) moved away from actual nudity in their cartoons, it's graduated to more suggestive sorts of fan service, like the super skimpy outfits of both Ryuko Matoi and her rival, Satsuki Kiryuin.
She's basically wearing a cross between lingerie and a... Scratch that. She's wearing lingerie.
As I said earlier, the show is all about fight scenes, upskirts, and underboob. The toy is just about the same. Neither is meant for kids at all.
This really is a great figure, even more so if you're a fan of the show. It makes me wish that Figma was into doing other properties like Ranma 1/2 and High School of the Dead, both franchises which I enjoy for their fan service as much as for other things.
If you like good-quality, sexy anime action figures that would make ZERO sense in real life, and in fact, defy all laws of physics, then this is definitely for you.
Good luck finding one, though. It's insanely popular and I had to hunt around the metro for this one. And that was about a month ago.