Friday, May 18, 2012

Boku wa Half-Decent Figure ga Sukunai

Six worthy candidates.  Thanks to for the image

I will not pretend that it was groundbreaking, paradigmatic, or even very good.  When talking about anime series, the word "derivative" should be reserved for shows like it.  When Hiroki Azuma wrote of Japan’s Database Animals, he could very well have put the title screen of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai on the cover.  There was a beach/ghost story episode, karaoke episode, not one but two "digital realm" episodes, and a matsuri episode.  The six-girl harem of female characters includes an ojou-sama tsundere girl, osana najimi girl, reverse trap girl, fujoshi inventor girl, loli nun girl, and a heterochromatic goth-loli little sister girl.  An awful lot of itches scratched in twelve episodes, to say the least, and the heavy reliance on tropes was not assisted by the very few character developments that managed to emerge from the episodic proceedings.

And yet I can't wait for there to be a second season.

Image from
I hate having to admit that I must be one of the Database Animals that Azuma wrote about, but there can be no other explanation for why I crave another 12 episodes with the Neighbors' Club.  The show just isn't that good, but the little glimmers of individual growth, in confidence, in compassion evident in Sena Kashiwazaki as she gets challenged and befriended by the misunderstood non-delinquent Kodaka and tormented by the desperately lonely Yozora, give me hope that she'll extend this growth into life outside the club room.  The great, ballsy, deflating "Call me Yozora" wall that manages to stand though the series' conclusion make me wonder what more what more must be resolved between her and Kodaka to let their relationship either evolve or resolve.  I can only think that it's because of my animality, in Azuma's sense of the word, that drives this hunger to see more of the series.

Thanks to for the image
As a collector, I want to throw my wallet at my computer screen.  The character designs by Buriki (link NSFW) (and totally epic) are completely devourable--there's something very distinctive about the characters in Haganai, something very different about them, which I find irresistible; the best adjective I can come up with is "severe."  Their eyes are drawn and colored extremely heavily (especially the upper eyelid), and the thinness of their mouths make all of their expressions seem rather pointed; the characters' facial features convey their emotions as though they can't bear the weight of it all, whether it's smug satisfaction or disgust or disappointment or jealousy.  Buriki also expends more than the usual effort into his characters' hair as well; rather than just breaking the character's heads into hemispheres, one light and one dark, Buriki takes the time to shadow and highlight individual strands differently from their neighbors, which imparts a great deal of liveliness and texture to each character.  He tends to work in soft pastels, which lends the brightness of his characters' eyes and other details an extra added pop.  They are distinctive, and they are ravishing.

No.  From Hobby Search
So just why is it that there hasn't been a single damn scale-sized Haganai figure I would let in my house?

No.  From Hobby Search
All six of the ladies have been given the Beach Queens treatment by Wave, and as per usual they all look like the budget-conscious, low-fidelity 1/10 figures they are.  Media Factory is putting out their own fully clothed 1/10 versions of Sena and Yozora, and again, they lack the life, the fidelity of the character designs.  Good Smile has 1/7 versions of the two leading ladies in their school uniforms coming out, but they miss the mark for me, as Yozora's body language and her face don't match, and Sena's got quite the derp face going on (official photos not yet released).  Kotobukiya enters the fray with 1/8 versions which I think miss the mark--Sena's eyes are gigantic and completely overdone and, while the expression is about the angriest I've ever seen on a figure (and therefore perfectly appropriate), Yozora's hair, eyebrows, and irises all are too muted.  They look like knockoffs, plain and simple.  

No.  From Hobby Search
No.  From Hobby Search.
The young mistresses of the show, Kobato Hasegawa and Maria Takayama, get the bunny girl treatment by Max Factory in 1/7 scale--Kobato looks as though she's going to be sick, and by going with the opaque-to-translucent treatment of the girls' hair, the charm and the depth of Buriki's designs are completely lost.  

Most recently, Alphamax's 1/7 Sena Kashiwazaki is close-but-not-quite, as the character's body seems entirely too thin relative to her bosom--the nickname foisted upon her by Yozora is "Niku."  "Meat."  Give her some thighs, for God's sake!  Allow her chest to succumb to gravity just a little, even!

Six companies have taken a crack at capturing the Haganai girls in 3D, and I think all six have failed to some degree or another.  Of all the forthcoming examples, I lean towards Kotobukiya's 1/8 version of Yozora as being the best capture of the character in spirit and in pose, but the coloration of everything from the neck up needs a redo, and to be frank, scowling and reticent is not how I like to remember Yozora, and certainly isn't the way I'd want her frozen in time on my shelf.   

Could somebody please get on this?  From Haganai character creator Buriki's website
I want to spend money and devote shelf space to the girls of Haganai.  They are cute and interesting and flawed.  And it's not as though Buriki's character designs are impossible to render well in 3D--check out some of the figures of Erio Towa from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko for proof.  A cute and mischievous  Kobato Hasegawa in her goth-loli garb can not be that difficult to manage.  A suddenly fun-loving, curvaceous Sena Kashiwazaki straining the buttons of her blazer is not too much to ask.  A demure and doting Yukimura Kusunoki in his/her bathing suit seeking the approval of her aniki can be done--by god, that Beach Queens figure is so so close!

There is no doubt I'm clinging to a series that otaku fandom is gradually forgetting, but please, give us someone from this show properly preserved in PVC to look back fondly upon!

Connected by the red thread of fate to not have a single damn decent scale-sized figure amongst them.  Thanks to for the image.

No comments:

Post a Comment