Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tony Taka's Xiao Mei by Max Factory

About as good as it gets, whether a fan of Tony Taka, kemonomimi, cheongsam, or just nicely made figures.

Tony Taka's "Shining ______" series aren't the reason I got into figure collecting, but they may be the reason I stay into figure collecting.  There's a certain something about how the proportions of his characters translate into 3D on the shelf that I can't resist.  While the accusation that all of Tony's girls look exactly the same may be warranted--and becomes very difficult to argue against on some occasions--I don't see why that's a bad thing when the end product is this good.

Original illustration from Tony Taka, thanks to Nekomagic.com

Presented in classic nyan-pose, there are some slight variations from the original illustration; it seems there's a little less forehead, the legs are positioned slightly differently, and there's slightly more turn in the torso, but I would suggest that all of these are for the best.  The repositioning allows Xiao Mei's figure to stand out a bit better, and makes her less boxy than the original illo suggests she might be.

Tony Taka said "Knock you out."

The make-or-break for any figure is the face, and there are no concerns to be found with Xiao Mei's.  The coloration of her irises and the reflection in her pupils are exceptional, full of life and personality.  Her eyelashes, nose, and mouth all have been properly tended to and look both great and different from multiple angles. She looks genuinely happy, sassy, and mischievous.  I love the tufts of hair in her nekomimi, white with slight gradation to a peachy pink towards the tips.

From the back, she sports a pair of hair buns with ribbons dangling from the bottom, perhaps a bit too thick and weighty for the application but not a negative worth niggling over.  There is a light seam running across the crown of her head from ear to ear, but again, nothing beyond what one should expect from such a piece.  I'm usually not a fan of Chinese-style headwear but it works for Xiao Mei, and I especially like the lines in her hair, both where it would be parted and pulled into the buns and at the bottom of her hairline on her neck, the imperfect lines of which add to the character's charm.

Well come on, and do the Twist. *bump-bump*
Xiao Mei's body is contained in a colorful cheongsam-style dress cinched at the waist with a mauve ribbon--again, the ribbon seems a little bit too weighty for the application.  If Max Factory applied a slight shimmer to the dress to give a greater impression of a silken fabric, it wouldn't have been a negative, but the application as is is adequate.  A sweet bow on her hip peeks through the slit of her dress, and a subtle flip of the bottom of the dress in back suggests a flirty swish of the hips to get ready for this pose--a little lacy detail rims the white undergarment to match the scalloped edge of her stocking and long glove.

 From the back, the fabric of her dress clings to her lithe shoulder blades and to her posterior.  Her adorably looped and lengthy tail connects to her lower back cleanly; while it's rare to find a figure that applies a tail and makes it look natural, this figure doesn't look unnatural, and that's good enough for me.  The only drawback is that the tail does extend a bit beyond the figure's base, making her take up an extra inch or two of shelf space.  Her stocking does have a bit of a shimmer to it, which only adds to my questioning why the same process wasn't applied to her cheongsam.

Give the people what they want, right?

Xiao Mei is not cast-offable.  She sports a pair of white pantsu underneath her dress, and the sculptor had the mercy and/or good taste to not sculpt each individual aspect of her anatomy.  It is impossible not to comment on the shapeliness of Xiao Mei's buns (not the ones in her hair), though, and the subtle crease and coloration where the upper thigh and glutes connect is simply droolworthy.

In 1/7 scale, Xiao Mei measures approximately 9.5 inches in height and fits in just fine with the other releases of Shining Hearts figures recently released by Kotobukiya, always a concern when characters from the same series are produced by different manufacturers.  You'll only need about 5.25 inches of shelf width to accomodate her, less if you integrate another figure underneath her swishing tail.  She comes with a basic white disc for a base that features the Shining Hearts logo--better than what Kotobukiya's come up for theirs, but I could definitely do without the logo.

There are no gnarly seams to contend with, no inconsistencies with her proportions, no complaints at all when it comes to the lovely Black Tail.  I am not one to pick nits when it comes to things like paint flaws, knowing it is a mass-produced piece one can only expect so much, but I am pleased to say that those flaws are at a bare minimum on this figure.  With the amount of color layering and detail, one would expect the occasional bleed-over, and those are present, but not to such an extend that it takes away from the enjoyment of the figure.  A complete charmer!

  • facial expression
  • eye coloration
  • kinetic swish of hips & tail
  • Cheongsam coloration less than lively
  • Base of figure features series logo

No comments:

Post a Comment