I’m a Bishoujo guy. I say that in the way someone might say, I’m a Coca-Cola guy as opposed to Pepsi, because deep down inside I’d like to think that the same style of Coke vs. Pepsi rivalry is being fought among the comic book statue collecting market between the rabid and diametrically opposed supporters of Koto’s Bishoujo and DC Direct’s Ame-Comi. One day, I’d like to sit my grandson on me knee and tell him all about those glorious days when Kotobukiya and DC Direct slugged it out and scorched the Earth over dominating the statue market of overly-sexualized anime-style female comic book characters. Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen, but my point here is that I’ve rarely ever given DCD’s Ame-Comi line a second glance. Somehow it seemed suspicious. Koto’s Bishoujo statues are the real thing because they’re from Japan and designed from art by Shunya Yamashita, whereas Ame-Comi is like a Western imposter line. Then again, Ame-Comi is the one that actually has a comic book to justify its existence and DCD pulled in the big guns for some of these pieces, like the one I’m looking at today, which was sculpted by the great John St. John. And so, here I go, jumping in to see how the other half lives. Let’s check out Ame-Comi Mera! Also, apologies in advance to all you non-Bishoujo collectors because I’m going to probably be doing a lot of comparisons where they aren’t necessarily warrented. What can I say, I’m coming at this piece as a Bish collector and that’s the filter in which I’m seeing it.
The box is pretty typical of what we’ve been seeing in the later years of DC Direct and the current DC Collectibles branding. There isn’t a date on this one, but I’m sure it’s one of the most recent releases, probably from right before DCD changed over to DCC. You get a big window box that shows off the statue quite well, mainly because there isn’t any plastic wrap to obscure it like you get with the Bishoujo pieces. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing, as that plastic is there to prevent paint rubbing, but in this case, its absense doesn’t seem to have hurt the statue. The box is collector friendly and the only thing holding the three pieces into the tray re some twisty-ties.
The back of the box extends to form a card with a J-cutout to hang this on a peg if need be, but it’s a pretty big and heavy box for that sort of thing. You get a mix of artwork and shots of the statue and a little blurb about Mera on the back. So why was it that Mera got me to break down and go to the Dark Side of Ame-Comi? Mainly because I saw this gal in the comic shop and she called out to me and because Koto hasn’t given Mera the Bishoujo treatment yet. Although with the way they’ve been cranking them out lady, I have to imagine she may not be far behind.
Straightaway, let me say that I adore this statue. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw her in the box on the comic shop counter, apparently waiting to be put away. I’m not sure whether it’s the composition or the coloring or just the style that I love the most, but maybe it’s just all three. The pose has her supported on a mermaid tail, or what actually looks like is the husk of a mermaid tail with her bare legs breaking out of it. Is it a real tail or just a wildly impractical costume? Who knows? I’m not trying to read too much into the logistics of what’s happening here, and that’s probably for the better. The tail on the base gives her a levitating effect with her legs off the ground and one kicking up more behind her, as if she’s bounding through water across the ocean floor. She’s got her trident in her right hand held down at her side and her left hand trailing behind her. It’s a superb pose, which straddles the line between action and just mugging for the camera, and it’s all the better because it works when displayed from multiple angles.
The outfit is really something special too, even taking into account for the possible body horror aspect that’s going on between her fish tail and real legs. The fish scales are intricately textured and the shimmery green paint is damn pleasing on the eyes. I really dig how elaborate her headdress is, along with the matching choker collar, and the way the transparent shell pieces rise up from her shoulders. The paint is overall excellent, particulalry on her eyes, lips, and even the green nail polish on her fingers and toes.
Mera shows a fair amount of skin, but I don’t get the same feeling of intentional and overt sexuality here as I do with the Bishoujo statues. Yeah, she’s got some killer legs and she’s showing off her midriff and a little cleavage, but what’s here feels slightly more innocent and natural. Maybe that’s just me. I think it may have a little something to do with the proportions, which strike me as more ‘toon than anime. I think a lot of that also comes off in the portrait. It’s more rounded and the eyes again, strike me as conveying more Disney Princess rather than anime tentacle bait.
In addition to the figure itself, you also get the trident and the base. The trident is a nicely sculpted piece that simply goes right into her hand. I was a little nervous getting it in there, since you have to pull the fingers apart a bit, but it went in with out any problems and she holds it quite well. You can even tweak it a little depending on where you want her to grasp it.
The stand is a simple black oval base with the tail portion pegging into it. It features a nicely engineered system of balance that makes it look like the statue shouldn’t be as stable as it is when standing on the shelf. The base is printed with “Ame-Comi Heroine Series” although the mermaid tail does obscure most of the lettering.
Based on a little research, the market on these Ame-Comis seem to be a lot more erratic than the Bishoujo pieces. A lot of Koto’s ladies shoot up in price, some hover around their original MSRP, but very few ever sink below that making them a fairly safe investment. While I’ve yet to see an Ame-Comi reach the heights of a Bishoujo Emma Frost or Rogue, some of these seem to have doubled in price, while a few others are available for deep discounts. This one was already sold at the comic shop I saw it at when I went back for her, but she later popped up on a clearance sale at on online retailer for $38, which is certainly not bad. She’s a fantastic piece and I do believe I’m smitten enough with her to pick up another statue and see if my new found admiration of this line can hold.