It’s been more than a few Anime Saturdays since I last tortured you all with my Kantai Collection obsession, so let’s visit with another one of Taito’s Fleet Girls. This time, it’s the adorable Shimakaze! Yes, for a change I’m actually looking at a character from the anime series and not just the video game!
We’ve seen Taito’s packaging many times here, and there isn’t much different here. You get a fully enclosed box with some striping on the bottom half and lots of pictures of the figure inside. Despite Shimakaze kicking back in a life preserver, this release is not classified as one of Taito’s “Day Off” figures. I’m guessing that’s because Shimakaze is dressed in her uniform and not a swimsuit. Then again, some of the other “Day Offs” were in uniform. I’m so confused!!! Also, I know what you’re thinking. Hey, that looks an awful lot like the Submarine Ro-500 figure that you featured a few weeks back. Yes, there are certainly some similarities here, but it’s still an entirely new figure, preserver, and base.
So, as already mentioned, Shimakaze reclines on a red and white life preserver and decked out in her uniform, but minus her armaments. Her outfit features her cut-off top, long gloves, blue skirt, exposed g-string, candy-striped stockings, and rudder boots. It’s all beautifully sculpted here and the skirt and top are layered onto the figure, which is always a bonus. Even the collar and neckerchief pops up off of the top to give it some added dimension and credibility. The figure itself simply rests in the tube, just like we saw with Ro-500, so you can pick her up and check her out from all angles.
The life preserver sports a little less detail than R0’s, as it’s missing the rope running around the edges. And while I’m overall very happy with the sculpt here, I think the way the hair parts looks a little unnatural from the back. That having been said, it looks fine from the front and that’s the way I’ll be viewing the statue most of the time, so it isn’t a big deal.
The portrait is fantastic and depicts Shimakaze with her traditional rabbit ear headband and perturbed expression. I’m interpreting the expression as her being annoyed at being knocked out of commission, hence the life preserver and lack of armaments, although it doesn’t explain why her uniform isn’t shredded, so I might be reading too much into that. On the downside, the above closeup shot shows that the quality of paintwork on this piece is really disappointing. The white ares show a lot of dirt and smudging and even her face and hair is rather dirty. The lines on her stockings are rough in some areas and there’s scratching on the preserver too. To be fair, if I’m viewing this piece from a display shelf, it’s not that bad, but the closer I get, the more noticeable it is. This is easily the worst paint on any of my Taito prize figures, and considering who the character is, that’s doubly disappointing.
The base is very similar in design to Ro-500’s base. It’s a simple clear disc that uses three support poles to hold up the life preserver, which pegs in securely.
Of course, you can’t have a Shimakaze figure without her Rensouhous and in this case you get the largest of the gang. Rensouhou-chan comes in his own little life preserver with a propeller sculpted on the back. He seems happy enough, which further suggests that I’m off base on my theory that this is Shimakaze after she’s taken a crippling hit. Rensouhou-Chan didn’t escape the shoddy paint problem either. There’s quite a bit of dirt on the white parts of his preserver.
Shimakaze looks great displayed next to Ro. Now, I’m guessing she looks upset because she doesn’t have an ice pop, or maybe because her paint job isn’t as good. I’ve had my eye on this figure for quite a few months, waiting to finally find one shipping from inside the US. I also had to pay a little more for her, but she was still under $25 shipped, and I still consider that a great deal. It’s just too bad that the one I got has a sub-par paint job. If I had to choose, I would much rather have had rough paint on one of the Fleet Girls from the game, rather than one of my beloved characters from the anime series. Given the relatively low price of the figure and how much I love the character, I’d be tempted to roll the dice and try again for a figure with better paint at some point down the line. If I get around to doing that, I’ll likely post an Addendum here to report on how I make out.