Street Fighter: Ibuki Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s been over a year since I last opened and reviewed one of Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo statues, and it’s been twice as long since my last Street Fighter Bishoujo. I haven’t given up on these wonderful works of art, but with the prices climbing higher and higher and my display space running out, I’ve had to be a little more picky about the ones I pick up. Nonetheless, Ibuki here has been on my want list ever since she was first revealed and I’m lucky that even after waiting all this time, I was still able to get her at a good price. The economy of Kotobukiya on the second-hand market isn’t always so kind.

Koto has been using black boxes for the Street Fighter releases, which really sets them apart from the white packaging of the DC and Marvel lines. There’s some wonderful artwork from Shunya Yamashita, on which the statue is based, and you get windows on the front, top, and side panels to let in the light and allow you a good look at the figure inside. Everything is collector friendly, and the only assembly required is plugging Ibuki’s pony-tail into the back of her head. Ibuki made her debut in Street Fighter III and I first encountered her in Street Fighter III: Double Impact on my beloved SEGA Dreamcast, where she became a favorite new fighter of mine.

And here’s Ibuki on the scene and looking mighty fine. She stands gracefully on the toes of her left foot with her right leg drawn up behind her. She counterbalances with her left arm oustretched and fingers held up, while her right hand is drawn to her neck, with a kunai, ready to strike. This line has offered some superb poses and Ibuki is yet another example of that. It’s a beautiful mix of elegance and kineticism and I think it captures the character perfectly, while also allowing for a few different “sweet spots” from which to admire her.

Koto’s Bishoujo statues often tend to feature colorful, glossy, and eye popping decos, and Ibuki here features none of that. Instead, you get various shades of brown, a little white, and a fair bit of skintone. It’s not a criticism, but just a fact of the character’s appearance, which is very faithful to her debut appearance. Ibuki is clad in a brown dogi, which consists of a sleeveless top and frayed shoulders, baggy pants with cut-outs at the hips, and which end just below her knees, all tied with a bow at the front of her waist. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of wrist bracers, a tight head scarf, and bandage-style wrappings on her arms and feet. It looks great, and I love the complexity in the outfit’s sculpt. From certain angles it almost looks like the dogi could have been sculpted over the figure itself, and that’s pretty cool.

The portrait is excellent. Ibuki offers a confident and playful smile with perfectly printed eyes and painted lips. The real showpiece of this portrait, however, is her distinctive hair. She has three long strands protruding from her window’s peak and hooking forward in front of her face, while two longer strands protrude from her knot-top and arch their way down and across her back. This is my first 3D representation of the character and I wasn’t sure how well this coif would translate, but the wizards at Koto did a fine job with it.

The base is a simple clear disc with a slope to support Ibuki’s foot. As usual, you get two different inserts to display on the base, one is a simple Street Fighter logo and the other features character art. These days I tend to display these statues with the character art, but I think either one looks great.

Ibuki here released at just under $60 and I was able to get her for a little bit less. I was often fond of saying that Koto’s Bishoujo line is one of the best values in collectible statues on the market. And that was back when you could get a figure like Ibuki for that price. Nowadays, they tend to release in the $70-90 price range, and while I still think they’re worth the price, the sense of good value is rapidly dissipating. I get it, prices go up, but that’s quite a jump, and with so many things competing for my collecting dollar these days, it means that I won’t be able to pick up as many as I used to. Recently I had to pass on the second versions of Chun-Li and Cammy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still be turning up here from time to time. Indeed, all Koto has to do is put Elena up on pre-order and I’ll throw down some cash for that release right away!

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DC Comics: Wonder Girl Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s DC Friday again, and also the start of a four day weekend for me. I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than by opening up a brand new Bishoujo statue from Kotobukiya. And oh, look! I happen to have Cassie Sandsmark, aka Wonder Girl, ready to join her fellow Teen Titans Bishoujos!

There isn’t much new for me to say about the presentation here. Wonder Girl comes in a mostly white window box with some of that lovely artwork by Shunya Yamashita. The statue itself comes encased between two clear plastic trays and the package is totally collector friendly. While Cassie comes attached to her base, there is a little bit of assembly required, as her golden lasso must be pegged into both sides of each of her fists. If you own the first Bishoujo Wonder Woman, you know how this works. Although, I’ll confess I had a little trouble getting mine to tab in and I eventually had to shave a little of the tabs to make them fit.

With that out of the way, here she is all set up and looking fantastic. Wonder Girl assumes a wide stance with her chest puffed out and her hands clutching the coils of her golden lasso, which snakes around behind her. All I can say is I really dig the composition here, she’s heroic and flirty, and just an all around perfect fusion of the character and the spirit of the Bishoujo line.

As mentioned, this is Cassandra Sandsmark as Wonder Girl, decked out in the modern costume and boy did Koto go all out on what could have been a fairly pedestrian outfit. The cut off t-shirt features a raised eagle emblem sculpted onto the front of it as well as sculpted borders around the neckline and sleeveless shoulders. The jeans feature a sculpted belt with a “WW” emblem belt buckle, sculpted star patches on the thighs, and flared cuffs mostly concealing her high-heeled boots. Details include little rumples in the shirt and jeans, stitch marks, belt loops, and studs on the pockets.

The coloring here also goes a long way to make this figure pop. The blue on the jeans features some gradations making them look faded in some area and contrasts beautifully with the bright red star patches and the silver luster of the belt buckle and studs. Likewise the sumptuous gold leaf paint compliments the bright red of her shirt perfectly. And as always the skin tone is warm and smooth.

The portrait is classic Bishoujo bliss. Cassie features a broad smirk as her sandy hair dances wildly around her, exposing some metallic red star earrings. Her eyes, eyebrows, and lips are all perfectly painted.

The base is worthy of a lot of praise, not only for its creativity of design, but also for its economy of shelf space. I’ve got over three dozen of these Bishoujos, and some of the larger disc bases can contribute to some pretty bad shelf congestion. Here, you just get three metallic red stars, which take up only as much room as they need to present the figure.

If you can’t tell, I’m totally in love with this statue! With Koto’s Bishoujo line beginning to double dip on some characters like Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn, it’s nice to see that they’re still willing to mine the roster for previously unreleased characters as well. Wonder Girl was a great choice for the line, and I’m actually more than a bit surprised they didn’t get around to her sooner. Indeed, I still wouldn’t mind seeing Donna Troy get the treatment. I picked up this lady for about $40 shipped, which in these days of Bishoujo prices creeping ever upward, is a damn good deal for such a high quality work of art.

DC Comics: Harley Quinn (New 52) Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

As promised, DC Friday is back after a couple weeks hiatus and today I’m digging in with a new(ish) Bishoujo statue from Kotobukiya. I actually passed on the last Harley Bishoujo and it’s bugged me for a while now that she isn’t represented on my ever expanding Bishoujo shelves, so I simply couldn’t let this one pass me by too.

If you’ve seen the packaging for any of the Marvel or DC Bishoujos then you should know what to expect. It’s a mostly white box with window panels on the top front and side. You also get some of the lovely art by Shunya Yamashita, which inspired the statue. The back of the box teases the Wonder Girl statue, which reminds me that I really need to pick her up, because she’s already out.

This statue is billed as the New 52 version, which really whored Harley up big time. It took her from mischievous looking jester to pole-dancer. It’s hard for me to tell if the shock value here has worn off for everybody else, but I’m so used to seeing her in this outfit now it hardly phases me. I’ve gone on record many times that I’m fine with this look, but I understand that it triggers a lot of fans who prefer her classic jester look. Anyway, the pose here features Harley with one hip thrust to the side, her hand resting on it, while the other cradles her trademark hammer, which in turn rests on her shoulder. It’s sassy, playful, mischievous and there’s a little bit of energy added with her pigtails and cape fluttering in the imaginary breeze.

The coloring on this piece consists of some beautiful red and blue, which looks all the more vibrant against the pale tone of Harley’s skin. There’s a lovely contrast between the matte finish on her stockings and cape with the glossy sheen on her corset and nearly non-existent shorts. This is a statue that really pops on the shelf, even when displayed among lots of other Bishoujos.

There is some excellent sculpted detail in the costume as well. Her knee socks have a knitted texture and the lacing on her corset is fully realized. I particularly love the detail in the belt. It features a squared silver buckle, cartridges stored in individual loops, and blue and red holsters for her twin sidearms.

And here’s a close up of what she’s packing. The guns are sculpted well enough that you’d swear they could be removed. Oh yeah… butt shot.

And that brings us to a great portrait, which includes sharply printed eyes and perfectly painted lips. She has a hint of a smirk. The ruffled collar fits her jester motif quite well, although I find the cape to be a bit of a strange inclusion.

The base is a disc with a checkered diamond pattern in red and blue to match her outfit. It’s simple, colorful, and suits the statue quite well.

One cool sidenote is that if you want an alternate display option, the hammer can also be positioned so that she appears to be leaning on it. Simply un-peg it from her arm and carefully place the end of the handle in her hand. I don’t think this was intentional, but I really do like the way it looks and it might be a welcome option for collectors with tight real estate on their shelves.

I’ve had this one on my want list for quite a while, but what finally got me to pull the trigger was when it went on sale for $35. There aren’t a lot of Bishoujo’s you can get at that price these days, so it was all the incentive I needed. I think the Bishoujo treatment works well for the character and everything from the pose to the sculpting and coloring hit all the right marks to make this one another excellent release.

Marvel Comics: Lady Deadpool Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

That’s right… Marvel Monday was yesterday, but I’ve got so much Marvel stuff to look at, I’m extending it out to today. That means you get an extra helping of Marvel Monday without the Monday! Besides, I’m also falling behind on my Bishoujos. Case in point, this one dates back to last Summer and it is indeed Lady Deadpool! I was originally going to take a pass on this release, but I was pretty disappointed by Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery Lady Deadpool and decided that I’d try my luck with the Bishoujo version. But I really didn’t need luck, because with Kotobukiya, it’s never a gamble.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… Take a pass? But it’s Bishoujo and it’s Deadpool and it’s Bishoujo Deadpool? It’s the self-proclaimed Chickee of Chimichangas appearing in your most favoritest statue line of them all! Are you feeling alright? Yes, but for some reason the whole Bishoujo Lady Deadpool thing didn’t click with me, and I’ll get into one of the reasons why in a bit. Anyway, Wanda Wilson comes in a typical Marvel Bishoujo box, white with windows on the front, top, and one side panel to let in plenty of light and see the goods inside. There’s also some wonderful character art by the great Shunya Yamashita, on which this statue is based. Everything is collector friendly, so let’s get Ms. ‘Pool out of the package and check her out!

So, now things are clicking, and it’s hard to deny that this is a very attractive statue. Leave it to Koto to take an idea that I’m lukewarm on and still win me over at first sight. Wanda stands with her left knee bent and her heel off the ground, striking her sexiest of poses. She gestures to herself with her left thumb and proffers a trademarked grenade in her other. Because even if she does hail from Earth-3010 and is packing lady parts, she’s still a Deadpool and she’s still gonna blow some shit up. There is absolutely nothing groundbreaking about this pose. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say it feels like they played it safe, but it’s executed quite beautifully and it just works for me. I think a lot of it has to do with the sheer kineticism of her snaking pony tail. Even if most of the composition here is pedestrian, that hair is pure poetry. I’ll also concede that this statue has several sweet spots to view her from.

I suppose a lot of the appeal here also has to do with Koto’s unswerving dedication to craftsmanship. The coloring on this piece is gorgeous. It eschews this line’s frequent love affair with high gloss finishes and serves up a combination of sassy matte reds and blues for Ms ‘Pool’s costume. It may not pop quite like a lot of the other Bishoujos on my shelf, but the red is deep and rich and I love it. And if you’re looking for something shiny, you get it in her wrist and ankle cuffs, as well as her bicep bands and collar. The quality of the paint application is quite nearly flawless too. I also appreciate that all the details on this costume are part of the sculpt, so you get raised piping on the borders between black and red. You also get some tantalizing rumples in between both bosoms and buttocks!

This Deadpool may not be packing a bulge in the nether regions, but you do get a belt with plenty of pouches and a kick ass belt buckle with a brushed silver finish. I find it a little odd that the buttons on the pouches aren’t painted, because Koto is not one to ever skimp on the paint. That leads me to believe it was a deliberate decision, they did after all paint the fixtures on the shoulder rig, so I guess I’m OK with that.

Her back is decked out with her sword rig and twin katanas, again all cast in brown. The grips feature sculpted brown wraps with some gold paint showing through. Again, it’s kind of a dull coloring for her swords, but here it’s clearly intentional because the paint hits are there and the effort was made.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is replete with Deadpooliness and certainly befitting of Lady Sassy Pants of the House of ‘Pool. Wanda has one eye popped and one eye squinting and you can clearly make out her dainty little nose jutting out from the middle of the mask. It looks fantastic. But, is it really a Bishoujo statue if the figure is masked? Of course not, and that’s why Koto always gives us a second, unmasked portrait. In this case, the alternate look not only involves a pop-and-swap for the head, but also the left arm, which includes the mask.

So, depending on what you’re reading, Wanda either is or isn’t as scarred up as her Earth-616 Dudeoppleganger, but either way, this feels more like a chick in Deadpoolette cosplay than the real McDeal. Maybe it’s because she’s too cute, maybe it’s because the unmasked hair doesn’t match, or maybe it’s because the first time I actually saw this statue it was the SDCC 2016 Exclusive that had her holding a bunch of Comic Con swag. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic portrait. She’s adorable and the coloring is beautifully done. I don’t want to take anything away from the workmanship here. It’s just that this one reminds me of those Freddy, Jason, and Chucky Bishoujos, which are also akin to chicks in cosplay. You may have noticed that I passed on each of those.

Our last stop is the base, which is a simple disc with the Deadpool logo on it. Could it ever have been anything else? Nope. It’s perfect!

I absolutely do not want to sound overly critical of this statue, because it really is an exceptionally nice piece. I’ve never experienced anything even remotely akin to Buyer’s Remorse with any of Koto’s figures and this one is certainly no different. She’s beautiful and she’s going to look great on my Bishoujo shelves. I just feel that this particular character was a bit of a reach for the line. But then maybe I’m overthinking this piece way too much and maybe I should just try to enjoy it for what it is. Wanda slipped in just under the recent Bishoujo price hikes, which means she hit most retailers at around $60, but I don’t think she’s been selling as well as others, because here we are a year later and she’s readily available from a number of sellers for considerably less.

Marvel Comics: Spider-Gwen Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

I know, riiiiight? It’s been forever and a day since I last looked at one of Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo statues and I have no excuses other than I’ve been prioritizing Marvel Legends so as not to fall too far behind. But it’s crazy to think that I haven’t visited with this line since the Summer of last year, and the last Marvel Bishoujo I showcased here was Ms. Van Dyne all the way back in October of 2015. Holy hell, that’s way too long. So today I’m opening up a brand new Marvel gal for this collection and it is indeed, Gwen Stacey, aka Spider-Gwen!

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The box is pretty typical for the comic book based Bishoujos. It’s mostly white with some great artwork from Shunya Yamashita. You get plenty of windows to let the light in and the statue comes between two clear plastic trays. Spider-Gwen is one of the very few Marvel books that I’m current with (at least in collected trade format), and I enjoy it a fair bit. But if I’m honest, Marvel’s comics have been going through some really weird phases these days and I find it pushing me to spend more time reading DC’s ReBirth. But that’s an entirely different discussion for a different time and place. Gwen’s set up only requires you to peg her left foot into the base. She comes with her unmasked portrait, but I’m actually going to start with her masked.

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And here she is, and she is fantastic! There’s a lot to love here, but straightaway, it’s the balance of this statue that really impresses me. With just her left heel touching the base, Gwen pulls off a fantastic gravity-defying pose, as she pulls back her right hand to throw a punch and her left hand reaches out to thwip out another web. Not only does the composition of this piece just exude energy, but it also allows you to get a great look at the figure from every angle. Koto has done some amazing poses for their Marvel and DC ladies over the years, but this is without a doubt one of my favorites and it suits the character perfectly.

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Gwen is somewhat unique among the Bishoujos in that she requires very little detailed sculpting and features a nearly entirely matte painted finish. Now, I don’t want to undercut the fantastic job they did with all her curves and contours, but apart from her lovely shape, the only real detail here from the neck down can be found on the cut web patterns on her arms and underarms, cut lines just below her knees, and on her shoes. You also get cut lines to reinforce the paint lines. Keep in mind, none of this is a criticism at all, quite the contrary, it’s totally appropriate for the character design and also serves to make Spider-Gwen a refreshingly simple figure.

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The other distinctive thing here that I mentioned was the completely matte finish, except for her shoes. Koto does indeed love their high gloss paints and in truth it does seem to go so well with so many of the super hero costumes. In this case, they were right to avoid it. The white here looks so bright and clean and the black is smooth and consistent. The plastic Koto uses for these takes white and black so well, which has sometimes been a problem with lines like Diamond’s Marvel and DC Galleries, which often show rubbing. The red webbing and blue shoes serve to break up the black and white costume beautifully. If I were to nitpick just a bit, the red in the webbing inserts doesn’t quite line up with the cut lines, but it’s not something that bothers me.

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One thing that does, however, bother me is how I’m going to choose which head to display her with. The hooded and masked head is superb. It goes on all as one piece and there are tabs on the hood to make it connect with the body. The sculpted and painted web patterns inside the hood look great and the mauve spray that defines her eyes is spot on. It’s amazing how quickly this costume has become iconic for me and that’s a strong argument to go with this this option. On the other hand…

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The unmasked portrait really conveys what the Bishoujo line is all about. This option is achieved with two pieces. The lowered hood tabs in first and then the head after that, and the combo is splendid. Gwen is one of those characters that fits right in with the Bishoujo style without a lot of tweaking at all. Her eyes and hair are perfect and that sly little smile is one of the best expressions Koto has done for this line. In the end, I’m probably going to go unmasked. The last time this decision was such a dilemma was with Koto’s Batwoman.

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The base is a raised disc with an incline, very similar to the kind used for Wonder Woman v2. This one is painted with a black and white city skyline and a mauve sky to match her costume deco. It really matches the art styling of the comic very well.

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Spider-Gwen is quite simply Bishoujo perfection. What’s more, even if you aren’t a fan of Koto’s Bishoujo line (WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU??), and you’re just looking for a really nice Spider-Gwen statue, you could display this statue with the masked portrait and no one would be any the wiser. And I should toss in here how great it is, after such a long absence, to be opening one of Koto’s lovely Bishoujo statues again. It goes without saying that it’s particularly nice to come back to such a very strong entry in the series. It’s true there have been a couple of Marvel gals that I skipped. I wasn’t really keen on their She-Hulk and I haven’t gotten around to picking up Lady Deadpool yet. Fortunately, there are a lot of Bishoujo ladies hitting the shelves either right now or very soon, so it’s safe to say I’ll have some more Bishoujos featured here again in the coming months, particularly Squirrel Girl, Harley Quinn v2, Wonder Girl, Lady Thor, Lady Loki, and Street Fighter’s Ibuki. So sit tight, Bishoujo fans. Things are going to start heating up again real soon.

Street Fighter: Poison Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s Bishoujo time again and today I’m revisiting the Street Fighter line with a look at Poison. Poison is a character that I associate more with the Final Fight games than I do, Street Fighter, and that’s probably because of two reasons. First, all the controversy around her gender identity seemed to start with Final Fight, and two the fact that she wasn’t a playable fighter in Street Fighter until either Street Fighter X Tekken or Ultra Street Fighter IV. I honestly can’t remember, which came out first, but I think it was the former. As for the first point, it’s not really an issue here, as the Bishoujo line only includes chicks, even when the original subject matter is male (i.e. Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and the upcoming Edward Scissorhands). The second point isn’t an issue either, as I’m just happy to be getting this gorgeous statue of her.

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Poison comes in the typical Bishoujo Statue box with windows all around to let you see the statue inside, plenty of sultry art by Shunya Yamashita, and the black deco that Koto uses for the Street Fighter and Tekken themed statues. This one is particularly tall and thin, just like Poison! Everything is collector friendly. Alas, ever since I filled up an entire closet with empty statue boxes, I’m at the point where I have to pitch the plastic trays and flatten out the box for storage. Poison comes attached to her base and all ready for display, although there are a few options, which I’ll get to in a bit.

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Um, wow! Yeah, I’m tempted to end it there, because I’m struggling to find other words. Poison is posed with her left leg kicking out a bit behind her, her left hand pulled up near her face, and her right arm extending outward and holding one of her accessories. In the case of most of these pictures I went with the handcuffs because it’s easier to get close with the camera and still get in the entire statue. The skimpy outfit consists of a very abbreviated tank top, a pair of cut-off jeans, red high heels, a leather collar, and a biker hat. There isn’t a lot to say about the costume, because there isn’t a lot of it. I dig the way they sculpted one of her tank top straps off her shoulder and over her arm. You also get some real chain used on her shorts and on her hat. Since Poison is wearing very little in the way of clothes, the quality of the skin tone is crucial here, but that’s never been an issue with Koto’s Bishoujo line and it certainly isn’t here. You even get some nice shading to pick out the detail in the muscle definition in her mid riff. Damn, this is one sexy figure!

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Poison’s purple hair cascades down her back all the way down to her butt, effectively covering a lot more of her than her actual clothes do. Some other nice touches on her outfit include the gorgeous red paint on her shoes, the wrist bracer on her right arm, which serves the double purpose of concealing the swappable hand, and the bangle on her left wrist. The paint apps on the buckle and rivets in her collar are particularly well done.

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And that brings us to the portrait, which is simply amazing. No, I said the portrait… it’s the thing right above what you’re looking at now. This may be one of my favorite head sculpts of all my Bishoujos and that’s saying quite a lot. You do have to get down a little low to take it all in, because it’s partially covered by the visor on the cap and you also have some strands of hair blowing in front of it. The paintwork on the deep blue eyes and pink lips is as sharp and clean as ever.

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As mentioned earlier, you get a couple display choices for her right arm. You can go with the handcuffs or the riding crop. Either of which carry on the overt bondage theme here. The riding crop is permanently attached to an extra hand, so it’s just a matter of popping out one and pegging int he other. The handcuffs, are not attached to the other hand, so you can tuck those into the chain on her shorts, which is where she often wears them in character art. I like the idea of being able to display both accessories on the figure at once, although the riding crop takes up a lot more display space.

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The Street Fighter line continues to use these clear plastic disks as stands. Like the Tekken statues, you can pop off the bottoms and put in either of two included inserts. One has the Street Fighter logo and the other some character art. I tend to go with the logo on these and the character art on my Tekken pieces. My only gripe about the stand is that the wedges that support her feet are white plastic instead of clear. Not a big deal, but hey, I figured I had to nitpick something because otherwise this statue would be perfect.

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Another Bishoujo and another win for both Kotobukiya and my display shelves. I actually had Poison pre-ordered, so I spent the full retail of around $60 on her and I’m perfectly fine with that. But, Bishoujos haven’t been selling out like they used to, so chances are she’s available for a good $5 to $10 less if you hunt around for her. She’s only the fifth release in the Street Fighter line, but I’ve been all-in for this line so far and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

DC Comics: Black Canary Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

I think this is the fifth straight week of DC Fridays focusing on statues. I’ve looked at a Bishoujo, a couple of Femme Fatales, a couple of DC Cover Girls, and now I’m circling back around to Koto’s Bishoujo line for one last DC statue before moving back to some DC action figures next Friday. Black Canary is one of the newer releases in Koto’s DC Bishoujos and one I’ve been anxiously awaiting…

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Canary comes in a standard window box, mostly white with some lovely artwork from Shunya Yamashita. As always the packaging is collector friendly and you can get a good peek at the statue inside to see what you’re getting. The back panel has a little blurb about Dinah and teases the Raven Bishoujo, which I already looked at quite a few weeks back. I keep all of these boxes, but thirty-some statues in, that’s getting to be difficult with space being what it is. I fear the day may be coming where I have to toss the inserts and flatten out the boxes for storage. Anyway, Black Canary comes out of the box fully assembled and ready for display…

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…and looking mighty fine, I might say. I’ll concede that the composition here is a strange choice. Canary stands with legs apart, her left hip tossed to the left and she appears to be stretching while she glances off to the side. Maybe she’s limbering up for a particularly potent Canary Cry? This line has never been about action poses, so actually having her shouting might have been too off point, but at the same time, I don’t think this pose says anything relative about the character. It’s not a bad pose at all, but it kind of strikes me as the art director not quite knowing what to do with her.

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Of course the figure itself is beautifully executed. Canary dons a black one piece with black leather half-jacket, black choker, a pair of high heeled buccaneer boots and short black gloves. And yes… fishnets! Koto has been on a real fishnet kick in this line lately with other recent releases like Zatanna and Anna Williams from the Tekken line donning these types of stockings. They look magnificent from the front or sides, and while they do have the usual seam running up the backs, but they are still relatively tidy. It’s pretty cool the way they seem to disappear into her boots. In terms of sculpting on the costume, you get your usual assortment of rumples and wrinkles and some nice stitching lines.

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The portrait is standard Bishoujo fare, in other words great stuff. Canary has her head cocked downward and she’s gazing off to the side with one eye winking. She’s got a rather distinctive, wide closed-lip smile. Her long blonde hair flows off wildly to the left. I don’t think I’ve noted this for a while, but it seems like Koto is done with the transparency effect they used to use at the edges of the hair. Canary doesn’t have it and I don’t recall seeing it done in a while.

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The coloring on this piece is as simple as it gets. Her entire outfit is black, save for the silver painted zipper on the jacket and the circular medal on her choker. There’s also no use of high gloss here, so you don’t get the usual impact of the soft skin tones contrasting with the pop of the outfit. That having been said, the paint is all spot on, particularly on the face, which is razor sharp. The hair is bright, but appropriately soft.

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The base is a mystery to me. It looks like it’s supposed to be rippling water, blue in the center and gradually radiating out to clear at the edges. I’d argue that it might supposed to show the soundwaves radiating through water from her Canary Cry, but she isn’t doing it. It’s not an unattractive base, but it makes little sense in this context. I think I would have preferred a simple disk.

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If it sounds like I’ve been pretty critical of this statue, that shouldn’t be taken as a sign that I don’t like it. Quite the contrary. I’ve yet to be disappointed by this series and that record still stands. Black Canary is a great piece, but she lacks that certain something that makes each and every release in this line so amazing. From a technical standpoint, the paint, the sculpt… everything is spot on perfect and the costume is wonderfully designed. I think the pose and the base are the only stutter steps here, and even those are perfectly serviceable. Ah, but the great thing about this line is when you aim so high, if you miss your mark, you’re still doing pretty great. It’ll be interesting to see which DC lady Koto goes to next. Personally, I’m hoping they decide to revisit Supergirl soon.

Street Fighter: Sakura Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

Koto continues to be the pretty girl monkey on my back, making me shell out untold monies for their never ending flood of Bishoujo releases. Does that sound like I’m complaining? Because I’m not. As long as they keep going, I’ll keep buying. Today I’m finally getting all caught up on the Street Fighter line with my fourth statue in that series, Sakura Kasugano!

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The package is certainly familiar. It’s a black window box with extra windows on the top and side panel to let more light in. You get the Street Fighter logo and plenty of that great art by Shunya Yamashita. The back of the box features a teaser for the next statue, Poison. She just started shipping and I’m pretty excited to get her.

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Sakura comes attached to her base and all ready for display. Koto went with a great pose here, with Sakura in the final phase of her Shoryuken attack. It’s definitely a high energy piece of composition and it tests the balance of the statue to its limits with Sakura lunging forward and up on her right leg and her left leg drawn up and over the edge of the base. Outstanding!

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Sakura is clad in her iconic school uniform, which consists of a white and blue abbreviated top that exposes her midriff and a blue pleated skirt. Both garments swirl up from the motion of her attack, and yes that means you can catch a glimpse of her red undergarments. I particularly like the way the free ends of her headband and her yellow kerchief are whipping around from her momentum. This is a high energy piece that is certainly befitting of the source material. The ensemble is rounded out with a pair of red finger less gloves, red and white sneakers, and the edges of her blue socks.

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The coloring on this is flatter when compared to most of Koto’s Bishoujos. That’s not really a criticism, but just an observation. We usually get some high gloss somewhere to contrast with the soft skin tones, but here there’s really none of that. There’s a dull sheen on her gloves, but that’s about it. That having been said, the paintwork on her sneakers is particularly crisp and bright and the coloring is vibrant and beautiful all across the board.

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The portrait here is superb. The mouth is open and I can practically hear Sakura shouting out her attack. The paint for the eyes is crisp, as always, and while there isn’t a lot of hair here for them to work with, it looks great.

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The base is the usual clear disk that we’ve been seeing all along with the Street Fighter and Tekken lines. You get a choice of two inserts to decorate it with. One is the Street Fighter logo and the other is a piece of colorful character art. I’ll confess, I find these inserts to be a pain in the ass. The inserts show fingerprints rather easily and getting them in and closing up the base without having a stray cat hair trapped in there is nearly impossible for me. But in the interest of continuity, I wouldn’t want to see Koto change it up in the middle of the line.

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I picked up Sakura for around $55, which is a damn good price in a market where these things are releasing in the $65 range. I’ll confess, I was a little iffy on seeing Sakura appear in the Bishoujo line. These statues are most often about sexualizing its subjects and while that may fly over in Japan, in my book, Sakura is too young for that. Thankfully, that wasn’t what they were going for in this piece and, apart from a little flash of fan service, the result is just an excellent treatment of the character. Every release in this line just leaves me wanting more, and hopefully I’ll be back with a look at Poison before the end of the month!

DC Comics: Raven Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s another DC Friday and as anxious as I am to dig into Wave 2 of DC Icons, I’m not yet ready to get back just yet. Instead, let’s check out the latest successful attempt by Kotobukiya at hoovering more money right out of my wallet. It’s Raven’s turn to get the Bishoujo treatment!

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Not much new to say about the packaging. It’s stylish, shows off the statue inside quite well, and it’s decked out with some beautiful artwork by Shunya Yamashita. The box is collector friendly and the statue comes out all ready to go, you just have to unwrap it. This is the most recent release in the DC Comics Bishoujo line, but I still need to go back and pick up Black Canary. Also, the back of the box teases the next DC release and it’s Harley Quinn v.2 in her New 52 outfit. I’m gonna be down with that.

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Raven is absolutely gorgeous! She’s levitating above the display surface with her voluminous cape serving as the base. The last time I remember Koto doing this was way back with Scarlet Witch. I loved the effect then and I still really dig it now. Raven’s left leg is straight with her toe not quite touching the ground and her right leg is cocked up at the knee. Her hands are up with her fingers at the ready to start with the spell-slinging. This is an inspired piece of composition that perfectly captures the spirit of the character.

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Raven’s outfit is comprised almost of the same glossy blue plastic, from her cloak to her dress to her gloves, and straight down to her thigh-high boots. The cape itself almost has a life of its own, as it cascades off her shoulders in a serpentine fashion and collects on the ground. It doesn’t offer a hell of a lot of variety in terms of colors, but it still looks lovely and the metallic gold belt and cloak clasps help to break things up a bit and add a bit of pop. The cloak itself is fairly chunky, it has to be to hold her up, but her torso is sculpted so that you can readily see the contours of her body under her costume, right down to her belly button, suggesting that the dress is pretty thin. Raven shows a little bit of skin, mostly in the thighs and under the arms, and I like that the thigh cuts in the boots are part of the sculpt. And, of course, the cloak shifts conveniently to one side to offer a decent glimpse of tushie fan service. Just don’t let Trigon catch you looking! As always the skin tones are soft and lifelike.

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This piece also features one of the more concealed portraits of the Bishoujo line. In the past, even with masked characters like Spider-Woman or Batwoman, we were given alternate unmasked portraits. Granted, here, you can see the entire face, but it’s guarded by the overhanging hood and the front of the cloak between the golden clasps with a little bit of visible hair framing her cheeks. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a splendid portrait. Raven sports a particularly mischievous smirk on her perfectly painted lips and the green paint used for her eyes is positively haunting. I would have loved to see an alternate portrait with the hood pulled back and the hair flowing free, but what’s here is still plenty good. Seriously, Koto usually loves to go crazy on the hair sculpts. This one must have frustrated the hell out of them.

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While using the cape as a base is an inspired idea and works beautifully, it does in this case limit the range of the “sweet spots” for display. Some of my favorite statues have diverse charms depending on what angle they’re viewed from and the Bishoujo line has been really good about composing pieces that excel in that area. Here, they went with a very specific idea and the result is that Raven is best viewed offset to the left a bit and with her eyes staring straight out at the beholder. Still, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a weakness of the piece, because honestly, a statue that looks this good has very little to apologize about.

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Raven is yet another beautiful addition to my Bishoshelves and she looks especially striking displayed beside fellow Teen Titan, Starfire. I’ll note here that I haven’t been pre-ordering my Bishoujos as often these days, because they haven’t been selling out that quickly and every now and again I can find them a little cheaper through Amazon or other sources. Raven, on the other hand, well I had a feeling about her, and so I did reserve one through my usual plastic crack dealer. That means she set me back the full $65, which is a price I’m still perfectly comfortable paying for Koto’s beautiful craftsmanship. What isn’t so comfortable is the growing congestion of my Bishoujo shelves. At the rate things are going, this collection is going to have to start spilling over into the neighboring display case, which will start putting the squeeze on my ArtFX+ and DC Cover Girls Statues.

Tekken: Anna Williams Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

Koto continues to challenge my finances and shelf space with their never ending flood of Bishoujo Statues. I’m now pursuing these on four fronts: Marvel, DC, Street Fighter, and Tekken, and I’m falling a few statues behind. There are actually a couple Tekken statues I’m missing, but given the high prices on the secondary market, may end up writing those off. Anyway, Today I’m pressing on with my fifth statue in the Tekken series: The younger of the two Williams sisters, Anna.

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The packaging is right in line with what we’ve been seeing. Koto uses a black box to distinguish the Street Fighter and Tekken lines from the Marvel and DC ones. While Anna has appeared in just about every Tekken release to date (excluding Tekken 4), the package is branded, as usual, with the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 logo. You get windows on the front, top and right side panels allowing a pretty good look at the statue. Instead of a future release, the back of the box simply offers a look at Nina Williams, no doubt trying to capitalize on the odd rivalry between the two sisters. A rivalry that usually ends up with Nina taking a surprise polaroid of Anna coming out of the shower, Nina pulling off Anna’s bikini top in front of a bunch of dudes, or Nina stealing Anna’s shoes and then pretending she doesn’t know anything about it. What’s that? Oh yeah, we’re talking about a fighting game franchise.

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Anna dons a stunning red dress with a gold liner and a rather large bow on the small of her back. She’s either caught in mid twirl or standing in a wind tunnel because there’s a convenient breeze blowing her dress up to the side and accentuating the high slit and showing off a generous amount of thigh. If that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, there’s also an ample amount of cleavage on display through a boob window that would make Power Girl jealous. The dress features a nice glossy sheen both to the red outside and the gold liner and is contrasted by the matte red of her detached sleeves. Damn, Anna, your caboose is PUNISHING that dress!

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I really dig the pose here. With her right hand behind her head, she’s beckoning with the left, possibly inviting her next sparring partner to come at her. The placement of the legs, one straight out and one bent back is perfect to accenutate her long legs, heels, and stockings.

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Speaking of stockings, Koto really seems to be all about the fishnet stockings lately. They first employed it with their Zatanna statue and again with the new Black Canary. Anna’s stockings are quite spectacular, fashioned from super thin stread in a honeycomb pattern and running from her thighs all the way down into her shoes. It’s actually pretty neat the way they run under the plastic ankle straps. The seams on the backs of her legs are a little thicker than one might expect, but they’re still rather tidy and don’t get in my way of enjoying the statue. The whole ensemble is “held up” by sculpted garter straps.

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The portrait here is just lovely. Anna sports a perfect little smile and the wind blows her short hair up to the side. The paint on the eyes and lips is immaculate, but then again it always is on these pieces.

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The base is the typical circular clear disk that we’ve been seeing all along on the Tekken statues. You get three different inserts to decorate it with. The options are colorful character art, a signature insert, or a 20th Anniversary logo, which is a new option. Lately, I’ve been going with the character art.

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I picked up Anna for around fifty bucks, which is a great deal for a Bishoujo these days. Even with about 30 of these statues in my collection, Koto never fails to impress and every time I open one of these is a treat. And yes, she looks fantastic on display next to her sister. Thankfully, I’m going to get a little breathing room now (at least as far as Tekken goes), as the next statue isn’t due to ship until the later half of the year. I should also note that it’s Lucky Chloe from the upcoming Tekken 7 release, and I haven’t decided yet whether she’s a pass for me. I may just take that money and invest it toward tracking down Emily de Rochefort. In the meantime, I have a couple of new DC Bishoujo’s on their way to me now and Street Fighter’s Sakura just landed on my doorstep a couple of days ago… then Poison is shipping soon… Lady Deadpool is almost out… They’re doing Tali from Mass Effect… Oh yeah, Sniper Wolf from Metal Gear Solid… Jeepers!