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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DarkStalkers: Morrigan Aensland Statue by Capcom

[My apologies about last week’s kerfuffle, but with all I had going on at work and at home, I was not in a good place to be creating content and in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t try. Things should be back to normal now… Enjoy! -FF] 

One of my big pet peeves is that there isn’t enough DarkStalkers merch out there. Seriously, this is the kind of thing that sometimes keeps me up at night. It may not be one of Capcom’s hottest properties these days, but I love the character designs and some of their wacky and creative attacks. And let’s face it Morrigan and Lilith should be ripe pickings for any one of a dozen manufacturers of big-busted, anime-themed hawt chick statues. I’m still hoping that Kotobuikya’s relationship with Capcom might net us some proper Darkstalkers Bishoujo pieces one of these days. Nonetheless, I stumbled across today’s statue on the InterWebs without even knowing it existed and the price was certainly right so I gave it a chance.

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The box is quite large as this is a rather large statue, landing somewhere between 1:7 and 1:6 scale. It’s just a bit too big to really fit in with Koto’s Bishoujo’s and definitely projects its own presence on the shelf. The box art features some great illustrations and pictures of the statue itself. There’s a window on the front, but the statue is wrapped in so much plastic that you really can’t get a great look at the goods inside. Below the window is the priceless tagline that identifies Morrigan as “The Labido Roming The Shadows!” Gotta love it! I’m going to assume that this piece is actually produced by Capcom, although I find that rather surprising, especially since the bulk of the Figure Builder Creators pieces seem to focus on Monster Hunter rather then anime girls. Anyway, I’m pretty curious to see what’s inside the box, so it’s time to free this Succubus!

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Before I get into how great this piece looks, let’s talk about the perfect storm of frustration that was the assembly process. The statue comes in four pieces: The figure itself, two wings, and the base. The wings are tabbed with individual shapes so the right will only go into the right slot and vice versa, which is all well and good, but the tabs are such a tight fit, I couldn’t get either wing in more than a tiny bit before running up against resitance. Add to that two more factors: One, the wings are super thin and feel super fragile. Two, both tab slots are just below Morrigan’s windblown hair. It’s difficult to get a hold of either of the wings’ base to safely apply pressure and even when I had a good entry point all the force I could muster was not getting those wings all the way in. I eventually resorted to boiling the tabs and that got them most of the way in. Now normally a little gap from the pieces not seating right wouldn’t bother me, especially in this case since those parts are only visible from the back and mostly obscured by her hair, but the stand is designed to cradle Morrigan’s butt (giggity!) along with two slots for the wings at a very specific angle. If the wings aren’t seated perfectly, it’s tricky to get her cheeks to stay in that cradle. The result is that the figure will tilt backwards at an angle, and since this statue already has Morrigan arching backwards and looking upward, it’s really noticeable. With a lot of work, I was able to strike a happy medium and get her cradled OK, but I really wish this whole process went easier. If you thought reading about all that was a lot of bother, just be thankful you didn’t have to endure it.

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With all that worry out of the way we can finally step back an admire what a beautiful statue this is. The sculpt manages to capture all the ridiculous curves of Morrigan’s sumptuous succubus body from her rounded hips to her dramatically over-sized breasts. Such things are certainly not unusual in the world of anime-inspired statues, but this one makes any one of my Bishoujos look tame by comparison. The pose also goes a long way to accentuate what is already a pretty obviously killer body. Morrigan is in mid flight, arching her back, and pushing her chest up with her head raised upward and tilted to the side. While the pose works really well to compliment the sculpt, I’m not sure exactly what they were going for. I suppose it’s supposed to be seductive, but it almost looks like she’s swooning or even going for a little damsel in distress expression. It also kind of looks like she’s stretching, so maybe she just woke up from a long day’s nap and is ready for a night on the town. Nonetheless, as confusing as the pose may be, I still dig it a lot.

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Morrigan’s outfit is achieved through both sculpting and paintwork. Starting at the bottom, she has a pair of high heeled boots, which are painted in high-gloss black. Her trademark stockings are painted on with the purple bat emblems scattered about her legs. The base color of the stockings can look more orange under some lights, but in person it’s more of a pinkish-purple. I think it would have looked better with a more definitive shade of purple, but as it is it certainly makes things more colorful. Her one piece is sculpted with a heart shaped cut out in the middle to show her mid-riff and the top is sculpted so that it can barely contain her boobs, and it’s all painted with the same high-gloss black as her boots. The outfit is rounded out with some feathered fringe around her shoulders and sleeves painted to match her stockings. The glossy black does a nice job of contrasting with the soft skin tones of her body and all in all I’m satisfied with the paintwork here.

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Of course, you also have her two sets of wings, two large coming out of her back and two smaller ones protruding from her head. As troublesome as it was to get the wings in, they look absolutely fantastic, even with the notable gap between wings and body. The purplish-pink paint used for the membrane carries a pleasing animated effect and the black paint used for the rest is neatly applied. Still, the wings are pretty thin in some areas and thus probably quite fragile.

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Last up, we have the portrait, which is certainly attractive, but also has a somewhat unsettling otherworldly vibe going on. I’m not sure if it was intentional or just the way the statue came out, but it certainly is interesting. I attribute a lot of it to the paintwork in the eyes, which are somewhat haunting. Her mouth is especially nicely done with her lips slightly parted and showing just a glimmer of teeth. The hair sculpt is a tad chunky in the bangs, but I think they did an overall good job of creating a crazy windblown look to it and the way it tapers from powder blue to purple at the ends looks good.

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And then there’s the base, which remains my big bone of contention with this statue. Beside the fact that it isn’t engineered all that well (as outlined in my assembly rant) the somewhat primitive style is a bit at odds with the beauty of the figure. The bats are clearly just intended to be thick 2D representations and the moon is heavily textured with a less than stellar looking paint spray. The idea of the imagery is OK, but I just don’t care for how its executed all that much because the decor on iit looks almost intentionally fake like cut-outs.. Is it a dealbreaker? Nope, not at all, but in this case I think something simpler might have worked better. I will concede, however, that while the way the statue balances on the stand isn’t all that well executed, it is nice to be able to take her off and have a figure that is in no way marred by a post or socket. That leads me to wonder whether this piece might look better on a traditional Sixth-Scale figure stand. I may have to try that at some point.

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Morrigan set me back $70, which is a bit much for what was essentially an impulse buy of a piece I had never seen reviewed or in person.On the other hand, for a statue of this size it feels like something of a bargain. If it were any other property, I probably wouldn’t have gone for it, but, such is the result when DarkStalkers statues or figures are such a rare breed. She may not match the quality or craftsmanship of a Kotobukiya or a MegaHouse piece, but I do think she was well worth the money. She’s big, colorful, and ultimately impressive, and as a fan of the property (and boobs) she was impossible for me to turn down, and in the end I’m mighty glad I splurged on her. I said SPLURGED on her. Get your minds out of the damn gutters, people!