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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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.

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!

Street Fighter: Juri Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

Can this be? Has it really been four months since I last looked at one of Koto’s Bishoujo statues? Yes, I’m ashamed to say that is indeed the case and I am woefully behind on this little obsession of mine. I feel that Koto is partly to blame because they have really been upping the ante and releasing these things like crazy. I need to start scrambling to get caught up before the ones I missed start rising on the second-hand market, which is already the case with at least one of them. Anywho, back in March I checked out the lovely Julia Chang from their Tekken line, now we’re going back over to the Capcom side of the fence to look at Juri from Street Fighter!

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Aww, yeah. We all know what to expect from this packaging by now. You get a window box, which gives you a little tease at what’s inside and a lot of great artwork from Shunya Yamashita. While the comic book statues come in white boxes, Koto has been releasing the video game pieces in these black ones. I’m still partial to the white, just because it’s a cleaner look and makes the artwork pop a little more. But hey, who’s complaining? Not me, because I got a new Bishoujo to open up. Let’s do it!

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Juri comes already attached to her stand and ready to go, although she can be removed from it if you want to. Once I got her out of the box, my first reaction was… Holy crap, look at those boobs! Actually, I meant to say that I was impressed with the size of this piece. The last couple Bishoujo’s I opened were from the Tekken series and those are scaled a bit smaller. In contrast, this is one big and beautiful figure!

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While both Chun-Li and Cammy are caught in mid action poses, I think Juri looks more like she’s posing for the “camera.” The box suggests she’s readying for a kick, but I don’t get that kind of energy from the composition here. That is not in any way a complaint, mind you, just an observation. Truth be told, I think this is a fantastic pose and I’m particularly fond of when Koto can get their statues to balance like this. Juri stands balanced on the toes of her left foot with her right leg drawn up at the knee, one hand on her hip and the other held aloft as if to say, “behold my bad ass sexiness!” Ooooh yeah!

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Juri’s outfit includes her puffy pants, a long belt, which bellows out at her side and a a rather revealing top that just amounts to a breast plate with a bunch of straps running to her back to make up a bitchin’ spider motif. Funny, I don’t remember Juri being quite so well endowed in the game, but she’s positively busting out of her top here. She’s also sporting some sleeves, finger-less gloves and spiked bracelets.

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The portrait here is a beautiful piece of work. Juri has a rather sly look as she glances off to the side and licks her lips. She seriously looks like she’s about to relish kicking the shit out of someone. The eyes are absolutely gorgeous and they did a wonderful job recreating her distinctive hairstyle.

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The coloring on this piece feels a little muted compared to most Bish statues, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s certainly in character. I think the fact that there’s no glossy aspects to her clothing is a big part of that. Instead of getting that contrast between the soft skin and the sheen of the clothes, everything is soft. The pallet is even a little more limited, with basically just black purple and gray. You do get a little bit of sheen on her belt buckle, her gloves, and the nail polish on her fingers and toes.

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As with the previous Street Fighter statues, Juri comes on a clear disc stand with a choice of two inserts. One has the Street Fighter logo and the other a piece of Shunya Yamashita’s character art on which this statue was based. I’ve gone on plenty about how I’m torn over these clear bases. On the one hand, they look nice and don’t detract from the figure, on the other hand, they show fingerprints really easily and the bottoms have a tendency to fall out when you pick them up.

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And to the great surprise of absolutely no one, I’m in love with yet another one of Koto’s magnificent Bishoujo statues. Considering how iconic Chun-Li and Cammy are, it’s no small feat to say that Juri can easily hold her own on the shelf next to her fellow game gals and with Sakura and Poison coming up next, I expect great things to continue for this sub-line. Now, I just have to backtrack and pick up the ones I missed, like Jun Kazama and Nina Williams from Tekken, oh and I think Anna Williams is shipping soon. And Batwoman and Jubilee… good grief!

Street Fighter: Cammy Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

In their never ending (and hugely successful) campaign to separate me from all my monies, Kotobukiya has expanded their line of Bishoujo statues to include the Street Fighter franchise. Their first release was Chun-Li and she was absolutely fantastic. I think their second choice was an obvious one. It had to be Cammy. Now as much as I love Chun-Li, Cammy and me, we got a much stronger bond. You see, I don’t only know her from Street Fighter but also from the ludicrous amount of time I’ve put into playing as her in Cannon Spike on the Dreamcast. Dear god, I love that game so much that just by mentioning it I’m required to summon all my willpower not to go play it right now. Ok, hang on… I’ll be right back.

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What? No, I wasn’t playing Cannon Spike! I went to take pictures of the package. And there it is! It seems as if Koto has been reserving their white boxes for the comic book ladies and going with these black boxes for their peripheral lines like Street Fighter and Tekken. I kind of prefer the white because it makes all that gorgeous artwork stand out more and I think it accentuates the statue inside a little better, but that’s all just a matter of personal taste. Aside from the coloring of the box, everything else here should be instantly familiar to any Bishoujo collector. You get a generous window on the front and smaller ones on the top and side panels. The box is decked out all around with the gorgeous character art of Shunya Yamashita and the back shows a shot of the actual statue. The coming soon shot on the back is none other than Juri. I gotta be honest, I’m surprised that their third outing for the line isn’t Sakura, but I’m down with Juri too, especially since we’ve already had a look at the statue.

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And there she is… absolutely gorgeous. Let’s kick things off with composition. Cammy assumes a wide stance and is turned at the torso to eye the opponent behind her. She’s got one hand balled in a fist and drawn close to her cheek and the other arm stretched out to zero in on her foe. For once, Koto didn’t have a free flowing mane of hair to work with, but they went all out on Cammy’s long and snaking braids, which swirl beautifully around her person, and she’s even got a couple sprigs of hair arching down off of her forehead. One of the things I love the most about this statue is the way the composition works on several display angles. In fact, I’m not even sure, what the intended “centered” position of the statue is, because I can find two positions, or “sweet spots” where she looks perfect.

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The first of these“sweet spots” features a prominent view of Cammy’s caboose. That thong has always been one of her most captivating features and that fact has certainly translated to this statue. When viewed from directly behind, Cammy has one arm reaching straight out and her right eye peeking out at the beholder. The second angle that I really like turns the statue about a quarter clockwise and brings her face forward and places her derriere in profile. Here, her attention is focused to her left which makes for a great place to put Chun-Li.

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With her green leotard and combat boots Cammy is a much simpler design than Chun-Li, but there’s still plenty of great detail where it’s needed. I love that the tops of her boot laces are sculpted in separate pieces of soft plastic and you can see her socks peaking up above her boots. The paintwork is immaculate, right down to the camo patterns on her legs. She’s even got little panel lines and rivets on her wrist bracers. The creases on leotard and her beret look great as does the carefully sculpted braiding in her long hair. The muscle tone in her arms, shoulders, and thighs is all beautifully defined as is the underlying bone structure in her pelvis.

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As for the portrait, with only two Street Fighter statues so far, I still think that this sub-line features some of Koto’s finest head sculpts in the entire Bishoujo line. It might be just because the Street Fighter gals fit the bishoujo style without having to be compromised as much as the Marvel and DC ladies, but whatever the case their work here has been phenomenal. With all that having been said, I think Cammy here possibly has my favorite head sculpt out of all the Bishoujo’s in my collection. I know that’s saying a lot, but there’s just something about her eyes and the sly smile on her lips that does it for me.

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As always, the paintwork here is superb. Most of the Bishoujo pieces in my collection showcase the contrast between the matte of the ladies’ skin and a glossy latex costume, but Cammy here is almost entirely matte. She does have a bright red metallic sheen on her arm bracers, but that’s it. The rest of the statue relies on a nice deep hunter green for her leotard as well as the camo paint on her legs, a matching red for both her beret and socks, and pleasing yellow for her hair. The paint lines are all crisp and there’s no slop anywhere to be found.

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And then there’s the stand. Cammy comes on what is basically a clear oval base that looks like it’s laid onto the circular style base that Chun-Li featured. Once again, the bottom of the disc comes off and you can insert one of two printed clear overlays into the base and button it back up, or leave them out entirely if you prefer. Your choices of graphics are either a plain Street Fighter logo or a piece of character art, and as with Chun-Li, I’m going with the logo. I’m still not a big fan of this system, as the bottom and insert tends to fall out when I pick up the statues. I do, however appreciate that it allows you to position the logo to accommodate the angle you choose to display the statue. Then again, I know who Cammy is and where she came from, so I don’t really need the base to tell me.

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While many statues on the market these days are creeping forever upward in price, Koto has managed to keep their Bishoujo line fairly centered. Cammy set me back a mere $55 and for the quality and workmanship on display here, I think that’s a pretty damn great price, especially when other companies are offering cold cast pieces at about the same scale with weaker paint and sculpts for almost double the price. I know I say this in just about every Koto review that I write, but I still think these pieces are some of the best values in statues on the market today and that’s a big reason as to why I keep coming back and having to expand my shelves. Naturally I’ve already got Juri pre-ordered, but it’s going to be a long wait, so maybe I’ll have to hold myself over by picking up some more of the Tekken ladies.

Street Fighter: Chun-Li Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

In case you haven’t heard, Kotobukiya is out to bankrupt me this year. The fact that I’ve branched out to collecting their ArtFX+ statues has been bad enough, but they also seem to have thrown their Bishoujo line into high gear, full speed ahead, let’s take every last damn penny poor old Fig has in his meager coffers too. What’s that? The Marvel and DC stuff isn’t doing it fast enough? Let’s start with Street Fighter! Anyway, Chun-Li is the obvious first choice for this new sub-line of Bishoujo and certainly a favorite of mine. But then what red blooded male gamer hasn’t fantasized about being strangled by Chun-Li’s copious thighs. What’s that? It’s just me? Did I share too much? Ok, moving on… Hyakuretsu Kyaku!!!!

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Chun-Li comes in a window box that should be readily familiar to all collectors of this line. The windows allow you to get a teaser of what’s inside and is, as always, collector friendly. But the statue is wrapped in plastic and held between two plastic trays so you’ll want to free her from her prison to get a good look at her. Long time Bishoujo collectors will note that the box is black instead of white. Koto seems to do this on most of the non-Marvel or DC related statues. Both my Ghostbusters Lucy and my Tekken Christie Montiero statues came in black boxes. I don’t have a big problem with it, although I do believe I prefer the white. Of course, the deco includes all the great artwork by Shunya Yamashita and you also get some photos of the statue on the back. Oh, look! Cammy’s coming! I’m pretty damn excited about Cammy!

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Chun-Li comes out of the box already attached to the base, but she is easily removable if you want. She attaches with a solid stepped tab that snugly fits inside the right foot. The balance is impressive and it allows for the dynamic high kick pose, which suits the character so well. It looks just like she’s in the middle of her Lightning Kick attack. Indeed, the “frozen in time” element on display here is one of  my favorite things about this piece. and that’s all thanks to the thoughtful sculpting. Her qipao dress swirls around her legs and the ribbons from her ox horn hairstyle float around her head. It’s always impressive to me when a statue can convey energy and movement on this level.

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As for the sculpt itself, the Bishoujo style works perfectly for Chun-Li without having to deviate from the character’s own style. Naturally, the DC and Marvel statues look like the characters with an intentional Bishoujo treatment, while Chun-Li  looks like Chun-Li. It’s just a comfortable fit. Her portrait portrays an effortless “pretty girl” expression that works with the pose while not quite deliberately mugging for the camera. Her iconic and chunky spiked bracelets are present and the gold scrollwork on her dress is all integrated into part of the sculpt. Of course, this is Chun-Li and one’s eyes are drawn almost immediately to her powerful legs, which look superb from the detailed musculature of her thighs right down to her laced white combat boots.

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The coloring on this figure hits all the right points and the paintwork is as immaculate as I’ve come to expect in this line. Unlike a lot of these statues there isn’t any high gloss paint at work here, which suits the character art. The gold looks great against the blue of her dress and there’s just enough sheen on the costume to contrast slightly with the soft plastic of her skin tone. The brown used for her tights is perfect and there’s just a hint of lavender paint on the top laces of her boots. Chun-Li’s colors are certainly iconic (as long as your Player 1) and this statue celebrates that fact.

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Chun-Li comes on a clear base that opens and allows you to insert one of two graphics if you like. One just has the Street Fighter logo, the other features some of Shunya Yamashita’s art. While the one with the character art is certainly striking, I find it a bit busy and distracting, so I went with the simple logo. The same system of base and insert was used for the Tekken statues and I’ll confess that I wasn’t all that keen on getting it reproduced here. I think it looks OK but whenever I pick up my Christie Montiero statue, the bottom always drops out and the graphic slides out. Thankfully the base on this statue snaps together much better and it isn’t a problem.

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Chun-Li set me back $55, which is right about what I usually expect to pay for a new Bishoujo statue. Sometimes I hold off to see if I can get a deal, but seeing as how Chun-Li was the first in this sub-series, I was somewhat worried about there being a run on her, so I locked her in with a pre-order. She is still available at some retailers, but apparently Koto sold out pretty fast on their own site, so anyone still on deck over this one might want to consider jumping into the pool. Either way, I’m hoping these initial offerings do well because I’d really like to see this line continue. I think Sakura would be the most likely choice after Cammy. After that who knows, but I’m gunning for Poison, Ibuki, and Elena. They would all be instant purchases for me.