Astro Toy Figma Sonsaku Hakufu
by David Cabrera, Apr 4th 2010
We meet again, Mr. Apsy!
The box notes that this is not just an Ikki Tousen figure, it represents Ikki Tousen: Great Guardians, which is the third of four seasons of an anime whose genre I believe to be either "fighting/boobs" or "boobs/fighting". To run for four seasons is a serious achievement in Japanese animation, and it's usually the domain of major franchises. How does Ikki Tousen get season after season in the increasingly harsh climate of the Japanese animation industry? It's toys, of course, or we wouldn't be talking about it! If you've ever browsed an importer's catalog or walked in a figure booth at a convention, you've probably noticed that Ikki Tousen has produced a huge number of high-end PVC statues of the busty heroines in various lewd poses and states of undress. Like a robot anime would have done 15 years ago, Ikki Tousen is on the air first and foremost to sell those products. At four seasons of anime and literally hundreds of figures, it's doing a damn good job of it. That's my theory, anyway. (The other part of my theory is that Genocyber auteur Koichi Ohata works for cheap.)
Meanwhile, on the action figure side of things, we have the dependable Figma line. A certain standard of quality is expected from a Figma, and there are no surprises here. Paint and details aren't amazing, but they're more than adequate for a figure of this size and cost. As expected from a figure of a character from a martial arts story, the posability is superb. Obviously, given her bare arms and legs, Hakufu suffers a bit from the "doll joints" look-- this may be a plus for some of you in the audience-- and there are some very noticeable seams at the chest and side of the sweater. These bits of the body actually detach to make the gimmick possible, which we'll get to.
This is an action figure. They're meant for action posing, and this one does not skimp. Both the skirt (which is so short as to be a formality) and the hair in front of Hakufu's face (the rest of it is a permanently windblown mass) are made of flexible material to accomodate the movements of her arms and legs, which, unimpeded, can assume about any pose you can imagine the character needing to take in battle. Hakufu's legs in particular are swinging around on as little plastic as they possibly can be: much like the Figma Golgo 13 has a hollow abdomen, there aren't really hips here, just joints underneath the skirt which Hakufu's legs attach to. The flexible plastic underwear-- which is almost always on display, even from eye level, on account of that short skirt-- is just present for appearances. Since I don't really know Ikki Tousen very well, I instead put Hakufu into poses from various fighting videogames. She passed these tests with flying colors. Guess what characters Hakufu is imitating in two of these pictures for extra brownie points!
As the figure's gimmick involves replacing most of the body, taking up most of the plastic allotment of the package, there aren't a ton of accessories here: you get an assortment of in-character hands for fighting poses, three faces (smiling, angry, and, I will assume, possessed), and the usual Figma stand, whose usefulness, as seen above, cannot be overstated. Ever since figures started to come with these, all my figures have been airborne. Who can resist?
This figure is rather tame compared to its fixed-pose cousins, which usually go "all the way", as it were, and it certainly doesn't come close to the Queen's Blade stuff Rob covered. But you know, it just wouldn't be Ikki Tousen without a little sleaze. You're probably aware of the way the characters' clothes get shredded and torn up in, say, Dragon Ball Z. Well, that happens in Ikki Tousen too: when in battle absolutely anything-- kicks, blunt force, a tap on the shoulder, a particularly strong breeze, a change in temperature-- will cause the girls' clothes to fall apart for the obvious benefit of the viewer. Of course, Hakufu's gimmick is that nearly her entire outfit can be switched for "battle damage" parts, which leave her already-useless skirt in tatters, and her top only barely intact. The figure comes with Transformer-like "how to disrobe" instructions (step one: tear off breasts), which entail some minor open-heart toy surgery. And then you get what I know you people are here for, so I'll just get to the picture right now.
There it is, everyone. Hakufu's gutted, dismembered torso. You can even see her hip joints. Filthy, ain't it? I hope you people are satisfied! Now is it just me, or is this view of the insides strangely grotesque? I wonder if it looks like this to make the buyer feel even weirder about the already weird fact that they're dissecting an action figure in order to get her clothes off. What, indeed, led us to this point in our lives? Let's pause for a moment and reflect.
Oh, don't worry, here's what you really wanted. The new parts don't impede posability in any way, so display her however you want. Tell people she just escaped Namek, or something.
The Ikki Tousen Figma serves a somewhat different purpose than the majority of the figures that the franchise tends to spawn: the fixed-pose PVCs are made for the express purpose of ogling the half-to-fully-naked girls of Ikki Tousen in the greatest possible detail, and the Figma is for the fan who'd also like to make them fight. Certainly some of you were paying attention to the fighting in Ikki Tousen, right? $30 being the going rate on Figmas, that's what you'll find it for. There's really no reason not to recommend this figure to fans of the series. Unless, of course, they'd like a little more detail, in which I propose they pony up $150 for an exquisitely detailed figure of Hakufu playing tennis naked while balancing on a highwire. (Talk to me, Japanese toy business. I am fully willing to sell you that idea.)
Meanwhile, some jokes are impossible to ignore, so here's a second opinion on this figure from noted chauvinist and clothes-shredder Rei. I quote: "Shauu!"
Rei, you jerk!
Want this figure? The easiest option is Amazon, for $30.25. The only places selling it for cheaper are in Japan, and you'll eat the difference and more in shipping fees.
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