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Astro Toy
Figma Yoshika Miyafuji

by David Cabrera,

Figma Yoshika Miyafuji
Series: Strike Witches
Company: Max Factory
Price: $40

I'm going to let you in on a major ANN trade secret: we're all actually required to talk about the fandom-polarizing Strike Witches at some point. It's the first thing they tell you when you get the gig, in the voice of an old-timey gold prospector:

“Now it don't make me no nevermind if ya’ calls it bad or it calls ya’ good, but dangit on high tarnations if you ain't gonna talk about The Strike-A-Witches Show!

It's going on a year that I've been at ANN. I've been getting a lot of threatening, curmudgeonly phone calls, so before the cops find me stabbed in the back of the head with a pick-axe, I'd like to talk about a Strike Witches toy.

I will now deliberately omit the tired joke about how these characters don't wear pants, even though really, that's most of what I know about Strike Witches. Yoshika Miyafuji has a double otaku-fetish look going, because she is simultaneously wearing the top of a sailor uniform and a Japanese school swimsuit below that. Tag on those airplane-legs, and the cat ears-and-tail, and you've sold a couple thousand hugpillows before the show ever even airs.

(Note: Astro Toy will never review hugpillows. Sorry.)

Do you know what the key was to making this idea work in a more mainstream otaku sense? They went light on all that machine stuff. Just a glance shows why the whole mecha-girl thing was only a small trend, but Strike Witches went huge in Japan. This is how character designers make that big money!

As for the base figure, Yoshika's a pretty simple design, isn't she? There isn't really a lot here to get wrong, and we have talked about Figma's low-cost, basic consistency more than enough times in the past. Unlike say, Golgo, the top is a completely solid piece of plastic and there's no movement at all in the torso: the bottom of the body just clips on and hangs out.

In all seriousness, the single detail that stands out most on the figure is the very pronounced, sculpted belly button showing through the swimsuit. It's a part of Yoshika we never actually see unless we're swapping out parts. What was that about otaku fetishes again? Just can't seem to get away from the topic. We must be in.... Strike Witches country. I swear to God, if I hear the word onii-chan back there, I'm turning this car around and nobody gets to go to Mandarake!

And now we transform Yoshika: some folks call her a magical girl, but I wouldn't go that far. Rather than going for a cumbersome situation where we're trying to fold her legs into The Striker Units, you're supposed to remove the bottom half of the legs outright and connect the thighs to these little miniature Zeroes. They're attached by a swiveling peg, so there's some limited movement there. The Striker Units, being heavy machinery, are probably the most intricately detailed objects in the package: they look quite nice and they're elegantly handled when other figure makers might have made an over-complicated disaster of them.

Of course, this wouldn't be complete without the dog ears and tail: the ears are part of a replacement hairpiece that clips onto the face as usual, and there's a hole in the back for the tail. The tail doesn't like to stay on, by the way, and I hate it so much.

Given the nature of the character, certain accessories are required. There are two different propeller effect parts for each leg in clear blue plastic: one is a normal spinning propeller, and the other is a blue disc that gives the illusion of a real propeller in motion. Of course, Yoshika carries a rifle: there are a couple of nice touches here, like a sight that flips up and a detachable strap (warning: dangerously flimsy, use extreme caution) so she can carry it on her shoulder.

If you're more interested in peacetime Yoshika, there's a blushing, moe-moe “oh golly oh my!” face in addition to a warlike shout. The last accessory is an extra lower-torso-and-legs part: the difference is that unlike the usual Figma body, this part is molded in solid plastic and doesn't move at all.

The pose has her legs up and out a bit, and it's clearly for use with The Striker Units: you can kinda get a kneeling pose out of it if you use the normal legs (I tried!), but that's about it. I personally speculate that the idea here was to keep Yoshika's butt-- which is obviously jointed on the normal Figma body-- intact for viewing. You just can't make Strike Witches merchandise if you don't have at least this level of a grasp on otaku fetishism. Now that that's on your mind, it's the best possible time to mention that Yoshika is supposed to be real-life WWII ace Kaneyoshi Mutoh. Also, if you put the poor guy's name into Wikipedia you just get the Strike Witches article.

You know, we robot nerds are ultimately responsible for the whole Strike Witches thing. Mobile SuitGirls begat mecha musume begat Strike Witches. No, I'm not counting this figure towards my Super Robot Quota.

So, another Astro Toy, another Figma, and thankfully another cool gimmick. If this is your thing, and you're kind of a mecha-head too, I'd give the Busou Shinki line-- also designed by Figma sculptor Masaki Apsy-- a look. I bought one a couple of years ago and I'll vouch for it.

This toy came out barely over a month ago and it's already getting hard to find! After looking around, it seems like stores are getting more stock in later this month.

Right now, Amiami has the low price: as of this writing there's a small supply for $33 before international shipping.

But seriously, Strike Witches. It's great that you're out there protecting the Earth from aliens and stuff, but isn't it kind of redundant? Didn't anybody tell you girls that neco-Arc rules the skies? Never look back, neco-Arc! Never say die!

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze.

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