Astro Toy
Figutto Marisa Kirisame

by David Cabrera,

Figutto Marisa Kirisame
Maker: Griffon
Series: Touhou
Cost: around $70

After I buy a robot (and I'm absolutely tickled that people enjoyed Gaogaigar last time) I have to pay a certain amount of penance in reviews of cute girl figures. I have a whole personal system worked out... but it's a secret. On the forums I was teasing that one such character that would make a lot of people happy would show up for this week, so of course that figure didn't come out on time after all. The moral of this story is never to egg up your basket, okay?

We do have a Touhou, though! It's been a while since we dealt with Zun's homemade shooting games/multimedia otaku phenomenon, and one of the main heroines was available, so why not? As regular followers of the column have noticed, I have been curiously following Griffon's Figutto line for a few months now. They're a lot like Figmas, but bigger, pricier, and a notch or two up on production values. And of course, they're the underdog in this fight.

As for this one, well... let's talk about the arms first. Get it out of the way. I want to say “they stuck out to me” but that would be what we call figurative (get it) language. Marisa's arms are literally sticking out. As should be evident here, it looks pretty damn weird at the joints. The puffy shoulder bit actually slides back and forth to accommodate poses. Of course, as is always the way with posable figures of small girls, the elbow joint is a little outsized for Marisa's tiny arms. For a counter example of this, look at Kenshiro's arms. It's not really a problem there, right? Well, Marisa can shoot lasers and all, but she isn't packing those kinds of guns. Even considering the nature of the character, though, these arms look weird. Plus they love to pop out.

Very slight pink highlights (though I doubt they'll come out in the photos) are also most apparent at the edges of the arms. I think this looks strange, but slightly exaggerated blushing skin is pretty common in pretty-girl moe art, so your mileage may vary.

I wanted to get that out of the way because otherwise, I like the sculpt. The official designs are ZUN's illustrations: he's much more a programmer and a musician than an artist, and you probably wouldn't want to buy (I would! Bring on the “Ryukishi style” Higurashi PVCs too!) a ZUN-faithful figure. As such, the figure makers have a little leeway. This Marisa's a little taller and more mature-looking than the Touhou girls are typically drawn: see also the much younger-looking (and long gone) Figma.

This is a very simple character design, but that belies the level of detail given every frill, ruffle, wrinkle and flowing lock. Action figures don't usually look like this: the dress and hat are closer to a PVC figure. I suppose that for this character, frills and ruffles were considered the main points and treated with the according care.

The character is usually accompanied by her witch hat, but I wanted some before-and-after. The hat is just a static lump of plastic, of course, but it looks so floppy! Under the hat and past the ruffles, there's just a flat space that fits Marisa's head.

Accessories are a little slim-- I kind of expected her to have a book to read-- but there are things that can't be left out. We get her basic magical armament. Of course, I count a broom as armament! The broom is nice and heavy, actually. I approve. (The face used here is the best face. Of course.)

The Hakkero artifact is also included in a fixed hand. If Marisa can't Master Spark, there's really no point to the figure at all. Unleash your annihilation of love!

There is an assortment of cute extra faces and hands, and of course the hair clips on with a magnet (with a ka-cha sound, the box says). I will forever sing the praises of toys that use magnets for finicky replaceable bits. It's too bad other parts of this figure are so finicky: again, the arms.

The Figutto stand is the same as before, and since the dress and the hat both throw off Marisa's center of balance you're probably going to need it. Griffon should really abandon the bendy “posable” wire piece as a failed experiment: I've used this thing with two different figures and both times some part of it has broken. A flexible stand is a nice idea, but if it can't stand up to five minutes' posing, it's completely useless.

I like this one, but I don't love it. It's pricey and it's flawed, but I feel like I'm seeing this line get somewhere. Figutto stands in a place between the super-posable action figure and the detailed static PVC that we don't cover here because of what boring articles they would make for. (Good Smile makes a line like this too, but we'd have to wait for one of those to go on sale...) If I had $70 worth of love for this character, though, I'd probably put it elsewhere. This may be the only easily available action figure of the character, but there's no shortage of PVC.

You can get this figure for about $70 shipped on Amiami. Unfortunately, the Figutto box is still huge, so you will pay as much to ship it express (about $35) as the base cost of the item. A Figma of Marisa exists and it looks quite nice, but as usual with Good Smile stuff older than three months it's out of print and is fetching obscene prices on the collectors' market.

Give thanks, for by the application of a magic hat to a magic cat, magic is multiplied.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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