Figure Review: Black Hanekawa by Alter

Time to look at an oldie! Alter’s Black Hanekawa was first released in 2011, which is probably when I got it. Yeah that seems like something I’d do. It also had a release in 2013, probably coinciding with the return of the Monogatari series. For those unfamiliar with the character, Black Hanekawa is the possessed form of Tsubasa Haneekawa, a cat demon who sucks energy from her victims. I think her popularity is due to her sexy/cute attributes, as I didn’t find her story arc in Bakemonogatari to be all that great. If you’re Alter, though, story is but a trifling matter next to the character design.

Black Hanekawa was one of the earliest Monogatari releases from Alter. They’re still continuing the line with a Nisemonogatari Shinobu Oshino having just hit shelves as of this review. So I’m not sure what the plan is, but if it’s to very slowly capitalize on a popular series, then Alter is on top of it.

I like the figure well enough but I don’t think it’s very interesting. Kotobukiya took the same character and in my opinion made something cuter, sexier, and sassier. Alter’s take is a fine representation of the character; it just lacks that little extra flair that launches it into the “must own” tier for Monogatari fans.

I dunno, maybe I’m off my rocker. After years of seeing every kind of figure, perhaps I’ve become desensitized to the “merely good” figures. This one just strikes me as being fine. The sculpt is fine. Her face is fine. The little bit of cleavage being shown is… fine. I wish Alter would have put more definition into her butt, as that bit comes off as a large blob of pajama. Her hair could have used more shading or definition, because it looks quite noodly to me.

There were a few minor defects in the finish on my figure, mostly along the hair and a little bit on her chest. It’s a bit strange to see these issues crop up – this is Alter after all. Outside of that the paint job, sculpt, and finish are good. I also quite like the base, which I thought was a piece of rooftop but is actually a sloped bit of sidewalk. Again, not as interesting as Kotobukiya’s version, but fine nonetheless.

Shooting this figure was an interesting challenge. I wanted to go with a darker background using cool colors to contrast with the peach and skin tones on the figure. I found that using a soft light didn’t quite look right, so I ended up going with a harder, direct light. I’m still not sure how I feel about the results overall… For the backdrop I salvaged a gridlike piece of cardboard that was used to hold board game pieces (basically it’s what resulted from punching out all the square game pieces). It provided a geometric backdrop that I think plays well with the base.

This figure fits in nicely with Alter’s 1/7 Hitagi Senjougahara (unfortunately the new Shinobu figure is only 1/8). I think together, they’d make a pretty nice display… BUT once again, Kotobukiya also has a Senjougahara figure and it’s a little bit more interesting. I’ll have to put them up side by side and see which pair I like better. It’s a good problem to have, though.

Alter Black Hanekawa

Alter Black Hanekawa

Alter Black Hanekawa

Alter Black Hanekawa