Let it be known that I’m not an Ikkitousen fan. I’ve never seen any of the shows, so I have very little idea about what I’m missing. And while I’ve managed to avoid the deluge of Kanu Unchou figures, two Ryomou Shimei figures have made their way into my collection.
The first one I got was from Daiki Kougyo, featuring Shunya Yamashita’s interpretation of the character. It’s quite good. This one is a roughly 1/6 scale polystone representation by UART, who made the excellent Paprika figure I reviewed a while back.
If you’ve never had a polystone figure, be prepared for a different sensory experience. The smell is very different from PVC. Upon opening the package, you’ll be greeted with a strange, sickly-sweet fragrance. It’s also much heavier, and tends to feel smoother on the whole. Generally it feels like premium merchandise.
From what I’ve gathered on the internet, Ikkitousen is loosely inspired by Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is a fictionalized account of the Three Kingdoms period in Chinese history. Except Ikkitousen contains a lot more boobs and high schoolers. Ryomou Shimei is drawn from the Chinese historical figure Lu Meng (also called Zi Ming).
This figure features Ryomou in a maid outfit, which she wears from time to time. It also comes with handcuffs connected by a long chain, which you can drape on the figure as you wish. Unfortunately, they don’t stay in the hands very well.
This particular pose was taken from a piece of DVD cover art. It replicates the art quite well, except the mouth looks a little… derp… to me. In terms of build quality, this figure is top-notch. It also comes with a wood base (at least it looks and feels like wood).
That’s about it really. The sitting pose isn’t super exciting. I found myself struggling to find a good way to shoot the figure. I ended up taking almost 120 photos, but threw out most due to redundancy. I had a batch that was overly noisy, so I decided to alter the look of the photos themselves. I turned them into monochrome and applied a sepia color, along with a grungy texture overlay. By doing this, I killed two birds with one stone. The conversion to monochrome made the ISO noise moot, and also removed the off-colored light reflecting from my backdrop.
Of course I took plenty of colored photos as well. To deal with the undesirable reflections from my backdrop, I put a circular polarizer onto my lens. This deepened the red of the backdrop while blocking out reflected light from my lamps (which looked blueish). I also popped on a lens hood to make sure I wasn’t getting any glare. Overall I’m pleased with the results. It still took some processing to get the colors how I wanted them, but I didn’t have to mess with the contrast settings at all.
In the end, I’m impressed by the superb build quality of this figure, but it has rotated off my main shelf. The concept is just not that exciting, so while it’s pretty to look at for a while, there isn’t much reason to continue admiring it.