In case you didn’t know, Sonico is the mascot of Nitroplus, a company that makes visual novels and porn games (a.k.a. eroge). It must not take much to garner a following in Japan, because the explosion of Sonico’s popularity is inexplicable otherwise. Good Smile Company is making a Nendoroid of her, and in the figure world that’s the equivalent of getting your own HBO series.
Yeah, Sonico is pretty much just a character that’s featured in various stages of undress looking helpless and confused. So of course, there’s some appeal in her to someone like me. I’m kind of ashamed to admit I have two Sonico figures: this one, and one made earlier by Yamato. I decided to shoot this one because it’s slightly more recent, and a little more interesting.
This version of the figure has a nice base, which is a circular mattress that’s entirely too small for a person. Sonico’s pose pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the character. While the figure actually comes with a ribbon so you can tie up her wrists, I decided to skip that step because I’m not good at tying bows.
Sonico is pretty big at 1/6-scale, though the actual figure’s dimensions (including base) are fairly compact due to the pose. Pick it up, though, and you’ll feel some real heft. The next thing you might notice is the finish. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. There are a lot of what seem to be abrasion marks, and spots of stray paint. Much of those will be invisible to the eye, but my camera picked them up. One last issue: I’m not in love with the way they painted her hair. It’s supposed to be pink, but it looks like they left the white undercoat exposed instead of using a better shading technique.
Getting to what I like, let’s start with the obvious: it’s ecchi and I dig that. The sculpt is very well-done and the paint job is good (aside from the finishing issues I mentioned), though the maid outfit doesn’t do it for me. How about something less cliché – perhaps a more contemporary look? This figure also takes on unsettling connotations depending on how you orient it. If you sit Sonico upright, it looks like she’s cowering while taking a flogging. Put her face down and she looks like she’s ready for some doggy style. Interesting.
On the whole I like this figure, especially this version that has the fancy base. Without the setting of being tied to a bed, the regular version of the figure looks weird. Whatever the version, it crosses the line into tacky. But on my shelf, Native’s Trunk Girl sits in front of it so the impact is lessened.
I got two new photographic toys for this shoot: a Manfrotto Magic Arm and a battery grip for my camera. The Magic Arm is basically a jointed arm that can clamp to a support, so I used its versatile positioning system to hold one of my flashes. The battery grip greatly improves the ergonomics of my camera. It adds heft to dampen camera shake (especially when you use a light lens), improves balance if you use a heavy lens, and, thanks to its extra set of controls, makes it much easier to shoot in portrait orientation.
For the lighting setup, I went with an overhead light fitted with a honeycomb, as Sonico is pretty much horizontal. I also put a light in front of her (which I’d move to the left or right, depending on the angle I was shooting at) as a fill since the overhead light doesn’t really get the eyes. Finally I set two flashes behind her and to either side as rim lights, though I only turned on whichever one was best for the shot I wanted. I had to fit the rim lights with honeycombs as well, or else they’d spill a little too much onto the background.
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