Here’s the review in the form of an equation: Good Smile Company + Bakemonogatari = great success. If you haven’t seen Bakemonogatari, you really should. It’ll make you savvy to the fact that a Japanese person’s concept of Ghostbusters is actually pretty awesome. From that series we get the memorable Suruga Kanbaru, a masochistic bisexual boys-love enthusiast who (and this is for the It’s Always Sunny crowd) could easily be a power bottom.
Kanbaru is a great character because she’s so different from the typical female anime character archetypes. In fact her only hyper-feminine acts are used to lampoon those archetypes. She is the instigator of some of the show’s best humor, and never fails to make the protagonist feel really awkward.
Of course, absolutely none of that is captured in this figure. If you pay attention to the details, you’ll see she’s reading a boys love book, but that’s the only hint of her personality you’ll get. It’s not entirely Good Smile’s fault, as this is based on official art. But Kotobukiya managed to do a much simpler version that better captures Kanbaru’s personality.
The non-personality of figures is the norm, I’m afraid, so there’s no point in complaining. You have eyes, you can see the photos. If we get past that, I will say I do love her expression. It’s serene and content from some angles, but up close it can become a little mischievous. The face sculpt looks a bit off to me insofar as the promo shots looked more accurate to the official design. Still the end result is pretty good.
The rest of the figure exhibits an astonishing attention to detail – something I’ve come to expect from Good Smile Company. All the little bookmarks, blades of grass, even the dimples on her basketball are meticulously sculpted and painted. There is one unfortunate seam on the top of her head, which is kind of unavoidable. Other imperfections are much more subtle.
This elaborate setup is a callback to the scene where Araragi visits Kanbaru’s home, which is full of stacks of red books. The stacks on the figure have a surprising heft to them, though the base itself feels somewhat flimsy. There is some assembly involved – just the very simple task of matching pegs to holes.
When I got this figure, I wasn’t sure how to photograph it. Some figures take some effort to shoot, while others are just photogenic. Kanbaru is the latter. Her throne of books provides a great frame, so I shot her on a black background to let the figure speak for itself. She honestly looks great from every angle, and will be a fixture on my shelf for some time.
(I wasn’t kidding about the dimples on the basketball. Click here for a 100% crop.)