The cause of preorder frenzy and subsequent despair for those unable to hit the refresh button in the five seconds they were available, the first entry in the much-hyped Shuraki line finally hit store shelves (albeit very briefly) last week. I was able to snag a copy, and I have to say the franchise’s first multimedia figure offering is a very nice item indeed. She’s not without a couple of flaws however, which we’ll address in the review below:
Original Design: Igarashi Aki (五十嵐明姫)
Sculptor: zenko (Ionsen)
Source: Shuraki (multimedia figure series)
Scale: 1/8 (23 cm with weapons, 17 cm standalone)
Materials: PVC, ABS
Extras: Illustration Book, Drama CDs (2)
Release Date: September 27th, 2007 (January 2008 reissue scheduled)
Production: Goodsmile, Red Entertainment
Price: 4,800 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [KNC] [HLJ] [HS] [TL]
Support HD!: [YA]
Translated from the Shuraki vol. 1 drama CD description page:
Shuraki Drama CD Volume I: The Fallen Star
The stage is modern Japan.
Mishiro Akatsuki is a high school student living in the seaside town of Kabazakura-shi. She leads a peaceful life surrounded by her childhood friend Moriya Mahoru, a large group of friends, and her kind mother Mishiro Hiyori.
Suddenly however, that tranquility is shattered. Calling herself “Shura-Hime”, a foreign girl attacks Akatsuki. The gears of fate creak to life.
The curtain silently rises on a struggle wrapped in an ancient curse, a conflict known as “Enmai”…
Now you know about as much as I do about the character of Mishiro Akatsuki, which is to say – essentially nothing (aside from that she’s voiced by Koshimizu Ami). I started listening to the drama CD this evening but I think I’d have to listen to the whole thing to make head or tail of it, and at 92 minutes spanning two discs I’m not sure when that’s going to happen.
That, however, is a good thing – as I start the review I need to stress that this package, the Shuraki 1 trinity box, is an insanely amazing deal. 4,800 yen retail (cheaper in many places) for a 92 minute drama CD, a Goodsmile quality figure with two sets of clothing, and a mini-artbook? Madness! And indeed it is too good to be true; subsequent installments raise the price to 6,800 yen, still a good deal, but less mind-blowingly suspicious. I’m guessing the low price on this one is meant as a gateway drug to get us hooked for the later installments.
This would be a great tactic, if the market were allowed to act and actually let us buy the damn things – they could’ve priced this first box at the full 6,800 yen or even higher and it would’ve sold out in an instant regardless, leaving just as many pained and angry fans (both of the figure and the excellent drama cast) left out in the cold. Shame on you Goodsmile, shame on you for limiting this release so severely, and I’d keep ranting here if it weren’t for the fact that a second run was just announced for January. Whew.
So, on to the figure itself: setting the original design aside (wincing at the wacky head-top braids in the process) this is a very solid sculpt with some great lines, from a reputable sculptor who definitely knows his stuff. No complaints there. The pose is dynamic, the facial expression charged with emotion, the blood on the snow at her feet is frikkin’ badass – yeah, this is a cool figure.
Production quality is typical Goodsmile fare, for the most part incredibly solid. Lots of great shading, the detail work and trim are spot on, and the castoff procedure is not too painful (though pulling one of her arms out of the sleeve to remove her shirt initially was an unpleasant tug of war).
The kit’s primary weaknesses are revealed following the full castoff procedure, where we see the ill-fitting seam on her right shoulder that extends around the edge of her right breast. In addition, the castoff wasn’t quite as clean as it could have been; removal found mysterious smudges on her skin (stomach and back) that weren’t easily explained by the clothing that had covered them.
Overall this is a kit that I would recommend to anyone without any hesitation whatsoever. Even if you abhor drama CDs and find mini-artbooks to be vile creations of Beelzebub the kit stands on its own merits at the price, and for those who like some sweet extras the package is even more worth picking up.
Overall Score: package: 10/10 figure alone: 8.5/10
+ insane value for the money
+ great dynamic sculpt
+ typically high Goodsmile production value
+ drama CD features the best in the business
– seriously, what’s up with the helicopter hair?
– seam on the right shoulder / chest, smudges on skin
– Goodsmile’s boneheaded inability to meet demand
If you’d like to support HD Yes Asia has her right now (January reissue preorder), though I can’t recommend their grossly inflated prices; this reissue is being circulated to stores beyond those listed on the Shuraki website as official dealers, so purchasing options should widen considerably. Good luck to all hoping to snag her this time around!