The multimedia figure series that earlier this year redefined the scope of the figure otaku feeding frenzy is back in its second installment! Shuraki vol. 2 brings the incredibly cute Riu (Liu) Meifeng to the fore, in yet another dynamite combination of character design, sculpting and voice acting talent. How does she compare to the series’ first installment, Akatsuki Mishiro? I’d say incredibly well, but pictures speak louder than words:
Original Design: Kiba Satoshi (木場智士)
Sculptor: Kawara Takayuki (Amiami search)
Source: Shuraki (multimedia figure series)
Scale: 1/8 (23 cm tall)
Extras: Illustration Book, Drama CD (73 minutes)
Release Date: November 20th, 2007
Production: Goodsmile, Red Entertainment
Price: 6,800 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [KNC] [HS] [TL]
Support HD!: [YA]
Translated from her official Shuraki page:
“A Shuraki of Chinese extraction. 17 years old, 160 cm tall. She has a bright, airheaded personality and is quite quite gregarious, with an unquenchable smile. When she awoke as a Shuraki and learned the circumstances of their endless struggle and the curse she was under she was determined to continue with life as usual, but due to pressure to live up to the ancient traditions of her family lineage, Meifeng fled to Japan.
She found refuge with the Mizuchi house, another family descended of Shuraki lineage, where she is currently relying on their kindness. Her childhood friend and also Shuraki Mizuchi Towako lives there as well.
Meifeng’s innocent face and lighthearted conversation hide a keen intellect and sharp wit. She acts to guide Akatsuki and other newly awoken Shuraki, cooperating to help them avoid disaster.
Her Chinese-accented speech, occasional changes of tone and expression are all actually calculated moves on her part. She fights with a pair of “engetsurin” (moon-curved wheels), using a combination of Chinese martial arts to lure opponents in close and hit them with a succession of rapid precise strikes.”
Drama CD Description
Shuraki Drama CD Vol. 2: The Legend of Schwarzschild
Starring: Iizuka Mayumi as Riu Meifeng
Translated from her official CD page:
“On a night when countless falling stars rained on a town enveloped in snow, a tragedy occurred.
On the outskirts of Kagura-shi, at the Kouryuu Shrine hidden in the mountains, Shuraki Riu Meifeng and Mizuchi Towako were told of this occurrence.
The two devised a countermeasure… but into their midst snuck a girl changed completely into a Shuraki. And the mysterious organization “White Raven” also drew near.
Deep within the forest, the legend handed down from time immemorial, the Shuraki’s dance of flames had begun!”
The first thing to note in a review of Meifeng is the bare numerical fact that she costs more than Mishiro, her predecessor. It’s clear that Mishiro was designed with an introductory price in mind, and that the makers very much intend to use her as a hook into following along with the series. Meifeng’s higher price brings her a bit more in line with reality, but she is still a very good deal for what is included; if we break the price down to 4,600 yen for the figure and 2,200 yen for the drama CD that’s a very reasonable price for both, and the booklet gets thrown in for free.
I got a chance to listen to more of the drama CD while preparing this review than I did for Mishiro’s, and found myself being drawn into the story – it’s really well done. This is another part of the series’ gimmick, to be sure; a continuing story that makes you want to continue buying to find out how things develop. I really like Meifeng’s character as portrayed by Iizuka Mayumi and hope she doesn’t die by the end… ;_; The contents of the booklet make more sense if you listen to the drama CDs as well, because the illustrations depict scenes from the story as enacted on disc. If there is interest I can summarize what’s going on in the story; feel free to post to comments if you’d like to hear more.
After reading her character description and listening to a bit of the drama CD I came away with the impression that both the original design and the sculpt do a perfect job of portraying Meifeng’s character. The cute, determined look on her face really captures her spirit of “I’m not going to lose”, and the China-themed lines of the costume and combat-inspired pose flow incredibly well together. Her hair design is a work of art – nay architecture, that in my opinion is the best in the series (with the possible exception of Shall). I have no complaints about the kit sculpturally; it’s quite simply great.
Starting from the basic premise that Goodsmile’s production quality is all around awesome, let’s get down to the nitty gritty (and sadly there is nit to grit with this kit… damn, did I really just write that?).
Essentially all of the production issues surrounding Meifeng have to do with her castoff. The first difficulty encountered was with the white straps that are affixed to loop over her shoulders – once you’ve removed them to get her top off, good luck putting them back in place. It’s an effort to even get them remotely close to where they were. Next, her top. While it’s kindly split in the back to allow for some wiggle room, it’s very, very snugly in place – you’re going to have to do some serious yanking to coax it off, and you’ll have to forcibly pull the dress off too.
The castoff wouldn’t be a serious issue overall though if it weren’t for what was revealed underneath. Sad to say her bum and thighs did not escape the process unscathed, but those aren’t even scuff marks from the paint of the dress; plastic sheeting was in place to protect from that. It’s some kind of factory residue or something, and I’m surprised to see it given Goodsmile’s generally solid track record in this area. Definitely the kit’s single biggest drawback.
Goodsmile’s Shuraki Meifeng is a truly wonderful kit. Her design is lovely, and the great sculpt benefits from typically solid Goodsmile execution. Some irritation through the castoff process is forgivable, though the marks on her posterior are less so; not enough to seriously damage the quality of the item overall, though, and I can happily recommend her as a fine addition to the collection of any PVC figure fan.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
+ Meifeng is a great original character, both in terms of design and execution
+ very high quality drama CD
+ excellent sculpt captures the character flawlessly
+ typical Goodsmile production largely pulls through
o castoff process is inconvenient
o higher price than the first volume lowers value from outrageous to merely good
– shoulder straps need better engineering to be easily replaceable
– scuff marks on her hind end show an unfortunate factory oversight
If you’re interested in acquiring her and didn’t manage to get your preorder in you’re largely out of luck, as this first lot is sold out in most places; as of writing Yes Asia still has her if you’re willing to fork out the cash. Otherwise odds are good that like Mishiro, Meifeng will also see a second round of production; We’ll keep our eyes open for any news on that front.