One of the highly anticipated figures of the latter half of 2007, Daiki Kougyou’s Toushirou-sculpted Mai finally arrived on store shelves in late December. Fans of large scale figures had a lot to look forward here, but questions remained regarding production quality and precise specifications – the castoff issue was resolved awhile ago, but today we take a more intimate look at what Mai has to offer.
Original Design: Shiroi Eiji
Sculptor: Toushirou (Cobra-Kai) (Amiami search)
Source: Garou Densetsu 2 (Fatal Fury 2)
Scale: 1/5 (33 cm tall)
Release Date: December 20th, 2007
Production: Daiki Kougyou
Price: 14,700 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [KNC] [HLJ] [HS] [TL]
Support HD!: [PA] (black version)
This is my first figure review in a couple of months (has it been that long?) so please bear with me if there are any bumps along the way.
Shiranui Mai, as most readers will know, is one of the playable characters in the long running fighting game franchise King of Fighters (and Fatal Fury before that). She’s been a perennial favorite of doujin artists and figure sculptors for years, and last year alone found herself incarnated in three major figure releases (this one, Max Factory‘s, and one from Aizu Project).
Mai’s multiple official incarnations through the years from various character designers means that fidelity to her design is less a matter of strict adherence to details of her facial features and proportions, simply requiring the sculptor to observe general rules of costuming, props and hairstyle. Toushirou’s voluptuous rendition of the heroine is as accurate as they come in this regard, and matches the spirit of the character as well as the form. His signature heavy-lidded look to the eyes works well to give Mai a more sultry expression than usual, which might seem out of place to some but I quite enjoy.
I had to state the kit’s biggest weakness up front I’d say it’s the pose, which I find both rather stationary and boring in addition to some slight anatomical inaccuracies (the alignment of her legs and feet relative to the way her hip is cocked just feels a bit off to me). The overall balance of the kit suffers as a result. A second minor gripe is the hair – a limp strand by comparison to the swirling vortex that is Aizu’s offering. That said, overall Toushirou’s craftsmanship is fully up to the task – though perhaps not his best endeavor to make it to PVC.
Daiki’s casting job is largely unproblematic, with most details rendered smoothly without visible mold lines or seams. The sole marring factor is the hair, which is rendered rather dully with blunted edges and ends both on her ponytail and bangs. Typical Daiki quality in this regard, and a point at which their production could still use some improvement.
The paint job on Mai’s costume is quite nice, with ample shading on her kimono, sash and footwear. The skin doesn’t receive much love, by contrast, which is unfortunate – I was hoping they’d learned a lesson from Sanae, and it makes me wonder whether they used a different project supervisor for her versus their standard lineup. The trim and detail work is crisp, but simple; not much of a feat at this large scale. Overall the production and paint job here are quite similar to their earlier work on Toushirou’s Kousaka Tamaki.
Two final production notes: first, her fans are made of paper and wood and actually collapse and unfold like real folding fans, which is a really cool touch, though they should be treated with care to avoid breakage. Also, while clearly not intended for castoff it’s easy enough to pry the front of her costume away from her breasts and peel the front back over her shoulders – though that’s as far as it goes. Some major surgery would be required to actually remove her top entirely, and I don’t have the balls to try; if you’d like to do what I did and sling her front beneath the loops of the rope behind her back, I’d recommend the blunt side of a butter knife or something similar to help pry it free from the slots in her arm.
Daiki Kougyou’s Toushirou-sculpted Shiranui Mai is overall a very nice item, and one I’m happy to recommend to fans of the character, fans of large scale figures (she’s a big girl indeed) and fans of sexy bishoujo figures in general; if you’re looking for the best, most sexy Toushirou sculpt on the market today, though, I’d recommend his Kanu by a fair margin. Mai is nice and solid, but a few structural flaws and Daiki’s occasionally iffy production quality means she’s not epic; I hope they’ll return with some of his newer work in the near future, under the same supervision team that brought Sanae to life.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
+ Toushirou’s rendition of Mai is incredibly sexy
+ large scale brings her to life, allows real folding fans
+ generally competent execution
o semi-castoff status begs for completion
o production work comes across as merely adequate given the large scale
- some minor anatomical issues make her feel visually off balance
- fix your hair production, Daiki!
If you’re interested in supporting HD with your purchase, the alternate color black and gold version is currently available for preorder at Play-Asia. Otherwise, Hobby Search seems to have her for the most competitive price.