When French Doll’s Ryomou was first announced for PVC conversion last year I was psyched to have the chance to own a classic Cerberus Project kit without going to the trouble of painting it myself. I missed the deadline for the Comic Gum mail order edition though, and was thus even happier to hear that she would be reissued in this alternate “pearl black” color scheme. While I would’ve prefered the original colors, the chance to own a kit like this could not be passed up, so I bit the bullet and put in an order. Was she worth the trouble? You make the call:
Original Design: Shiozaki Yuuji
Sculptor: French Doll (Cerberus Project)
Source: Ikkitousen (manga, anime)
Scale: 1/7 (28 cm tall)
Option Parts: handcuffs
Release Date: April 1st, 2008
Production: Goodsmile (Comic Gum/Wani Books, UART)
Price: 7,800 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [KNC] [HLJ] [HS] [TL]
Support HD!: [PA] [JLIST]
As mentioned in the intro, this is a kit with some history. Originally sculpted for limited resin release in 2004 (Cerberus Project gallery page), HLJ tells us that she was subsequently reissued in kit form later that year by Kurushima and put up for release via general distribution. Last year Comic Gum announced that the figure would be produced in PVC as part of a mail-order limited campaign they were running, and then Goodsmile announced they would be distributing an unlimited PVC version of the kit in an alternate color (the one depicted in this review). All told, this is the fourth version of the figure to be released under various circumstances in the past four years.
French Doll’s resin Ryomou in 2004
Despite its multiple editions I’ll be the first to say that this sculpt is not the height of French Doll’s craft. It is an incredibly well done rendition of Ryomou in her classic maid outfit, and is certainly a decent piece of work, but she suffers from a bland pose and some issues of proportion (length of the legs to width of the hips, leg length to torso length and overall height), as well as some sculpting issues around the hips and groin that make me come away with the feeling that her muscles aren’t all laid out quite right under the skin.
Criticisms aside this is certainly a significant kit in terms of attention paid to details of the starched frills of her skirt, and a nicely done hair sculpt that is among the most faithful renditions I’ve seen on a Ryomou kit. For fans of French Doll as a sculptor it’s also a nice reminder of the powerhouse he was even four years ago, and the degree to which his craft has evolved and progressed.
I have to wonder to what extent Goodsmile was involved with the production and quality control on this kit, as it’s an uncharacteristically weak offering by their standards (in terms of the paint job, at least). The casting has no glaring flaws – detail work is crisp and there are no offensive seams or mold lines.
The paint job is another matter, however. While I applaud the use of a wide variety of gloss, matte, and chrome finishes to lend the perception of contrasting fabric and flesh, I disagree with the choice to go super-gloss on her stockings in addition to the skirt, gloves, and shoes. Aesthetic considerations aside, much of the trim work is shoddy (the square of her back is especially poor, with gloss finish applied unevenly) and the chrome of her apron is scuffed (primarily across the chest but in other locations as well). Her face has no shading at all, leaving it with a waxy pallor that stands as an unpleasant contrast to the offering in Cerberus’s gallery.
UART / Comic Gum’s (Wani Books) pearl black Ryomou Shimei is something of a disappointment. While I was resigned to the inferiority of the black color scheme I wasn’t prepared for the mediocre workmanship or the impact of the paint finishes that end up clashing more than complimenting one another. If I had it to do over I would have made the extra effort to mail order the limited original blue version instead. Still the kit is not without its merits, and fans of Ryomou will not be ill-served by at least pondering the addition of this to their collections.
Overall Score: 7/10
If you’d like to support HD with your purchase, Ryomou is currently available at Play-Asia, J-List, and YesAsia. YesAsia even still has a legit version of the original kit, if you’re feeling up to the paint job.