When Movic’s race queen Musubi was first announced at last summer’s Wonder Festival I was pretty excited, coming off the successful release of their first Musubi PVC a few months before. With a strong affection for her character and the obvious castoff potential exhibited by that unpainted prototype, expectations went a bit wild… The following eight months became an exercise in coming down to earth, but I wasn’t prepared for quite the extent of the inept production that awaited. Read on for a look at how a decent kit didn’t quite meet its potential:
PS. Thanks to SbebiWan for pointing out that there was nothing in this excerpt. ^^;;
Original Design: Gokurakuin Sakurako (Sakura Ashika)
Sculptor: zenko (Iousen)
Source: Sekirei (manga, anime)
Scale: 1/7 (23 cm tall)
Option Parts: castoffable skirt, top
Release Date: April 24th, 2008
Price: 6,090 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [KNC] [HLJ] [HS] [TL]
Support HD!: [PA] [YA]
Related: Sekirei Engagement – Gokurakuin Sakurako Visual Collection Book / Sekirei Drama CD
Musubi is the main heroine of Gokurakuin Sakurako’s Sekirei manga, the story of a tournament organized by a megalomaniac Japanese business tycoon between genetically engineered magical girls (“Sekirei”) and their male human counterparts (“Ashikabi”) to whom they are bonded. The story centers around protagonist Minato, a typical Japanese pre-college rounin who becomes involved in the tournament when Musubi chooses him as her Ashikabi at the beginning of the first manga volume. Imagining a moe harem version of Ikkitousen with a some shoujo / boys love elements thrown in (the author is more widely known for her work on the Category: Freaks manga, after all) wouldn’t be too inaccurate a description. Sekirei was recently announced for a TV anime adaptation, which is scheduled to begin this summer.
This figure is based on an illustration that first appeared in the September 2005 issue of Young GanGan magazine as the frontspiece to Sekirei manga chapter 16. It was subsequently reproduced in the Sekirei Engagement – Gokurakuin Sakurako Visual Collection Book, from which the above photo was taken.
Zenko’s talent as a sculptor is considerable, and while this may not be his best work it’s certainly not his worst. I’d say it’s roughly on par with his earlier interpretation of Musubi; a competent piece of work that is enjoyable at a glance but becomes a bit more problematic upon closer inspection.
Design-wise he didn’t have much to go on beyond that single illustration, so the fact that he was able to extrapolate a decent sculpt from such minimal data is commendable. The face, head and hair are very nicely done, but I find her chest area to be rather lacking; the breasts don’t hang naturally or convincingly, perhaps due to the constraints of the costume design but it does seem to me that there are some anatomical issues beyond that.
Overall this is a sculpt that strikes me as rather forgettable; not a crime against humanity or a particularly boring piece but one that evokes a nod and a smile before moving on, and the polite designation of being “nice” without leaving much of an impression. A bit disappointing, given the knowledge of what Zenko can do when he really puts his mind to it.
There are some pretty serious production issues that need to be addressed in this piece. First is a casting job that one might charitably call “rough around the edges”; nearly all of the seams are plainly visible (above her stockings, at her waist, and around her shoulders), and mold lines are evident as well, especially the one curving down over her left breast. An irritating nub is plainly visible hanging off the back of the skirt. Detail work on the hair and boot laces isn’t well defined, though a decent job was done on the panties.
The paint job isn’t particularly inspiring either. Setting aside the questionable choice of colors, detail work (the minimal amount there is) is shoddy on the boot laces and around her fingertips, there’s little to no shading on the skin and clothing, and when cast off the nipples are rendered in a way I’ve never seen on a kit before, and are the kit’s only unfortunate element of originality. The Sekirei mark on the back of her neck is a nice touch, but good luck reaching it without breaking things.
Which brings us to the castoff. Despite being essentially advertised as such there is no easy castoff mechanism available. Her top is glued together and must be forcibly pried apart to be pulled off; despite the glaring shoulder seams that appear when the top is removed her arms are permanently affixed to her torso, making the initial castoff even more challenging. I used a butter knife to help pry apart the under arm seam, and had no available tool with enough precision to help with the seam tucked between her hair and her neck so I had to use brute force to separate the two sides. I got lucky and didn’t seriously damage the part, but there’s no way the top is going back on her in its original condition.
I frankly don’t understand why they chose to cast her torso and head as a single piece and glue the arms on afterwards, instead of the much more common and sensible route of casting the torso and arms as a piece and dropping the socket of the head onto an extended neck. With a little more engineering the castoff could have been painless, easily replaceable, and looked WAY better than with those ugly shoulder seams.
I had reasonably high hopes for Movic’s race queen Musubi PVC, based on the samples and my experience with her predecessor. Beyond the most cursory visual examination those hopes were unmet, and while I still find myself able to enjoy the kit I’m a bit disappointed by some of the design choices, largely on the production side, that lower this from its potential as a very solid kit to one that I’m only able to recommend to hardcore Musubi fans such as myself.
A final note: The shark-eating-chibi-Musubi shown in the last few pictures is an extra that came with the official Movic online shop release of the figure. When I saw it there I immediately fell in love, and I maintain that this item is in fact the cutest thing ever created by hand of man. It’s Musubi. In a shark. With her ahoge sticking out. It’s supposed to be a cell phone strap thing, but I think I’m going to build an altar to it and bring it votive offerings on solstice days instead.
Overall Score: 7/10
If you’re interested in purchasing Movic’s race queen Musubi and you’d like to support HD in the process, she is now available at Play-Asia. Other retailers are listed at the top of this post.
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