What are girls made of? If you said “sugar and spice and everything nice”, you wouldn’t be far off. If you said “food”, you’d be closer still. If you said “polyvinyl chloride, paint, artificial strawberry fragrance, and carcinogens”, you’d be talking about Cafe Reo’s Strawberry-chan, the first figure to be released based on designs from Okama’s Food Girls artbook and the first I’m aware of to use scent as a gimmick. Who could pass up a figure with such curious credentials? Certainly not me, resulting in the review you’re about to see:
Original Design: Okama (Wikipedia)
Sculptor: Azusa Rei (Gun Doll)
Source: Food Girls (artbook)
Scale: non. (18 cm long)
Option Parts: shredded dress, panties
Extras: strawberry scent (pre-applied)
Release Date: May 3rd, 2008
Production: 株式会社アールレイシステムズ via Cafe Reo
Price: 5,775 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [HS] [HLJ] [TL]
Support HD!: [PA]
Related: Yamato’s Food Girls Nasubi-sama
Strawberry-chan is one of the characters created by Okama for inclusion in his Food Girls artbook. Without access to the book itself I can’t say much more than that, so let’s get on to the
meat fruit of the review:
Azusa Rei delivers a piece here that’s hard to describe as anything other than adorably cute. His past work includes many other moe mascot-type characters, so it’s unsurprising that he was chosen for the job here; in some ways I’d say his style is almost too cherubic for Okama’s more waifish designs, but he still manages to keep the character’s feel of innocent vitality despite sacrificing some of her original wispy angularity.
The chosen pose is dynamic and well executed; recumbent figures are rare, and it’s fun when they come along given the alternative display configurations available. Conceptually this is a design that works well as as figure, in my opinion.
This time Cafe Reo is merely the front operation for shadowy production company アールレイシステムズ (R-Ray Systems? damn you unparseable katakana), whose first figure work this appears to be. With nothing known about the company beyond the name and a Google search revealing little more it’s a puzzle as to who is actually behind this, but whoever it is did a job that I would characterize as baseline adequate.
The casting is decent, but suffers from a flaws in the glaring seams where the legs and arms are joined to the torso. Detail work is otherwise pretty crisp and there aren’t many visible mold lines.
The paint job is likewise decent, with some ragged detail work well within the margin of acceptable error given the scale and intricacy of the sculpt. The most problematic aspect here is certainly the chosen skin tone, a gloss finish that seems inappropriate and a bit unsavory.
The scent gimmick doesn’t really add much to the value of the kit, I found; I’m partial to the (no doubt toxic) smell of a newly opened PVC figure box, and the strawberry laid over that didn’t mix very well. It’s not a nasty or pervasive smell, and is localized to very near the figure, so it shouldn’t prove bothersome when on display. Maybe a “scratch ‘n’ sniff” option would have worked better?
Cafe Reo / mystery shadow company’s Food Girls Strawberry-chan figure was a bit of a risk, but one I’m not unhappy for making; it’s a cute kit with some nice design elements, and if you can overlook the segmented limbs and the shiny skin I think you’ll be pleased with her as well. All in all I’d give this figure a qualified HD recommendation.
Overall Score: 7/10
If you’d like to support HD with your purchase of Strawberry-chan, she’s currently available at Play-Asia. Other retail options are listed at the top of this post.