Plastikitty Review: Kotobukiya’s 1/8 Asuna

KotoAsunaReviewHeader

One of the most anticipated figures this year has been Kotobukiya’s Asuna from Sword Art Online: we’ve seen her time and time again, always looking lovely and elegant. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that for many collectors, this figure has elevated Kotobukiya to new heights. While I’ve always been a fan, many think of them as a mid-tier company though they’ve stepped out their game up significantly in the past few years.

Of course the final test is always the mass produced version. Few ever live up to the lovely prototype shots we’ve seen: in the past I’d say Alter was capable of it, but lately even they have been failing me. So would lovely miss Asuna deliver on the promise of perfection? Hit the jump and let’s find out!

Asuna

OH MY GOD, it’s… A BOX. Thrilling, fascinating! Okay I am really tired of box shots, let’s move on.

Asuna

I am so used to Kotobukiya figures coming in two pieces (figure + base) or even one that I recoiled in horror when I saw all the parts that make up Asuna (there might be some exaggeration about my reaction going on here–but seriously, I was getting Makise flashback horror). Thankfully, she’s very simple to assemble–the rings go on her pillar easily, which snaps into the base. Then it’s just a matter of getting her sword into her hand and her scabbard into the belt, which there is a peg for.

A word of caution: these pieces stay on nicely if she’s on a shelf, but if you plan on taking Asuna on some photography adventures keep a close eye on her pieces! The rings stay on fine, but her scabbard and the tiny ponytail (which is a separate piece) tend to fall off at the slightest provocation. Not a display issue, but again, you don’t want to end up losing any of these in the grass!

Asuna

I need to come clean about something: I didn’t watch SAO. In fact, I don’t watch a lot of anime. At all. Like… maybe one show every 2 years. I know, blasphemy! You’re thinking “why do you collect figures if you don’t know the source material?!?!?!” Well, because they’re pretty! Asuna here portrays this perfectly: do you really need to know every detail of her background to appreciate how lovely she looks? Her pose is sweet and elegant, and she’s one of the few figures I own who manages to look delicate while holding a sword.

Asuna

Asuna’s face is wonderfully rendered from the game design. Maybe not quite as long as her character model, but in my mind that is most definitely a good thing. Her eyes are wonderfully soft, and she’s got a great expression without showing a lot of overt emotion. Because figures aren’t actually alive (obviously…) manufacturers often go for very bold emotions (exuberant yelling, battle cries, extra sultry, etc) but Asuna is refreshingly simple. Also, those bangs! They might be the most detailed bangs I’ve ever seen on a figure. Okay, I’m not going to go over every single figure I own, but she’s up there. Like top 10 most detailed bangs.

Asuna

Can we stop and talk about this hair for a second? Look at this hair. JUST LOOK AT IT. It’s… perfect. No ugly seam lines, perfectly sculpted, nicely layered, so much motion and shading. This is seriously my ideal figure hair. And such an unusual color!

Asuna

If I had absolutely no knowledge of SAO I’d guess that Asuna was a version of Joan of Arc from the Fate/Stay Night world just based on her outfit. I mean, with the crosses and all–how often to we get a character with a religious motif who isn’t sexualized to death? Asuna’s outfit is tasteful yet cute, somehow it’s religious battle garb that manages to be youthful. Good job SAO designers! And, as you can see, Kotobukiya did a very nice job rendering it. No paint splotches or weird overlaps–in fact it’s all quite crisp, which is something of a miracle given how many tiny lines there are on her outfit.

Rawr

What’s this, a picture of my cat?! Yup! Sam seemed dead set on being part of the shoot so here he is. Hey, you’re thinking, this is a figure review. But Sam is our mascot! Or, well, the basis of our mascot. And hey, we are “toys & cats & stuff.” It took us a while to get around to the cat but here he is. Who knows when the stuff will happen.

AND ROLLIN

MORE SAMKIN

Asuna

For some reason I’m really enamored with her hand. It’s a part of figures I’ll admit that I don’t usually pay attention to but hers is so dainty! I think it’s the sleeve, the bold red and white with the hint of “lace” draws attention to it. Don’t you just want to hold her hand and, like, skip through a meadow and be best friends with her?

Asuna

Back to Asuna! She’s secured to her base by only one foot, but it’s on there quite firmly so I wouldn’t worry about leaning. In fact, leaning is pretty much a thing of the past. Newer collectors are probably scratching their heads right now thinking “what the heck is leaning?” I sound like their grandma. Figure collecting grandma.

Asuna has a really great base, which is a facet of collecting I talk about again and again. The base is so important! A plain base doesn’t really subtract anything, but an ugly one can pretty much ruin a figure (see GSC’s Tenshi, ugh). And a great base… well, a great base can take a figure from fantastic to OH MY GOD I LOVE HER SO MUCH. The whole effect of Asuna’s base–the crumbling pillar, the rings–adds so much. It adds a story!

Asuna

Asuna comes with a little bonus–you can take off her skirt. I mean, she doesn’t have anything thrilling on underneath. In fact she looks bizarrely angelic without her skirt on. Weird, right?

Asuna

Asuna

Asuna

Asuna

Asuna

Asuna

I can already tell that Asuna is going to be one of my favorite figures from 2013, so I definitely give her the stamp of approval! It’s funny, I really was not even a fan of her character design until this figure, which is how you can tell it’s good! So you should go buy her right now… if you’re lucky enough to find her! As you probably know, her Japanese pre-orders sold out insanely quickly. I guess she just has a whole lot of fans!

Thanks to myself for taking these shots. PLOT TWIST! Yes, this whole review was shot by me and not Stephen from beginning to end, including the post work! But seriously thanks to Stephen for holding my (digital) hand through the whole process, I was constantly texting him with stupid questions because his digital camera is a hell of a lot different from my oldschool film Minolta (which really is not great for figure reviews, unless you want to wait a week or so each time for me to develop it all in a darkroom…)

Purchase At: KotoUS | Big Bad Toystore

[Thanks to Kotobukiya for providing Plastikitty with this review sample]

Share

About Leah Bayer