As a teen, I was pretty obsessed with cyberpunk. It started, of course, when I read Neuromancer and I quickly tore through the book genre. Gibson, Philip K Dick, Neal Asher… I read them all. And then I discovered a cyberpunk boom in anime! In the early 2000’s we got so many amazing cyberpunk-ish anime like Heat Guy J, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, and of course Ghost in the Shell.
GiTS seems to have stood the test of time better than the rest. It has several spinoffs/sequels/reimaginings, and we get merch from it to this day. Including Ghost in the Shell: Arise, which has given us some amazing figures of Motoko. Kotobukiya’s definitely has the most cyberpunk feel, so of course it was the one I was looking forward to the most! Let’s check her out.
There are a few Motoko figures on the market (though perhaps not as many as you’d expect), but almost all of them feature the iconic purple/grey bodysuit. Kotobukiya’s take on her is quite different, and certainly more dynamic–it features her recharging on a really cool pedestal base.
Motoko was given a pretty drastic redesign for Arise, including a palette change (blue hair instead of purple! an outfit with actual bright colors!) and a totally new face. Koto’s take on her is very anime-accurate, right down to the dramatic lashes. I love how pissed off she looks: so often PVC figures have that generic cute/shy/smiling expression, and I really appreciate when they show a bit more character.
Another, perhaps less apparent change, is that they reduced her bust size quite a bit. I mean, this is anime we’re talking about so she’s still busty as hell, but in a slightly more realistic way. At least it’s now believable that her skimpy top would actually offer a bit of support! Let’s be honest: Motoko would have fallen right out of her old outfit in a second. Not that, you know, this is more practical–but the satin finish gives it the appearance of leather, which seems more fitting for her line of work.
Notice the hint of abs on her stomach? Yeah, Motoko is ripped as hell and ready to shoot you in the face. Qualities I appreciate in a woman.
Her pose manages to be both casual and defensive. It’s clearly relaxed, her body all curled up on itself, but the gun to your face and stiff shoulders show that she’s always on high alert.
For me, the many wires draped around her body (and connected to it) are the highlight. They’re actually made of a softer, bendable material so they feel like “real” wires: they’re not stiff PVC. Which adds a nice effect but also means you don’t have to worry about breaking them! I am a very clumsy person so stuff like that is always appreciated.
The wires even go directly into her body. Maximum cyberpunk!
Given her skimpy attire, Motoko by herself is a pretty basic figure. But the base, and the wires that attach to it, elevate it from “girl in leather underwear” to “cyborg princess.” It’s like a little tiny throne! The detail level here, as we’ve come to expect from their robot figures, is great: it’s fully sculpted and shaded, with as much detail put into it as Motoko herself.
If you like Motoko’s appearance in Arise, I think this is the best figure of her on the market. It’s deceptively simple and captures her character perfectly. It’s pretty unique among our admittedly way-too-large collection: I can’t think of another figure that shows off the cyberpunk aesthetic to a tee. I very much hope they follow this up with a figure of her in the full red jacket outfit!
Thanks as always to Stephen Donaldson for taking these photos. And to our massive collection of cords and broken computer parts for finally coming in handy. I knew there was a reason we kept them around!
[Review sample provided by Kotobukiya, all opinions are our own]