Plastikitty Review: Kotobukiya’s ArtFX J Li Syaoran

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We went so long without Cardcaptor figures that it almost feels surreal to finally have one in my hands. I mean, when the prize figure announcements started coming in I tamed my excitement. It’s just prize figures, right? But then we got announcements like the figma and Kotobukiya’s Sakura scaled figure (review), and the floodgates were open.

And, thankfully, we’re not just getting figures of the girls. Because, come on, the second main character is a boy! And while it seems like most companies have been neglecting Syaoran, Kotobukiya of course did not. Cause they know the importance of boy figures. Hit the jump and let’s get started!

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Syaoran’s assembly is actually pretty unique because of his base. Unlike 99.9% of figures, it’s not actually flat. It tilts up, putting him at an angle. He slots right in, but you have to put the base together first!

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

See? It’s propped upright by a little stand. I have a lot of figures, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one use a base in this particular way. It’s pretty unique, and definitely makes the figure feel quite large even though he’s 1/7 scale.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

In fact, he seems absolutely massive. I mean, 1/7 scale isn’t exactly small, but this figure takes up a LOT of space. Between the base, his pose, and the outfit & sword flying all over the place it’s rather imposing. Even with the base he’s a little under 9 inches because of the pose, but a lot wider and deeper. So kind of a space hog, but given our intense nostalgic love for Cardcaptor I think we all want a centerpiece figure from the franchise.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Like Sakura, his face is based more on the manga art than the anime. In fact, he’s inspired by a particular piece of art. So it’s huge eyes and the signature CLAMP face roundness instead of his more angular anime appearance, but like with Sakura I’m totally fine with this choice. The only change I’m kind of sad about is the base: in the original illustration it’s fully painted, but I understand why that’s unreasonable to expect in a scaled figure. It’d add both time to the production and probably a price jump.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

And for his size, Li is pretty damn affordable. Figure prices have been on the rise recently, and it’s not uncommon to see a basic 1/8 going for over 10k. But Li is priced at ¥11,000, which is practically dirt cheap in the current figure economy.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

The flowing fabric of his coat adds a sense of dynamism to the figure. His pose makes it look like he just landed on the base (probably after chasing some card around), and the movement of his clothing definitely reflects that.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Syaoran is part of the ARTFX J line, which means great pricing but also usually figures that are a bit simpler than some of their other works. But as we saw with Sakura, the sculpts here are unusually detailed for the line. While Syaoran doesn’t have the piles of ruffles that Sakura did, there’s lots of motion and folds sculpted into his clothing.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

I usually go for figures with softer, cool colors (blue, purple, pink) but Syaoran has a very bright and masculine color scheme. Green, yellow, and orange: it’s definitely a lot bolder than your usual figure, especially with the pops of black and white. He’s definitely going to stand out on a shelf!

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

My one complaint, if you can call it that, is the angle of his sword. I wish it was either perpendicular to the base or even pointed downward. As it is, it fits the illustration perfectly, but is kind of high above his body which makes it a bit hard to get into shots.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

His paint is overall very crisp, with basically zero overlap between the orange piping and the main green/yellow “fabric.” With colors as bold as this mistakes would stick out like a sore thumb, but Li is free of quality control issues.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

I’ve already discussed how his base is positioned, but let’s take a closer look! It’s his summoning circle, rendered in nice detail. The finish is slightly metallic, giving it a kind of aged feel. My only paint complaint, though, is here: the shadowing in the center panels looks a bit messy on super close inspection.

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Both Syaoran and Sakura are pretty substantial figures, and together they’re even more impressive. They’ll probably take up a whole shelf together!

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

Kotobukiya's ArtFX J Li Syaoran

If you’re a Cardcaptor fan, you probably already bought this figure. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re so thirsty for figures of the cast that this was an auto-buy for a lot of us. But if you’re on the fence, Syaoran is most definitely worth picking up! Especially if you have Sakura: I think they make a great pair, with a nice contrast of soft and hard, bold and sweet.

Thanks as always to Stephen Donaldson for taking these pictures!

Purchase At: KotoUS | AmiAmi | BigBadToystore

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

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About Leah Bayer