How have you guys been since last time? Hopefully you guys have been having lots of fun.
Not too long ago I got to have some fun of my own with the super cute and adorable Kotobukiya Oshino Shinobu from the ever popular Monogatari franchise from good ol' Shaft.
I have been a long time Shaft fan. When I started to become heavily invested in watching anime during my early college days I became attached to the weird quirky adaptations they made. Shows like Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei and Hidamari Sketch with their bold visual styles and disjointed storytelling really had a completely different vibe than their contemporaries.
Whenever there was a new season I would look to see what Shaft was up to, what interesting show would I add to my watch list.
That's how I ended up watching things like Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Maria+Holic and several others. However, there was one show that was suspiciously absent for many years. One that I went out of my way to avoid, even when people were clamoring how awesome it was, how suddenly it took care of Shaft's money problems, how it was the greatest thing since sliced bread... again!
This good folks was me with a nice good case of hype aversion for certain show called Bakemonogatari.
I always tend to be weary when the Western anime fandom explodes with whatever shows. I have found out time and time again I like anime shows for very different reasons than the Western fandom.
Heck one time someone called one of my most enjoyable shows to watch "garbage that no one right in the head would watch". Sometimes it seems like my tastes are mutually exclusive when it comes to anime with the Western fandom.
It takes me some effort to get over that and actually sit down to watch these shows. I eventually watched it, popularity aside this was a show by Shaft. I enjoyed it, it's one the few shows I genuinely I wish I was fluent in Japanese so I could understand all the word play.
I suppose it did work out better for me in the end though, by the time I watched the show it was out on nice looking blu rays and this included all the extra episodes that were not broadcasted during its run.
Heck by the time I watched it the sequel Nisemonogatari was also out in super pretty blu rays too.
With that said, when Bakemonogatari was at the height of its popularity, when everyone was crazy with all the merchandise I had no interest at all as I had never watched it.
When all the pretty figures were being released by Good Smile Company, Alter, Kotobukiya, etc I looked at them and thought they were nice and enjoyed the photos of them people would take.
The only figure that really caught my eye was GSC's Shinobu but it wasn't really until I saw a certain photo by Fab that I really started to crave that figure. Alas prices on that were silly so I never really thought to actually buy it. Good thing GSC re-released their Shinobu eh?
After watching Nisemonogatari I ended falling in love with Shinobu, talking and having a personality really helps! I never really understood why she was so popular when she just sat quietly in a corner in Bakemonogatari.
After her depiction in Nisemonogatari I wanted a Shinobu figure badly, really, really badly. There was GSC's high profile rendition but that depicts Shinobu as she was in Bakemonogatari not the Shinobu I wanted. For a long time no one really did a Shinobu I wanted, I almost settled for a prize figure as the best I had to choose from.
This is when the oft maligned Kotobukiya comes out of nowhere for me to the rescue. I never really subscribed to the hate camp for Koto but it had been ages since a figure from them interested me so I hadn't really paid much attention to them in a while.
Koto suddenly doing not only a Shinobu but just the perfect image of her that I wanted in figure form really struck me. After I saw the prototype at a Wonfes I just needed to know when could I order this figure and when would I get it.
Now then, how well did Koto do in bringing me my dream Shinobu figure to life?
Shinobu has a super happy smile on her face, why wouldn't she when she is holding one of her beloved donuts in hand. The figure looks the part she has her perma blush, her lovely vampire fangs in full prominence and her beautiful large golden eyes. If you like the cute childish Shinobu this expression is for you.
However, if the haughty older Shinobu that loves to tease Araragi is more up your alley then Koto has you covered as well. I love how her fang pokes out of her shrewd smile this combined with her narrow eyes makes me think she is saying she won't be sharing her beloved donuts.
As you have seen Shinobu comes with two interchangeable expressions. They work just like they do on figmas and nendos, you take out the front hair piece and swap them out as desired.
Apart from the two interchangeable expressions Shinobu comes with a few other accessories. One of them is the donut she holds in her right hand, the donut is simply wedged into place. I gotta say I was surprised at how it is a lot more secure than photos make it seem, in all of my moving and bumping the figure around it did not fall out of her hand even once.
As far as looks go, I guess it does look like a donut? When looked from a normal viewing distance and not under a macro lens it looks pretty well.
On the other hand, I can't say the same for the box of donuts. While it does look the part and gives the texture of an actual cardboard box it is no where as secure as the donut in Shinobu's right hand. With almost every little bump the box would fall out of her left hand. Eventually I got so annoyed at it I just didn't bother and left out as I was taking pictures.
Even without the box, Shinobu's left hand looks fine and can be displayed without if it becomes too much of an annoyance.
As you probably noticed throughout these pictures Shinobu also comes with a nice straw hat with cute pink ribbon on it as seen in the show. The hat uses the power of magnetism once more, just like Koto's older Marisa figure, to keep the hat secured on her head.
One of the things I really liked about the figure was the base featuring a certain young chap, I like the nod to how Shinobu lives in Araragi's shadow. Although the more I look at it, the more I keep imagining Araragi just peeking under Shinobu's skirt.
In case you are wondering, this figure has Shinobu wearing panties and not just a band aid.
Another thing I loved about this figure is how Shinobu's pose puts emphasis on her cute little loli behind and her nice slim legs. Not bad for only being in body that appears to be eight years old.
Which reminds, most of Shinobu's figures are of her as she appears in her lovely loli for. If you ask me I would really love one of her as a teenager as she appeared in the final episode of Nisemonogatari.
I always loved Shinobu's sundress, I really dig the nice sexy back it shows off. Although I suppose with the open back and short skirt this dress would be a bit daring for an adult woman.
May be not, it sure hasn't really stopped cosplayers from doing so at all.
My biggest complaint about this figure would be a couple of seam lines, or I suppose they are more aptly called gaps. One is the one you get from the separation between Shinobu's front bangs and the rest of hair in order to accommodate the face swapping. While I feel it is inevitable that there would be a gap I think Koto could have done a bit better to make it less noticeable.
The other thankfully enough is covered by Shinobu's hair and it's situated at her right shoulder where it attaches to the arm. I think Koto just slacked off on this one and were counting on the hair to conceal it. I suppose if that was their aim it worked out as it is not very noticeable.
I wish her hair had a bit more shading, it looks fine I guess with natural shading from lighting but I would really liked a bit more. Perhaps if it did it would not look so much like bananas. I guess this is just Koto following the visual style of the show, GSC's own rendition also has a flat color for Shinobu's hair.
Aside from that the rest of the figure is painted well. Her dress looks very nice with touches of shading to give it some depth along with the folds. The small details like the ribbons in the dress or the underskirt are also done well with no paint going over the border.
Over all I think Kotobukiya has done a splendid job with this figure. Sure it has some mishaps here and there but they are barely noticeable when you look at the whole package.
The figure looks like Shinobu, has all the elements that are associated with her and even has a variant if you want different expressions.
I like this Shinobu, I will go as far as to say that I like it more that GSC's version. I do admit this has a lot to do with Koto's version depicting my preferred image of Shinobu and I do find the GSC version the more interesting figure over all.
At some point Alter should be showing off their figure, I suppose the ball is now in the court to see how their rendition matches up.
That's all from me for now, a bit long winded but it has been a while after all. Until next time peeps... ka, ka!