Good Smile Company - Akemi Homura

Homura Hey peeps, how have you been?

Did everyone have a lovely summer? I sure did running around traveling here and there both for a nice long vacation and sadly business trips. Even after returning I ended being busy most weekends leaving almost no time to take photos.

Luckily for me things seem to have mellowed up now that we have entered autumn and got a chance to sit down for nice quality time with my camera and the very spiffy looking Akemi Homura from Good Smile Company.

Homura

Does everyone still remember Puella Magi Madoka Magica? Can't you believe it has already been half a decade since it first aired? Thinking about it seems a bit crazy for me, since this is a show that I would consider recent. I'm slowly realizing that a lot of "recent" shows I have watched are not recent at all anymore.

Homura

During those five years it seems Shaft among others seem to have hit it big with the franchise. There is so many different spin off materials that one can go check out now. There is all other those different manga like Oriko and Kazumi and some rather interesting what if stories like Homura's Revenge. Although with Homura's time traveling everything can become part of the canon I suppose.

There is even a plethora of games both official and fan made, my favorite is the doujin game Grief Syndrome.

Homura

Of course once can not forget the movie compilations that added a bit of extra bits here and there which is a nice way to revisit the show and its characters.

Then there is the sequel movie, Rebellion. Yes that movie...

Homura

On one hand that movie did somethings that I have been craving the whole time I watched the show. Among the those the one I thing I wanted to see the most was probably having all the girls work together as team.

The movie not only introduced us to a nice opening battle with all the girls present it even gave us a very cool and over the top transformation sequence for the whole quintet. It even gave us a true united front with the final battle to save Homura and escape the labyrinth.

Homura

That itch was definitely scratched for me. I was just happy to be able to revisit this world and it's characters. After all, the bittersweet ending of the show did end things open ended enough for a sequel some day.

Homura

Alas, then the last act of the movie occurred and suddenly all those good feelings I had were thrown out the window. I had suspected all the trauma Homura had gone through probably caused some severe issues with her mental and emotional health but I was not even close to how much. Thus when she abruptly took matters into her own hands and saw the resulting events I could just stare dumbfounded at the screen in disbelief.

Homura

In retrospect I should have known better, after all it still Urobuchi writing, can't have those good endings!

Homura

I was one of the many that had become smitten with Homura when the original show aired. I always liked her attitude, who doesn't like an aloof, cool beauty after all?

What attracted me to her was her determination to try to change the horrible events that could occur. If nothing else I can say Homura tried, sadly for her it seems everything was stacked against her. It seems that everything that could go wrong for her did, despite her impressive showing.

Homura

I always felt that such horrible sacrifices made the ending that much more rewarding. After all, Madoka was able to save every magical girl from their tragic fate thanks to Homura's efforts. While she might be separated from Madoka she would join her eventually when her time was up.

Homura

I found Homura's development interesting, comparing just Moemura to Homura in the show proper and later in the movie it's easy to tell how her character evolves. What bothered me is how the movie handled her character growth, want to take Homura down the path of a villain? That's fair game, but to just abruptly do so by twisting her character and simply throwing away the well crafted conclusion of the show is not.

Homura

This is where my mixed feelings come in, I like Homura. While I might not like seeing her make the journey from hero to villain, I like the bigger focus given to her in the movie. She is the true protagonist, name of the franchise aside, after all. I don't like that in doing so Shaft and Urobuchi decided to leave things halfway done.

Homura

Will she remain the Devil to Madoka's Goddess? Will the girls accept her new world or will they rebel against the world as Homura did? Will Homura and Madoka every be together happily? Who knows.

I suppose this is just a result of the stakeholders of the franchise wanting to push something out rather than wait for a proper sequel.

Homura

This is what really bothers me, it feels like this is just the beginning of a new story rather than a conclusion. Judging from how things are going, it might be a story we never get to see.

It seems like the only new things we get is merchandise and at least on that side things are going really well. Just look at all those really nice looking Madogatari cross overs.

Homura

Years ago I bought Gift's rendition of Homura sculpted by the someone divisive Toda Satoshi. I like it, I like it quite a bit. I think it is a very well made and stylish version of Homura.

However, as several people pointed out to me, this style is different from the original character designs. True enough I do agree that Gift's version is Homura as seen through Toda Satoshi rather than "normal" Homura.

Homura

Sadly for me the other options available where a bit disappointing, GSC's original was just painfully "meh". There is just something that looks off about the Aniplex versions that I could never shake off. The others were garage kits that are simply outside my means.

All I wanted was a figure of Homura reflecting Ume Aoki's original designs. Now half a decade after the show ended and a couple after the last movie I finally got what I wanted courtesy of Good Smile Company.

Homura

This rendition of Homura is essentially a perfect adaptation of the illustration and Ume Aoki's style. One has to look no further than Homura's lovely face, from the slight blush to the detailed crosshatched shading in her eyes this is definitely her style.

Homura

While a fairly simple figure GSC didn't really skimp out on the details such as Homura's soul gem, mostly hidden by her sleeve or the delicate pink nails on her slim fingers.

Homura

Homura continues to practice proper gun safety as before, this time not only does not have her finger on the trigger her gun is also pointing away from others as per the illustration. Good job Homura! Of course the actual handgun itself looks quite nice with all the nice details sculpted to precision.

Homura

For the base GSC really couldn't go any simpler, a translucent circular base in purple. On the upside the actual peg is a metal piece rather than the typical PVC, this greatly serves to ease my mind when I think of a single peg supporting the figure.

Homura

Homura's hair looks great over all, the individual strands great adding to sense of motion along with her clothes. The only problem is the rather noticeable seam line along the top of her head, fairly easy to see at a glance.

Homura

While Homura might be a bit obscured in the original illustration GSC managed to translate it into a figure quite well.

I feel the poses of the girls in the illustration are a bit awkward if you really think about it but they do look really nice from certain angles. Some of which I would not have really considered if I couldn't simply take the figure and look at her from various directions.

Homura

My biggest complain about this figure has to be her size. Yes, I know Homura is not a tall girl but for a 1/8th scale this figure is super tiny. Perhaps it is a result of her pose with a low profile giving the illusion of such. I don't own the Madoka from the same set so I can't really compare how it measures up.

Homura

I'm quite satisfied with this figure, GSC did an excellent job and I now have almost exactly what I wanted from a Homura figure. If there is anything left it might be a bit more fire power. May be a nice Devil Homura to match their Goddess Madoka?

I suppose I should just sit and wait warmly, after all it did take half a decade to get this figure.

Gift's Akemi Homura - She is just so cool!

Hello folks, once again it has a been a while hasn't it? I been wanting to sit down and do this photoshoot for a couple of weeks now. I did try shortly after I received the figure but alas my original idea ended up in failure so instead there is the always the ever present “Plan B”.

Without much further ado I present to you the super cool Akemi Homura by Gift from the ever so popular franchise of Magical Girl Madoka Magica.

Given it’s popularity I was expecting everyone, and when I say everyone I mean EVERYONE, to jump at the chance to make some “easy sell” figures based on the characters. Except that no one really did except mainly for Good Smile Company and the ever present Wave Beach Queens line.

Where was Ater, Kotobukiya. Max Factory? This kinda felt like it would lead to something akin to everyone making a Saber, you can never have enough Saber figures in the world apparently, yet only Good Smile Company came forward with proper scaled figures of all five girls. Did they manage to secure an exclusivity deal or something?

Usually this would have been fine, Good Smile Company is Good Smile Company after all and they make some very nice figures overall. Except that they chose to base them on the most boring piece of artworks available. All five girls are pretty much just standing there unlike say the Bakemonogatari figures which were also based on different artworks where it nicely reflected certain aspects of each of the characters.

In the end I ended up finding a few garage kits way more interesting than the figured available for purchase.

This is where this figure comes in, this was actually one of those garage kits. Every once in awhile, I see some fairly nice garage kits and I think about how nice it would be to have a nice proper PVC version of it. Luckily for me Gift came to the rescue!

This is actually the second time this has happened, a few years back there was this garage kit I really liked of Reimu and Gift went and released it as a PVC figure shortly afterwards.

This nice looking Homura is sculpted by Toda Satoshi from Gift, probably most known for his line of Saber figures featuring his distinct style. Which for some it has been a cause of discord due to his renditions in a stylized manner for his Saber faces. As for me, it has been pretty hit or miss, I liked his Lily Saber for example but didn't care much for say his original Saber.

Quite obviously his rendition of Homura was a hit for me. At first when I was looking at the original garage kit I wasn't so sure, I liked the pose of the figure overall but when looking on her face something felt off. After seeing the actual PVC release though those feelings went away I was all in and hit the pre-order button. I wonder if there was some small minute tweak that made everything just look right for me.

So, let's address the elephant in the room.

This figure is of course different from Aoki Ume's lovely wide fade designs as seen in the show and promotional art and as mentioned above carries Toda Satoshi's own style.

Short answer, I like it. To my eyes what this ends up doing is giving Homura a more adult appeal, almost if I was looking at an older Homura. I like the style of the eyes, the shading they have and the eyelashes. Plus I think the colored lips with a bit gloss are nice touch not normally seen in figures.

I found the pose to be really neat, you have Homura as if she was dropping down from a greater height and because of that you get a lot of cool movement going on with figure.

All the different elements of Homura's magical girl outfit, the skirt, the ribbon in the back of her skirt, her collar and neck ribbon all add a lot of nice details to convey movement.

Add to that her flowing hair and you really do get a nice dynamic figure. I love dynamic figures, I always find it add a nice little extra touch of figure goodness.

Gift did a fairly nice job with the hair, the different strands of Homura's long hair each moving in a manner befitting of the apparent action really turned out great. Quite importantly seam lines on the hair also seems pretty much non apparent an area where I seen even the likes of Alter or Good Smile Company falter sometimes.

To close it all off you get the surprisingly appealing base to me. After my last disappointment with Tenshi's cheesecake base I'm glad Gift took a way better route and link the base with the character. The pattern on the base is reminiscent of the "time traveling" scene during episode 10 of the show where we see Homura go back in time. Pretty neat stuff if you ask me.

Given her pose and base this figure really does make it seem Homura is the girl who leapt through time!

Detail on some of the important bits like the bracer and handgun are not too bad. Unlike the figma version this Homura does have a nicely detailed bracer with all the right colors. I'm not too hot on the actual part with the mechanism though, while bits of stuff is sculpted the painting makes it all a big messy blob. A shame considering the painting was perfect on the rest of the figure.

The handgun looks the part, just the way the Beretta handgun Homura uses to make some Swiss cheese out of Kyubey did in the show. Interestingly enough I liked how her finger is not actually on the trigger, Homura practices proper gun safety!

Overall I think Gift did a very good job with this figure. This is the second time I get to sit down and shoot one of their figures, the first was the previously mentioned Reimu, and both times it has a been a pleasant experience. I still got their giant loli Nanoha boxed and look forward to taking pictures of her. As things stand I will definitely buy more Gift figures if any that tickle my fancy show up.

Before I finish I want to talk about the pictures. As I mentioned in the beginning this is actually "Plan B", the first plan didn't turn out as a I wanted.  I was originally planning to do something similar to the "time travelling" scene to match the base. However, I couldn't quite get the effected I wanted with the background so I ended up scrapping that idea.

That's when I thought, Homura is like all dark and edgy so perhaps dark background will do.

Except that Homura also happens to have a darker color scheme with her long black hair. What ended up happening was that the hair would simply ended up blending with the equally black colored background.

So, I researched on how to shoot black objects in front of black backgrounds. I found a couple of ways to do it, both involving the use of colored gels to simply add some color. One was to use a rim light with a colored gel to make the edges of the object stand out. The other was to point it at the background to add some color to separate the object of interest from the background.

I did exactly just that.

I had my key light aimed at Homura as usual, then a second light this time pointed at the background behind her to both illuminated the background and to provide a rim light for her hair. I used a combination of two "gels" on that second light to provide the signature purple color associated with Homura.

You can see a picture of this set up right here, very simple to do, very simple to recreate. I think this is something that I will probably revisit in the future, I already have an idea in mind for a future photo shoot where I might reuse it.

What do you guys think? I'm quite happy with how these pictures turned out for my first attempt. I look forward to giving it another go and refining the lighting.

Alrighty then, until next time!

Nendo Giveaway: Let's win!

There you have it, Älva Montell, Zai and Shyloe I will email you during the course of next week.

As for the rest, I appreciate your feed back very much.

In summary you liked:

  • Big clear pictures
  • Original content in the form of reviews and figure comics
  • Simple visual design for the blog

In summary you think we can improve on:

  • Longer reviews, saying a bit more about the figures and related information
  • Think we can spice up the blog with a little color

Of course there were more things mentioned but those were the most common that I saw. Until next time lovely readers.

Nendo Giveaway: Let's Anniversary

Indeed, this post is to giveaway a nendo, may be more if there is plenty of entries.  The more entries the more nendos to giveaway.

The reason why this post is being made is rather simple as the title will suggest.

Indeed it has been one year since exilhero joined the ranks of this blog as my fellow co-author!

The prizes is either one of these three:

  1. Chaiki Minami from Minami-ke
  2. Sherlock Shellingford from Tanei Opera Milky Holmes!
  3. Hercule Barton from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes!

Much like the last giveaway I had, the only thing you have to do is make a comment on this post. Anyone living anywhere can enter the giveaway with the winner will be randomly selected among the entries.

Now this is the very important part, if your comment does not include those two things it will not be counted towards the giveaway.

For reference things you can comment on: are the look and feel of the blog, the content, the lay out, the types of posts, the frequency of the posts, length of the posts, the naming or design of the pages on the navigation, etc.

The winner will be picked next weekend after the deadline and be announced in another post shortly after. The winner will get to pick his choice out of the three nendos and if there are a large amount of entries more than one winner might be picked.

Get cracking and start commenting, good luck to the ones that decide to participate.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica x Touhou

Who is up for a one off cross over picture?

I really like Touhou crossover with other series.

A long time ago, I tried doing this one picture. That picture was a far cry from what I was trying to attempt.

I always wanted to try and revisit the idea in the future, I originally thought of making a remake so to speak of that picture. Plus I been wanting to do something with Homura and Sakuya.

A while ago I though, wouldn't it be interesting if Homura and Sakuya ever fought. Two time manipulating combatants who use their powers and conventional weapons in a similar manner.

Thus, this picture was born. After hours trail and tribulations of both me and exilehero this was one of the many pictures I took.

I finally got to do my original idea with a shout out to Embodiment of Scarlet Devil with a red moon as a backdrop.

So, who do you think would win?