Wednesday 28 March 2012

1/8 Oshino Shinobu (GSC)

Oshino Shinobu rocketed to the top of my favourite character list as soon as she opened her mouth in Nisemonogatari. Her silky drawl is fabulous. Her laugh, even moreso. There's nothing I dislike about her. Nothing at all.

So while I prefer Shinobu: Total Badass rather than Shinobu: Cuddly Vampire, any form of Shinobu is good. That's just how she rolls. After all, you can't go wrong with Shinobu, and you can't go wrong with GSC. The only logical outcome is win.

Thank goodness Nisemonogatari expanded on Shinobu's character. I loved vampires until the day Twilight was conceived. Then I avoided them like an open wound. Thank goodness Shinobu is around to partially restore my faith in bloodsucking fiends. With a Kiss-Shot figure already in the making, I wouldn't be surprised to see a teenage Shinobu figure follow. After all, she certainly has the fanbase to warrant one.

Moe Shinobu might not reflect her mighty personality, but she's certainly cute. Her box is large for her size, but provides ample protection from whatever bumps and bruises she faces during shipment. It has an equally cutesy box decorated with equally cutesy donuts all strung up on a happy yellow backdrop.

Shinobu herself is perched on a carnage of donuts and character parts. She's compact for a figure, only about 11.5 cm tall. With such petite form, Shinobu doesn't exactly have the most impressive presentation on a shelf. Then again, she didn't have much presence in Bakemonogatari either (except when she absolutely thrashed she-who-will-remain-anonymous-for-spoiler's-sake).

I'm a big fan of bases that incorporate setting, and Shinobu's base is so damned fine. It's not perfect, but it does have spectacular detail. I really only see two problems with it.

First, the shading. From the front the colours pop, the sculpt is clean, and there's not a sign of paint bleed anywhere. Just look at the squishiness of Nadeko's hat. Delicious!

But from the back, the shading drains away. Besides the one beautiful chocolate-dipped donut sticking to Meme's sandel, it looks unfinished. We can almost see where the sculptors threw up their hands and declared "Fuck, it's good enough!" (which is never an acceptable response when it comes to figures). I'm also not too partial on how Kanbaru's arm is sticking out of a donut. Awkward.

Second, why are all her donut holes congealed (man, that sounds strange aloud)? Why couldn't the sculptors simply punch proper holes? Maybe Shinobu likes her donuts over glazed and brimming with PVC, but I personally think it's another case of "Fuck, it's good enough!"

There's something very disturbing about a loli sitting on a pieces of co-characters. It's like she slaughtered them all and made a cushion with their dismembered parts.

I spy with my little eye: Hanekawa's ear and glasses, Senjougahara's staple, Araragi's ahoge, Karen and Tsuhiki's egg clips, Hachikuji's backpack, Kanbaru's arm (possibly the creepiest addition), Meme's shoe, and that strange yellow antenna thing that I can't remember from the show.

Shinobu herself is not very detailed in particular, but GSC obviously did a top-notch job on her paint and sculpt. Could it have been better? Naturally. Especially when it concerns her hair.

!Alert! Bowling-ball syndrome ahead.

Shinobu's hair is smooth and round. It resembles many renouned a-round thing. Bowling balls, helmets, melons, bald men's head, and baby's buttcheeks just to name a few. Being the strong, handsome, skilled company they are, GSC could have easily gone above and beyond with her hair, but chose not to. Sure, her hat covers most of it, but would it really hurt to put a crease or two? Her hairstyle reminds me of both Lucy Maria Misora's and Black Magician Girl's, but simpler, and more disappointing.

Besides her hair, the rest of Shinobu is delightfully perfected. Her dress is rumpled and precisely shaded. Her collar is so clean it could make a janitor green.

So clean! So immaculate! So GSC!
Before her release, there were Internet rumours that she would be cast-off. Even NekoMagic tweeted it, sending a wave of scandelous whispers throughout the figureverse. Being so, I feel compelled to make this clear:


Her dress is tightly stuck to the rest of her, and removing it only causes the figure harm. So where are all these rumours coming from? This blog here, apparently. And the suggestive seam lines on the sides of her dress.

They look like cast-off seams, but they're not, thankfully.
Let's take a closer gander at her outfit. Shinobu is stylishly contrary with her delicate pink nightie and steampunk goggles. If there's one thing I love about the Monogatari series it's their use of outfits. The character actually change clothes. I know. The gall. How else will fans recognize their favourite characters if they don't maintain outfit consistency?!

I kid, of course.

GSC is my favourite company when it comes to paint jobs. Every GSC figure is excellent when it comes to this aspect. Unlike Alter (my ultimate favourite manufacturer) who could use more shading, AlphaMax, who overshades, and Kotobukiya, who doesn't shade, GSC has perfected the art of shading just right.

My, such gorgeous ruffles, and so beautifully toned too! And are those little tears at the edge? Yes they are!

To take detail further, GSC has given Shinobu's goggles semi-transparent lenses! This is true for Hanekawa's glasses as well. So neat.

Before Shinobu arrived, I spent a great deal of time worrying about her donut. It looks like a soggy Cheerio glued to her face. She doesn't really look like she's biting into it either. It's just nonchalantly hanging there, like it belongs or something equally outrageous.

Thankfully, it can be removed.

Unfortunately, without it, Shinobu's expression is a little lopsided. She looks vapid, or mildly surprised (like she sat on a donut with a pin in it). Her expression is so strange that I actually prefer having the donut. It's not that ugly, it's just plain. For something that sticks to her face, you think GSC would make it more detailed. It would have been nice to see a golden chocolate, at least.

Anyone who watches the series knows Shinobu has yellow eyes. Then again, fanart often depicts her with red eyes, so I don't mind the colour deviation. Besides, red works out beautifully when used right. Just look at Alter's transgression on Mercedes' eyes. It looks spectacular!

I just wish GSC committed to the red. Give her a good, strong, vampire-worthy red, for heaven's sake, not a wishy-washy half-brown. Yes, the art shows her with brownish eyes, but that was due to a play of light. It's hard to justify giving her such a dingy colour as a figure.

So in the spirit of exploration, I've decided to experiment.

Original, brighter red, or yellow. Which do you prefer?
GSC's Bakemonogatari line isn't as ideal as I would like it to be (although it still manages to kick Alter's line into next Tuesday). First, they messed up Senjougahara's face. Then they gave Nadeko amputee legs. Thankfully, as the line went on, they managed to straighten themselves out. Hanekawa, Kanbaru and Mayoi came out with no noticeable blemishes, and Shinobu follows in their suit.

Shinobu was an easy review to photograph. She looks good from any angle, with or without donut.

It's not often that I get a figure in a sitting position. I find them small and scrunched up, but Shinobu changed my mind. I love balancing her on things. Like fruits.

She's so cute.

Just look at her spazz over donuts. Hard to believe the same sweet face also owns a killer smirk. Who else wants a figure of Shinobu looking smug? I know I do.

Final assessment?

Get her.

She's not perfect, but she's just too sweet to pass up, especially if you're as enamored with her character as I am. Just being a GSC is be enough to guarantee you quality. Sure, her price tag might blow some doubt into people unused to paying 7000 + for such a petite figure, but trust me, she's worth it.

It's difficult to decide who I like more in the Monogatari series, Senjougahara or Shinobu (Black Hanekawa comes in at an easy 3rd). Both fascinate me, but I think Shinobu won my heart when she rolled out of a wall via Araragi's shadow. So cute.

With the recent finale of Nisemonogatari, I expect to see an influx of teenage Shinobu fanart, followed closely by a figure. You hear that, GSC? Our money's ready. The ball's in your court now.

The Run-Down
Box: 6/10 (Standard, fitting)
Base: 8/10 (Nice front, bad back)
Pose: 10/10 (So cute)
Sculpt: 8/10 (Plain hair, weird donuts)
Paint: 10/10 (Perfect again, GSC)
Overall: 9/10 (It's Shin-fucking-obu!)

Manufacturer: GSC
Price: 7429 yen
Purchased from: AmiAmi

Cordialement à vous!

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