So even Alpha Max's reputation for mediocre products, I pre-ordered this figure. Why? Because it's ham. Because it's delicious ham.
Created by the makers of the Monogatari series, it's little wonder Denpa retains the same style of overall wtf aspect found in its predecessors. Unfortunately, Denpa is no Bakemonogatari. Oh no, far from it. As with many shows, it strikes me as rife with untapped potential. Despite the opportunity for depth, or better, the opportunity to be "The fuzzy kettle that breaks your heart", it never quite goes beyond odd and cute. Too bad it began with Bakemonogatari parallels, and stopped too late to throw off the comparison. Fortunately, Erio Touwa's still adorable.
Erio Towa is an extraterrestrial. Or is she? Pleasantly decorated and slathered with stars, Erio's box is befitting of Erio's unearthly character. It's compact, tight, uncorrugated, and devoid of excess room. Functional and fashionable. I like it, but while the stars add a nice astro flair, I'm mildly disappointed by its lack of UFOs.
Out of sheer laziness, I have not taken a picture of her base. Let me use my creative writing prowess to describe it to you in a way so sensually impactful you will taste it in your subconscious for weeks. I'm kidding, of course. It's a plain, blue, and semi-transparent. Oh, and it's sparkly. Sparkly like a cosmic pancake.
Onto Erio herself!
Erio's pose comes off as somewhat static. She's not standing on a bicycle, or touseled by an invisible wind, or suspended underwater, but exuberance isn't the defining point of her character anyways. She's a moe dumb-dumb, and AlphaMax did a good job depicting her floppy, disheaveled self. Her exposed shoulder and super short skirt adds a mild element of eroge.
Denpa has a difficult style to capture, so it's not surprising no company has successfully depicted Erio's face correctly. That being said, Alpha Max does an admirable job of making her attractive. She looks older than she should, but the inaccuracies in this figure fails to disuade me. To me, her face is the winning aspect of this figure. I adore it, but judging by the reaction online, I must be in the minority.
I mean, just stare into her eyes!
Look at that blank stare. No comprehension at all. If the wind blew her head would echo like a bottle. Good thing she's attractive, otherwise I wouldn't know what to make of this girl.
It's obvious what the focus of her face is when everything is old skool. Now that, my friends, is the hypnotic stare of a hopeless airhead. Alluring, isn't it?
Erio is not the type of figure I usually go for. She's not weilding a weapon, standing on an aesthetically overwhelming base, proving her gravitational independence, leaping, thrusting, grappling, or otherwise being energetic in any way.
So what got me?
Unfortunately, it does not sparkle with the lustre of a thousand trapped souls.
|"Rinse, lather, repeat-desu."|
Besides the obvious roughness, the force of her seams joining has squished some glue out onto her head. Eww, unclean. It's even bumpy when you touch it. Aw, eww, gross.
I shouldn't be surprised. Alpha Max isn't known for their spectacular quality. But having a mediocre reputation doesn't mean they shouldn't try to elevate themselves. I feel like Erio Touwa pulled a Kotobukiya on me, i.e. everyone worked hard for the promo shots, but slacked off as soon as the camera was packed.
There's even a section where they accidentally shaded over a piece of hair, and small patches of cragginess in certain places.
While we're on the subject, let's talk about shading.
Let's be honest. Erio's shading is not spectacular. If I had to chose her weakest link, it would be her shading. Not that it's missing. Oh no, it's not the amount that's an issue. It's the distribution.
|She's also a cast-off!|
You can see what I mean if you take a closer look at her skin.
See her corpse-pale thighs? Yeah, that's not a play of light. Her legs are really white. Who knows, maybe pallid, sickly skin is all the rage these days, but I like my girls more in the spectrum of the living.
Now take a look at her shoulder and breast area. Again, it's not a play of light. It's shaded to the point of looking orange. And Believe me when I say the difference is more apparent in person.
Overall, it gives the impression she's half dead, half sunburned. Ok, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit.
Besides issues with shading, the remainder of her paint is clear. There is no obvious paint bleed and the few lines she has are kosher. Alpha Max is certainly no Kotobukiya. If anything, they at least paint within the lines.
If you look very closely, she has blue nail polish on. I don't remember her ever wearing nail polish in the show, but it's a nice touch. Also, the lacy effect they have on her halfslip does well to bulk out her otherwise generic skirt.
So, what's my overall impression of Erio?
She's certainly not as clean as I had hoped (she's certainly no Alter), but despite her flaws, I find her incredibly likeable. She's innately photogenic, and her face is spectacular. Her eyes are among the best I've ever seen, and for that, I humbly tip my hat to you, Alpha Max. I found it suspiciously easy to take photos of her among completely uninspired backdrops (like in a bathroom, for instance). There's something about her pose and overall feel that gives off a strong character vibe, and while it's not identical to her anime self, it's distinct enough to set her apart from the mass of generic happy/sexed up/pouty figures out there.
That being said, she does fade into the background when set among other figures. She's not a figure with too much pop, and she's easily overshadowed by my massive collection of in-your-face Alter figures (she hides very aptly under Phantom Minds Fate Testerossa's behemoth cape).
I feel like I have to set Erio apart from her figure comrades to enjoy her properly, but once she has a little breathing room, boy, does she come to life (in a totally non-Pinnochio way).
I've always felt Erio was missing something, namely, something to hang onto. That drooping arm is ideal for clutching items. Sheets are a good option. So are, apparently, tiny guitars.
Given the chance, would I buy her all over again? It's debatable. At the moment, she seemed the best Erio to get, but now that Ques-Q has released promo pics of their Erio, I'm not so sure. Even Kotobukiya's Erio seems to capture her character more accurately.
But I do love this depiction of Erio, so I'm leaning towards a yes.
Of course, in the end, it really depends on perseonal preference and what you look for in a figure (yes, I'm going to end on a wishy-washy, non-committal tone).
Box: 6/10 (Kind of cute)
Base: 6/10 (The sparkles help quench it's plainness)
Pose: 9/10 (Not exciting, but very Erio)
Sculpt: 7.5/10 (Not bad, except for her major hair seams)
Paint: 6.5/10 (Weird shading)
Overall: 7/10 (I like her, but it's hard to ignore her flaws up close)
Manufacturer: Alpha Max
Price: 6800 yen
Purchased From: AmiAmi