Monday, 21 May 2012

1/8 Shana - Himitsu Ver. (Toy's Works)NSFW

NSFW just in case.

My knowledge of Shakugan no Shana is limited to the few episodes I endured in an anime club several years ago. There was nothing I liked about the series, and I still think it's damnably bad, but I do like redheads and I really like inconveniently long cloaks, both of which Shana wears with superior appeal. Besides, character flaws are almost negligible for me when it comes to figures, especially if they're pretty and mostly naked. Read on!

Toy's Works is not a big name in figure-making. Associated with Chara-Ani, Toy's Works have several Shana figures under their belt, none of which are particularly successful. That's what happens when your quality is "meh" at best. That being said, there's a quiet erotic appeal to Shana Himistu Ver. that I could not resist.

Shana comes in an uncorrugated box with large windows, which unfortunately makes it dreadfully flimsy (you can see warping in the upper pane). It doesn't have a backdrop, and comes with two advertisements printed on its inner flaps. The box itself is pink and simple, and neutral in appeal.

It's also much larger than I expected. Toy's Works brilliantly decided to place Shana diagonally, which expanded the box's dimensions to about twice it's required size. Was I a little jibbed? Yes, I was. I had the same problem with Houmei's box.


Let me be frank. I don't like tsunderes. I find them grating and unpleasant. As soon as a tsundere opens her mouth to stutter double negatives, it's n-n-not like I d-don't want to p-p-punch my TV, and Shana is about as tsundere as they get. So what in particular drove me to buy her?

1. Hair. Hair everywhere.
2. Erotic pose.
3. She's got her mouth closed, possibly the only state in which I can tolerate high-pitched tsunderes.

Shana seems to have misplaced her clothes — or should I say discarded? After all, it doesn't look like she's trying too hard to hide. In typical tsundere fashion, she's brimming with contrary intent. Despite her embarrassed face, she clearly hasn't just fallen over — not with her toes so sensually pointed and her legs waving in the air like some upturned chelonian. Her pose screams purposeful exhibitionism to me (in an clumsy, neophyte way). She must have mad ab power to hold her half-crunch position. Every time I try to duplicate her pose I pull a calf. Then I writhe. I guess some of us are just not meant to be sexy.


Look at her adorable little pout and knitted eyebrows! She flustered and frustrated — a fitting embodiment of the tsundere archtype! Toy's Works have Shana's look down, including her childish face, and childish petulance. It is not a direct reflection of Noizi Itoh's big-eyed style, but I like it anyhow.

If you look closely, Shana's blush is actually a pink oval painted onto her cheeks. I wish Toy's Works had worked them in gradually, since they look like stickers, but they're not exactly noticeable, so I don't mind much.


Shana's paint job iss better than I expected. Her hair is bright and toned, albeit darker than cannon. It could have been improved with fire-orange tips, but the fact that they're missing does not retract from the charm of the figure. Her skin tone is full — fuller than most Kotobukiya figures actually. I don't know if that makes Toy's Works look good, or Kotobukiya look worse. So I'll compromise and say it does both.


Shana is made of softer plastic than most figures. Her hair is pliant. Her cloak lifts upwards at the edges — possibly a side-effect of softer PVC — and doesn't like flat against any hard surfaces. It's not actually attached to Shana either, but neither is it removeable. Even her legs are softer than I'm used to. They can be bent with enough pressure. With such soft plastic, I'm sure Shana can take a fall or two without accumulating much damage, but I'm also worried about warping in the future.

Softer plastics don't hold detail as well as their harder counterparts, but I'm a great fan of Shana's sculpt nevertheless. It's quite wonderful how many particulars Toy's Works managed to get into her. The flow of her hair reminds me greatly of Collet's (albeit less detailed). Her cloak is also brilliantly sculpted, with numerous, realistic folds.

But Shana is not without her faults. In some ways, she reminds me of a prize figure. Her soft plastic feel and heavy plastic smell (yes, her PVC aroma hits harder than most) contribute to such impressions, as do imperfections such as these:

Seams and roughness, ftw (not really)
Shana is beautiful if you look at her from a distance, but up close, there are definite sculpting issues. They are mostly sparse and inbetween — parts of her hair are visibly rough, parts of her cloak have specks of unevenness, and both her legs have a seam running along them — possibly the biggest let down of this figure. The seam is much more apparent in real life than in photographs.


More roughness on her hands. It seems a few of her fingers have melted together. She has specks of paint imperfections throughout as well. It almost gives her the impression of being dusty.

You can sort of see her ribs between her strategically placed hair.
Shana's hands are freakishly petite. I kid you not. If Shana were a real girl, her hands would be roughly the size of a two-year-old's. Creepy, I know. Thankfully, her freakishly large head makes up for the puny size of her hands.

Or maybe it's her freakishly large head that makes everything else seem so tiny. Yeah, that's probably right...

Dat huge, sexy noggin'
I wasn't expecting Shana to be on par with the more popular figure manufacturers, but Toy's Works did an admirable job with her. She looks especially stunning from above, where we can fully appreciate the sprawl of her hair.

It's everywhere.
Shana was truly a spontaneous buy. I knew nothing of her existence till I stumbled across her surfing Mandarake. "Hey," I thought, "this looks pretty neat!"

The risk with spontaneous buys is the crushing regret that occurs after clicking "check out". It's happened in the past, and I'm sure it'll happen in the future. It's the consequence of being easily overwhelmed by aesthetic appeal.

Fortunately, Shana was easy on my heart. I like her more than I thought I would. I am always cautious when buying from a company with which I have no experience, and ordering a Toy's Works figure was definitely something new. In a sense, I was flying in blind, but hey, no pain, no gain, right? Spirit of adventure and all that? And Shana was definitely a pleasant gain.

Given the chance, would I buy her all over again? Yes, of course. Her pose is unique enough to stand out, and her hair is beauteous in both flow and volume (can she get any more hair?). Sure, her sculpt could use more finesse, and her paint is rough in some places, but it doesn't take away too much from the overall appeal of this figure. Chalk it up to her compelling design.


I would undoubtedly enjoy Shana more if not for her irritating character. But ignoring everything about her actual character, her objective figure is very nice.

Shana's age isn't clearly stated in the series, though she wields the body of a preteen at best. I like to think having a mostly naked figure of her doesn't make me a creeper considering the ample fanservice dished out by the series, but her youthful appearance does make me a little uncomfortable when displaying her in public. Strange, since I have no qualms about displaying Hiyori Pixy on my shelf with her superbutt pointed squarely at whomever passes by, and she's only slightly curvier. For now, Shana will rest in my closet, along with the rest of my figures that I don't have room for on my shelf.

In case you're wondering how big she is, here's a picture of her chillin' with Shinobu. She's not super tiny give her horizontal position, but she is quite small.


As for where you might find this fine specimen, I honestly have no idea. I didn't even know she had a standard run! Chances are you'll come across her if you stalk Mandarake long enough (everything eventually ends up on Mandarake), but I'll be honest, you might be stalking for a while.

I had a lot of fun post-producing Shana. She has just the right colouration to make her beautiful in high-contrast edits. The red of her hair is wonderfully vibrant. More figures need to use a black-red scheme. It's just plain sexy.


One day I will take a course in Photoshop to up my skills so I can produce high quality pictures for all you lovely folk out there. One day, I will also live beside a stunning forest /lake/volcano so I can titilate your eyes with overwhelmingly beautiful nature shots. For now, I make do with monotonous suburbia, a dinky Nikon camera, and of course, the magic of Adobe.

The Run-Down
Box: 4/10 (Flimsy, no backdrop, bigger than it should be)
Base: NA (She has none)
Pose: 9.5/10 (Very sexy)
Sculpt: 6.5/10 (Some roughness, some seams, leg seam is especially off-putting)
Paint: 8/10 (Surprisingly awesome, but some flecks here and there)
Overall: 7.5/10 (her softness makes me nervous)



Manufacturer: Toy's Works
Price: 5524 yen
Purchased from: Mandarake

Cheers,
Jenn

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