Sakura Nanako was not one of these figures (Trollolol). Nevertheless! I have been on her tail for a while now, and it feels good to finally have her at hand.
It goes without saying that some of the most beauteous anime girls come from eroge games, where beauty and sexual appeal are suggestible, if not necessary. So it is unsurprising that a beautifuk girl like Sakura Nanako hails from the Japanese eroge, Sakura Sakura, where she plays a tittilating
Unlike many figures that happen to crawl into my collection, I know exactly why I wanted Ms Sakura - online figure reviews. Spurred on by the cornucopia of gorgeous Sakura Nanako pictures, my wallet stood no chance. Such glamourous immortalization is not something you defy, only something you laude. So thank you, fellow figure reviewers, for helping me move one ste closer to glorious bankruptcy.
When Sakura Nanako first arrived, I was surprised at her petite box, and relieved that, for once, I didn't pay to ship mostly air. It's uncorrugated, light, and not too garish, being pastel and girly in every fashion. One side dons an official picture of Sakura with a disproportionately large head that fortunately doesn't translate to her 3D counterpart.
Sakura comes fully equiped with hula hoop, ball, and clubs (my favourites, because of their lustrous sheen). Her base is a white circle of plastic decorated with sparse cherry blossoms. It's unassuming and doesn't get in the way, but it doesn't accentuate Sakura either, especially since she doesn't need it to balance, and the series' logo resembles a cheap sticker. I always display her without it.
Sakura Nanako is sculpted in a position most sensual - namely, on her knees. Without her gym equipment, she strikes a pose that's both odd and erotic. Odd, because you wonder what she's reaching for. Erotic, because you don't really care, as long as she retains her suggestively arched back and skin-light leotard. Her startled expression and slight blush on her face makes you feel like you barged into something private (her hand is suspiciously close to her crotch...).
There are many definitions of "cast-off". Some believe it includes any figure with a removeable part, despite how innocuous, and some believe it's not cast-off unless it reveals the privvies. I tend to call the former cast-offs and the latter "true" cast-offs. Then again, it's all semantics.
Sakura's top can be removed to give us a better view of her small, lithe body and adequately formed chest. Unlike with many cast-offs, where I keep them mostly clothed, I prefer Sakura without her top. I find it bulky and childish, but it doesn't really make a difference either way. On or off, it does little the change the dynamics of this figure.
Sakura Nanako is my first MegaHouse figure. Made in 2009, she's not the most updated sample of their work, but manages to be impressive nevertheless.
Quality-wise, MegaHouse makes few mistakes. For what little detail her outfit requires, the paint and sculpt is superb. It would be too easy replicate a tight leotard with a single coat of paint, but MegaHouse takes the time to sculpt in folds and stretch lines. The addition of such detail makes the leotard look like it's clinging to her rather than a part of her.
Plus they did a great job with her body. I'm especially happy MegaHouse managed to create a figure that retains a sensual atmosphere despite having smaller breasts. It's easy to slap on a pair of balloon meatbags and call a girl sexy. It's harder to replicate sensuality in a girl through body language without the aid of huge knockers. Kudos to them.
Sakura is also the only figure I have that also has this:
|What's her finger doing? Rubbing?|
She has well defined palms, lines and all! Does it make her hands look old? A little, which may not be preferable given the youthfulness of her character. Then again, it was just so particular I had to mention it.
If you're astute, you'll notice her legs seem shinier than the rest of her skin. For the longest time, I couldn't tell whether she was supposed to have tights on, or whether MegaHouse made a mistake by using a different paint on her legs than her arms. A closer examination of the figure reveals that she is, indeed, wearing tights.
Now if only they added a few folds behind her knees or around her buttox to make it more obvious! I, for one, just assumed she has serious leg lustre.
Sakura Nanako's most defining aspect is her hair, perhaps even more defining than her evocative pose. Without such brilliant sculpt, I wouldn't have batted an eyelash at this figure. It's a marvellous, cascading tumble of peachy keen virtuosity. The flow! The shading! The fullness of it all! Truly, a sight to behold.
Sakura Nanko has a superb paint job in general. Her leotard has a matte lustre, her eyes are beautiful, but the shading on her hair takes the cake. It spans a wide range of pink, with just the right amount of accentuation at exactly the right amount. Her shading is not so strong as to make her seem dirty, but so pale as to give her a washed out look.
This isn't to say her hair is without ails.
Sakura Nanako is designed to be seen from the front and not the top (I daresay, not too many figures are designed to be seen from the top). From above, her hair is victim to many, messy seams. They tried to hide them by having them adhere to the flow of her hair, but they're still clearly visible.
Furthermore, there are several areas of weakness in her paint, namely, specks and roughness. Now I can't vouche for how much error is due to her being pre-owned, so my word may not do her justice. I can only report on what I see. Her hair contains several areas where paint has either rubbed off, missed a spot, or seems lumpy. From a distance, none of this is visible, but if you really stick your nose into her, she unviels a host of small defects that take away from this figure - albeit only slightly.
While we're on a roll, I should also mention her right arm is odd. It's really thin. Freakishly thin. She's pressing it into her ribcage, but there's no press of flesh to indicate any pressure. It just looks like a part of her arm is missing. There's also a visible seam there, leading up to her shoulder (by the way, that lump of flesh at her shoulder is also strange).
In additon, because MegaHouse decided to make her top cast-off, it has an unsightly slice right where it meets her arm. It sticks out and makes it look like she's wearing a defective half-shirt, which really isn't attractive at all. It's another reason why I prefer her without her top.
Finally, back to happier topics, and onto my favourite part of Sakura, her face.
Sakura Nanako truly has a captivating face. I adore figures with captivating faces! It's definitely the make or break aspeect of a figure for me, and Sakura Nanako's face is so darling. With her slightly worried expression, pursed mouth, and barely accentuated nose, it's clearly designed to appeal to our moe-sensors. Don't you just want to poke her cheeks? Or poke her forehead? She would probably make one of those adorable >.< faces in response. (I just imagined it and melted a little).
I find a good photoshoot can really warm me to a figure. It happened with Kotobukiya's Kureha and Alter's Buddy. I went in somewhat cool, ready to be disappointed, but came out with a greater appreciation for both of them. It's amazing how photogenic appeal can sway my opinion.
Of course, Sakura Nanako went in looking good and came out looking better. She's one of those figures with almost no bad angles. Figures on their knees have a tendency to look gawky from certain directions (Kotobukiya's Black Magician Girl, for instance), but Sakura manages to hold her own at most angles. From what I can tell with my meagre comprehension of anatomy, she's relatively well-proportioned, although her head is still a little on the big side. Maybe it's her balanced proportions that allow her to take such nice photos. Or maybe, it's just the excellency of her design.
Either way, her shoot came easily to me. Usually, I blow between 100 - 200 photos on a single shoot and use barely any of them in reviews, but Sakura was easy on my SD card, requiring only about 50 shots, all of which were relatively easy to work with.
(Sparkly effect from Tempting-Resources)
Overall, I am very pleased with Sakura. As my first MegaHouse figure, she leaves a favourable impact on the company itself. Sure, she can't compete at the Alter/GSC level, but she manages to be charming despite her flaws. I feel like I said much the same about Alpha Max's Erio, another figure whose charm overshadows her errors.
For those wanting more eroge in their eroge figures, Sakura also comes in a limited Platonic version, which, contrary to its name, is less platonic and more see-through. You can go to Because Japan's review to get a better look at it. The differences are slight, and I personally prefer standard Sakura's colours and expression. For a good comparison of the two side-by-side (and some awesome photos), go to Exelica Meteor's review.
Since she released several years ago, Sakura Nanako is no longer available in any stores. However, I have noticed two pop up on Mandarake in the past couple of months at an affordable price of 4000 yen, once again proving that they are the ultimate Rulers of Time.
Box: 6/10 (Small size, decently pretty)
Base: 5/10 (Doesn't add or take away from the figure)
Pose: 10/10 (Sexy without being explicit)
Sculpt: 7/10 (Multiple hair seams, awkward arm sculpt)
Paint: 9/10 (Some roughness in hair, but otherwise excellent)
Overall: 8/10 (Quite beautiful overall)
Price: 7300 yen
Purchased From: Mandarake
Up, up, and away!