But let's be honest, the bikini scene has been done to death. Mostly, the girls stand around looking naked and sexual and somewhat static. Thankfully, Yagyu Jubei defines herself in a number of ways. First, she has a distinctive way of stashing swords, and second, hot damn, she's an Alter! Throw in some hallmark Alter detail and this can only turn out well.
I tried to watch Hyakka Ryouran, I really did. I was lured by its unconventional, sketchy style. In some ways, it reminded me of Okami, but in most ways it didn't (namely because Okami was godly and Hyakka was - vapid, shall we say). When a naked girl fell from the sky 5 minutes into the first episode, I felt a distinct drop in my gut that told me I was in for a run of banal fanservice and subpar everything else. But who was I to go around hating before I even gave it a try? So I grit my teeth and braced myself.
My Hyakka Ryouran journey was disproportionately short to the amount of effort I spent suffering it. Somewhere between watching the uninspired main character wander around asexually around a harem of oversexualized girls and the ho-hum attempt at humour, I reached out and closed my laptop. I was on episode 4. Then I stared at a wall (you know, to cleanse my eyes). I managed to watch all gazillion Pokémon episodes and couldn’t sit through 12 episodes of Hyakka. Astounding.
But enough on the terrible anime, and onto the figure! Jubei comes in a small and dichromatic box. It's boring. Boring to the max. The red sticker is the most exciting thing about it, as it's the only feature that diverges from its uninspired theme. Still, it does its job to a satisfactory degree.
Juebi's base is not much better. It's a semi-transparent piece of plastic with no colour whatsoever. The flowery etchings are a nice touch, but they're not noticeable enough to earn many plaudits. As generic as it sounds, I would have loved to see Jubei with a sand base.
Japan seems to have a thing for turning its legendary figures into cute ecchi girls in mini skirts. If we had a Canadian equivalent, it would be something like Billy Bishop: the moe pilot that shoots down planes with supernatural fireballs while wearing just a garterbelt. Weird, but also kind of awesome. If I'm not mistaken, Yagyu Jubei was originally a samurai in the feudal era, best known for his mysterious 12-year disappearance and badass eyepatch - or so the story goes. Through the process of moefication, he's become a busty teenage girl with dual personalities and no pants. Improvement? Perhaps. Guess it depends on perspective.
For the longest time I have an eye on Alter’s Hyakka Ryouran line. Their costumes are a gorgeous mix of traditional kimono and contemporary schoolgirl. Flash a little buttcheek, and it's little wonder that they've soared in price since their release. Pending another rerelease, I've given up on getting the Hyakka Ryouran girls at a decent price. My frugal self just can't justify spending $200 on a 1/8 figure. In this regard, getting bikini Jubei was somewhat of a consolation - albeit a wonderful consolation. This version of Jubei's is obviously stripped down (sorry), yet manages to retain small intricacies that propel her beyond the sphere of the prosaic.
There is less debate on Jubei's face than I first anticipated. Looking back, it's questionable why I expected debate at all. All in all, she's relatively attractive. Her expression is not completely representative of her cheerful nature, but her eyes are positively hypnotizing. Thank the rings. Very Huke-esque. Compared to her face in her garbed version, it's a little less round and cutesy and a little more dangerous. I like that.
Incidentally, my favourite part of her face is her eye shadow, though I'm sure I've seen it somewhere before...
Jubei's hairdo is not the oddest I've ever encountered, but it still scores high in terms of originality. Its crustacean-like design is needlessly complicated, and probably a nightmare to tie, but it's also damn interesting to look at. Overall, I'm impressed with its sculpt. Her pull lines are delightfully carved, and her triple-ahoge is pure awesome. It's stiffer than I first anticipated, especially around the top, so don't drop her on her head (this goes for any figure, by the way, not just ones with fragile hair. It also applies to babies).
Her hair not exceptionally shaded, although Jubei's hair is definitely intricate enough not to require too much shading. Natural shadows will create enough depth on their own. There is some airbrushing around the tips, but nothing else otherwise.
After all, Jubei has one of the best body sculpts of any figure I own. The care Alter has put into her curves is nothing short of miraculous. She's buxom and meaty, and deliciously squeezable. I'm especially impressed with the detail around her knees - to be more specific, the back of her knees. Look at those beautiful tendons! I cannot express how gratifying it is to see such attention go into a figure's anatomy.
To add a higher element of eroge, Jubei has her sword slipped under one of her straps. Oh mai. If that sheath went into her bikini bottom, this figure would be truly risque, but seeing as we're dealing with Alter, we won't be seeing any self-stimulation anytime soon. They're adorably shy that way.
With an exaggerated phallic symbol squished comfortably between her sizeable breasts, there's no mistaking the suggestive nature of Jubei's pose. It takes a lot of skill to wrap something more substantial than a pencil with breasts, but Jubei does it with ease. Kudos to her.
But take your eyes off her boobs for a moment and look at her bikini top (try hard, I believe in you). Companies have tried and failed to create semi-transparency before, including Alter (e.g. Asuka's test suit), but Jubei's semi-transparency is brilliantly done. Bikini figures are hot by nature, so continuously hot, in fact, that they've become monotonous. Thankfully, the transparency of Jubei's swimsuit lends her something new in an already tired bikini scene. They even included spots of white to reflect the air bubbles that become trapped when bikinis first become wet. Such versimilitude!
|By jove, I've been stabbed in the boobies!
Not that I'm complaining. I'm just enjoying the view.
For those that need a more compelling reason to buy a figure than mere hotness, Jubei also hosts some hardcore detail. Her exaggerated phallic symbol is wonderfully decorated, with groves and symbols galore. It's gratifying that Alter decided to give her anything special at all, considering her main selling point is obviously her steaming hot self, but I expect nothing less from arguably the best figure manufacturer out there. Their OCD is our gain.
No one quite knows what that strap around her leg is for, but the way it digs into her leg is positively scrumptious.
There is not much to critique in any Alter figure, but there are a few small flaws in Jubei. Her straps are not the cleanest I've ever seen, and there are a few rough spots throughout. The paint on her sandals are not completely even, although it remains to be seen whether it's truly a paint issue rather than a sculpting issue (the straps are not completely even either). Compared to Alter's usual perfection, these little inconsistencies are somewhat disappointing, especially for an exclusive figure, where my expectations are elevated beyond that of a standard run's.
But it's not as though her small flaws hold much weight against her overall quality. They're truly miniscule, and really only show up at close proximity. Hardly worth grousing about.
Jubei is listed as 1/8, but she's big for her scale. Here's Jubei next to Panty, who is also listed as 1/8. If the scale were true, Jubei would be a head taller than Panty. She looks much more comfortable next to Max Factory's 1/7 Kureha.
Photo shoots often bring out unexpected qualities in figures, and Jubei follows suit. I knew from the get go that she would be top heavy in terms of colour, especially with a bikini that barely shows against her skin, and some one-on-one lens time with her further emphasized the vibrancy of her hair and eyes. They're bright enough to pop against most backgrounds. I like this. It allows her to exert her presence in just about any setting.
Jubei lends herself to water shots, but despite the garishly hot weather in Canada this summer, I never managed to get her to a beach. It did rain though, once, and only once.
Of course, precisely because she lends herself to water shots, I had to try them out. I placed her in a bowl and lobbed water around like a tiny Posiden with hyperactivity issues. It's moments like this that I'm glad I invested in a tripod. The bowl didn't help. One day I will get proper lighting equipment so I won't have to steal my turtle's terrarium lights for a photo shoot. He doesn't like when I take all his lamps, or so I assume.
With a tiny bit of imagination, Jubei looks like she's feeling herself up. Hotness ensues.
I spent a spectacular amount of time reviewing Jubei. Unfortunately, the longer I take on a review, the less inclined I am to publish it. I procrastinate if I'm not happy with something, and being somewhat of a perfectionist, I procrastinate a lot. I'll write up a review, then sit on it for weeks, going back to re-read and re-write until I force myself to press the "Publish" button. The longer I sit, the more faults I find, and the deeper I bury myself in a cumulative funk.
On the flip side, the extra time I spend sulking forces my lazy brain to storm up new ways of creating backdrops with everyday objects, so I end up with a surplus of interesting pictures to amuse myself with.
Jubei is an excellent example of a risque figure that's not explicit, and there's really nothing sexier than almost explicit. Toss me a naked girl and I'd be mildly interested, but toss me a girl wearing only a hoodie, and I'll have a metaphoric nosebleed so hard it'll register on the Richter's scale. Not that I have a hoodie fetish or anything. Stop looking at me weird.
I would have loved to be able to remove Jubei's sword, but it's firmly stuck. No wriggle room whatsoever. I can understand why removeal is not an option, considering it would leave an unappealing hole between her breasts. Still, it deprives me of the chance to use her magnificent cleavage as a pencil holder (or something equally inappropriate and hilarious). First world problems, am I right?
I had my doubts about Jubei, namely, that I would find her boring. It's hard to charm me with bikini figures, considering they lack the one thing that really impresses me: Meticulous, ball-busting detail, but this turned out to be a non-issue with Jubei. Compared to her fully clothed version, she's still rather plain, but bikini Jubei's so steaming hot there's almost no grounds to compare the two. Much about her impresses me, namely, her brilliant body sculpt. There's also something about the way her sheaths cross her body that I find attractive.
I'm of the opinion that even a stick figure from Alter would receive rave reviews. They're just that good. Jubei stands with the rest of them as a fantastic addition to any collection, both in quality and sheer sex appeal.
Box: 3/10 (Plain to the max)
Base: 5/10 (Ok, but not great)
Pose: 10/10 (Hot, seriously, so hot)
Sculpt: 9/10 (Some inconsistencies, especially around her straps)
Paint: 9/10 (Vibrant, but could use more depth)
Overall: 8/10 (Enjoyment is high)
Price: Probably around 7000 yen originally.
Purchased from: Hobby Fan
Lots of love,