When Alter announced they were finally jumping on the Sonico bandwagon, I did an unsuccessful backflip. Sonico and Alter? Talk about blowing my mind.
Sonico is a good example of making something out of almost nothing. Following the Japanese tradition of turning mascots into full-blown cultural phenomena, Sonico began as nothing more than a cutsey, 2D representation for a Nitroplus-sponsored music festival. Since then, Sonico has made her way into the figure, music, manga, video game, and animation, proving once and for all that
Here's my not-so-well-kept secret. Despite my uncharitable thoughts on moeblobs, fanservice, and the colour pink, I like Sonico. She's represented as smart, hard-working, kind, and optimistic. Not to mention, she's smoking hot. She also happens to be the target of a lot of undeserved hate. Here's my question to all those who look upon Sonico with disdain: In the world of art, is it the subject or gaze that bears the brunt of responsibility? Certainly, Sonico herself has not done any wrong. She isn't sentient and has no agency. If Sonico is overly-sexualized, and represented in an unsavoury manner, who are we to blame? Consumers for buying her merchanise and therefore encouraging the market to produce more, or creators for providing the product, and therefore enabling the masses? Or is it all a massive feedback circle?
Anyhow, it's Christmas and I've had a lot of wine, so excuse my ramblings. Of all the characters in the world, I have the most figures of Sonico. Santa swimsuit Sonico is the fifth Sonico incarnation I own. This Sonico comes in one a new-fangled, mostly plastic box that doesn't quite tickle my fancy. Figure collectors of old, do you remember a time when boxes were made with solid, corrugated cardboard, where opening it presented a real, and painful risk of extreme papercuts? Yes, those were the days.
Sonico's box is not unattractive. Rather, I like it's cutesy, pastel presentation. The snowflake decals are especially adorable. BUT, the box is flimsy. Just after a few uses, the top flap is warped, and its entirety is shaky at best. Sure, it allows a view of Sonico from all angles, but I don't have boxes so I can oogle figures (I'd take figures out for that. It's more personal.) Also, it doesn't come with a useable backdrop.
Kneeling and sitting figures have the distinct advantage of not needing a base. Perhaps, taking this into consideration, I feel the same way about Sonico's base as I feel about her box. It's nice. It's innocuous. It's mostly transparent. And it could have been better. Imagine, Sonico perched on a pile of presents, or a snowdrift, or something else related to her festive attire. The snowflakes are nice but they're just that. Nice. Not spectacular. Nice.
It does fit her form though. Has anyone else noticed how hearts kind of look like butt prints?
At first glance, Sonico has a strange fashion sense. A warm, fuzzy half-hoodie with a swimsuit? What endearing dichotomy! Then again, I suppose clothing sense isn't top of the list of the busty model/college student/part-time waitress's duties. After all, she has a life to attend. And a busy one at that.
Believe it or not, this is one of the less lewd Sonico figures out there. Hard to tell by her gratuitous presentation of skin, huh? Posed with a charming, almost shy smile, she's immediately likeable, and so incredibly cute.
Here's the thing, I'm not fond of Sonico's hood. It's bearable from the front, where I am invariably distracted by her cute face and, ahem, lady parts, but there's something about the back that bothers me. From the back, it looks less like fabric than bloody sorbet. Or a blood-soaked cotton ball. Ugh, darn associations. I can't unsee! It's the texture. Something about it is off. I would have much preferred Alter just stick with a harmless, sleek look.
Luckily, if you are not into the blood-soaked cottonball look, Sonico comes with an alternate head, which you can switch in at your leisure.
One thing I've noticed about my Sonico, is that her hoodless head has some trouble attaching to her body. Either the peg is too large, or her head-hole a little small. Anyhow, it takes a lot of wriggling and force to get it on, which makes me nervous.
|Pictured: Not creepy.
That being said, Sonico's red hood can be removed to expose her pink hair in all its pink glory. Does this count as a true "cast-off"? Perhaps not, but it does reveal a whole lot more of her than was previously shown. As usual, Alter does a good job on both the sculpt and paint of Sonico's hair.
Sonico is also one of the few figures that does not have a noticeable seam line between her bangs and the rest of her hair. Let's thank her giant headphones. Thanks, giant headphones.
Sonico's innocuous face is one of the highlights of this figure. Alter always does good work, but it looks like they put extra effort into making Sonico super-sweet. The faint flush across her cheeks is an added plus. I, for one, am happy that she doesn't look like she's about to be violated by some off-screen menace. Sonico is certainly cuter happy than she is caught in a compromising position.
I mean, look at this face. How can you dislike this face? Look at her cheeks, and those gradients in her eyes. That's quality, folks.
With such heavenly curves, it's hard to think that this is one of the more modestly proportioned Sonicos out there.
Sonico gets a lot of flack for being a fanservice character. Sure, she started out as a glorified mascot for a software company, but she's not a hateful or unlikeable character in the least. And when has having the ability to monopolize the male gaze qualify you as deserving of hate? The poor girl did nothing wrong.
Anyhow, instead of degenerating into a pointless philosophical debate about the ethics of plastic portrayal, let's just oogle some girly bits and be satisfied. Sonico's ladyjunk has been sculpted realistically, and with care. I have just one small complaint about her bra/bikini top. See that discreet zigzag in the left strap? No bra does that and sticks so tightly to the wearer's skin. A zigzag means slack. A bra supports its contents. It doesn't slack, at least not in Sonico's current pose, where the bulk of her mammories strain against her bra. Unless her left cup were wet, and the material stuck to her skin, there wouldn't be zigzag like that. That's physics.
Although sometimes ignored, Sonico has a meaty bottom. I'm not sure what style of underwear she wears (it strikes me as a half-thing of sorts), but I'm impressed it doesn't get vacuumed into those busty cheeks. The small fold lines are well appreciated, and the discreet pattern along its top saves it from being boring. Usually, I'm not too impressed by white underwear, but Sonico wears it well.
|My anaconda does want some.
By nature, bikini figures are not very detailed, but trust Alter to take care of the small things. Not only does Sonico's bra have sufficient pull lines, it also has a cute spattering of lace. Furthermore, it sets itself apart from others by supporting a small, cute, festive bell. Now I know a lot of peeps were upset they couldn't remove the bell, but honestly, how many people would be able to remove a detail so small without tearing apart her entire bra?
...Or perhaps that was the point. Anywho.
There are a couple of telling details I zoom in on in every figure evaluation. Hair and hair seams, clothing folds, shoelaces and ribbons, and hands. You'll notice that Sonico has several of these features done to a tee. Her hands are well-shaped, with sculpted fingers. Her bra and panties have cute, well formed bows, and her nails (both finger and toe) and polished.
Another area where figures usually fall short are feet. Whether it's especially difficult to sculpt feet, or whether figure-makers are just too lazy to perform some worthwhile podiatry is debatable, but most figures have less-than-gorgeous feet.
It's not like Sonico's feet are ugly by any means, but there doesn't seem to be as much effort put into them as, say, her fingers. Look at those little sausage toes. Cute, but somewhat lacking. Then again, it's Sonico. Are her feet really going to be her biggest selling point?
There's not much more to say other than that she is a solid, and well made figure. The thing with "swimsuit" figures is that there isn't much to talk about. Their appeal is self-explanatory. There's no need to go into excessive detail or artistic minutiae. They're often "simple".
But simplicity can be a blessing. Simplicity can be refreshing.
Sonico is an enjoyable figure, and also incredibly easy to take photographs of. No, seriously, I just point and shoot. She's one of the rare figures that looks good from all angles.
Whether she's swathed in pastel blue against the backdrop of an overcast sky, or posed alone on a simple, pink backdrop, Sonico manages to look good.
Alter's santa swimsuit Sonico (no matter how many times I say that phrase out loud, it sounds funny) is 1/7 in size, and looks especially good when paired with her Alter-made, busty friend, Asuka. I display them together on my shelf.
And naturally, one cannot write about Santa Sonico without presenting some festive photographs.
I wanted to perhaps play with some Christmas light photos, but never actually got around to pulling the Christmas lights out of their boxes. Such is the story of my life. Nowadays, Sonico hangs out on top of my piano, mostly naked, among Christmas decorations that never made it onto my tree...mostly because I didn't erect a tree this year, on account of laziness.
I'm so bad at Christmas.
Good thing Sonico's around to cheer me up.
Despite having a market saturated with Sonico figures, Sonico's popularity doesn't seem to have an affect on her selling price. That being said, you can find Santa swimsuit Sonico in the aftermarket for just under retail price (6000-7000 yen or so), so grab her quick. If other Sonico figures are an indication of anything, she won't get much cheaper, and may potentially get more expensive.
Would I recommend this Sonico to others? Well, it depends. If you're looking for a naughty cast-off playmate for the holidays, then you might want to pass on her. There are hordes more Sonico, many with more NSFW display options. However, if you like Sonico for the sake of Sonico, she doesn't get much higher quality than this. She's cute. She's simple. And she's Alter. It doesn't get much better than this.
|It's cute, but not very sturdy.
|Again, cute, but not really necessary to enjoy this figure.
|Simple, but effective. I like her head-tilt and the position of her hands.
|Good, slight deduction for her hood and feet.
Nothing to complain about here.
|I like her a lot.
Price: 9200 yen
Purchased at: AmiAmi
Box Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 20 cm
Weight: Approx 600g
Shipping method: Small Packet SAL (or fancier)
To all a good night,