Monday 31 October 2011

1/8 Amae Koromo (Alter)

My, my, what do we have here? Koromo clearly represents all things cute. Rabbit ribbon ears, check. Almost no nose, check. Loli-maid outfit, check! Almost nauseating pastel scheme, CHECK! She looks a little like fallen Flonne, and a little like the lovechild between Alice and the White Rabbit.

She's also from an anime about mahjong, and that in itself is awesome, if only because it actually got made. Oh Japan, you so crazy.

When I first saw Koromo, I thought, oh, tha's cute, and moved on. Cute wasn't enough, even if she was an Alter. Then she fell into the bargain bin and I went back for a second look. Did I buy? NO. Jenn was holding out, but as the weeks went by she sat in the bargain bin, staring imploringly at me every time I surfed hobby stores. I began to feel bad, leaving her in there with the rest of the over-stocked and unwanted figures. I thought about her often. I lost sleep. Finally, I threw up my hands and ordered her. Don't tell me an inanimate object can't guilt you into spending money. It can.

Koromo's box isn't very exciting, but it is very pink. It's more exciting from the side than the front.

Koromo stands on tiptoe, working her cute charms on some hapless, taller passerby. She really does look like Flonne, albeit with a different outfit. (Flonne bootleg! We'll call her Flanne!)

Her base is unassuming. It's a clear plastic circle with "Amae Koromo" printed in pink letters. Can this figure get any more girly? At least she isn't patterned with roses, or kitties, or roses shaped like kitties...

On a darker background, you can see the little handwatch pattern embossed in the plastic.

While promo shots make her look like she has shoes, I assure you she doesn't. Thank goodness too, since her bare stockings are about the best things ever. The thought of her parading around in socks is absolutely endearing. It's these types of idiosyncrasies that I really love in a character (although whether or not it's in character is completely debatable).

She has wonderful shading on her stockings.

This is actually the second Koromo I got. The first came with a horrible, dark stain right on her chest and flecks of gross brown smears on her dress. It looked like she was hit with buckshot. Luckily, HLJ is real good about damanged products. I shipped stained Koromo back to HLJ, they reimbursed me for shipping, and expediated ma a spanking new, stain-free Koromo. It was clean, quick, and the best screw-up I ever experienced. Thanks, HLJ!

I have some weird shit stuff lying around at home, including a pack of polyester fibre. In a spurt of girly gusto, I produced this:

Oh the humanity! Look at all that pink! I—I actually kind of like it. You know, it's actually not as nauseatingly girly as I thought it would be (ok, I lied, it is really disgustingly girly). It could use more flowers though.

Koromo is really (excuse me) 'effing cute. How can you resist a face like this?

Or this?

Or this?

I know nothing of Koromo's character, and I'm glad I don't. She could be a real nag, or a real loudmouth, or a psychopath, but I prefer to think of her as quiet and cute (although psychopath sounds interesting too). Such is the power of first impressions.

True of most Alter figures, Koromo has a masterful paint job. Pale colour schemes always run the risk of looking flat, but Alter doesn't do flat. Her dress has all the proper depth. Her hair is full. Her skin tone is warm (and she's got a darling blush).

I was surprised to find Koromo's hair pliant! It bends with just the slightest pressure. I'm not sure why Alter decided to go with a softer plastic this time around. Maybe it's in anticipation of accidents? Koromo's hair isn't exactly whoosh, but it's rather attractive nevertheless.

Koromo's sculpt is generally crisp, with the exception of the top of her head, where her hair begins to resemble a bowling ball. Unfortunately, the flatness just highlights her seam line. I'm a little disappointed Alter didn't combine the seam with her bow. It seemed the sensible thing to do. She could use a bit more detail near the top, definitely.

But every figure has a hair seam! I can't penalize Alter for something everyone has right?

Wrong! Jenn will penalize away! The seam line isn't the only sculpting mishap in Koromo. Take a look at her hands. Something is off. They're not only creepy and tiny, but also resemble inarticulate meatballs. Her fingers look fused together (nice image, that). I'm so used to intricately detailed fingernails that it's become standard, so I was disappointed when Koromo's hands turned out so bland.

There's no excuse for this, Alter. I know you can nail detail. After all, I've seen your Momohime!

Bills and frills appeal doth kill, but folds forever entice me.

Wait, what? Nevermind.

Koromo's dress is intricate and attractive, even if it is pink. The section across her chest is actually semi-transparent (no, you pervs, you can't see anything), and gives it a milky, pearly quality. It's only too bad that her hair obscures most of her back, where her dress is equally spectacular. I would have liked a closer look at that big bow of hers.

Oh my, what's this? A collar? A bit of strap-slip? I'm not a fan of fetishizing girls that look under twelve and Koromo's definitely made to have a certain sexual appeal, but at least she's not prostrating herself in an overtly suggestive manner. I'm not going to go into lolicon culture and what I think of it, or why I bothered with Koromo when she's clearly incongruent with my preferences. It's just too exhausting.

Koromo is really flat chested. How cool would it be if she were a really pretty trap? (Oh god, is she a trap? Is she?!)

The chain is real, by the way.

I love old fashioned clocks. I love the concept of clocks. I love how they look and how much they weigh, and Koromo happens to have a big ol' pocketwatch hanging off her waist.

+10 points!

I'm not sure how it's relevant to her character, but I'm definitely getting an "Alice in Wonderland" vibe.

Despite her relatively simplistic colours, Koromo has some wonderful folds.

Did I mention I love her stockings? They're so childish, and girly.

Being close to Halloween, I wish I had something spookier to show you guys. Koromo really has the palette of Valentines instead. She's easily the pinkest figure I have (and probably ever will have)—

GAH, wut?
Whoa, sorry you had to suffer through my bad photoshop editing. I couldn't help myself. (Blood brush by VexingArt.) Happy Halloween everyone.

Ahem—moving on.

Being an Alter, I have very few complaint about Koromo. Her paint job is fantastic, and her sculpt is solid. I'm not sure I like the softer plastics they used for her, but that doesn't distract from Koromo's overall appeal. There's been some complaint online about her pegs warping and breaking, but my Koromo seems to be ok. We'll see how it goes.

Should you pick up Koromo given the chance? Sure, if you like cotten-candy, sweet figures with a cuteness rating of "fluffy baby chicks in cups". All the more power to you if you actually know who she is. Sometimes I just like to pretend she's Flonne. (You hear that figure companies? Make a Flonne, and while you're at it, make more Etnas!)

That being said, I feel my enjoyment of Koromo comes from getting her on sale. I think I might have been disappointed with her relative plainness had I paid full price, but considering I got her 40% off, I quite like her. She's currently out of stock everywhere, but she'll show up on Mandarake one day. After all, they are the Rulers of Time.

Oh, and did I mention her stockings are adorable? They are. They so are.

The Run-Down
Box: 5/10 (Box is box)
Base: 6/10 (Clock pattern is a nice touch)
Pose: 7/10 (Ooh, look at that tip-toe!)
Sculpt: 8/10 (Loses points for seam line and hands)
Paint: 10/10 (Alter excells at excellent paint)
Overall: 7.5/10 (Great little pastel figure)
Manufacturer: Alter
Price: 6800 yen
Purchased from: HLJ

Hup, hup,

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