Saturday 24 March 2012

1/7 Black/Dark Magician Girl (Kotobukiya)

Ah, this brings back memories. Memories of a time where world crises can be solved by playing a card game. Those were the days.

I love Black Magician Girl (Dark Magician Girl depending on region). She's mostly mute, incredibly cute, and girly in the best way possible. So despite my aversion to all things Kotobukiya, I had to get her. She compels me in so many ways. Behold! The power of nostalgia.

Kotobukiya surprised me when they decided to pick up the Yugioh line. After all, the show was, for a lack of better words, really lame. Rather than plot, it had really tight pants. Rather than physics, it had really potent hair gel. Rather than attractive characters, it had Tea. I guess my sentiments would be different if I actually played the game, but I only ever collected a few cards (then promptly lost them).

That being said, Black Magician Girl is the ideal way to start. She's bubbly. She's happy. She's super cute. She's got a killer rack. And she winks and gets stronger when her boyfriend is in the graveyard. Ah, the power of love (and psychopathy). If only girls like her popped out of cards in real life...

But they don't. Instead, we rabid Black Magician Girl fans make do with a 1/7 scale of our favourite, sassy lass. Our favourite gal comes in a girly adobe with large heart cut outs. The sheer amount of girl-power on this box is over 9000. Not only is the outside perfectly pastel, the inside is lined with with a glittery backdrop so intense it puts that sparkly atrocity of an art project you did in gr. 3 to shame.

But don't take my accusations of blatant girliness the wrong way. I like her box. It fits her character, and it's sturdy to boot. I wouldn't recommend kicking it, but it'll carry a dinner plate quite nicely.

To my great surprise, Black Magician Girl came with her very own base. The promo pictures didn't promote it—and I can see why.

I summon the essence of chewing gum!
It's not flattering. Various people have expressed their opinion about the base. Suich likes it. I think it has the appeal of a used discus. I guess it really depends on taste.

To me, her base is so dark it's almost overpowering, and that's not the purpose of a base. Sure, one could argue that it brings out her "light", but that's just a roundabout way of saying it's too dark.

Second, her base isn't  just dark, it's thick. Sure, this is how her magic circle looks in her cards, but I'm not sure it translates well into 3D. The symbols look like bubblegum. The entire thing is a chunky, inelegant slab (like a fat little discus). I don't know. Maybe I've been spoiled by those smooth, sleek magical circles I keep seeing in Nanoha.

I think I would have preferred a simple black base with transparent pink lines. At least that way, there's the option for some neat light effects. Or better yet, make a simple transparent base with a ditzy pink circle. Then make it glow in the dark! Then it would be awesome!

Plus I'm afraid all that black will rub off on her pretty little knees...she doesn't need a base to kneel anyways. She does just as well on a pillow.

Enough about her base. Let's get onto the rest of the figure.

Black Magician Girl is on her knees, ready to cast some magic. Her pose is provocative without being smutty, eroge enough without being indecent, and suggestive to boot! She's flirty, spunky, and oh what large eyes she has! Such a tease. She's everything I hoped she would be. Kotobukiya got her character down perfectly.

Knowing Kotobukiya's recent track record, I held my breath and hoped for the best. When she arrived, I was excited. Then I was nervous. Figure collecting is a ball buster when it comes to price and little is worse than spending $100 on crap. While Black Magician Girl didn't break the three digit barrier, she's not exactly lunch-money-dinky either. So. Result?

Well, she's not up to Alter or GSC standards, but I'm happy to declare her better than expected. The Internet is rampant with tales of woe when it comes to Black Magician Girl, but I don't see a bad paint blemish anywhere. Maybe I got lucky. Probably, actually.

Collar test: Surprisingly clean.
The only paint mishap that bothers me is on Black Magician Girl's hat, where the blue peeks through the pink. You'll also notice a light seam line running up her hat (and her sleeves). They're not dark enough to really bother me, but they do break the flow of the sculpt.

Fortunately, some of her best shading also happens in her hat. Look at those blue gradients! Lovely.

The rest of BMG's outfit is of acceptable quality. Yes, the shading is still duller than I want it to be, but BMG has such a vibrant colour scheme that I don't find myself minding.

Does anyone wonder why her cloak is fluttering behind her while there's no sign of wind anywhere else? Magic, probably.

Black Magician Girl's outfit doesn't leave much room for improvision. It's not the most detailed outfit out there, which makes it doubly pleasing when I spot details like the wrinkle on her back. If there's one thing I love, it's detail where it isn't necessary. The sculptor could have left the fold out and not ruffled any feathers, but the fact that he included it makes him awesome in my eyes.

Detail for the sake of detail. Am I right?

Speaking of detail, there are two things about BMG I absolutely love:

1. Her bling
2. Her fingers

It's easy to see why I like her gems. Their versimilitude impresses me, and everyone loves shiny things (or so I assume). But to my great surprise and pleasure, Black Magician Girl also has wonderfully formed fingers! Each digit is given its own space, and her nails are glossed. Kotobukiya isn't known for putting great effort into their work (they're no Alter, that's for sure), so it's doubly exciting to see such wonderful sculpt.

Sculpt-wise, Black Magician Girl has few mistakes (for a Koto), and they're all on her head. Luckily, she wears a stylish dunce cone hat to diminish her flaws. Hat on, her hair is fine, if not a little shiny. Hat off and what do we see? A square indentation in her head, naturally. After all, what's a girl without a good trephine hole?

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a closet perfectionist. This has nothing to do with my figure collecting, except explain my hatred of seam lines. I hate them. I hate them so much. All the worse because of BMG's relatively simple hairstyle. She barely has six tines, for heaven's sake, but look at all those seams!

I try to be generous to Kotobukiya, but it's hard to be generous when their seam lines are not only plenty, but crass. You know, to pay homage to the brilliant butterknife-pumpkin-carving style of the 18th century. It was called Unprofessionalism, and fortunately, it lasted for only the brief period of never.

Now, onto more cheerful items: Her face(s).

BMG comes with two different faces, a captivating, big-eyed stare, and a flirty winky face. From the beginning I adored her flirty winky face, but over time, her stare grew on me. Coupled with her pose, it almost comes off as seductive, and that appeals to me.

Kotobukiya also put some work into her mouth (I swear that wasn't a dirty sentence). Not too many figures have distinct mouths, but effort has obviously gone into sculpting Black Magician Girl's lips and teeth (yes, teeth!). Her lips aren't as procliamed as, say, Alter's Buddy, but it's not a slash in her face either, and that's always nice to see.

Black Magician Girl grew on me over time. Usually, the reverse is true. When she was first announced, I gave her a passing glance and thought her pose was too awkward. Then, as I stared at pictures of her and rewatched annotated versions of Yugioh on Youtube, I felt an odd urge to throw money at my screen.

Suich can vouch for the number of nights I spent unburdening my indecisiveness on her. Our MSN conversations went something like this:

Jenn: "Should I get BMG?"
Jenn: "But she's a Koto!"

So, under the tremendous force of peer pressure, I clicked "confirm order" and never looked back. She might not be perfect, but her winky face is friggin' adorable. So, which face do you prefer?

You're right, it doesn't matter. She's cute with either face! She'd probably be cute with no face at all 
—wait, I take that back, that's just weird.

Black Magician Girl also comes with a posse of accessories, including:

He's almost as cute as Black Magician Girl herself! Who doesn't love a furball with eyes? If only she came with five or six of 'em! It would be completely cannon.

Black Magician Girl also comes with a poster, but it's a generic print of her in the same pose, and nowhere as cute as her actual figure.

Ooh, that look!
Overall, Black Magician Girl gets a pass in my books. She's not horribly mangled in any way and relatively well sculpted given her manufacturer. My favourite aspect of this figure is obviously her winky face. My least favourite, the horrible rectangular skull fracture on her head. Yes, there are still paint issues, but they're nowhere as bad as the problems I see with my Shining figures.

With Black Magician Girl, I am mildly optimistic about the future of Kotobukiya. With her on board, I now have 5 non-Shining Kotobukiya figures, and no real grouse with any of them. It seems Kotobukiya only maintains a pattern of abject failure with their Shining line, which is both good and bad to hear depending on your Shining devotion.

Would I recommend this figure to others?

Yes I would, especially if you're a fan. After all, you can't deny her charm.

The Run-Down
Box: 5/10 (Standard)
Base: 4/10 (Dark and clumsy)
Pose: 9.5/10 (Flirty and cute)
Sculpt: 7/10 (Hole in her head, some seam lines)
Paint: 7.5/5/10 (Bright and fun, with a few rough areas)
Overall: 8/10 (I enjoy her very much despite her flaws)

Manufacturer: Kotobukiya
Price: 6800 yen
Purchased from: AmiAmi

Peace out!

1 comment:

  1. I just got this figure too last weekend. I've been thinking about getting it and since I saw it at a comic book convention, I bought it. BUT, it didn't come with the poster or the keychain. Maybe the re-release didn't provide them. So, if you don't want the poster, I'll be glad to take it off your hands. ^_^