Hinamatsuri: Doll Day with Makoto Kikuchi 1/8 figure

March 3 is hinamatsuri in Japan. It’s a tradition that dates back to the Edo period where people pray for the healthy development of girls. One of the most notable aspects of this event are the ornamental dolls displayed on red carpet. I remember rolling up one of these in Katamari Damacy! Anyway, what’s a better way for me to commemorate this day than to have a look at anime figures!?I’ve had Phat!’s Makoto Kikuchi figures since it’s release from last October, but I’ve been silently admiring it ever since.

Makoto is one of the 13 in Phat!’s set of Idolm@ster figures based on the BD/DVD cover illustrations of the anime series released in 2011. I only own Makoto, but if her figure is any indication, the rest of the set must be stellar as well (you can order your favorite 765Pro idol available at Amiami).

I guess I kind of spoiled my impression a bit, but it’s hard to hide – bias and all! Almost any angle I look at her is eye-catching, and it’s mainly because of the dramatic pose.

Vol. 2 cover
Vol. 2 cover

It was stated that the figure was altered from the original illustration, but I honestly could not tell what it could have been until I examined her for this post. The original illustration had Makoto laying down on her back (blush), but for the figure it’s more apparent her face is rubbing against her left shoulder. It’s funny, though, since it’s clear that there is a gap between her face and her shoulder when observing from her right side. It’s not the shoulder but the thickness of the tank-top that causes the indent on her chin. If you were to cast off her head it would look like Makoto has a huge dimple on her lower left chin. Still cute, though! Also, her jacket wraps around her more on the right side. Her breast are more prominent on the figure than what the illustration offered – which looks awkward now that it’s been pointed out. The sacrifice for that detail is that you get less armpit action on her right side. Sorry, pit lovers! I’m sure the left side can make up for that.

It’s really the pose and charm of the character that carries it, because design-wise it’s pretty simple. There are subtle ways to look at it that gives it depth, however. The bare legs are half of the figure, which is pleasant enough. Under the right lighting, however, is when the magic really happens! Well, not so much magic as is just using excellent sculpting and quality paint. You can see the layers of shadow around her leg that shows the muscles and it creates realistic impression that nearly drops my jaw to the floor. The lower thighs and around the knees especially look eerily realistic when contrasting light and shadow. Try playing around with that for a good while like what I did when stumbling on this discovery. The reflection of light where the legs touch gives the illusion that there are shades of skin tone, but alas, it’s just using paint that’s able to give off that incredible impression.

The top half of the figure looks busy, but there isn’t a whole lot there. The expression is fantastic; Makoto is popular with other girls for her masculine aura, so having her convey femininity in her posture is charming in itself since that’s what she’s always wanted to express. It’s what surrounds her where it gets to be bit sloppy. The paint details aren’t the most careful in staying where they’re supposed to be. This is most noticeable on the backpack and shoes. The color splashing isn’t apparent from a distance, but it’s there where all paint colors connect.

What’s disappointing is that there wasn’t a lot of features to color in the first place. The backpack isn’t even shown in full in the original illustration, so even the most basic feature shows flaw. The black color shading around the shorts is also questionable, as it tries to serve as shadows, but instead of using the same techniques as on the legs, it comes off as a bit lazy. At least they managed to include to the green M symbol on the tip of the shoes. I also think the mouth design could have been better, as it looks like Makoto isn’t so much smiling as she is trying to recreate Elvis Presley’s shit-eating grin.

All in all, it’s a Makoto figure, so I’ll love it regardless. There is detail here to appreciate – some where I was even amazed by, so what flaws there are isn’t enough to make it any less of an impressive figure. I think it stands as the best figure of the princely idol to date, and will probably remain so for years to come. At least I hope so. It isn’t often one of my favorite characters gets to be captured in freeze-frame-on-jump-then-cue-the-credits pose!

Now, let’s get to the obligatory pantsu bit!

Hm… Nothing to see here. Or is there?

Thank the kind souls that dare to dream!


You can purchase this Makoto Kikuchi 1/8 figure by Phat! at Amiami.