This Utena is the fourth in Active Styling Figure series by Kotobukiya. It was released in 1997 during the first run of Revolutionary Girl Utena in Japan.
There is also a plastic tube version, but I suppose the boxed variant was released first. The rose symbol is everywhere!
The side image demonstrates the '"Active Joint System" - we'll see how it works. As you can read on the box, the body is ABS, while the head is soft vinyl.
There is an instruction inside how to deal with the sword and the rose. As for the rose, which has a sticker on its reverse side, I've already attached it to Utena's jacket, so I can't show you the process.
The sword is unpainted and made of very soft and flexible plastic.
Here she is. In my opinion, it's a pretty good rendition of the character. Also, its good that her hair is molded: other Utena dolls have rooted hair and it looks rather unconvincing.
A closeup. Well, maybe the nose could have been bigger, but otherwise Utena is absolutely recognisable.
Her clothes are well-mde, especially for a 20cm doll. The chain is fake but it looks like real metal. The pockets are sloppy, though, and I don't like the way they made the epaulettes: they are strips of faux leather and don't have the necessary volume. But I honestly like this double skirt!
The shoes are molded together with the laces. They are so soft that I couldn't take them off.
So, this is the joint system. It looks fragile and sounds squeaky.
The body has metal screws on the back. As I said before, plastic hair is nice, but it limits the poseability to some extent and makes it hard to undress the doll.
The joints are actually ball joints, or rather pintles with tiny balls on tops; they are supposed to give unrivalled poseability, but in fact they are too loose, so the body parts just hang most of the time.
Which is a pity, because the potential is very good. Still she's totally unable to stand.
Out of her four hands, there's only one with Utena's famous ring. It's just a drop of paint, you won't see the rose on it.
Utena next to another ASF, Kanzaki Akari. It turns out that Utena's sleeves prevent her from bending her elbows.
One more comparison, this time with a vinyl prepainted figure (also made in 1997). Of course, the figure has more correct proportions, but the doll's face and hair are much better.
I can't say I'm really satisfied with this Utena, but she was among my very first anime dolls. I love the series so much that I'm really happy this doll exists!
- Written by Yoruno
Even though I already have a wired doll (see the review here), I have always been eager to get a Kiwidoll made by Kiwi House. This is a doujin manufacturer usually making a limited number of dolls and showing them at festivals and events. Mascot dolls, though, are made in batches and distributed via the commissioner's website. One of the examples is Sunoko-tan (or Sunokotan), a humanised heat exchange radiator. Marudai Corporation, the owner of the mascot, now sells Sunoko-tan Kiwidolls together with other souvenir items. I couldn't buy a doll there, so I got mine from Mandarake.
The box reminds of those used by garage kit circles at Wonder Festival, with a touch of amateurism. At the same time, it also speaks of limited edition. The girl on the box is no other but Sunoko-tan.
Inside there are lots of bubble wrap and a note from the manufacturer, with the mascot of Kiwi House instead of a signature.
The doll looks painfully twisted, I hope her neck isn't broken. She is also strangely heavy.
However, Sunoko-tan turns out to be perfectly fine. I think she has a metal skeleton, hence her weight, and her silicon skin is soft and... well... a bit of jelly-like.
She only has one seam on the left side of her body.
Her head is hard vinyl with a carved mouth and decal eyes.
I was initially afraid I was going to have hard times with her hair, but, surprisingly, it's not rooted. It must be a wig glued onto her head, which makes me hope she won't be losing her hair.
The neck is the only place where Sunoko-tan's wiring can be made visible.
I have to say it works very well: it doesn't let the body bend uncontrollably in unexpected places, but it allows the doll to pose in most natural ways.
I suppose she would even be able to cross her arms - an ordeal impossible for most dolls - if it wasn't for her cuffs which are made of plastic or something like polymer clay (as well as her boots, slider and radiator hairpins).
All these details are neatly made and the clothes are well-sewn. Interestingly, her dress can't be taken off.
I've tried to make Sunoko-tan stand on her own but it's very difficult to find the right balance. So I'd say she can't do it. In the picture she's leaning on the window in order to stand.
Overall, I'm really happy with Sunoko-tan. She is an interesting doll, and her quality is amazing. If I could, I would own more Kiwidolls, but I'm afraid I can't afford them: at Mandarake, they're ¥20,000 each.
- Written by Yoruno