Late post this week, I keep trying for Mondays but something always gets in my way! Better late than never right?
Being an unknown character this was one of my impulse purchases, which I might add, have dramatically increased in quantity recently, injuring my wallet with each click of the “Buy It Now” button. But due to most everyone’s praise of Alter’s products as of recent times, I felt pretty confident with the purchase of Nankyoku Sakura and looked forward to her arrival.
Since I knew nothing about Nankyoku Sakura and the series she comes from, Penguin Musame, I was forced to do a little research. I hope I get the details decently correct this time around, as my previous attempt at such with Kotobukiya’s Blanc Neige was poorly researched as Panther pointed out. My bad!
Penguin Musume was a manga published in Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine from 2006 to 2007 by author Tetsuya Takahashi. The series was about a girl named Nankyoku ‘Penguin’ Sakura and her friends’ daily lives. Sakura comes from a very rich family and is obsessed with anime and manga which has skewed her personality towards the slightly perverted and whimsical. Originally I questioned why she was a catgirl yet nicknamed Penguin, and it appears this is because of her hairstyle which I’m told resembles a penguins (??) and her surname which means “South Pole”. The reason she’s dressed up as a catgirl is apparently due to her enjoyment of cosplay in the series. An interesting note, apparently she obtains abilities with each outfit she wears. This reminds me a lot of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny in the old Merry Melodies cartoons where their personalities would change depending on the hat they wore (Bugs’ Bonnets).
In 2008 the manga was restarted under a new name, Penguin Musume Max serialized in Champion Red which appears to be a similar magazine. The series continues to be published in the magazine with 2 volumes released. Additionally there was an ONA, Penguin Musame Heart, which began April 2008 and ended November 2008 which had 22+1 episodes.
The figure itself is of course from Alter and was sculpted by Akatsuki who’s worked on a few Alpha x Omega figures prior to Sakura. Sakura comes in at 1/8th scale measuring 23 cm tall and her MSRP was ¥6,800 / $77 CAD.
My first thoughts on the figure were decently positive, I felt that everyone’s general praise of modern Alter products were well based and also thought Sakura was quite cute despite her ample chest. One major issue I have with the figure however has nothing to do with the figure and a lot to do with me. I don’t know what Sakura is supposed to look like, making it very hard to compare her to her original manga self. So all I can do is tell you what I think of the figure as she is, instead of who she’s supposed to represent.
With all that in mind, lets get down to it. Alter’s done an exceptional job with the paintwork on Sakura, everywhere seems to have shading that feels consistent throughout. Even under her dress appears to have shading, a rather impressive paint job I think. The only place I seem to feel lacks shading is her cat ears, they feel a bit flat compared to the rest of her. But they are quite small and I certainly wouldn’t hold that against them.
Akatsuki’s sculpting work for Sakura has put her in an energetic and outgoing playful pose. She appears to be eagerly greeting someone in mid stride wearing her catgirl maid outfit. Sakura’s dress is well chosen, not knowing if it’s cannon or not I can’t say who made the good decisions, but I like the bare shoulders and visible collar bone, zettai ryouiki is almost always nice as well as the lifting of her dress towards the rear revealing her pink panties and bum. Some good attention to the smaller details on this figure as well, such as how the thighhighs squeeze her thighs, the thigh gap, the frills on her dress as well as all the points where the various parts join together being well hidden. I’m not sure I even recall seeing any seams, though I’m sure they’re there somewhere.
I have one issue though with the design of Sakura and it’s with her tail. It’s too long, simple as that. Given where the tail is attached and how far it seems to travel it appears to be awkwardly long. A change I would make to this figure is to have the tail come out just above her bum under her dress and use the tail to lift the back of her dress up instead. I think this would have shortened the tail up enough to be a bit more proper.
A few smaller mentions about Sakura. I rather like Alter’s design of her base, it’s not your plain old disc, it has some shape to it, a heart in fact which seems fitting of the pose. Another thing I noticed about Sakura is her weight, I don’t mean to say Sakura is a heavy girl, maybe it’s those breasts, but wow, she seems to be a heafty figure for her size. Her base holds her up well and sturdy, but if you pick her up you can feel she has an awkward balance and is considerably more heavy than her other 1/8th scale counterparts.
Yet another impulse purchase that has worked in my favour. Sakura has more breast than I normally like but pulls off a cute I can be attracted to despite it. Nearly all aspects of Sakura are well done and really illustrate where Alter has moved since 2007 with my previous Alter figure, Sawachika Eri. I think I’m starting to grasp everyone’s affection for Alter’s quality if only for the paint job they’ve given this figure. Sakura might not be the most spectacularly painted figure ever, but she’s one of the better in my collection for sure.
I didn’t forget the pantyshot…