Review: Kotobukiya’s Kirisame Marisa

To make up for last weeks ultra not safe for work posts I’ve decided to err on the side of caution this week and do something about as work safe as I can manage. With that in mind I chose Kirisame Marisa from the Touhou Project as realized by Kotobukiya. With her granny panties she’s gotta be work safe right?

I have to admit something, before ordering Kirisame Marisa I really didn’t know what the Touhou Project was. I had an idea but it turns out it was only half right. I had always thought that Touhou was a fighting game along the lines of Street Fighter, the sort of game I could only ever button mash, but still potentially win using über cheap moves. It turns out this isn’t what Touhou is, or rather what it originally was. Originally Touhou was what Wikipedia seems to call a “Bullet Hell Shooter” game, where often the screen is almost complete filled with enemy fire. A sub-genre of this seems to be call “cute ’em ups” a genre name I think applies here quite well.

Upon learning this I have to say I was pretty shocked, I wondered to myself; how on earth could a game like that spawn so many cute girls as well as the huge following of obsessed fans? If someone has the answer please, by all means enlighten me because so far I’m at a complete loss.

Moving on, Kotobukiya has decided to join the other 84 Touhou figures that have been produced so far, 23 of which are from Griffon Enterprises, and design their own Kirisame Marisa. Kotobukiya decided to have Outo Misono design them a 1/8th scale exclusive figure with a little gimmick, a light up star. Marisa retailed for around ¥7,500 / $89 CAD and was released last year in December. I ordered mine through AmiAmi so mine shipped with what I believe is a phone card, a sticker for the base which I’m not sure how to apply, and a balloon of the object Marisa seems to be holding (Picture). Had I ordered through Hobby Stock, I would have received a card holder and a strap.

Straight off, I’ve got a problem with this figure, one that I find quite annoying given what I expected. Why doesn’t that star light up? Well let me tell you why. The first reason that star doesn’t light up is because this $90 item doesn’t come with batteries. Ok I can take that, sure, batteries could potentially leak or something, or be dead upon arrival. The next reason that star doesn’t light up is because it doesn’t light up. I put 2 rechargeable batteries in and flipped the little switch on the bottom of her base to find, next to nothing. The little light inside lit up a bit, but I was sitting in the dark and you could hardly tell it was on. I was expecting almost night light brightness based on Kotobukiya’s promo shots. Now perhaps this could be due to my use of rechargeable batteries, they only provide a combined 2.4v when two normal AAs would provide 3.0v, perhaps being short 0.6v was enough to make it so dim. But until I find a set of normal AAs and prove myself otherwise, this is utter fail for Kotobukiya so far as I’m concerned. Don’t even add such a feature unless you can actually put a light in it.

Ignoring the fact this figure is supposed to light up she’s actually quite well done. As can be seen, her hat comes off and thanks to the magic of magnets there’s no pegs or holes in her head that need to be hidden, in fact the magnet is quite strong! Her base is somewhat plain without the AmiAmi sticker placed, and since I can’t seem to find a way to actually add it I’ve left it off for now. Marisa’s star also moves and rotates, you can angle the star up and down slightly, and rotate it considerably. Some nice touches, though I would have preferred being able to angle the star further down than I seem to be able to. One issue with the base though has to do with Marisa’s weight, it’s not that she’s fat, oh no don’t worry about that Marisa you look lovely. But the star has issues supporting her at certain degrees of it’s rotation causing her to lean over more than you intended.

As expected with Kotobukiya the paintwork is. Yes, it just is. It’s never outstanding but in my experience never abysmal either. Marisa here has some nice colours in her hair, some sparkles and even some strawberry blonde at the tips which I find to be quite cute. Her broom also has some nice shading and even an Asian touch I think there. Western witches tend not to ride bamboo brooms, neat little touch I never really considered until having her in my hands. However beyond that her paintwork just is, her skin is skin but no depth, her dress is a dress, but no depth. However given all the ruffles in her dress light manges to make up for some of this. I do wish they’d put a bit more effort into her skin, while a pleasantly pale colour it’s just lacking something to make her look alive.

Despite the overall cleanliness of this post I have to admit to something else. I ordered this figure before many pictures were out, and I found myself drawn to what might lay under her dress, while I already ‘knew’ I wanted confirmation. I suspect that added a certain mystique to the figure that drew me in to ordering. Not long after, pictures were released that answered my intrigue but that didn’t stop my order. This did however draw my attention to her legs and how they were placed. Almost as if they’re semi-chaotically keeping her in balance as she streaks across the sky. Adorable.

Overall I’ve got some mixed feelings about this figure. I feel it’s a well done figure, the pose is cute and seems well sculpted and decently painted. But the gimmickry fails too hard and really takes away from the figure. I can and likely will have to ignore the gimmicks but I do wish they’d have turned out, she would have been much more unique a figure than she is. I do feel that I need to get a Hakurei Reimu figure to go with her now though, she might get lonely without a friend.

I never thought granny panties were cute until Touhou…



  • Nice use of magnets for Marisa’s hat, leaves her pretty head nice and pretty
  • Adjustable base, Marisa rotates backand forth
  • No issues with paintwork
  • Cute well sculpted pose


  • Lighting gimmick doesn’t work, nor does it come with batteries
  • Due to the gimmick not working well, Marisa’s quite expensive for what’s received



  1. Rico-sama says:

    That’s all kinds of bogus about the “light up” star. You’re right the official images made it out to be a lot brighter than the barely visible you make it sound like. Curious though, do the batteries also turn the base or is that a manual thing?

    Marisa’s pose is probably one of the most endearing features about the figure and I like it even more with your point about semi-chaotically keeping her balance. It makes her that much more cute! You didn’t talk much about detailing though. I kind of like what’s done on Marisa – it’s stylized. What was your take?

    I agree completely about her skin tones – not exactly Kotobukiya’s forte. It’s a shame too because if they could nail that one area alone it would vastly improve their work.

    • Aka says:

      The batteries are only for the light. The movement of the star arm and rotation is manual.

      Hmm I thought I did talk about details, but I guess I did leave out her face and overall design change from the standard. I rather liked what Outo Misono chose to do, though Marisa doesn’t seem to look as old as she does in most of the artwork I’ve seen. While this made her a cute figure, I think it did change her personality. Though I’ve only inferred her personality via fanart, which isn’t necessarily the truest form.

      Speaking of her face though, I recall that being a complaint of others, the angle of it apparently has changed between official shots and release. People aren’t able to get the same angle for some pictures as Kotobukiya managed.

      Kotobukiya needs to get someone from Alter over to teach ’em a thing or two ’bout skin tones.

  2. Jem says:

    Shmups or shoot-em-ups tend to have a strong fan base in Japan period. So, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that cute characters from those titles in that genre would receive just as much if not more attention and fame.

    I preordered this knowing the franchise. Initially, I was pretty excited that I could get my hands on another video game character and that it was being done by Kotobukiya. I still need to have this item among several others shipped to me from Japan.

    I’d need to see my figure for a closer inspection, but she looks good. I wish the angle of the pose didn’t change so much, either. I also feel that the brightness of the star was one of many reasons why my excitement for this figure was huge.

    • Aka says:

      Too true, take something popular, add cute girls and you have a recipe for popularity. I wasn’t aware shoot-em-ups were that popular was all. It never ceases to amaze me when I visit danbooru and there’s 105,831 Touhou pictures, that’s 1/5th of the entire website! The only two tags that have more pictures are generic tags “breasts” and “long hair”. It’s amazing the popularity of this franchise.

      Do you have your items held in Japan until there’s multiple to ship? Curious how you do this. Ordering from HLJ and AmiAmi, they tend to just ship whatever they have at any given point.

      What about her pose changed? I haven’t really put my finger on it, but I haven’t examined side by side with the official shots either.

  3. Ashlotte says:

    Ah the light…yea almost every review I read of her so far made note of the weak light…seems like a shame. First thing I’d do is crack open that star and get something with some oomph in it thats for sure. :p

    Looks very lovely though…Those “granny panties” maybe more safe for work, but being the deviant I am I quite like them more then modern ones…I blame the overuse of panty flashing in the Echhi genre mostly for this though. ~_^

    • Aka says:

      It’s such a shame, because it really could have been something unique, and instead, Kotobukiya messes it up like they seem to do so often. I do want to crack open the star and do as you say, but I’ve still yet to unbox my 2 additional Drossels and add lights to one or more of their heads. My little projects never seem to leave the ground.

      I definitely like modern panties more than granny panties, but I do have to say they’re a pleasant change. As awkward as I think this may sound, when I looked up her dress and saw the granny panties for the first time, I just thought how cute those were. Now, had it been an actual grandma, I think I would have had a different reaction, unless she was like, an anime grandma and some how a GILF

      Going with your over use of panty flashing, I do feel the need to mention… I actually prefer when there’s only a hint of panties, or even not shown at all but you know someone from some angle is getting to see them. Some of my favourite angles of figures reveal only the tiniest amount of panty, and I find that far hotter than having them in their entirety revealed for all to see. Some examples, Corticarte Apa Lagranges, Sawatari Makoto, Natsume Rin, Yami, and lastly Tohsaka Rin though no panty is revealed, I find the angle hot.

  4. Leonia says:

    With yours pictures, I regret to not have this figure in my collection. This is an adorable figure, and the base is really original with the star. I like Marisa character (I don’t know Touhou universe but I like her long hair) ^^. For the moment I think that this adaptation is my favorite of Marisa. And tle light ! Ah nice idea !

    • Aka says:

      She really is adorable, I really do wish though that the star lit up. It was pathetic how weak the light was, it made me wonder why on earth you’d even bother.

      I think she’s my favourite Marisa out there as well, though if I were to dive in to Garage Kits, I might think otherwise.

  5. bluedrakon says:

    My wife loves the witch figures. THis one should make her day with the white star.

    You have a great selection of photos and like how you took the time to shoot at every angle and get closeups as well.

    Very cool site!

  6. […] to these accessories Drossel’s eyes also light up. Which is great but also reminded me of how Kirisame Marisa’s star light barely lit up. Drossel’s eyes light up perfectly considering she has a tiny […]

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