Review: Kotobukiya’s Makinami Mari Illustrious

The 5th and last figure in Kotobukiya’s 1/6th line of Evangelion figures… or so I thought. When I ordered Mari here I thought she was the end of the line, how naïve was I to think this. Kotobukiya of course would milk this line more, but we’ll have to wait for miss Shikinami for quite some time. In the mean time, I think I’ll get back to Mari here.

Like the others girls in this growing set, Mari sports a rather strange pose.  All of the girls excluding Misato are situated in some of the most uncomfortable postures I’ve ever tried to replicate from a figure. Yes, I’ve tried to sit in all of these poses to see how feasible I find them, now, while I’m not very flexible, I still believe that the discomfort I feel would probably translate to them as well, even if they are more flexible than I am (and they are). All 3 of the plugsuit laden girls have arched backs with twists and bends in them, but I think of the 3, Mari has the most comfortable pose. Which in my mind translates to the best pose, though they’re all quite sexy regardless.

One of the interesting themes running through this series of figures, again excluding Misato, is their bums. Asuka, Mari and Rei all seem to want us to take a good long gander at their rears, admiring their curves and the depth at which the plugsuit travels up between their cheeks. Asuka seems to be the most shy in this regard not facing her rear directly towards the viewer, Mari on the other hand is wholeheartedly encouraging this activity. The way she’s leaning on her base, twisting her back revealing the side of her left breast, the way she places her left hand on her hip and the way she extends her bum out towards the viewer. All of this is indicative that she knows what she wants, and she wants you to observe it thoroughly. So you better do so.

I didn’t realize until writing this review just how much of a spoiler Mari’s base actually is. Those of you who’ve not seen Evangelion 2.22 may want to skip over this paragraph or perhaps not even look at the base all too carefully. After re-watching Evangelion 2.22 (saw 2.0 back in theatres in November ’09), I’m reminded which Evangelion Mari ends up piloting and which Eva this base looks like. When I ordered her I just assumed it was her Evangelion she was piloting and thought nothing else of it, or that’s what I remember thinking anyway. Looking at it now I see entirely that it’s Asuka’s Eva in it’s completely liberated form, the way Mari piloted it, “The Beast”. A nice surprise, I’m glad I didn’t pick up on it earlier as it left me something to discover, and probably why I like her base so much more than the others.

I think the biggest problem with this figure of Mari is her face. I’m not sure if it’s really Mari’s face or not, she was attractive in the movie, Chamaro does a great cosplay of Mari (sighted in Akihabara as well), and I recall Max Factory’s prototype of Mari having an attractive face. But Kotobukiya’s Mari doesn’t, she looks wrong without the glasses (I never took any pictures of her this way), but I think the biggest thing that pops out at me is her mouth. It’s really strange the way her lips stick out and their shape. It almost looks like it’s supposed to be a :3 but doesn’t quite make it. Shirahige Tsukuru who’s sculpted all of this series of figures really has failed me in this regard, maybe the face will grow on me, but Rei, Misato and Asuka all have far superior faces in my opinion and Mari just doesn’t live up to their standards here.

Comparing Mari’s plugsuit colour to that of the movies, Koto’s paintjob isn’t a great match. The pinks not the right pink, the grey’s should be more black and the reds more red. All of this would have been a pretty simple fix for Kotobukiya, but none of it new. All the pictures before hand, promo or otherwise, all indicated these would be the colours so there weren’t any surprises. But that doesn’t change the fact they’re wrong. Overall her paintjob is on par with the rest and pretty well done. A lack of shading doesn’t stop her from fitting in amongst her peers as they have none either.

Originally purchasing Mari just to complete the set, which at the time she was the conclusion of, I didn’t really have much care for her. I didn’t like the pose, I didn’t like her face, I didn’t like the colours, but I needed to complete the set. I threw down the $75 or so Canadian Dollars and more or less neglected to care when she arrived. Now that she’s here, some of the things I hated upon seem to have vanished, but others have been engraved upon the surface of my brain. The thickness of her glasses are too thick, her face is strange when viewed from most angles, and the pink is entirely the wrong pink. But her pose, her pose has actually grown on me, I like that she’s sticking her bum out for me to view, I like that I can see the profile of her left breast, and I like the way she twists her back. It’s too bad though for Mari, Asuka will forever remain at the top of my list, no matter how badass or sexy she manages to be.

I still can’t get over these girls are supposed to be 14…



  • More comfortable pose than the other girls, while still displaying her assets nicely
  • She wants you to admire her assets
  • Well sculpted like the other girls in the set
  • Awesome base


  • Too pale a colour scheme
  • Mari’s face doesn’t look like Mari’s face and her glasses are too thick



  1. lu-k says:

    mmmh sexy plugsuit is sexy ^^
    A bit sad about the face indeed, but got to love those twintails ^^
    But I’ll pass on this figure. Only got Rei and Misato, displayed with and an old Asuka figure from ALTER.
    Will wait for figmas to gather all the girls from new movies, and maybe future productions for scale figures.

    Love the lighting of photos with black background. Lovely lovely =)

    • Aka says:

      Misato really needs more figures. I bought Koto’s because it was one of the few good ones out there. Koto’s 1/6th Asuka from this set though is totally worth buying if you ever feel the need. She’s better than Rei for sure.

      The old Alter Asuka was 1/6th right? but not the greatest of quality. Does she compare well with the 1/6th Koto Eva figures?

      • lu-k says:

        Not 1/6 but 1/5 ALTER Asuka. Maybe a little bit bigger, but kind of matches well with Kotobukiya 1/6 figures. Got an old picture here.
        Agree. Need more Misato ^^
        I think I am more an Asuka fan than Rei, but don’t really feel the need for one right now. It is pretty obvious there will be more and more Evangelion figures, so I am sure I will fall for another Asuka one day ^^

  2. James says:

    Yay ! Thanks for the review 😀

    But i’m disappointed, you’re right the face is bad and the colors are not as nice as i thought they would be …

    I guess i’ll wait for another Mari (Alter ?).

    The group pics looks great, they look nice together 🙂

    • Aka says:

      I’m waiting for Max Factories so far, but if Alter comes out with one we’ll have to see. I would like a good company to come out with Mari in her prototype suit as well, even if it’s Koto adding a 2nd Mari to this set of figures.

  3. I said it in Tier’s review and I’ll say it again, she looks like she’s riding a giant dildo from the side view. lol

    • Aka says:

      I’m cool with that idea! I like how they’ve been so subtle about it as well, most people would just see her leaning on a monster like base. But we know better right? 😉

  4. Chag says:

    Spot-on review, dude! I still think Asuka’s pose is the least uncomfortable out of the plug suit trio since she’s not kneeing on a rock. Seriously, the very thought of placing my weight on my kneecaps on solid rock is painful to me. Also, it would’ve been better for the group shot if Mari’s gaze is directed somewhere upwards, since that’s where Asuka and Rei’s eyes are fixated on. Regardless, the trio looks great when displayed together, and I’d say it was worth it to drop those 75 bucks to complete the set.

    “…she looks wrong without the glasses (I never took any pictures of her this way)”

    I hope you’re reading, Tier =P

    • Aka says:

      I agree totally worth it in the end. I do wonder how Test Plugsuit Asuka will fit in though, she wont have a base.

      Asuka’s pose is quite uncomfortable, you try bending your waist like that and leaning sideways into something. It’s not fun, I could totally lean on a rock with my knees easier.

  5. Tier says:

    Being that I’m no fan of the test plugsuit, I’m thinking that I might be better off just getting Kotobukiya’s older Asuka figure, since her regular suit is so much nicer. I think I can get it with free shipping off Amazon, too. Hmm …

    Ha, I question the credibility of both of you. Never trust the word of men who live in igloos, I always say.

    • Aka says:

      The older Asuka is really quite great, so I can back that idea fine. If you were to decide no Asuka at all, well then, I’d be very disappointed in you.

      I love stereotypes.

  6. Ashlotte says:

    Really just can’t stand this figure and I liked Mari in the new figure. T_T

    Gonna have to see if the Wave one I got but haven’t had the time to un-box does her more justice…

    • Aka says:

      I don’t like Wave’s 1/10th scale figures. I’m hoping Alter or Good Smile tackle the next Mari figure, or Max Factory who’s already got a prototype out there.

  7. Rico-sama says:

    Great low lighting shots, Aka. They look so dramatic!

    I wholeheartedly agree about her face. I guess it passes for Mari but it doesn’t really feel like Mari. I’m not so concerned about the shape of her mouth but it feels like there is something off about her cheek bones.

    I don’t think I would’ve picked up on the colors not being right had you not mentioned that. Strange choice until you realize that it might be more of Kotobukiya’s in house coloring than anything. Thankfully the other girls seem to have been spared this.

    I think unlike you I’ve gone the other way – I was excited about Mari to begin with (had a few reservations though) but as I’ve seen more and more of her I’ve gotten more and more cool to her. Makes me wonder if, for me at least, it has more to do with the fact that Mari is an unknown to me. I haven’t yet seen 2.0, nor does Mari have the benefit of years of familiarity I have with the other girls, so I have a hard time pinning down how Mari should “look”.

    That and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the Max Factory sculpt! :3

    • Aka says:

      You really should watch 2.22, it’s quite good and differs from the original quite well. You’d get a much better idea of Mari I think as well, though she’s still a bit mysterious.

      Max Factory has done a good job, though their pose is a bit boring I have to admit.

      I took all the pictures for this review and couldn’t think of anything creative, threw together some low light shots and they turned out rather well. Should have taken more.

  8. Fabrice says:

    Oh nice, all three evangelion characters,
    I much as i like miri, i really dont like the pose, okay not really but ye the pose is kind =/
    okay she is showing her nice bum 😛

    meh actually i guess after looking at the three of them together, it does look nice (pose) since its all kinda similar =)

    Great pictures again Aka, =)

  9. Leonia says:

    I don’t know the character (I am not a fan of Evangelion). This version is nice. I like group and last pictures !

    • Aka says:

      Even fans of Evangelion don’t necessarily know much about Mari as she was only added in the recent movies.

      Glad you like her.

  10. mike says:

    about the buttcheek thing, i think you didn’t realise they are all “riding” evas, so… get the idea.

  11. […] Katsuragi Misato and Ayanami Rei, and ordering Shikinami Asuka Langley I thought that was it, then Makinami Mari Illustrious was announced. Ordering Mari and again thinking that would be the end of it, another Asuka was […]