Review: Kotobukiya’s Kasugano Sora
Moving away from last weeks perhaps more depraved figure we move on to a new kink, school swimsuits.
I’ve repeated many times in the past that I’m not a fan of swimsuit figures. The reasons are few, they’re often vapid and simplistic. Yet, despite this claim of mine, I own 13 figures in swimsuits or swimsuit like clothing. Am I a liar, a damn dirty liar? I’m starting to wonder myself. Breaking down this 13, there are 2 one-pieces, 2 that aren’t really swimsuits but very similar, and 9 varying degrees of bikini. The two one-pieces, both of them are school swimsuit and neither of them are of the modern one-piece variety no of course not. Both Neko Peke and Kasugano Sora (春日野 穹) don the older skirted two-piece, the style most envisioned when school swimsuits are brought up in conversation, the one fetishized by so many anime, manga and eroge.
Taking a couple steps backwards though before I dive right in (oo puns!) lets talk a little about Sora first. Sora comes from Yosoga no Sora (ヨスガノソラ) an eroge published by Sphere back in 2008. The reasons this game stands out beyond other eroge isn’t it’s story of twincest or it’s cliché premise, no it’s the character designs. Hashimoto Takashi (橋本タカシ) and Suzuhira Hiro (鈴平ひろ) are the two responsible for the games character design and art. Hashimoto Takashi being the lesser known for me but no less skilled than one of my favourite artists Suzuhira Hiro. Specifically Hashimoto Takashi did the design work for Kasugano Sora, and as thus this rendition of Sora follows after an illustration of his. Sora is produced in the larger 1/6th scale form-factor and measures 13 cm (5″) tall. She was pretty reasonably priced for a 1/6th scaled figure with an MSRP of ¥7,140 / $83 CAD. Usual discounts etc… She cost me less than that with shipping included. (Side Note: I often confuse Nanao Naru’s artowrk with Suzuhira Hiro’s and vise versa, I’m not sure why.)
Like often is the case with figures adapted from artwork, manufacturers, and sculptors more specifically take some liberties when making the shift from 2-dimensions to 3. Kotobukiya and sculptor Munetoshi Makio are no different and have taken some creative freedoms with Sora. The most obvious change is she’s not blushing, at all. This seems to be something avoided by a lot of manufacturers, perhaps it just never looks right I’m not sure. Though, Native managed it with Shoujo M and S (both NSFW) but it was much more subtle. I always find that after the manufacturer removes the blushing, much of the appeal of the figure is removed. Everything’s still there but the characters embarrassment and perceived emotion changes without the blush. Sora’s gone from an embarrassed cute look to an indifferent look, a drastic change.
Other changes in Sora are more subtle. In the illustration, Sora’s pulling her swimsuit out further from her left arm, in the sculpt she’s resting her thumb on her arm and gives no impression she’s undressing further. The wrinkles of her swimsuit around her waist differ as well, in the illustration they’re much more pronounced and help bring out the school swimsuit fetish by drawing ones attention to it. I originally started writing this review as if Sora was wearing a modern one-piece school swimsuit and only when I consulted the original illustration was I drawn to notice it wasn’t. The last sculpting changes I notice, Sora’s hair ribbons are larger in the sculpt and the placement of Sora’s left foot, the illustration has her right leg resting upon it, however the sculpt has her right leg in front of her foot instead. Not really a change I worry about as it looks much more natural in the sculpt than the picture.
The fit and finish on Sora’s about standard for a Kotobukiya sculpt, she doesn’t stand out in any way in this regard, but she doesn’t fail either. Her skin is pale with a subtle pink giving her some colour and helping reveal that she’s not dead, unlike the indication one might get from her eyes. Her swimsuit has a nice sheen to it diferentiating it from the skin’s finish. The hair however seems to differ greatly in it’s chosen tones. Sora’s hair appears more pale and blonde than the original artwork which is a light grey/brown. Sora’s seams seem quite well hidden, where her legs join her torso, behind her bangs, etc. The biggest flaw in the finish however is on her left butt cheek, there’s a lump that likely is from the injection mold.
So far in my collecting career Kotobukiya’s the only manufacturer that’s offered pillows as bases. I’m positive others have as well, but of the figures I’ve collected, only Sora and Zange have come with pillow bases. I’ve come to like them since getting the first, they’re unique and help in creating more of a scene than a plastic disc ever could. They also work in a way that “World is Mine” Miku’s base can’t, they can form to the figure much more realistically and aren’t limited to exact placement. Except well, Kotobukiya sorta messed this effect up. Sora’s hair is a more solid plastic such as ABS, and is actually acting as support. Thus weight is being applied to it that real hair would never have, so her hair digs into the pilow, looking a bit odd.
Interestingly, comparing Sora from artwork to physical, I get the sense that Sora in physical form appears older than the Sora in the illustration. It could be the blushing, it could be the way the pose has been altered, it could be how her collar bone’s are defined, I don’t know but I feel like she’s older and more womanly in ‘person’ than in photo, and I appreciate that greatly.
She’d seem more alive if she were blushing…
- Nice action pose with hair to match
- Alluring undressing pose
- Reasonably priced
- Sculpt is well done and makes Sora appear older
- Much of her weight is forced into her strands of hair
- No blushing, none at all