It’s been so long since I blamed someone for making me buy a figure, but today I have someone to blame. *raises his fist up like Stephen Colbert* Rico!!!!
Ah, everyone’s favourite bitchdere, how I loathe your personality but your strawberry blonde hair is ever so lovely. Louise Françoise le Blanc de le Vallière from Zero no Tsukaima (ゼロの使い魔) as sculpted by Sanada Masaaki and produced by Kotobukiya. As young as Louise may look she’s an older model in the figure world having originally been released back in October of 2006 though has since been re-released in November of 2009. Telling which release one has is always a challenge, I suspect I have a re-release due to a copyright date on the bottom of the box being from 2008, though it’s neither the original release date (also written on the box) nor the re-release, which confuses me a little. My reasoning for assuming it’s the re-release however is because no one copyrights the future, only the now and the past, thus the 2008 copyright makes sense for a 2009 re-release. Louise retailed for ¥4,800 / $46 CDN (’06 values) and I bought her for $51 CDN back in January off Diverse on MyFigureCollection, who I think got a bit of a deal out of me, making all his money back on an opened box figure. Interestingly he also claims to still own Louise in his list, interesting!
Between Rico’s review, when I ordered Louise and now my opinion of her has changed. In fact, she remained in her box until this past weekend when I decided to finally review her. When I read Rico’s review, I was pretty torn on Louise and commented as such in his post “I’m torn on this figure. On one hand, I love it and want to buy it… But on the other hand, I detest Louise.” When I got her my opinion changed from liking the figure a bunch to meh and thought to myself I’ll get around to reviewing her later. Now it should be noted during the same month Louise arrived I received “World is Mine” Hatsune Miku, Orchid Seed’s Seena Kanon, Kotobukiya’s Kirisame Marisa and Alter’s Al Azif. So it’s likely my perception was skewed towards these figures as I liked and still like them all better than Louise. But now that I’m finally sitting down to review her I feel my second opinion of her to be justified, and while she may not scream 2006, she doesn’t scream 2009 either.
One of the key failures of this figure is her lack of Louise. I know that above I said I detest her, and I still do, but this figure gives off neither the dere Louise nor the tsun/bitch Louise that everyone knows. She’s entirely devoid of expression, just a plain face with a tiny opened mouth. I suppose one could argue she’s reciting incantations in complete seriousness, or perhaps with a little surprise, but all I see is boring expressionless and lacking.
The second failure with Louise is her legs, do they not seem overly long? I mean, long for even an anime character. In particular, her thighs are far too long, and the raising skirt doesn’t help with this effect, it in fact makes them appear yet longer than they are. This gives Louise a very strange appearance, if I were to change one thing about this figure, this would be it rather than her expressionless face. I can deal with the face, but extra long legs are unappealing. Additionally the rising skirt ruins the zettai ryouiki appeal, I much prefer the Grade-A and Grade-S types and the rising skirt lowers her level to somewhere around Grade-B, which is still appealing I’ll admit. It should be noted, I watched the first season of Zero no Tsukaima entirely because of this scene.
Ignoring that the figure’s Louise, and ignoring that her legs are stiltedly long, she’s a fairly competently produced figure for 2006. There’s lots that could be done and would be expected these days, but there’s enough there to be satisfied. Her hair is detailed and flowing, and when her head is removed reminds me of Takoluka (Megurine Luka’s octopus form?). The book she’s holding is of reasonable production value, print on the front and within, and the way she holds it you can tell she’s glancing down to read it. The best part about the sculpt though is easily her exposed midriff just under her shirt, adds a nice hint of sex appeal to her, for those of us who aren’t enamored by her “deliciously flat chest”.
I mentioned removing Louise’s head in the previous paragraph, this is necessary when adding or removing her cloak which isn’t the only piece of removable clothing. As with many figures with skirts, Louise splits under her shirt allowing one to remove her skirt as well. Kotobukiya’s done this in a good way, as even with her skirt removed she looks fine for display, no obvious gaps or seams are added, unless you include her intergluteal cleft where there’s a pleasant gap between her slender gluteus maximus muscles. After removing the skirt more of her stomach is visible and reveals some added detail such as hip bones and a bit of a pear shape to her figure, that is, wider at the hips than the chest. Also in removing the skirt, we’re able to see just how long those legs really are, and how awkward they are.
As much as I may have hated on the figure I still find Louise to be an attractive addition to my collection. She’s an alright version of the character even if she doesn’t really look like her, and she’s competently produced. Though, if I had my way I’d have Alter’s Gothic Punk Louise instead, she’s got so much more cute in her than this Louise and seems like a mix-mash of two opposing styles.
In the promoshots Louise’s thighgap is tighter… Mmm tight thighgap…
- Detailed hair flowing nicely in the magic that’s presumably surrounding her
- Exposed midriff
- Adequate thighgap
- Blank emotionless expression
- Long thighs, too long
- Skirt is too short