I think I have to start by saying that I’m pleasantly surprised. I knew ahead of time this would not be a perfect Horo. Between the promoshots and the preview at Hobby Stock it was clear what I was going to receive. Then the poorly lit photos started appearing and everyone complained and cancelled their orders. But I held steady, I’d been through this a hundred times I knew what to expect, and that was not to expect much at all. I think because of this pessimism I’m able to be pleasantly surprised today.
Why am I pleasantly surprised you ask? Well that’s simple, she’s not terrible. CM’s Corporation’s Horo is no where near Global or Taki Corporation level and even manages a fairly respectable face unlike Cospa. That easily exceeds the expectation I had going into this purchase as I’d never heard of CM’s Corporation before their Eris figure and that’s usually a sign, a sign of a low quality producer. Of course, there are lots of problems with this figure both in comparison to their preview figure featured at Hobby Stock as well as Horo herself. One advantage they have here however is, I don’t believe they were working off a piece of official artwork like many figures do and are thusly allotted more creative freedoms.
These creative freedoms however do not negate issues that are not stylistic choices. Issues such as seam and mould defects, something found quite often amongst the lower tier manufacturers and sometimes even with high tier manufacturers. Seams run up both Horo’s sides from foot to armpit and from hand to shoulder. Just above her left hip there’s also what looks to be an injection mould defect that wasn’t sanded down. There’s a seam through her tail most visible nearest the tip. There’s even a seam in the god damned apple! I don’t mind that there’s one there, but you’d think they’d have rotated the apple so that the seam doesn’t face outwards towards the expected viewing angle.
Secondary issues to those noted above are paint related. Horo’s ears are sloppily done and don’t match those of the preview figure. In their preview figure they painted the inner ear white where the production item has received no such care, instead they look messy and unfinished. In a similar vein, her tail, while blended respectably lacks the white at all. Yes it gets lighter in tone but doesn’t get light enough. This is simply not Horo’s tail, it looks as though it’s been dragged through dirt something Horo certainly would never do of course as she meticulously cares for it, especially the white tip which she proclaims is her pride as a wolf. CM’s apparently didn’t think this was an issue, but I’ll be honest, every preview shot had it this way so it’s not like I expected anything more from the production figure.
Tertiary and final issues to those noted above are purely personal aesthetic preference and are not flaws per-se. That smile of hers, I’ve always had issues with it. It’s always seemed too fake, a smile I can’t ever imagine Horo producing with her own face. There’s no enthusiasm behind it, no mischievous grin, no personality. Just a forced smile by a poor model. Then there’s her feet, after being spoiled by Houmei’s I think it’s going to be hard for a figure to live up to hers, but even still Horo’s here just seem too thick and boxy. They should be more slender and shapely like the rest of her body. Lastly, she’s like Barbie. Everyone’s excuse here seems to be that because she had no nipples in the anime she doesn’t need them on the figure but I disagree. You’re producing a nude figure, everyone knows what naked people look like, even the most prudish of people do. I do not see any point in leaving them out, same with her lower torso, she should have sculpted labia majora. This isn’t the perv in me, I’m not asking for pornographic detail and understand that it would add nothing to her appearance but collecting is all about the details and nude is nude, at least meet the minimum requirements of anatomic correctness.
With all of the above many people might feel their decision to cancel their order or never place one in the first place a justified and validated one, but I must strongly disagree. Not because of a personal bias towards Horo’s character, a bias I openly admit to having, instead a satisfaction that even after an overly critical eye due to my obsession with her I’m still happy with what I received. In person, sitting on my desk Horo looks great, she’s sculpted with a great mixture of cute and sexy. On the cute side we have her small chest with ever so slightly visible rib structure and wonderfully shaped tummy and hips. On the sexy side we have her posture and modesty, covering up enough to make it artistically nude but teasing enough to incite the imagination. To some, I may have these backwards, perhaps her modesty is cute instead of sexy but often I find with attraction it’s not what’s revealed that attracts, that just sets the stage. That which is not revealed but hinted towards causes the imagination to run wild and draws further interest.
A nice touch to this figure is the base, we’ve got a bag of grain but most importantly crates of apples. It helps create a scene and isn’t entirely devoid of creativity like most disc bases. Though I do wonder just what Horo is doing nude in the storage area or loading dock. I know she likes apples but surely she knows to also wear clothes in case she gets caught. Or perhaps it’s late at night and she got up out of bed for a midnight snack and thought no one would see her. Of course, Lawrence heard her rustle out of their shared bed and out of curiosity followed her, Horo with her exceptional hearing heard but continued as though she hadn’t until cornered where she turned back towards Lawrence teasing him with that which we see here. Okamisama I am so jealous of the imagery I have just created.
The best thing about this Horo figure however is the pose, as contrived as it is it feels far more natural and in character than some of the standard type poses used by other manufacturers. Good Smile Company’s Horo comes to mind, as does Kotobukiya’s. These are both excellent examples of Horo in terms of production values but their postures lack creativity and I’m never sure just what it is they’re supposed to be doing. They don’t look in character for Horo, instead they just look like generic stock poses for happy girls. Not an overly bad thing, but not an overly Horo thing either. I’m not sure many would agree with this assertion of mine, that this pose is the less contrived of the three mentioned. But Horo’s unabashed nudity throughout the series and her teasing nature allows me to believe in this pose over say, “generic happy girl”.
Now the question remains, is this 1/8th scale 22 cm tall statue worth the price of admission. I think the short answer is, yes, she was reasonably priced within the ever inflating market with a sale price of ¥7,100. However the long answer is a bit more complicated and depends on where you’re located. The exchange rate really changes ones perception of cost especially since it fluctuates over time, sometimes quite heavily. For example, just four months ago Alter’s Dizzy cost $110 CAD, however the exchange rate back in April was $1 CAD -> ¥86. When Horo shipped the exchange rate had changed drastically to $1 CAD -> ¥75, that’s a 14% drop in buying power for the Canadian dollar. This meant that instead of a cost of $83 CAD she cost $94 CAD. From this perspective I think the consensus amongst non-Horo fans would be she cost far too much and probably should have cost somewhere in around the $70 CAD range, and I think I’d have to agree with this sentiment. But anyone who’s a fan of Horo I think will likely accept this price as being fairly justified though entirely based on obsession for sure, but at least I’m honest about that. Additionally one might consider the secondary market costs of her previous releases such as GSC’s Horo going for upwards of $500 on eBay, making $94 seem like a bargain.
I asked some co-workers what they thought, their comments ranged from “Is that an exploding nut?” *points at her tail* to “Is that a blow up doll?” A good reminder of why I should never bother.
Click here to see them all in focus.