11:41 PM on 11.07.2014
Hello Tomopop, I've returned for another figure review! Actually, I had planned to post this review months ago, but of course, there were delays with the release. In any case, I was very excited about this figure. Having largely moved on from figure collecting, I made an exception on this purchase because of my great admiration for Range Murata. So how did this figure pan out? Let's take a look!
As a warning, this review is for a slightly NSFW loli figure. If you're offended by potential loli sexualization, then this is probably not your cup of tea.
This figure stands out in a lot of ways and the box is one of the big ones. The packaging has a modern, minimalist design with very bold colors that highlight the text. The large space given to the figure's window box really draws the eye and doesn't have to fight with any distracting elements.
The back portion doesn't break away too much from the usual, but does feature promotional images in large rounded squares that continue the modern look. I really like the side windows they employed here. Although they don't provide as clear a look into the box as other designs, it does add a stylish touch and creates some cool shadows under light.
Pretty standard top and bottom. For the front window, I liked that the plastic cage had a hole cut out to give a clear view of the face. It's always a pain when you're trying to get a good look into the box or taking a nice picture, but the darn reflections get in the way.
All in all, this box is definitely a keeper.
Opening stuff up
If you've opened one figure, you've opened them all. There's a bit of tape holding the top flap down and more tape on the plastic cage. The plastic cage actually had a lot more tape than I expected, something like 8 pieces on my cage all around.
Once you get the cage open, you have three major pieces. The actual figure, the scarf, and the red chair. The chair comes in its own smaller cage that's held down with tape. I actually only needed to cut one side for this one as the other piece of tape can act as a hinge, which makes it easier for you to repackage it in the future.
With the cage out, you'll see that the inside of the box can come out and act as a backdrop for your photos, if you want. I decided to give it a whirl and tied the sides together with some tape.
Although I kind of wish that they'd used grid windows instead of big squares, the backdrop works adequately for this particular figure (and likely others). The backdrop is somewhat reflective, which gives you some nice diffused light coming back to fill out shadows in your figure. These reflections end up adding color to the neutral backdrop, which lets it adapt easily to any figure you stick in there.
Now I want to talk about the base. Because the base is sexy. I love this base. It's so simple and the colors just pop out. Unfortunately, this means that it's a crazy fingerprint magnet and you'll get smudges from your finger oil just by handling it. Still, since it's a black base, it's not very noticeable unless you're looking closely. And I still commend Alter for making a base that fits so well with the rest of the figure.
Inside the box, there are some instructions on how to assemble the figure (mine were hidden behind the inner backdrop piece). Even without them though, you should be able to get your figure up and running.
There are two pegs that connect your figure to the base. Just line the boot up and give it a push. Alter's quality control seemed to have worked out for me as the pegs weren't loose like some of my other figures. It required a bit of force, but even after multiple detachments, the fit was very snug.
If you want to put the scarf on, you'll have to pull the head off. It might require some force, but it should loosen a bit after you pull it off for the first time. Because this figure has a head piece and pretty detailed hair, I had to fumble around a bit to find some purchase with my fingers.
Now the scarf is pretty straightforward. You can look at the promotion pictures on your box to make sure you're getting it right, but the way the scarf is shaped should be enough for you to figure out how it should be placed on your figure. There are some indents for the scarf to rest nicely on her shoulders and an indent on the top to give some room for her chin.
For my figure, there was a nice tactile snap to tell me I had the head back in properly when using the scarf.
One aspect that makes Range Murata's character designs very distinctive is that he usually uses minimalist fashion with lots of small details to keep your eye entertained. Could you call it tasteful sexualization? Perhaps. Or maybe it's just loli bait. In either case, the vibrant color scheme with splashes of orange and purple against light skin, white bikini, and black leather is certainly eye-catching.
Here we see Alter just being awesome at what they do. With what's essentially blank canvases of vibrant colors, these small pieces stick out like sore thumbs. With Alter's careful attention to details, rather than being eyesores, the small pieces just elevate the rest of the figure to a higher plane. Nice work was also done with the paint to give strong texture to the pieces such as the silvery metal and the wool scarf. It's great to see because another trait of Range Murata is a high degree of realism in textures and material detail.
The boots and gloves are amazing to look at on their own. Each teeth of the zippers is cleanly sculpted and we have a modern shape for the slider. The leather has plenty of shiny buckles to contrast with all the black. And you can even see the stitching of leather on the gloves and boots.
Of course we also have the great chair to look at. Aside from its very clean, geometric shape, we also have lots of little detail in the metal leggings and support. The support in the bottom is actually a little flexible, as it probably would be in the actual chair. The chair is actually interesting because the back two legs are slanted compared to the front legs. I want to say this is to provide more support to the back of the chair, where all the weight goes, but I'm no expert at this stuff.
Everywhere you look on this figure, there's some sort of small detailing that really impresses. With the scarf off, you can see the collar on the Muse's neck and the metal piece on the back of the bikini.
And of course, what's the point of having skimpy clothes on a figure without some cleavage. Bouncy, round cleavage.
Even the butt has some nice detailing! Look at those circle patterns on the bottom piece.
But in the end, the parts aren't what really matter. It's what the figure as a whole looks like. And boy, does it look great.
With a relatively dynamic pose, plenty of elements and small detailing to keep your eye entertained, the Muse of Range Murata is gorgeous to look at from any angle.
Being a 1/6 scale, the Muse takes up a good amount of space and commands a lot of attention in your collection. It's not so tall heightwise, but the pose along with just the general filled-outness of Murata's designs means this figure will just feel more substantial than other figures.
Here's a comparison of arms between 1/7 Menma and 1/6 Muse. I know Menma's a slender girl, but this really was the first time that the sort of "anorexic" quality of the majority of bishoujo figures really became noticeable to me.
If there was a con to this figure, I would say it'd be the face. For some reason, my reaction to the face changes frequently. Sometimes I think it looks too flat and long but other times it just feels right. I'm not sure what exactly is causing it; it seems independent of angle or lighting. But it's a minor impediment that I'm hoping will go away with time.
But when you just get down to it, the 1/6 JC.com Muse of Range Murata by Alter is an amazing figure in so many ways. It's certainly worth every penny it cost and will bring glory to any figure collection out there. Truly outstanding work by Alter.
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