Show and Tell: Nostalgic finds in the world of magical girls
4:00 PM on 08.26.2011
Sometimes, things just come to you unexpectedly. When I was at Otakon this year, I didn't expect to find old figures of characters I love, from back in the 1990s. What did I find? Hououji Fuu from Magic Knight Rayearth, in brand-new spiffy condition (well, spiffy for a toy from 1994), for US$24, just waiting for me to snatch her up and take home with me.
Again, given how old the figure is, I can't say this is a gorgeous work of art or something truly special in terms of a great quality figure, especially compared to the kind of stuff we're getting now. It does do the character a whole lot of justice, though. Alongside Fuu, there were several figures of Umi for sale, and I must say, she didn't fare as well in the design department. There weren't any of Hikaru either, so that's what led to this figure choice, really.
Check past the jump to take a trip down memory lane with me, or just enjoy some pictures of this huge 1/5-scale girl with a longsword and glasses!
I enlisted the help of trusty Mokona to check out and open Fuu's box! The figure maker is Tsukuda Hobby, and to my understanding they produced a pretty wide range of products, but are no longer in business. A few Google searches certainly didn't yield any results of items produced after 2001. As far as the box goes, it is just green and has pictures of her and the other two Magic Knights printed on it. The box itself has a hollow front while the tray the figure was in had a plastic cover on it — very minimal protection.
Now, I don't really like the base, so the rest of the pictures you'll see here she is sort of leaning on something. She can't stand on her own, but I was able to sort of make her balance on a mirror.
I suppose I should mention why Rayearth is even special to me, enough for me to write up a Show and Tell on one of its characters (or to dish out the money for a figure this old, just cause of my nostalgia).
Just like many other folks my age/generation, I started watching anime when it was Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon on TV in the mornings before school or in the afternoons. In the same way as many others, I also didn't know that these were Japanese cartoons. I watched Sailor Moon dubbed before school (I lived close enough to make it to class on time), and loved the whole magical girl super hero concept.
Then Pokémon happened, and that was another indicator I missed for a while, until I got into collecting the cards and seeing some Japanese printed cards show up in the trade shops. My parents by then had already been giving me VHS tapes of Miyazaki movies, the first of which was Princess Mononoke and second (and still my favorite) was Kiki's Delivery Service.
By the time I got into eighth grade, I was into cartoons of all kinds, from anime to Disney and Looney Toons, and I had a friend who was starting to learn Japanese. She introduced me to CLAMP, and I never looked back. Rayearth was the very first anime that I watched subtitled rather than dubbed, enjoying it as it was and wanting more. I have the entire VHS collection (subtitled) of the first season, and purchased the second season soon after. I remember not enjoying the English version, and never really looked back after that, either.
I watched Rayearth so many times after that first watch, cause I really liked the characters and the diversity of the anime in general (I mean, come on, they're girls that get transferred to another world, learn magic, become amazing friends and at the end they get huge robots to fight evil with). I fell in love with CLAMP, making grabs for Chobits, X (TV) and others as they would come out or be re-released to DVD and all that, when DVDs were still a new thing.
I had been meaning to re-watch Rayearth for a while by the time I was at Otakon. I'd spoken about it so much, that when Pedro was walking around ahead of me with his video camera, he spotted the figures and just stopped what he was doing to yell and call me over.
"Kristina, you're going to love this. I know you're going to walk out of here with one of these!"
And indeed, I did. They had a bunch of these. I'm not too sure why; maybe they were clearing out some overstock from the warehouse and noticed these toys from 17 years ago that hadn't been sold. As I mentioned in the introduction, there was no Hikaru and Umi just looked plain bad, so I grabbed the best-looking Fuu on the table as a matter of course.
I'm not too upset or anything by getting Fuu over the others, even if Hikaru was my favorite character. Fuu always struck me as odd, having brown hair instead of green when the other girls had red and blue hair. She also stuck out more than the others, being a genius and all. On top of that, she moved in on a dude really, really quick. Clearly, this girl knows what's going on!
In any case, I'm really happy with the figure. Save a few issues here and there, like one side of the sword (the side that will obviously be not on display) has a few skid marks, and her hand ornament is a little botched. Her chest plate also has some minor botching, but overall she fared better than some of the other Fuu's I saw hanging around on that table, whose troubles ranged from botched skirts to broken glasses. Fuu also has some odd detail, like her boots being separate from her foot's mold, so they wobble around when you pick up the figure. I'm also happy that the figure doesn't make her waist as tiny as she was animated.
She was a steal and now I'll have a great (and huge ... what the heck, 1/5-scale. I thought DPCF Sanji (reviewed) and Luffy (reviewed) were huge) figure to display next to my VHS collection when space allows. In case you don't know what I mean by that, it's one of those collections that make a picture with the sides of the sleeves when you line them up. It's going to be awesome.
Now, if only they'd make cute figures of the characters from Mahou Tsukai Tai! That would make me one very, very happy camper.
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