"Um... Yagyu? That. really isn't the safest way to handle a sword. Um... it's kind of dangerous." Yagyu turned around and faced him, grinning slyly. "You think I care about your opinion, boy? Or do you think that I am so unskilled that I am unsure of how to handle a blade?" The boy blushed and turned his head to the ground, trying desperately to hide his face. He did not want Yagyu to see the tears welling in his eyes. "S-sorry, Yagyu, I was just... trying to help."
"Oh calm down." She said and looked out at the water. "You are so prone to overreacting. I was just joking. Almost." The boy looked up again, not surprised at her sudden change of heart. Yagyu was a fickle creature, but she had good intentions. At least he thought she did. "Now, did you clean the second set of swords?" She asked. He nodded, gesturing to where he had stashed them behind the tree. "Good." She straightened up and stretched, the sword still placed in a rather precarious location. He wondered if she was flirting with him. But he often thought this, and their interactions never came to anything worthwhile. "We have to fight tomorrow, boy. So we will be needing both sets nice and clean." She raised an eyebrow at him, still smirking. "You want to come get these ones from me....?"
I don't think I have ever tried harder to get a figure than I did with Yagyu. This lovely lady was a Hobby Japan mail in lottery exclusive limited to only 1500 pieces, which makes her incredibly hard to get even if you were in Japan. Thankfully a few US retailers had preorders opened. She was quite pricey, $114 at ToysLogic, and I knew with all my other April and May orders I would not be able to afford her all in one chunk. Thankfully I have an awesome friend (THANKS BOB!) who said he would place an order for me and I could pay him back slowly. Sounds good, right?
Well, it did not go as smoothly as planned. ToysLogic had no limit to how many you could order, so we thought it was fine if one person ordered two. That is, until ToysLogic canceled his second Yagyu, aka the one for me. He called them and explained the situation and we ended up getting the second one back, but it was a bit of a hassle. Apparently they oversold their preorders, but rumor has it they are getting in a second shipment to fill all the canceled orders.
Yagyu is mercifully free of the plastic and extra pieces that seem so common with PVC nowadays. As much as I like having extra weapons or whatnot, getting all that stuff free is such a hassle. Yagyu's weapons are already attached to her, so the box just contains her and the base. The base is a simple clear red/pink plastic disk, but it has some nice petals etched across the surface. There are two pegs for each foot, and they fit in quite firmly. Yagyu also had a minimal amount of plastic wrapped around her-- always a plus!
Considering how hard she was to get, not to mention how pricey she was, my expectations were very high. I suppose this is true of any Alter figure, as they have to maintain their reputation as the best of the best, but a figure that is hard to obtain usually has to be exceptionally awesome to justify the struggle. So is Yagyu worth it? I can honestly say that yes, Yagyu is worth every penny. She looks better than even the test shots.
Yagyu has my new favorite face on a figure. She is just gorgeous! The bright blue eyes contrast so well with the red details around them and her red hair. And that sly little smile fits her pose so well. I actually do not know much about her character, aside from the fact that she is a samurai turned into a busty girl who goes to high school from a show/visual novel called Hyakka Ryoran. Oh Japan, you and your crazy ideas that you turn into awesome figures.
Yagyu has an exceptionally nice back shot. I mean, very few figures look this nice from behind. And not just because of her cute butt, though I know you were all probably thinking that. The back of her bathing suit is very interesting, and the work that went into sculpting her legs is outstanding. Her hair from behind is also rather stunning with those odd twintails.
Yagyu does not only have my new favorite face on a figure, but also my new favorite hair. The color is vibrant and fabulous, and the sculpting is the best I have ever seen. Sure, she has a small seam behind her bangs, but that is not really something that I mind at all as almost all figures have a seam there of some sort. And Yagyu's is not that noticeable.
The little charm in her hair is perfectly painted, with no overlap onto her hair. The work on it is very clean, which is kind of amazing when you consider how small it actually is.
Her hair is just as awesome from the back. I love her offbeat twintails and how they come out of the bun. The bun itself is wonderfully sculpted, as is the hair around it that looks like it has been pulled up. The shading in her hair is subtle but effective, and creates some nice depth without diminishing the vivid coloring.
The detailing on the hilt of her sword is meticulous. The paint is perfect, even the little Kanji in the middle. The woven effect created by the sculpting is quite effective, and it almost looks like leather or some other material was wrapped around it. I expect great quality from Alter, but it is always nice to see them go all out on areas that are often ignored or overlooked.
Yagyu's back is realistic to the point where it is almost unsettling. The fat, muscles, tendons and bones are all there, and are far more detailed than you usually see on a figure. In fact, I cannot recall seeing one more detailed than this. From certain angles she looks like an actual person in photographs.
Her swimsuit, while mostly hidden from the front, is a great shade of orange. The shading is also very nice, especially on the bottom half. I think the base color is actually red, but the shading is all done in orange and the colors blend together so well it is hard to tell which color is the "actual" one and which was used for shading.
Yagyu has some very, very nice skin tones. There is a lot of warm shading in all the right locations. It is not overly noticeable or heavy-handed, but is done so well that her skin looks real. And that is what you really want in a figure. After all, real people don't have shading! They just look... well, real.
The sculptor went so far as to sculpt the tendons on the back of her knee! This is an area I usually do not notice on figures, but Yagyu just looks so damn realistic it is hard to not see all the great details. The band on her upper thigh is also well done, though not quite as detailed as the rest of her. It is a pretty solid black with only a bit of shading, but the little gold marks are very well done and there is no paint overlap.
This is the hilt of the second sword, and while it is not as detailed as the first one it is still incredibly well done. Her hand gripping the sword is also very nicely executed-- even her nails are sculpted and painted! The sword is attached to her hand through means I cannot ascertain. It wiggles a bit, but is definitely in there securely.
The little armband is an easily overlooked area, as it is hidden behind her hair and swords on both sides. However, it is a really nicely detailed piece of the figure. It is sculpted to look like real rope, and though I do not think it is quite as realistic looking as her original version, it is done nicely enough.
Her shoes are the one area where the paint is not 100% perfect. Towards the bottom there is a slight bit of overlap on her feet. Seeing as how this is the only quality control issue, and the shoes look damn nice in spite of it, I can easily forgive.
Ahh, the infamous sword-in-boobs. The sculpting actually looked a bit rough on the prototype, like they had just cut a hole in her breasts and stuck a sword in, but the finished version looks much better. They, ah...hug the sword in a much more realistic way.
Not only is her sword in her boobs, but it is also in her swimsuit! Not in the actual bottom part, that would be a bit too smutty, but Yagyu seems to have stuck it through some of the straps that crisscross her stomach. Perhaps not the best way to store a bladed weapon, but I am not going to complain!
Yagyu is sadly almost impossible to get now...at least for a decent price. If you thought $114 was a lot for her, you might want to stay away from eBay and Yahoo Japan, where she goes for upwards of $250. However, as I said before, rumor has it that ToysLogic is getting more in-- enough to fill the canceled preorders and have a few left over. So keep your eyes peeled! If you can find her for a reasonable price, or if you are filthy rich, I highly recommend her. She by far my favorite swimsuit figure, and might actually be creeping in to my list of all-time favorites!
Thanks to Stephen Donaldson for taking these shots, especially since it was boiling hot and there was very little breeze off of the river. Thanks as well to our own Bobness, who ordered her for me originally, and then called ToysLogic and yelled at them just to make sure I got her! Now that is what I call a real friend, willing to go to all odds to bring me figures of girls with swords in their boobs!
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