Character origins often confuse me. For example, Yagyu Jubei is a character based on an ancient samurai who has been turned into a teenage girl and sent to high school. Yeah, Japan is a pretty weird place, but it sure as hell makes for some awesome figures! Yagyu (whose first name is Jubei, but when I first got the swimsuit version I thought her name was Yagyu and it stuck ever since) is the first in Alter's Hyakka Ryoran line which has really taken off. So much so that Yagyu here is actually a re-release.
When re-releases happen, people inevitably wonder whether or not the new product will be as good as the original. We managed to qualm some fears on the Velvet re-release, but did Yagyu hold up as well the second time around? Hit the jump to find out!
Yagyu's box is a relatively simple affair with a large window on the front and a print that matches her samurai theme. Her box, however, is absolutely massive for a 1/8 figure! There's a lot of empty space on the sides, which makes storing it a bit tough if you are running out of room.
This is Alter we are talking about, so I expected Yagyu to be amazing, but this figure just has an extra something. I wasn't sure if I really wanted her until she got to my door, because there is just something about her that is not conveyed well in the production shots. Yes, she looked flawless in them, but she has some extra oomph that is really noticeable when you hold her in your hands.
I think her face is one of the things that really makes her stand out. I know I said pretty much the same thing about Seena, but it is especially true with Yagyu. She just sparkles. The odd eyeshadow she is wearing really makes her face pop, especially in contrast to the vivid blue of her eyes. Yagyu's color palette at first seems very monochromatic, but there are several pops of blue amidst all the red.
Yagyu has a great back view. And no, not because of her butt, you can really see all of the detailing on her ropes from the back. From the front they look cool, but they are pretty epic from the back. I mean, they look like real rope! The texture on them is just perfect.
The placement of her hand gives Yagyu an almost quirky feel. It's a cutesy, half-assed salute, and it fits the smug look on her face quite well. The detailing in this area is just insane, what with the sculpting and shading of her hair and all the little parts of her outfit that are done so meticulously.
Yagyu's other hand is placed firmly on her ample hips. For the most part, Yagyu has a very full and realistic figure. Because of her proportions she definitely looks more "real" than a lot of the other figures in my collection. They did not shrink her waist down or slim her hips and thighs, but it seems like most of the girls in this line, like Senhime and Hattori, also have similar builds.
Yagyu's swords are meticulously detailed. Both are encased in rope, and the one on her right is bound in a shade of blue that compliments her eyes. They look so realistic that I half-expect them to come out if the hilts are tugged, but they are stuck firmly in place. I am always amazed when companies get tiny details painted perfectly, and every millimeter of Yagyu's swords are just flawless.
Yagyu's ropes are, as stated previously, uncannily realistic looking. You'd think they just took ropes and dipped them in paint! They are definitely plastic underneath though.
Yagyu's ropes have a little "tail" that pops out. It actually stretches quite far back! It comes as a separate piece that you have to pop in, which is simple enough to do. The little floofy part doesn't look quite as realistic as the ropes, but the shading here is still quite good.
Ah, the inevitable butt shot. Yagyu is, for some reason, wearing a shirt and underpants and nothing else. I think that the outfits of these girls are supposed to be a play on Japanese stereotypes (i.e Sanada in a school swimsuit, Hattori as a maid), and Yagyu fits the "school outfit" genre in quite a few ways. Except for, you know, wearing a skirt.
Yagyu's shoes are bizarre and awesome. Those have to be like 4" platforms if she was full sized. The socks are also pretty interesting to look at, and the orange really stands out against the rest of her outfit. However, her calves are a bit slim compared to the res of her body, almost unnaturally so.
Yagyu's base is far less boring than Alter's usual. They are well-known for boring white slabs of plastic, but Yagyu got some nice detailing on hers. Honestly, because I know they are capable of producing bases like they did for Momohime and Mercedes, I can't help but wonder why they don't just do that with every figure! I suppose this is a cheaper option, but I am willing to pay the 500 yen increase or whatever it would be for a jaw-dropping base!
So in the end, would I recommend Yagyu? I honestly have zero complaints about this figure, so yes, I definitely would! The sculpt, quality control, paint, etc are just perfect, and she has a really unique design. Thankfully the re-release is still available at quite a few places, including AmiAmi and Hobby Search.
Thanks as always to Stephen Donaldson for taking these pictures! This shoot was particularly exciting/life threatening because we went to a massive waterfall. I had to climb around some damn slippery rocks to place Yagyu in the water! I know a lot of people are afraid to get figures wet or dirty, but I think in the end the results are always worth it, so don't forget to check out the rest of the pictures in the gallery!
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