The world of PVC figures has many subjects, but for some reason there has always been a dearth of male characters. Why is that? I've come across at least as many female collectors as male ones, so why does the figure industry cater to males so much more? Women want their eye candy, too, sometimes, and for that reason, I decided to review MegaHouse's Shinsuke Takasugi.
Shinsuke is a character from Gintama, a show I've never seen. From what I've read, he's a pretty bad dude. MegaHouse's challenge in sculpting him is plain to see. They have to capture the badness and the dudeness. Read on to see how they've fared.
Figure name: G.E.M. Shinsuke Takasugi
Figure maker: MegaHouse
Retail price: ¥6,800
Available at: HobbyLink Japan
Beginning with the customary box shot, I noticed that there isn't any official scale specified. The figure stands about 8 inches tall, which puts him at around 1/8 scale. It's pretty much in line with other offerings from MegaHouse.
Have I mentioned that photographing through plastic is a freaking pain? I think the trick is to use less light, which might sound counter-intuitive. I have yet to perfect the technique, though.
In the packaging, Shinsuke doesn't have his jacket on. That piece was set in its own plastic tray to protect it in shipping.
His jacket simply slides on, without any need to fit pegs or anything. Without it Shinsuke looks rather small and frail. With the jacket, he looks commanding.
I love the casual way he wears it, letting it flutter in the breeze. With his sword drawn and pipe in hand, Shinsuke certain looks like a badass. He wears those gold butterflies well.
This figure conveys a sense of movement. Though Shinsuke himself is standing still, it feels like all sorts of action is about to go down. His cool gaze suggests he's about to cut down an enemy, and possibly walk casually away from an explosion.
The detailing on the kimono is nice and clean, with the butterflies having a little more sheen to them than the rest of the outfit.
Shinsuke's sword is somewhat less ornate. It's just a plain, straight blade mounted to a shirasaya. While it might be the hip thing to do if you lived in the Edo period, it doesn't make for a particularly interesting figure. The wood effect on the scabbard is fairly convincing, though.
From a visual standpoint, I was mostly interested in that awesome, fluttering jacket. It perfectly captures the anime badass, standing in the wind calmly before some kind of fight.
The folds and waves in the cloth are well done, though I can't say I'm a fan of the pattern. I like the way the various ripples catch the light. They lend some depth to these photos.
One thing that annoys me is how Shinsuke's pipe is not attached to his hand. You have to slide it between his fingers, which is an finnicky task because they don't hold it particularly well. For such a distinct piece of the figure, you'd think MegaHouse would make it a little more secure. The pipe pops out at the slightest jostling -- I actually had it sitting on my shelf for a day when I found it had popped out on its own -- and is easy to lose.
I'm sure the ladies would enjoy a shot of his bare chest. Unfortunately there's not much definition there. Shinsuke is more analogous to the thin, underage waif who knows kung fu as opposed to the buxom fanservice heroine. At least, that's what his character design says to me. Still, I'd probably take this shot for a female figure, so here you go.
A delicate build comes with feminine feet, apparently:
It does kind of look like he has toenail polish. I didn't think to get the upskirt shot (the lighting would have been tough anyway) but yes, he's wearing a fundoshi. No, his junk is not that well-defined. There's just a slight amount of sloppiness in the paint job around his feet, but the rest of the figure is very clean in this regard.
Shinsuke's expression is borderline creepy. His hair covers up a bandaged eye, which is painted pretty convincingly. His hair is also nicely shaded with purple to add some depth.
The only real issue with the sculpt is the highly visible seam on the sleeve. Most of the time this is covered up by the jacket. There's also a little sloppiness on the paint by his collar.
MegaHouse is one of the few manufacturers with a dedicated line for male characters. They haven't made figures of any of the male characters I actually care about, but maybe their example will inspire others. As for Shinsuke, he certainly has some appeal and is priced reasonably to boot. Still, he doesn't really have much presence. He made for a nice photography session, but when displayed among my other figures, he just fades into the background. I do like this figure, and he has that quality that makes him look good from every angle. For me, the only problem is that I'm not a Gintama fan.
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing this review sample!]
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