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Tomopop Review: Good Smile's Kyoko Sakura

4:00 PM on 04.23.2013 // Emily Smalara

This fierce magical girl gets right to the point!

It's not too easy to pick a favorite team member from the disturbing Madoka series, but the rough and battle-ready Kyoko is certainly near the top of the list. While her demeanor and, of course, red hair helps, I've always had a thing for female characters using polearms, so wielding such a massive spear adds quite a lot of appeal.

While the compulsive completionist might be jumping to pick her up simply to own the entire team (and I don't blame them!), Kyoko may be worth picking up even on her own, whether you missed the previous releases or just can't fork over enough funds for a large team. Hit the jump to see if she's worth of standing above the rest!

Figure Name: Kyoko Sakura
Figure Maker: Good Smile Company
Retail Price: ¥6,686
Available at: HobbyLink Japan

When it comes to your first glimpse of Kyoko, you may almost be thinking of turning her around. Foregoing the usual window of any sort on the front of her box, you're merely met with an image of the figure within. I suppose an image of the figure gives you a good idea of the product anyway, but without any windows other than the package's sides, I'd almost expect some more flashy artwork.

It seems like most of the work in package design went into the back of the box, though surprisingly it is a little nice. Featuring Kyoko from a number of angles and an interesting portrait frame motif, it adds just a bit of flair that the front is missing. Plus, there's an image of the Madoka team all together, so if (like me) you've only got one or two, you can feel nice and bitter knowing what you're missing out on!

Finally, we get to Kyoko in all her glory. Some minor assembly is required, as a glance should tell you that spear is considerably longer than the box it came in. Once you slot the three sections into each other (and through her grasp), you  realize how long this thing really is. From photos, of course it looks large, but when you've got the figure in your hands you realize she's slinging around a spear as large as most 1/5 or 1/4-scale figures. I'm certainly not complaining, even though it makes her take up quite a bit of space, and even numerous guests have given her compliments.

If the spear is too much for you though, you can break character a bit and add the extra arm in place holding a half-eaten taiyaki instead. It's a cute enough addition and thankfully slots into place nicely, but the odd pose doesn't really fit with taking a break for a casual snack, and I can't see myself switching them out very frequently, if ever. Still, one can never fault more options in a figure!

One thing I find rather amusing about the figure is how different her two sides appear due to the pose she's in. Reaching across her front from the left, she covers much of herself and to be honest it looks like a pretty dull figure. But as soon as she's viewed from the right, you can appreciate the detail that's actually there, from the buttons on her top to the subtle design of her boots and gemstone. Movement is conveyed better from this side as well, offering a nice look at the small swish of her skirt and the back of her billowing top.

The dynamic pose is further made clear with a view from behind, as well. You can almost get a downward feel from this side, as if she might be leaping down to attack rather than simply forward. Given the position of her spear, this may certainly be the point!

Of course knowing me, I'd be remiss if I didn't focus on her hair a little. Another point that brought compliments from others; it's not hard to see why. Her thick ponytail is modeled fantastically, with the ends wildly separating from each other during her leap downward. Capturing both her usually untamed personality and adding to the overall sense of motion, her ponytail just looks really great and is certainly a high point of the figure as a whole.

Again, pulling the figure together are all the little details. I won't exaggerate — when it comes to overall design, the Madoka girls don't exactly have the fanciest costumes. But, like the subtle patterns on Homura's boots, it's the little things that matter. The simple act of the emblem on her boots goes a long way in adding appeal compared to if they'd just been red with a single white stripe, and making sure her gem is in place solidifies her place as a Madoka girl. Good Smile also gave it fair treatment by giving it a nice translucence effect, rather than just taking the easy way out with a more opaque look.

In the long run, Good Smile provided a capably done Kyoko that certainly captures the series' traditional design. Whether or not you'll dig the figure is probably down to whether or not if —almost like Madoka itself — you can appreciate the little subtleties in a design. Personally, I think they did a great job with her, and while she may be aimed more at fans of magical girls at the very least, any fans of wilder characters may want to take a look!

[Thanks to Hobby Link Japan for providing this sample!]

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