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Tomopop Review: Kotobukiya's 1/6 Mari Illustrious Makinami

12:00 PM on 06.04.2010 // Tomopop Staff

I have a love-hate relationship with Evangelion. It had a brilliant premise, iconic characters, great animation, and awesome robots, but in the end it fell horribly short. The ending, both of the show and End of Evangelion, were nothing short of atrocious. However, I find myself oddly attached to the franchise. I continue to buy merchandise, even of the ice queen Rei who I was really not a fan of. In fact, I went so far as to order figures of Mari before I even knew anything about her character.

Thankfully, Eva 2.22 saved the franchise from mediocrity. And Mari is a kickass character! I assumed she was just an excuse for more merchandise, seeing as how there are already 36 figures of her and the movie came out a little under a year ago. But the creators gave her a real, solid personality and she is surprisingly likable. Out of the many figure versions of Mari, so far Kotobukiya's has been the most interesting looking one. Does she live up to the quality of the other girls in their Rebuild of Evangelion line? Hit the jump to find out!

Mari comes in a spiffy clear box like the other figures in this line. They are definitely some of my favorite PVC boxes. You can see the entire figure, and the clear pink design is definitely eye-catching. I am going to skip the plastic casing shot today as you can pretty much see everything you need to in the box. Mari comes in 2 pieces, the actual figure and the Eva base. There are no pegs or rods holding her, she just sits right on there. She also comes with an alternate hairstyle, in case you like your girls sans glasses. 


Mari is surprisingly sturdy on her base. Her hand holds on to the head of the Eva and her knees fit on its back quite neatly. As long as you aren't bumping in to her or shaking the shelf she is on, the chances of her falling off are very slim. Mari is also a big figure at 1/6 scale, and she reaches about 9.5" at the top of her head. 


Mari's face is very well done, and captures the smugness of her character quite well. She looks a bit cocky, especially posed as she is with her hand on her hip, and it suits her nicely. I feel like a lot of companies have failed to capture Mari's character and go with the generic "standing with her pigtails in the wind" pose (see Wave and Max Factory), but Kotobukiya really nailed her character. 


Here is Mari without her glasses. Swapping the bangs is a simple affair, you simply pull out the current set by the headband and pop the other set in, kind of like a Nendo. Without her gasses, Mari looks a bit more smug. I think the glasses cover up some of her eyes, enough to make her seem a bit more cheerful. While I like her face both ways, I am a fan of glasses, so I kept them on for most of the shoot. 


From the back, you can get a better look at the details on her plugsuit. The curve of her back is not broken up by her arm, so she has a "smoother" appearance. I also really like how her foot is positioned in the back view. The little bend in her foot adds character to a pretty static pose.


There are several different angles that you could display Mari at, but I think this is the "correct" one, or at least the one that is used in the promo shots. From here you can see her face and her butt, and judging by her pose I think this is the intention. Her face actually looks better from this 3/4 view rather than head-on, so I for one have her on my shelf positioned like this.


Mari's plugsuit is a lovely shade of pink. It is not as shiny and latex-y as the other two girls, but this is true to the movie design. And unlike the other two girls, whose outfits are mostly monochromatic, Mari's suit is not all one color. There are details in while, blue, gray, red, and even a hint of olive green. They are subtle but really add to the overall design. The green in particular is hardly noticeable, and is really only in the area shown here, but it breaks up the pink nicely.

The red circles on her hands are very well done, with only a bit of overlap between the black lines and the red center. Most of the line work on Mari is pretty decent, with only one big flaw that I will get to later. But as you can see, for the most part the paint is very smooth and evenly applied with no overlap. Many different finishes were used as well, from metallic to matte to semi-gloss to opalescent, which adds a lot of depth to her outfit. 


There is a scratch on Mari's torso, which distracts from the otherwise superb paintjob. Thankfully, you cannot see it at all the way I have her displayed. I am assuming a minor flaw like this was just on my particular figure, and it is in an area you rarely notice so it does not bother me too much.

Mari is perhaps the only character I can think of who has a smaller bust in figures. She consistently has a small-to-medium sized bust, but in the movie I remember her being quite busty. I suppose the figure adaptations are more accurate to what a 14-year-old girl would look like, although she is still quite curvy elsewhere. 


As you can see, Mari is pretty curvy for a barely teenage girl. I never really believed that any of the girls were 14, and in the movie their ages are all conveniently left out, so we can assume that they are at least a bit older. The rib-like constructions on her hips really accentuate her curves, but Mari manages to pull of a skintight outfit without looking tacky or over-sexualized. Her pose really skirts that line between sexy and tacky, but I think she manages to stay firmly on the tasteful side.


While for the most part the line work on her suit (which reminds me of detailing on a gunpla) is very well executed, the inside of her leg got a bit worn from placing her on the base. It was fine when I got her, but she got moved about quite a bit before this picture was taken. However, this part of her leg is totally on the base and is not even a little visible, so it is more akin to paint ruboff on cast-off figures that you display with their clothing on than, say, messy paint that is right in view. You literally cannot see it at all unless you pick her up and stare at this area.


Speaking of her base... it is insanely awesome! Not only does it incorporate the show into the figure, but it is a very creative and interesting way to work around the constant dilemma of holding a figure up. Often bases are plain or simple or often outright ugly, but Mari has a great base that adds to her figure, a lot like Mercedes

WARNING mild spoilers that everyone already knows in the next sentence! The Eva Mari is sitting on is not her own, which only appears for a few minutes, but Asuka's Unit 02 in Beast Mode. SPOILER OVER! The detail on the Eva is fantastic, with a great worn look and immaculate sculpting. That open mouth is just killer.


Mari's hand grips the Eva head quite firmly. There are no rods or pegs to hold them together, so if you nudge her hard enough, her hand slides off. But it is solid enough for sitting on a shelf. I actually prefer when figures do not have pegs and can just sit naturally, as you do not have to worry about breaking a peg or bending the rods or whatnot.


Mari's pigtails are actually quite fragile, and too much tugging might rip them off. Then again, I do not know why you would be playing with them in the first place! They are also rather simply done, but this reflects the style of the animation. Mari has simple brown pigtails with very little detail, so as nice as it would have been to have a lot of sculpting and shading, I would rather they stay true to the character design.  

That little red button in the middle of her chest looks like it might hurt a bit! Again, the detailing is very well done. The lines are a bit sloppy near the collar of her outfit, but not unforgivably so. Also, I am totally blanking on what the 05 is for. Did she pilot Unit 05 originally? Is she the 5th child? It's a mystery, at least until I sit down and watch the movie again.


Here is a better look at her hair, and you can see that it is not very detailed. There is a bit of shading, and it is a nice shade of brown, but the hair is definitely not the main focus on this figure. However, all the other details, especially on her plugsuit, really make up for that. All the little ridges and dents and other details are fully sculpted, not just painted on, which really makes a difference.


I absolutely adore how her hand is positioned, it adds so much attitude and personality. Mari's pose could easily be boring, but a few small details like her hand, the way her legs are posed, and her bent feet make her a very interesting figure. 


And of course I had to include a butt shot! After all, her face and pose are very "I know you can see my behind and I really don't care." Mari probably has the most butt-hugging suit of the three Eva girls. While the pink is "cuter" than Asuka's fiery red, Mari's pose and attitude seem far more alluring. 


Here are my two Eva ladies together. I am missing Rei from the set, and as soon as I find her for a decent price I will pick her up, just to satisfy the completionist in me. Sadly I missed out on her re-release! Mari is quite a bit taller than Asuka because of her pose, but they make a very nice pair. 


For fans of Evangelion, girls in plugsuits, or just all around awesome figures, Mari is a great buy. This is definitely the best version of her so far, so if you are looking for a Mari figure this your best bet! She is still available at Hobby Search for 6630 yen HobbyLink Japan for 7800 yen.

Thanks once again to Stephen Donaldson for taking these pictures! We had a hard time deciding on the location for this one until we realized that the outskirts of my town are littered with abandoned and destroyed buildings. Sounds kind of like an RPG! Well folks it's not, although I do dream to one day live in an RPG and make my living killing monsters and saving the world. As always, more pictures are in the gallery!

Thanks to Kotobukiya for the review sample. 

Photo Gallery: (48 images)
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