Figure Name: Kuroneko
Figure Maker: Kotobukiya
Retail/List Price: ¥6,120
Available at: HobbyLink Japan
The box, unlike Kuroneko herself, wasn't anything particularly special. A fairly barebones design, even the coloring was a bit odd, with a semi tropical theme that seemed more suited to Kirino than Kuroneko. I did like the side of the box that featured a cute paw print window though, a nice little nod to her screen name. Fortunately, flashy boxes aren't a requisite to a great figure, so let's take a look at the goods!
Well, she's cute. Really cute. When I first saw this figure, it quickly ended up as one of the few that catch my eye while deviating from the original art style. While it's not a huge change, it's definitely a bit softer than the original Oreimo art. In person, she's just as adorable as I'd hoped -a real beauty from head to toe!
No doubt much of the art appeal comes from her facial expression. While Kuroneko is no stranger to stern, "tsuntsun" expressions, Kotobukiya gave her a much calmer look here. While it retains the series' trademark cheek blush, otherwise she seems much more relaxed and at ease -- appropriate for a day at the beach, even if it's hard to imagine her showing off so much skin!
With so much shown off however, it's a great look at just how much care Kotobukiya put into the sculpt of her figure! To be honest, I find it hard to go over Kuroneko without sounding like a Mikatan preview, but I can't help it! The attention given to her form is spot on, especially for a less large-scale release, and you can see it in the little subtleties like barely visible ribs, the slight curve of her stomach, and the careful arch of her back.
Indeed, nothing was left less than perfect when it comes to her pose, especially when viewed from the side. While her marvelously done thigh is certainly eye catching on its own, those with less wandering eyes may also notice her skirt carefully fitted into her hand. It's often hit or miss whether or not accessories you're required to place yourself actually fit into their intended spots, so it's nice that this one snugly slips between her fingers. At least, after a little effort. A little effort that causes some unfortunate side effects. Eagle-eyed readers might notice a slight mark on her leg, but oh, it gets worse.
Yep, that's not intentional. While you could perhaps play it off as sand given she's at the beach, it's a little hard given that it's, well, black. You see, to fit her skirt into place, you are first required to slip her left leg through, then as you raise it up, squeeze the right leg through until the foot slips out the back, then tug it into her grasp. Due to said squeezing, you'll find it's impossible to avoid scraping the skirt along her leg as well as the sole of her foot as it's forced into place. Now, I'm not sure if this is paint from her skirt left behind or paint being scraped off, but despite the color matching her skirt, no amount of careful cleaning has removed the spots yet. This may unfortunately be my first experience in touching up a figure, and it's definitely a potential problem to consider if you plan on picking her up.
It would have been nice if the included sandals could have protected her feet from smudging, but alas, they're merely details. They've got no pegs to rest on either, so they'll slide around wherever you put them. Thankfully, Kotobukiya at least saw the issues with this if you ever wanted to move her or pick her up, and the base has a slight ridge around the rim. The sandals will still move about, but even at a slight tilt they won't fall off and get lost somewhere, which is a small thing I can appreciate.
That said, despite the frustration of paint issues, Kuroneko is a wonderfully done figure and I'd absolutely recommend her to any fan. To me, she's still quite possibly the best Kuroneko on the market stylistically, and Kotobukiya's attention to detail can't be denied. Whether you own her partner Kirino or not, any Oreimo fan owes themselves to pick Kuroneko up as soon as possible!
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing this sample!]
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