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Tomopop Review: Kotobukiya's plamo Yotsuba

4:00 PM on 07.17.2013 // Brian Szabelski

More than just a little awesome

It sure doesn't seem like October was when we first found out about Kotobukiya's Yotsuba plastic model kit, because I feel like I've been waiting a while for her. It was, if nothing else, a total surprise for me, but one I was very excited for as a Yotsuba&! fan. 

Not long ago, she arrived at my doorstep thanks to the folks at Kotobukiya, and as such ... I geeked out and almost forgot I needed to review her. Thankfully for you, I didn't, so hit the jump to see out if this new Yotsuba lives up to the hype. Well, at least the hype in my head.

Figure Name: Yotsuba Koiwai plastic model kit
Figure Maker: Kotobukiya
Price: US$29.99
Available at: KotoUS Shop

So, should we start out with the box? There's not a whole lot to discuss, with a fairly simple front and one of the side panels acting as the back of the box (the actual back is blank) ... but that front is just eye-catching. Probably because it's simple: here is Yotsuba, an exclamation mark and her name, made to feel like she sees you and is waving hello. This is one of the cases where a clean, simple design works really well.

However, inside that box were several trays of plastic pieces all assembled on their trees, and there's a lot to look at here. Actual assembly of the kit took me close to an hour (though I prolonged the process a bit by trying to remove as much flash as I could before assembling all these pieces) and was rather simple. The provided instructions are easy to follow, and I think the hardest thing I had to do was line up one tiny peg with another smaller hole for her knee joints. 

The end result looks like this:

Fully assembled, Yotsuba is scaled well to her proportions from the manga, and faithful to Kiyohiko Azuma's work. She's in her trademark outfit (salmon and white shirt, albeit the long-sleeved version; tan shorts; white socks; red and white shoes). Yes, there are seams all over the place, but it's a plamo kit; were you expecting anything else from something you had to assemble? At best, I can say that the seams are not distracting, even if they aren't masked by armor like they are in my Mega Man and Protoman kits.

Most of Yotsuba's joints are indeed visible, but that's generally what you get with any plamo kit. There's a fair amount of swivel, ball-and-socket, and cylindrincal joints on Yotsuba, with decidedly few of the ball-and-socket kind. More or less, Kotobukiya's held back on a lot of the joints except for the ones that are really needed ... though her four little pigtails get joints. So yes, you can pose them all.

But holy crap, I am surprised with what you can do with Yotsuba. She feels as poseable as any figma, Revoltech or Figuarts piece, and unlike some of my experience with Mega Man, her joints don't seem to come loose as quickly. Time will tell if that stays the case, but so far, I've not had any issues with joints popping out of place.

Accessories wise, she comes with a lot: five faces, tons of hands to switch in and out, her teddie, a bag to carry stuff in, a kazoo, a camera, and a bubble wand. The kazoo isn't really much to write about, just a little piece of cylindrical plastic that I mistook as a marker for the longest time, and the over-the-shoulder bag is enough for Yotsuba to carry anything small.

As mentioned, like those other figures, Yotsuba has interchangeable hands and faces. Swapping them out is really no different an experience, as her front bangs are removable.

This is the "default" face, or as I call it, the curious face. It's my least favorite of the five because really, it's just lacking in expression compared to all of them, but it's fine for what it's supposed to be.

One of Yotsuba's accessories is a camera, seen unpainted here. Most of her accessories will come unpainted so you can paint them however you like. As I am not so good with the paintwork, I chose to leave them in their unpainted state for the review. It's a small piece assembled out of two parts, with a special hand that holds it in place. Not too bad.

The centerpiece of the accessories, though, is probably Duralumin, Yotsuba's teddie bear. There are no special hands to hold her, so you'll have to balance it in her hands as I did here, but it's not too terrible.

You can also see Yotsuba's third face, a super-excited one. It's essentially the same as the happy one with different eyes, and like the curious face, does its job well. Still, it's out-classed by the last two faces we have yet to show off.

I should also mention at this point that Yotsuba comes with water-based decals and two blank faces, so you can make your own expressions should you choose. The decals feature a number of different options to pick from, so if you want slightly sad Yotsuba or super intense Yotsuba ... you can do that.

Again unpainted, Duralumin has a nice, plush-styled texture to him, and his eyes, ears, nose and mouth have all been sculpted in good detail. Of course, it'll look a little better with some black paint for the nose and eyes, but that's up to you.

Oh no ... Duralumin ... poor Yotsuba. Here, you get to see two things: one is a sitting part that allows Yotsuba to actually sit down without difficulty. It's an interesting choice to include this, but actually one I'm thankful for, because it makes putting Yotsuba on your shelf a lot easier. Swapping out the parts are a two-part process, but one that's not too difficult: you remove her top half to attach the sitting part, and then remove and attach each leg at the upper thigh.

There's also a second part that allows you to swap Yotsuba's body with that of Danboard, if you'd like, which I haven't previewed here because I haven't assembled my Danboard kit I previously received as a gift. I'm pretty sure I'll be doing that now that I have the option to use Yotsuba and Danboard together.

The other is Yotsuba's crying face, which is awesome. Kotobukiya has done a wonderful job of capturing Kiyohiko Azuma's style in this face, right down to the uneven, sketch-like eyes. But there is another that is even better ...

Well, great. Now she's angry. Here, we get to see Yotsuba's rage face, probably my favorite of the bunch because you can get a ton of use out of it. Combined with the pointing hand, she's angry at me about ... something, I guess. And look out! She's got a bubble wand that might just end up in my face. I have to say, this is my favorite pose I put Yotsuba in, if only because I can imagine her 6-year-old self being angry enough about something to try attacking someone with something as harmless as a bubble wand.

A closer look from the bottom on the wand:

It's nicely scaled down, and what's better is the plastic rings don't feel fragile, like you might drop them and break them. Unlike what happens with some of them in real life ...

I'll cut right to the chase: though the assembly took a bit, Kotobukiya's Yotsuba is an absolute joy. She's a sturdy figure when assembled, poses well, and comes with a wide variety of accessories that allow you to get a ton of use out of her. I only wish things like Duralumin and the camera had come painted so that their details really popped out, but it's a minor gripe. It's a kit that, if you're a Yotsuba&! fan, you can't go wrong with.

[Thanks to Kotobukiya for sending along Yotsuba for review!]

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Brian Szabelski, Editor-in-Chief
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Brian Szabelski is Tomopop's Editor-in-Chief, stuck with an ever-growing collection of figures and toys. When he's not posting on Tomopop, he can usually be found working on any number of project... more   |   staff directory

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