When the word "Vocaloid" is mentioned, most people associate it with Hatsune Miku, a name that we figure fans are all too familiar with. With the endless green tide of merchandising, the other members of the Vocaloid family often end up living under Miku's lofty shadow. But as a big fan, let me tell you the story of how I discovered Vocaloid music.
A few years ago, when a friend first showed the music video of "Black Rock Shooter" to me, I did not share his enthusiasm — rather, I hated it. I have a strong personal aversion to broken English, and Miku's uncanny synthesized voice did not make it sound any better. It would not be another year before I gave Vocaloid music another try when I stumbled upon Ryuusei-P's "RIP=RELEASE", which used Megurine Luka, the third entry to Crypton Future Media's Vocaloid 2 series of voice synthesizing applications. Unlike Miku, Luka has a much softer and more realistic sound, and I found myself bobbing my head, despite not understanding a word of the lyrics.
Thus began my foray into the world of Vocaloid music. As I explored more, I ended up learning to appreciate unique sounds of the other Vocaloid characters as well, and even to this day, their songs still dominate almost the majority of my playlist. While Miku definitely has the most hits to her name, Luka will always have a special place in my heart, and ever since I got Good Smile Company's original 1/8 scale Miku/Rin/Len trio, I've been waiting for a Luka figure ever since.
After what seemed like an eternity of Miku figures, a scaled PVC figure of Luka was finally announced ... yet it was not what I expected. Rather than a belated entry to the original GSC line, the Luka figure is to be based off of Tony Taka's illustration and made by Max Factory. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed at first, but as I saw more of the figure, the initial disappointment quickly gave away to excitement. The prototype looked damned good in the promos, but how does the real deal fare? Amazingly well, as you'll soon find out.
Figure Name: Megurine Luka (Tony ver.)
Figure Maker: Max Factory
Retail Price: ¥8,800
Available at: HobbyLink Japan
Glamour is the name of the game, and Luka delivers it spades right off the bat on the box itself. Unapologetically adorned with lens flares, calling the box gaudy would be an understatement. Still, the box provides two windows through which to observe the occupant, as well as the original art the figure is based off of.
Standing at 23 cm tall, Luka's height is what you'd expect out of a 1/7-scale figure. Though her standing pose isn't anything exotic, the shape of her hair and skirt give her a decent amount of shelf presence.
Tony Taka is not an artist known for variety when it comes to faces, and many people (including me) like to knock him over that. Yet at the end of the day, those faces are the main reason why Tony's so popular — they really are pretty to look at, and Luka's no exception. Underneath her sharp aqua eyes lies a confident smile that compliments her body language perfectly, and her head of flowing pink hair really builds onto her diva-like flair.
I really like what Max Factory did with Luka's hair. Like the Tony Miku that came before this, Luka's hair transitions to a slightly translucent colour around the ends. Yet unlike per predecessor, Luka's hair is not extremely glossy, and thus it does not come off as overly distracting.
No corners were cut with the sculpt of the hair, as there are thin strands everywhere you look. The shape, colour and volume give Luka's hair a soft look, and the way her hair drapes over her left wrist is a really nice touch.
Asides from her voice, Luka also sets herself apart from the other Vocaloid 2 characters by being the only one to have any breasts worth mentioning, and she certainly does not have any qualms against showing them off with this arched pose. As is the case with most bishoujo figures, Luka's top defies physics by clinging onto even the underside of her bust as if it was vacuum-sealed onto it — needless to say, I love it.
While on the topic of her clothing, Chieri did a fantastic job at instilling a sense of motion to the figure through the sculpt of Luka's clothing. The folds and wrinkles give Luka a very dynamic look, and the generous slit in her skirt benefits greatly from this. It's hard to not stare at her exposed left leg, which is a reminder of the advantages in leaving things to the imagination.
But if imagination is not your forte, then you can always lift the figure up and get an easy scenic view from below. You can even just pop off the top half of the figure and remove the skirt entirely, which also gives a clear view of her mysterious mesh undershirt that somehow vanishes at her pantyline. An odd quirk of Luka's character design, to be sure, but I'm not about to complain about skin-tight clothing now.
In spite of all that, Luka has a pretty mature air about her. Her black-brown outfit and the antique gold trim gives her a classy look that suits her sultry voice, and the vinyl record takes that even further. The cherry on the cake is the old-style microphone she is holding in her right hand. The microphone is removable, and it sits comfortably in the palm of her hand.
As far as quality control goes, Luka is virtually flawless. The laces on her high boots are painted with crisp precision, and the same can be said about the criss-crossing triangles on her belt. Even under the close scrutiny, the only flaws I could find is an inconspicuous scuff mark on the back of her hair, some faint mold lines over her the left arm — you know, the kind of things that you'd never notice unless you're aiming to write an essay-length rant.
In the end, the question you have to ask yourself with regard to Max Factory's Megurine Luka is simply "why not". It's a well-designed and sculpted take on an attractive character with no real flaws to speak of. If you're a fan of Tony Taka's art, then this should be a no-brainer. If you've been waiting patiently for a fixed-pose figure of Luka, you should probably pick this up — who knows how many Miku figures we'll see before Luka gets the figure treatment again? Even if you're impartial to Tony or Luka, this offering Max Factory's still scores big points for being a handsome figure that looks great from every angle, so if you're one of those people who like pretty plastic women ... well, you know the drill.
Frankly, I'm amazed that she did not sell out like popsicles in the middle of a heat wave, but I'm glad that she didn't, as our friend HobbyLink Japan wouldn't have provided this lovely review sample to me otherwise. With that said, I wouldn't count on her being available outside of the aftermarket for too long. If Luka's sultry charms have tickled your fancy, then It'd be best to act sooner rather than later.
Photo Gallery: (23 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys
can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.