When the original version of Marvel Bishoujo X-23 was shown off, a lot of folks complained about the serene look on her face and insisted she should look more fierce, even though most agreed that the sculpt and posing was fantastic. I was definitely in that camp with parties interested in seeing what she'd look like if she were a little angrier, but I didn't take issue with Kotobukiya's execution in the end.
It looks like they listened to the grumbling fans though, and they made a limited (like, 1,000 piece limited) run of X-23 with a new expression. Besides that change, her outfit got a few upgrades to sweeten the pot some more.
So, is X-23 an improvement, an unnecessary entry to the Bishoujo line, or what? See my full thoughts below the cut.
[See also: My review of the standard release Bishoujo X-23]
Figure Name: Marvel Bishoujo X-23, SDCC Exclusive X-Force Version
Since we've got a format we all adhere to, I've got to show you these pictures of X-23's box which looks just like the previous one. I'll echo here what I mentioned in my earlier review, and that's that I love how tiny this packaging is. Since she's a small person to begin with and is in a crouched position, she doesn't take up much space.
Out of the box, all you need to do is stick her heel into the base and she's all ready to go pounce on some fool to rip their throats out. In this case, I had no issues whatsoever getting her installed, much to my relief. I think with the other figure, I was scared to jam her boot in too forcefully.
Anyway, you can already see a big change with just the new expression. She looks more tense, like she's definitely ready to slash something, rather than serene as if she were simply standing by at a model shoot. Considering this is a pin-up style figure collection, I didn't see it as a problem, but I definitely appreciate the increased sense of motion and urgency this version has.
Since I've already reviewed a bunch of the specifics in the past, I'll show you the main differences between the two figures. Let's start with her belt. In the original version, her belt is gold and the buckle is green. This exclusive figure has a silver belt with a red buckle. I'd say it's a great style choice, since I don't wear much yellow gold, but beyond that, I think it just matches with her overall outfit a bit better since there are some gray patches in it now.
Her bust size didn't change, but the sides of her tops now have the gray detailing at the sides. I think it's a great touch! Looking at her from below, I also got to appreciate the molding and texture of the outfit and how it definitely looks like a layer of clothing over her skin instead of some paint passing off as a costume.
I had originally thought that X-23's pendant had also been adjusted for more sense of movement, but now that I compare the two figures, I don't think this is the case. My mind must have made that up somewhere along the way.
X-23's hair also stayed the same, which is just as well: it was glorious to begin with. Once again, fantastic use of transparent PVC for the tips of the hair and great volume.
Here's a look at right leg, then her booted foot. The gray material here is around her thighs and she's got some great stretchy fabric molding at her butt (seen earlier). The first picture also gives us a great look at her skin molding which I found attractive and believable.
As for the boot itself, it's the same as before - tall boots up to the knees, now with gray kneepads, all buckled up. Her right boot has the claw sticking out of it, and you can see here (proof!) that I did manage to get her down flush on the base.
Her left leg is the same story, but I chose to run with this picture to show you her arm and the waist detail from this side. I like that her skin bulges out a bit around the seamline at her waist, and her claws make it perfectly down to the base with no room to spare. There's one additional image in the gallery where you could view her left boot from behind and see how it fits into the base. It isn't exactly on the grooves there, but she's damn close (without me having to try and nudge her legs apart a little). I have no complaints here whatsoever.
Good news about her other arm, by the way: the painting goof issue with the inside of her right elbow has been completely resolved by simply covering that skin with additional latex. This is a change I absolutely didn't notice until I looked back at my pictures from before and checked these again later, only to find that there wasn't any skin showing up there any more. Subtle, yet effective!
And now, finally, let's take a look at her face. Girl's got her mean eyes on! She's sporting the same pink lipstick (to match with her pink manicure), except this time she's looking vicious. Her eyes are still just as big as before, a feature I rather liked that keeps her looking young.
Overall, I think this figure came with a lot of improvements. I am not one way or the other about the expression since I was a fan of the serene, happy look, and also quite enjoy this fierce, determined look. I do however feel that the costume changes are all for the better. The molding with her outfit stand out so much more with the gray detailing at the stretchy parts of her top, and add just enough shading to make the figure as a whole stand out that much more. The gray is eye-catching.
Do I recommend this figure over the standard edition? It depends on whether the updates are valuable to you. If you were really miffed that she looked too doe-eyed before and wanted this expression more, then you should totally go for it. X-23 is a fantastic figure and since she's in a crouching position, you can do so much more with her than your standard static standing figures.
I also have to commend Kotobukiya for updating statues like this in order to show fans that they do take our feelings into account for these things. Even though she's a very limited run, it's a gesture that I absolutely appreciate. They are continually making changes that reflect feedback they've received from fans, the most recent example being that upcoming DC Comics Bishoujo Harley Quinn will actually come with two faces so that both fans of her make up and natural look will get what they want.
Thanks a bunches to Kotobukiya once again for providing Tomopop with this review sample, and be sure to let us (and them, because they read these reviews) know what you think in the comments section!
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