Yet another Mandarake purchase here, held in reserve for April A-to-Z. This one, of course, was an inevitable purchase as soon as I discovered that the doll existed.
This is Larva, the sexy Shin-ma companion of Miyu from Vampire Princess Miyu. So while I wasn’t as enamored of Miyu’s doll as I might have been, I had to get the doll of Larva the first time I (electronically) happened across him! (Larva was voiced by Shinichiro Miki, after all! *drool* ) Anyway, you’ll notice the box says his name is “Rava”. And I think that when TokyoPop released the first volume of the TV anime, they went with Laava as his name. So why am I so convinced his name is “Larva”?
In short, ’cause that’s what it was on the OVA. But that’s not as arbitrary as it sounds. The OVA was brought over by Animeigo, and they really went all out to get things right, including that if they weren’t sure about how to transliterate a name, they’d actually go and ask the original creator of the character. (In those cases where that was possible, of course.) If I wanted to go all out myself at this juncture, I’d go tearing through the house to find the VHS cassettes of the OVA (yes, they’re still here somewhere) and check the translator’s notes stored in each box, but I do not want to go to all that trouble. (Especially ’cause I’m pretty sure I know where they are, and that’s a lot of trouble.) I do remember that the notes talked about them being unsure what the proper transliteration for his name was, and going over some of the options. I’m pretty sure their reason for going with Larva instead of Lava was because of something to do with ancient Rome. I could be totally insane, but that it is absolutely what I remember. Even if that wasn’t it, it was something that went beyond just the simple difficulty of transliterating names from Japanese to English, and got into something cool and cultural.
Right, so, naming issues aside, Larva’s another Tsukuda Hobby Full Action Doll, but seeing as he’s the first male doll I’ve gotten from that line, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect…because I was enough of a moron to expect that there would be some difference apart from the doll lacking breasts.
So here he is all out of the package and standing on display. (As with Miyu, I’m using the package insert as a bit of a photography background, since it’s a more appropriate visual than my blank wall.) There actually were a number of differences between Larva and Miyu/Kanna. First of all, his stand doesn’t work right. The metal bar does not want to go into the plastic base, so the whole stand tends to topple over. That’s probably nothing to do with him being a male doll, and rather just bad luck on my part, but it’s one of the earliest things I noticed. Beyond that — and getting into things that are actually pertinent to the doll as a whole, not to this unique one — he’s wearing a black, zippered body suit underneath that robe, and has thick plastic gloves on to make the hands you see emerging from his robe. Beneath the body suit, he has the same rubbery skin on his torso as the female dolls do. (Which seems a bit odd, given the body suit, but I guess they use the same body for any other male dolls they make.) There’s also a hard, loose shoulder pad insert to try and give his robe some form, but it’s not actually connected to his body in any way, so it can turn 90 degrees and make him look ridiculous. I had thought that maybe the shoulder pad insert was to hold his head if you swap out this one for the spare head he comes with (or maybe it’s his mask on a mask stand, I don’t know) but I couldn’t see any way of removing his head, so I think I was wrong about that.
As with Miyu, one thing I really can’t fault them on is the facial sculpt. It’s quite excellent.
One thing I can fault them on, however, is the fact that his sculpted hair prevents him from wearing his mask. Now, admittedly, I would never actually want him to wear his mask except to take a few photos of him wearing it, but it’s the principle of the thing. Larva’s mask is a punishment laid on him by his people, so making it so he can’t even wear it? Not very true to the spirit of the thing. (Okay, actually, maybe it was only a punishment in the OVA, and it was his choice in the TV show? I’ve forgotten at this point…)
He can’t wear it, but at least he can hold it. That’s something, right? 😛
His scythe had come loose from its position in the box, but it wasn’t damaged in transit. Hmm, I wonder if this would be the right size for the Undertaker…? I don’t think he came with a scythe… (That reminds me, I must start scouring the Internet for a 1/6 scale chainsaw!)
Okay, so this has been a very short doll report, but due to the fact that his stand would fall over if I breathed on it, I didn’t try putting Larva into many poses. However, I did want to try to attempt the iconic, romantic image of him and Miyu that’s reproduced on the back of the box:
So, that’s the image itself, right? Here is the best pose I could come up with for the dolls to imitate it:
No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to look like anything but a struggle. 😦 It might have worked better if I’d had a better stand for him, but…I’m getting the feeling that these are not actually dolls you’re intended to spend much time posing. These are dolls where you’re just supposed to look at the facial sculpts. Possibly without even bothering to open them.
Last I looked, Mandarake also had the doll of Chisato, Miyu’s best friend from the TV anime.
They can keep her.
[The gallery is here.]