Cuddling (Sort of)

“Something feels a little off, somehow…”

Yeah, two Pullips were definitely not intended to be put in these kinds of poses.  (That, perhaps, should not surprise me.)  Particularly not sample dolls whose joints are all slightly loose.

…which reminds me.  I need to look up if they’d have come with the sword and mirror if I’d bought them new, or if Groove just didn’t bother with those.  (Since the dolls can’t actually hold them anyway, it doesn’t seem a terribly pressing concern; I’m just curious.)

They’re sitting in a heavy metal chair, a bookend from Barnes & Noble.  I had been eyeing those things for a long time, so when I had a % off coupon and no expensive books I wanted to use it on, I figured why not go ahead and get it?  I thought “yay, finally a chair that won’t fall over due to the weight of a Pullip’s head!”  Problem is the seat’s too low and the back’s too high. 😦  The legs have to be sticking straight out (like a very tall person sitting on a footstool) and the back of the head collides with the back of the chair.  Super disappointing.  I forgot to test it with a Blythe, but I think the same thing will happen.  (After all, Blythe heads are even bigger than Pullip heads.  But maybe they don’t extend as far back behind the back of the body?)  The chair’s not bad for a Shibajuku, though, so that’s some small comfort.  (But I couldn’t have returned the bookends explaining that I didn’t want them because my dolls didn’t fit in them properly.  They’d have thought I was crazy.)

…I totally need to add more variety to this month’s photos.

Maybe I should dig out (rather, dust off) those two Play Arts figures…

Holding Hands

And now you know why I wanted to rush that Princess of Power post through before June:  I wanted to photograph Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune in the Crystal Castle.  Because seriously!  Isn’t it a perfect set for them?  (After all, isn’t the future Tokyo called Crystal Tokyo?)

There are, of course, more photos coming.  Though not quite as many as I wanted to take.  I’ll have to do another photo session after I do some actual planning.  (I was kind of winging it…)  I need to plan how to best use some of the alternate faces and hands.  (Though one of the faces Haruka came with isn’t even hers!  That one’ll be harder to find a good excuse for…)

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..

Technically, that piece that’s two clasped hands is supposed to be used to have Michiru hold her own hands clasped in front of her.  But I’d seen promotional photos of the Figmas of Tomoyo-chan and Sakura holding hands by way of Tomoyo-chan’s clasped hand piece, so I figured if it worked there, it should work here, too.  (Not that I’ve tried that with my own Tomoyo-chan and Sakura yet…)  It doesn’t really work, though. 😦  I mean, it looks sort of okay in the photo, but the hands kept detaching from one or the other of them, and made posing them almost impossible.  I wanted a more complex pose, but I quickly got too frustrated, and went with this simple one instead.

Also, sorry for the slight up skirt on them.  Those freakin’ things are too short!  If they were cloth, gravity would prevent at least some of the panty shots, but unfortunately…  (Okay, I know they’re not technically panties, because they’re sort of wearing leotards, but…)  Well, at least it’ll be easier to avoid panty shots with dolls.

Sailor Senshi (+ a Comparison)

I’ve been meaning to get these photos taken for a while now, but I’ve been sick.  However, on learning that today is the 236th anniversary of the discovery of the planet Uranus, I realized it just had to be today.

Over…what’s it been, two years?  Well, however long it’s been, as you likely know, Groove’s put out a large number of Sailor Moon Pullip dolls.  And the more they put out, the more I got irritated that I didn’t really know the franchise, so I didn’t know if I wanted the dolls.  (Though obviously, getting them would be a bad idea all around, because I don’t have all the money in the world, and I have already run out of space in this house.)  I kept saying to myself “gee, maybe I should actually watch that show someday.”

Yes, you heard me right.  I’d never seen Sailor Moon before.  Because it came to America at just the wrong time, you know?  I was getting into anime by that point, but I’ve always been a “subtitle only” type of gal.  (Though I’ll make the occasional exception in the case of theatrical Studio Ghibli releases.)  And it was so much a “for kids” production (and I was in my 20s), and it sounded so stupid, and blah blah blah.  So, fast-forward to present day.  One day last year, I went into the used everything store I like to go to, and in one of their toy cases I see three dolls on the top shelf:

Two of them were super-cheap ($9.99 if you can believe it!) and the third was ridiculously not-cheap (I think she was $35.99!) but there they were, and certainly cheaper than the Pullip versions!  Well, one of their sale weekends (when used toys are 33% off) rolled around, and I decided to go ahead and chance it on the cheap ones, because they were so very affordable.

But that left me with two dolls of characters I knew nothing about.  I mean, from the Pullip releases, I knew they were Sailor Neptune and Black Lady, but that was all I knew.  (Well, okay, I knew a little more than that:  I knew what Black Lady’s deal was (sort of) and I knew that Sailor Neptune was half of the lesbian couple that the dub tried to claim were “cousins.”)  So I decided it was high time that I finally watched Sailor Moon.  But the show’s not on Netflix, and trying to buy the DVDs of the whole show was gonna be nuts.  Then my co-worker let me know the show is on Hulu (subtitled, thank God!) so I signed up for that service, and started watching.

And to my surprise, I was really digging it.  I mean, yes, it’s silly and juvenile, but there’s a charm to it.  And the first season had a very Ranma 1/2 feeling to the animation, and especially to the opening credits.  (The fact that Makoto is definitely an escaped Ranma character absolutely added to that feeling, of course.  I so want the SHFigurarts of Sailor Jupiter so she can interact with my SHFigurarts of Ranma-chan…but she’s so freakin’ expensive!)

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Norns

The Oh My Goddess version of the Norns, of course. 😛

Norn 1

I think this was tying in to the movie.  I’m not sure; she’s sort of been fallen over on the back of a shelf for years.

As you might guess, I’m not actually all that big a Belldandy fan.

(Actually, on the whole, I prefer Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses to Oh My Goddess altogether.  Lighter, fluffier comedy, without the romantic melodrama.  If I could find toys of the mini-goddesses versions of these characters, I would so be all over them.)

Norn 6

I’m showing these figures in the order in which I got them.  (Which it turns out is also alphabetical order, so long as you’re calling the middle goddess Belldandy instead of Verdandi.)  Skuld here is my favorite of the trio, character-wise.  She’s totally adorable, and makes all kinds of crazy inventions. 😀  (That being the case, I’m sure she’s fine with leaning against this Project MC² stand to stay up. 😛  The down side of getting used figurines like this is that often you don’t get their stands, or anything even close to useful as a stand.)

Norn 7

Technically, I also got one of her robotic creations along with her, but…he’s missing some pieces or something.  😦

Norn 2

I got Urd here quite recently.  Skuld came from the main used store where I score a lot of my neat loot, but Urd came from the anime store where I have some stuff on consignment.  She still didn’t have a stand though. 😦

Norn 3

A close-up to try and show her face a bit.  Urd’s also a lot of fun, because while she looks all sexy and mature, she’s also kind of a drunkard and horribly bad-tempered.

Um…that sounds worse than it is.  And actually that’s mostly her Mini-Goddesses personality I’m describing.  She’s really funny, in any case, which is what makes her likable.  (Actually, I think that’s why Belldandy doesn’t do much for me:  she’s not funny like her sisters.  There’s a reason I don’t actually like the “romantic comedy” genre…)

Yeah, “N is for Norns” was pretty short, huh?  (The gallery has a few more shots of Urd and Skuld, for whatever that’s worth.)

Well, they can’t all be winners!  (And I’d be exhausted if they all matched up to “M is for Mulan“!)  Tomorrow’s — er, Monday’s, rather — is also going to be short.  I’ll just confess that right now.

Larva

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.

Larva 1

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.

Larva 7

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.

Larva 5

As with Miyu, one thing I really can’t fault them on is the facial sculpt.  It’s quite excellent.

Second shot, sans one of my hairs on his face.
Second shot, sans one of my hairs on his face.

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…)

Larva 9

He can’t wear it, but at least he can hold it.  That’s something, right? 😛

Larva 8

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:

Larva 3

So, that’s the image itself, right?  Here is the best pose I could come up with for the dolls to imitate it:

Larva 10
Angle 1
Angle 2
Angle 2
Angle 3
Angle 3

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.]

 

Vampire Princess Miyu

Okay, so I’ve de-boxed the Vampire Princess Miyu doll, and I want to give you the full report on how the Full Action Doll Series works.

But first!

I want to show off some adorable new dolly accessories.  These are all from Olive‘s Etsy Shop, Olive Loop:

Pyrrha in the Fox Ear Hat
Pyrrha in the Fox Ear Hat

I may need to get her a new outfit that’ll match the hat better.  (I found her some black pants to wear so this shirt/dress wouldn’t be quite so revealing.  No idea where they came from, though.  From the creases, I think they were part of someone’s stock, but I’m not sure whose.)

Heart Hat 2
Yeolume in the Heart Hat

Semi-random aside:  I think whenever I re-body Yeolume, I may also paint her lips a little.  I like the rest of her face-up, but her mouth sort of melts into her face.  (Um, that sounded nasty.)

Kaiko rocking out in her new scarf.
Kaiko rocking out in her new scarf.

Another thing I noticed in taking these pictures:  Kaiko really needs new eye chips.  These are totally wrong for her; they’re not even blue.  She needs more anime-style chips.  And a slightly more slender body, so her coat will fit.  (A Monster High body would be ideal, if they made them in her skin tone, but they don’t.  Maybe an Ever After High body would work?)

Okay, now that I’ve shared the cuteness, I’ll get on with the full report on the Tsukuda Hobby Full Action Doll Series Vampire Princess Miyu doll.  I checked it out, and the Toy Box Philosopher hasn’t done a review of this line (not surprising, really, since it’s sort of…uh…low profile in the US), so I’m going to try to cover some of the same bases, though I won’t pretend I can match her quality.

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Happy Leap Day!

Leap Year Day?  Well, Happy 29th of February, whatever you wanna call that! :p

"Happy Birthday, onii-chan!"
“Happy Birthday, onii-chan!”

Yep, the 29th of February is the birthday of one Toya Kinomoto.  Sadly, I have no toys of Toya, so all I can do is show Sakura-chan wishing her big brother a happy birthday.  (With Kero-chan hiding behind her, because he wasn’t about to miss any opportunities to sneak some cake.)

So, if Toya only has his birthday once every four years, doesn’t that make him younger than Sakura?  When the manga starts, he’s sixteen and she’s twelve…but he’s only had four birthdays in all that time, right?

(Unfortunately, due to poor lighting and not having time to clear away much space, this sad image is the best photo I can provide.  The shadow on the backdrop is particularly lamentable…unless Sakura’s just used the “Giant” card, or whatever it was called… (considering her fantasy in the very first chapter of the manga, that would actually be rather appropriate…))

Technically, the uniform is supposed to be Tomoyo-chan’s, but I still haven’t gotten a body (or wig) for her yet, so there was no harm in Sakura “borrowing” it. 😛