Today, we'll be going all the way back to 2007 (that was just the other day!) to take a look at a figure that I've gone far too long without reviewing, Kotobukiya's Shii Arisugawa. There are a few shots below that could be considered somewhat NSFW.
About the character/figure: Shii Arisugawa is an original character who was designed by the legendary illustrator Shunya Yamashita ENTRY #8364. As a character originating from an illustration, she doesn't have much of a backstory, but from what I can gather Shii is supposed to be a charming yet absent minded girl who is in charge of a disciplinary committee (hence the sword she carries). Shii forms a trio of sorts with the characters Arisa ITEM #752 and Sera ITEM #558; interestingly Shii and Sera were realized in figure form by Kotobukiya, but Yamato released Arisa.
This particular figure was released in May 2007, and a garage kit depicting Shii in an almost identical pose ITEM #203463 was also made right around the same time, although figure Shii and GK Shii have some very notable differences (like the exact design of her face). Then about a year later, Kotobukiya also made another figure (or rather a bust) of the character ITEM #1278 as well.
The box features a large front window, putting Shii and her various accessories on full display.
One side panel has a huge illustration of Shii. In an interesting twist, the box opens from the side! Also, I bought Shii preowned, and you can see that her previous owner sort of manhandled the box, particularly in the bottom left corner.
When you open the box, there's a little form inside the side flap. It looks like you could cut out this card and mail it in to enter a lottery for some sort of Yamashita goods, although I had a hard time translating exactly what the prize was supposed to be.
The other side panel gives a little mini-biography of Yamashita-sensei.
I love the huge full panel of artwork on the back of the box! Also, the "Cute & Erotic" text is not only funny, but it accurately describes many of Yamashita's illustrations.
Shii is a fairly large figure, and the box is correspondingly large, measuring 31 by 23 by 15 cm. The total weight of Shii+box is right around 600 grams.
Shii comes pre-attached to her base, but she will require some setup. After you pick your accessory of choice, her glasses will need to be put in place. The glasses are metal and they will need to be cut out of that little plate you can see in the blister. I opted to simply use the extra set of glasses that came with Shii's counterpart Arisa ITEM #752, as their design is for all purposes identical and that way it was not necessary to chop apart any pieces from this figure, too.
One of Shii's possible accessories is a pink flip phone. Back in 2007, when this figure was released, smartphones were not yet ubiquitous. Therefore, chances were that your cell phone back then was either a Nokia brickphone, or if you were a little more stylish, you probably had a flip phone. At the time, Shii's flip phone would be something of the norm, and today the flip phone is very retro chic!
I've chosen to display Shii with the sword, as that matches her appearance in the source illustration. I'm sure YMMV, but on mine the sword fits quite loosely in her hand and so it takes some careful maneuvering to get it positioned; I had to put the hilt in her hand and then rotate it slightly to make her grip on the sword secure. Interestingly, the tiny phone fits in her hand much more snugly.
Kotobukiya goes with a rather interesting "tri-level" base design.
The color swirl and the three-level base design make for a quirky look, and Yamashita's artworks can be very quirky themselves, so I think Kotobukiya did just fine here. The asymmetry of the base is also rather neat. Really the only complaint here is that the multiple levels of the base paired with the way Shii is extending her arm can make it tricky to display her on a crowded shelf.
Shii's pose attempts to duplicate the source illustration while also allowing her to hold either the sword or the flip phone.
Let's have a look at her.
I think her pose gives her a lot of personality, as it's an interesting combination of cute, sexy, and quirky. The only complaint on this front is that while she looks fine viewed from straight ahead or from her left side, the way she's bending her torso and leaning backwards slightly makes her look a little bit awkward when she's viewed from her right side.
Shii was released over a decade ago, and figure manufacturing has come a long way since then. She has a few flaws on the sculpting front, a couple of which are quite noticeable and while the paintwork is generally okay, there are some concerns about paint transfer. I would say that the overall quality of the figure is slightly above average for a figure made in 2007, but relative to today's standards, she would be slightly below average.
Kotobukiya did a good job of translating Shii's overall look into figure form, but looking at her face, there are a couple of little quirks. It seems to me that the flesh color of her skin extends too far onto her lower lip. Also, I would have liked to see a little more detail on Shii's braids; in the source illustration, the ends are very wispy looking, but in figure form they might be a little too chunky.
The paintwork on the little triangular inlays on the hilt of the sword is fairly crisp, and all the detail on the blade is quite neat. I wonder where she got her hands on such an elaborate sword?
The wide blade which tapers to a point is also quite interesting.
One area where Kotobukiya could have done a little better is the sculpting of Shii's hair. It seems a little plain; a little more color shading or texture in her hair would have gone a long way.
Consistent with many Yamashita designs, Shii has wide hips although this feature is paired with a fairly narrow waist. Her short seifuku top shows off her stomach, and it is a nice stomach.
Her stomach and abs look pretty toned!
Shii doesn't wear a bra, and so if you display her on a shelf above eye level, there will be some visible underboob. However, casting off the figure is not possible since her torso is not fully sculpted under the top (as the adventurous soul who took this PICTURE #941138 picture learned).
Shii's skirt sits fairly high on her hips, and so coupled with the way she's thrusting out her hip, you get a little bit of a pantsu flash. In case you're wondering, the little white spots on the skirt are not painting defects. Rather, I gave Shii a good cleaning before taking these photos, and some little bits of paper towel were left behind...
Now, since the source illustration shows Shii without the skirt, Kotobukiya naturally makes it castoffable. Two large pegs keep it closed, and if you've been looking carefully, you no doubt notice that the skirt fits quite loosely on Shii's body. It's almost like they're asking you to remove it :).
Personally, I much prefer the way she looks without the skirt, but at the same time it's nice to have a slightly more SFW display option.
If you look close, you can see how there's some excess glue on Shii's right thigh where her panties meet her body.
I would have liked to see a slightly fuller backside. Also note that one spot where the striping on her shimapan is uneven.
Probably the biggest defect to be found on the figure are some mold lines running down her torso. In 2018, you don't see this sort of thing too often except on prize figures, but for figures of this vintage, flaws like this are pretty common. You can also see some color transfer from her skirt onto her torso, although I hadn't even noticed that until I started looking at these photos. Nevertheless, it's something of which to be aware if you're hunting this figure pre-owned.
The same issue on the other side of Shii's body.
Kotobukiya did a really good job sculpting Shii's feet! I like how you can see her toes through the stockings, as well as the detail on the arch of her foot and on her ankles. The purple thighhighs are a neat look, too. Probably 95% of all thighhigh stockings are either black or white, and so the slightly different color really makes Shii stand out.
Shii herself measures about 9 inches (23 cm) in height, so 1/7 scale would make her about 5'3" (161 cm) tall, which seems consistent with her appearance. However, the tri-level base adds non-negligible height to the figure; from the bottom of the base to the end of the sword's handle, Shii spans about 10 3/4 inches (27 cm) at her tallest point. Thus, sitting on the shelf, Shii might look a little more like a 1/6 scale figure.
Here is Shii with her Yamashita counterpart Arisa ITEM #752. Arisa is at the small end of 1/7 scale, and you can see how Shii does look significantly larger.
It should also be noted that Shii and Arisa were released right around the same time, and Shii's quality is significantly better.
Next, we have Shii along with Shunya Yamashita's imagining of the iconic Rei ITEM #242 and Asuka ITEM #28128. Rei and Asuka are 1/6 scale, and you can see how the raised base certainly makes Shii look more like a 1/6 scale figure.
Let me give a shout-out to MFC user MOMO-SAN for pointing out how Shii's appearance is not unlike that of Mari Makanami ENTRY #1605. Sega doesn't list a scale for this particular Mari ITEM #167204, but I'd say she's approximately 1/6. Speaking of Evangelion, Mari, and Shunya Yamashita, it'll be interesting to see how this ITEM #676057 figure turns out!
Here is Shii with one of my favorite figures, Daiki's F-ism Shoujo ITEM #422432. Shoujo-san is a very large 1/6 scale for comparison.
Both Shii and Ryuubi Gentoku ITEM #80238 have slightly ditzy personalities, but I like how these two figures depict slightly different flavors of ditziness. Shii comes across as ditzy-cool, while Ryuubi is more clumsy and moe. Amie-Grand's Ryuubi is 1/6 scale.
Here is Shii with one of my favorite old figures, Alter's Maia Mizuki ITEM #944. Both Maia and Shii were released in the mid 2000's (Maia in 2005, Shii in 2007), and I would say that Kotobukiya's Shii actually beats the Alter figure in terms of overall quality. Maia is 1/6 scale.
Overall verdict and enjoyment----------9/10
Arguments for: The figure nicely duplicates Yamashita's illustration, the figure is full of personality, the flip phone is retro chic, more moe points than you can shake a stick at (glasses, shimapan, thighhighs, and the micro-mini seifuku top) combined with Yamashita's artistic sensibility, and the figure has aged surprisingly well; it doesn't look dated quite the way some mid-2000's figures do these days.
Arguments against: Flat butt, paint transfer concerns from the skirt, and some sculpting flaws that are par for the course with mid-2000's figures.
While Shii has some flaws, the same can be said for a whole lot of figures released in the mid 2000's, and this one has held up pretty well. Shunya Yamashita's designs have aged pretty well, and Shii exudes a real sense of dingy charm. Thus, if you are a Yamashita fan, or if you're simply in the market for an interesting older figure, I would highly recommend Shii.
Availability (as of this writing)
Not too hard to find.
Shii is not terribly hard to find, but she always seems to sell pretty quickly, and you should probably expect to pay a little more than her original price. Shii originally sold for 7000 yen and I bought a B/C one from AmiAmi a couple of years ago for 8600 yen. That's probably at the low end of her price range, and so I'd say somewhere between 8000-10000 yen ought to net you a preowned Shii.
THANKS FOR READING!
If you liked this review, here are some of my other reviews you might also find interesting:
Yamato 1/7 Arisa (Shunya Yamashita original character) BLOG #28032
Yamato 1/6 Shunya Yamashita Rei and Asuka (Evangelion) BLOG #10442
Alter 1/6 Maia Mizuki (Daphne in the Brilliant Blue) BLOG #12215
Good Smile 1/8 Mishiro Akatsuki (Shuraki) BLOG #13810
Sega Hatsune Miku "Ribbon Girl" BLOG #33733
Sega FNC (Upotte!) BLOG #13389
Max Factory 1/6 Galko-Chan (Oshiete! Galko-Chan) BLOG #32401
Orchid Seed 1/7 Push!! Cover Girl (Original character) BLOG #34116
Orchid Seed 1/6 "Sailor Succubus" Sapphire (Original character) BLOG #32594
Native 1/6 Nana Chigusa (Nana to Kaoru) BLOG #33905
Kotobukiya 1/6 Mina Tepes (Dance in the Vampire Bund) BLOG #16798
I love figures like Shii that have multiple display options, and so the question is...