Looking back at an older figure in my collection, we have here a figure of Masane Amaha, the heroine of the anime adaptation of Witchblade. This particular 1/6 scale figure is from Kotobukiya, who has put out three other Witchblade figures: one of Masane in casual wear, one in red Witchblade armor, and another one which is identical to this figure other than her paint job, which blackens her legs and torso. I guess the sort of half-nudity rife in the anime Witchblade wouldn’t fly even on Japanese television, so the original broadcast censored the character designs by giving them dark tights. That version seems to be all but forgotten now. As it should be.
Subtle the design of Masane is not, with gray armor barely covering her body and with blades sprouting everywhere – from her right forearm, toes, heels, knees, even her crotch. This is definitely not a figure for those bashful of displaying anime figurines on their shelf, as she firmly straddles the fence adjacent to pornographic territory between broad half-armored thighs.
I’m not overly fond of figures looking over their shoulder, because there’s usually only one or two angles that they look okay from, but Kotobukiya does a pretty good job with the pose here, with the facial expression, the finger licking, and the hugely gratuitous ass shot all working in perfect harmony to effect a very sexy visage.
Kotobukiya’s quality is a bit hit or miss, although it’s gotten better in recent times. That said, Masane is a bit of an older figure and quality is not that great here. Her glossy red hair looks strangely metallic, and her armor looks like gray plastic – which, of course, is what it is. To be fair, Masane in her Witchblade form is something of an unnatural being, so I suppose the poor paint job could be partially excused on that rationale.
I have a bigger problem with the base, which gets an A for the idea and an F for execution. She stands on a big Witchblade logo, which looks cool and doesn’t take up much space given her spread-legged stance, but it’s made of flimsy, lightweight plastic and as Masane is rather heavy and prone to tipping over, I had to spend some time using a hair dryer to bend her ankles forward so that she wouldn’t topple backwards. Some additional weighting inside the base would have been much appreciated.
Despite the issues with this figure, I do like Kotobukiya’s rendition a lot. The character design and the pose are both fantastic and very hot, and Kotobukiya has done a superb job of capturing the essence of Masane’s character – that is, of a highly sexualized, hyper-violent bare-buttocked woman warrior. Given that she’s available for about fifty bucks in the United States, this is not a bad figure at all. (Admittedly, I preordered this figure the instant I became aware of it, which meant that I paid about eighty bucks at HLJ plus EMS shipping. I like this figure but it definitely isn’t worth $100.)
I was very surprised when the Witchblade anime adaptation was announced. How many American properties get turned into anime? Not very many, and given that Witchblade is a somewhat obscure comic book title from a second-tier publisher, it wasn’t the most likely title to get picked up for animation. I like the Top Cow comic book a lot, so I was very happy to see it brought to the Japanese small screen by Gonzo. The anime has its ups and downs but I think it’s a good series; I wish they spent a little more time developing the Cloneblades into more interesting adversaries but I guess that might’ve been too much to pack into one full season.
It’s interesting to note that the American comic book spends a lot of time on the supernatural. Recently it’s focused on the battle between the Darkness and the Angelus, which are obvious symbols of, well, darkness and light. It’s not entirely obvious which of those are good and evil though, as the Angelus has no compunction against slaughtering people that stand in her way. Or that are just standing, even. Mysticism abounds and religious metaphors and influences significantly shape the story.
In contrast, the anime series eschews all that and instead introduces technological enemies, including high-tech transforming weapon systems and the Cloneblades, who are the product of extensive scientific and medical research. Instead of churches and cults, the involved organizations are megacorporations and government agencies, both of which are not always what they appear to be.
One other thing of note regarding the anime is that Mamiko Noto voices the main character. I’m not all that into following seiyuu but I looked up her filmography and saw that she’s voiced characters in pleasant series like Clannad, Angelic Layer, and School Rumble. When we first see Masane transform into the Witchblade, she turns from a meek, devoted mother to a lascivious, husky-voiced weapon of mass destruction who threatens to convulsively climax with every high-heeled step she takes. It’s one of the best character introductions I’ve seen in an anime.
“Hey Masane, wanna lick my finger too? It’s still got mustard on it from my latest jaunt to Five Guys.”