And back to fighting girl figures. A number of great fighting girl figures have been released this year, which is enormously gratifying. Quite a few of them aren’t wearing pants or skirts, which is also very pleasing. One such figure is presented here, and while Matabei took a bit of additional hassle to acquire, it’s easy to see why she was worth the effort.
Matabei is a character from the merchandising machine Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls. Characters from this property have appeared in books, pillowcases, trading cards, t-shirts, and of course, an anime that aired last year. It’s telling that despite the promising premise – cute fighter girls in revealing outfits battling each other – I could only make it through two full episodes before dropping the show. As I recall, Matabei was something of a bodyguard to Yukimura Sanada and is also rather clumsy and clueless. She was one of the few characters that I really liked.
Matabei comes courtesy of Alter and, like several of their Samurai Girls figures, was a mail order exclusive. She’s sculpted in 1/8 scale and stands about 22 centimeters tall to the top of her hair, and a bit under 29 centimeters tall including her spear. Like her peers she comes with an uninspired plastic white base decorated with the franchise logo and a flower and petal motif.
The design of the Samurai Girls characters comprises a mashup of historical and contemporary fashion. As such, Matabei’s outfit marries a stylized school uniform top with a traditional bottom. This is no ordinary traditional bottom, however, it’s a fundoshi, which really flatters her. In my view, anyway. The fundoshi is an asscheek-baring loincloth worn mainly by men, but it has seen an upsurge in popularity among anime figures as of late – female anime figures, thankfully. Matabei, Junko Hattori, and Alter’s recently-released Houmei all rock the fundoshi, and all of them look absolutely fantastic while doing so.
Her seifuku top looks great, too. It’s cropped short, a bit reminiscent of Kanu Unchou, and tied in front, giving her outfit a modern flair. The rest of her outfit is … well, her footwear, tabi-styled shoes encircled by rope. A modest girl Matabei is not.
Matabei comes with a spear, which separates into three parts to facilitate getting it in her hand and attaching its red ribbon. It is lovingly detailed and looks quite realistic, with the metallic parts receiving a particularly attractive finish. The ribbon’s dramatic shading and sense of movement lend an element of dynamism to a figure featuring an otherwise unremarkable pose.
Or rather, Matabei’s pose would be unremarkable if it were not for that ass, which is in full view and looks great. Her look brings to mind Metatron, another one of Alter’s callipygian figures. Matabei’s wide stance and defiant look come together to give her a strong sense of presence and gravity which seems totally incongruent with the anime’s campy, slapstick tone. Would that the anime had put away the cheap jokes and stale, generic characterization in favor of something closer to what Alter’s Matabei conveys.
Going back to Matabei’s ribbon, it slots into her left hand, and Alter provides a little support strut to keep it balanced. I didn’t bother using it in these pictures and I’m probably going to toss it back in the box, since it’s just another thing I know I’m going to lose otherwise.
And I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose this little guy. I’m not sure who he is, but I’m sure he shows up in the anime at some point. Back in the box he goes, too.
Matabei has a relatively muted, pastel color scheme, which seems to suit her well as a supporting character. She also appears to have a fuller body build than the other characters, although I can’t help but think that her legs seem a bit stumpy, particularly around her knees. It seems like her lower legs ought to be a little bit longer.
Her face is stern and pensive, a look that suggests anxiety or disquiet. Or perhaps it radiates competence, as if her gaze is warning a potential foe that she can kick their ass despite not wearing pants. That’s the best type of fighter girl, by the way, the type that is so skilled that they don’t need to wear clothes. Alter’s other Samurai Girls figures also have appealing expressions; Jubei offers a confident, enigmatic smile, Senhime looks like an elegant, high-class serial killer, and Yukimura – the first version – looks like a demon conjured from some alternate plane of existence. Then you watch the anime and you find out that Matabei is the slow, dimwitted one and Jubei is the innocent, clumsy one and Senhime is the bitchy tsundere one and Yukimura is the snotty loli one. Very disappointing.
I’ve purged most of the anime from my memory and I’m going to substitute my own characterization in lieu of reality. In light of that, I’m going to say that Matabei is a fine figure, one that I’m very glad to own. She looks great, her outfit looks great, her polearm looks great, and her ass looks great. What more can you really ask for? Well, longer legs, maybe, and a better source, but I can overlook that. She was definitely worth the added expense of going through a proxy service and hopefully, we’ll see even more fighting girl figures clad in sexy, sexy fundoshi.