Right, it’s time to get back to work. The review queue is impressive: scads and scads of Tony figures, a couple of Asukas (but – strangely enough – no Reis), and a bunch of Seven Deadly Sins figures that I never seem to know how I want to photograph. We’ll start off looking at this girl, one Motoko Kusanagi of Public Security Section 9, who is dressed to kill in her own unique way. One can surmise that Scarlett Johansson won’t be wearing anything like what Major Kusanagi is wearing here.
Motoko is the heroine of Masamune Shirow’s magnum opus Ghost in the Shell. The 1995 motion picture adaptation brought the series into the mainstream, or at least as much of the mainstream as anime had penetrated at the time, and its reputation has grown over time. A well-received two-season television anime titled Stand Alone Complex aired in the mid-2000s, and an American film adaptation is in the works, starring the aforementioned actress (presumably as the Major, but perhaps not; little seems to have been decided as far as the production goes).
This figure is manufactured by Union Creative, a company that I’m not particularly familiar with. They produced a figure of the horror-themed Miku Hatsune derivative Calne Ca a while back that I was somewhat interested in, but it was fairly expensive and I didn’t feel too compelled to buy it.
The major stands about 24 centimeters in height. No scale size is given for Motoko, but her somewhat-realistic body proportions make her look about 1/7 scale in appearance. She’s ready for display right out of the box; no assembly or disassembly is needed aside from placing on her wedge-shaped base.
This figure is based on Motoko’s appearance in the first season of Stand Alone Complex. Although Ghost in the Shell is always closely identified with Shirow, the quirks of his character design sensibilities weren’t all that obvious in the anime, and they’re even less evident here. This figure adapatation of Motoko presents a fairly realistic look, with normal-sized eyes rather than the large, vaguely insect-like look that Shirow favors. There’s not a lot of emotion to be read in Motoko’s face; she has a very blank expression that is a bit different compared to other figures of her, which typically portray her as stern and poised.
On the other hand, the fashionable pose that she’s striking isn’t entirely something one would imagine Motoko doing in the series, either. One of the hallmarks of Shirow’s style are elongated female bodies and Motoko does have very long legs and a tall torso, but she has a curvy, adult build rather than the slender, spindly limbs typically featured in the manga-ka’s work.
Motoko’s costume consists of thick thigh-high socks, a high-cut leotard, and a leather jacket, shrugged down to reveal a bare shoulder. It’s a great outfit that looks completely undignified but comes together well anyway.
Her leotard has a thong back which completely reveals her backside; it’s still undignified and it still looks great. Motoko wasn’t really much of a sex symbol in the original anime film adaptation but her Stand Alone Complex design reflects a common theme in cyberpunk – sexy, highly-skilled female combatants clad in tight, shiny clothes. Molly in William Gibson’s seminal novel Neuromancer is one of the progenitors of this concept and The Matrix’s Trinity is perhaps the best-known, and it shows up in numerous other sci-fi anime as well, including Ghost in the Shell contemporaries like Gunnm, Bubblegum Crisis, and Armitage III.
In terms of technical quality, Motoko looks pretty decent from a typical viewing distance but not nearly as good when inspected up close. Small pitting is evident, particularly in her hair and in the top bands of her thigh-highs. The paint job is serviceable, being neither conspicuously bad nor impressively detailed.
I’d say this is a decent figure that is made more attractive due to the fact that Motoko hasn’t gotten many figures, despite having existed for over twenty years as the central character of one of the most famous and influential manga and anime series ever created. The technical problems are definitely present, but are perhaps forgiveable, and her overall look is appealing, as long as one doesn’t mind her placid facial expression. Overall, I’m reasonably happy with this figure, particularly considering that this is amongst my favorite version of all of Motoko’s incarnations.