It’s time to look at another bunnygirl figure, and this time we’ll be examining Houki Shinonono, the querulous martinet and love interest from Infinite Stratos. FREEing appears to have an affinity for the characters from this series, as they’ve made not just one, but two quarter-scale figures of each of the principal female characters in the show, and why not? Certainly it doesn’t seem like anyone else is interested.
As the first girl to be introduced, Houki is nominally the lead love interest of Infinite Stratos. You wouldn’t know that if you watched the anime, however; as I recall, any presence she has is quickly quashed by Charlotte and Laura, who become the most memorable characters of the show. Not that that is a particularly notable feat given the utterly mediocre nature of the show; Infinite Stratos exemplifies the most banal characteristics of the light novel-derived harem genre. The male protagonist, while a nice guy, is foremost a milquetoast. The female characters embody the conventional tropes, with the usual gamut of temperaments, childhood backgrounds, and breast sizes being represented. The fanservice is evident but not particularly remarkable. All in all, it’s an exceedingly average show, and I am surprised and appalled in equal measure that I managed to watch its entire first season (and the first episode of the second season as well, which finally convinced me not to proceed further).
That said, the series does have some decent character designs and while the female pilot suits aren’t particularly scanty, they’re still fairly attractive. Curiously, I don’t think any major manufacturer has made a figure of any of the IS characters in their combat uniforms, which is unfortunate. That brings us to this figure, where the character depicted is wearing a leotard, albeit not of the mecha-driving variety.
This figure is manufactured by FREEing. Sculpted in 1/4 scale, Houki is an impressive 44 centimeters in overall height. Unusually for one of FREEing’s bunnygirls, she requires a little bit of assembly, some of which is rather unconventional, as we shall see.
As I mentioned in my review of Yami (and as I’ll probably do in every future review I do of the figures in this line), FREEing’s bunnygirls show a remarkable level of consistency in terms of design and the actual sculpt. All the usual particulars are evidenced here: the fairly matte skin tones, the nondescript hair sculpting, the bunnysuit with the real fishnet pantyhose.
The faces of these figures are not particularly detailed, either. In this case, Houki’s mouth is caught in an “O” shape, as if she were syllabicating her last name.
What one might not expect is that Houki has a really nice ass. Her ponytail helpfully splits in two to permit examination of her backside.
Her buttocks display prominent curvature, which is a nice touch; quite a few figures don’t emphasize this area, which is a shame. However, FREEing’s bunnygirls typically have pleasing rears, which is a noteworthy aspect of the product line.
It’s not always obvious given that many of the bunnygirls are kneeling or recumbent, but they generally have very long legs. Such is the case with Houki, whose legs seem particularly long.
The side view does show a rather peculiar sculpting issue, though, in that her high heels look very messed up. I’m not sure it’s actually possible to stand upright with heels like that.
The upright design of the figure allows an obvious thigh gap to be viewed, for those who care about that sort of thing.
And it also allows an unimpeded view of her breasts. Houki has a rather large rack, though from what I remember of the anime, it didn’t seem quite so substantial there. Here, her chest is rather sizeable.
Equally obvious is that she’s wearing a red leotard, decorated with some cute ribbons along her hips. Red seems to be her assigned color, even though I recall that she wore a white leotard in the anime.
One very odd aspect of this figure is that she’s meant to be holding this bottle of champagne. However, its doesn’t actually come with the label; it’s a pair of decals that you have to peel from its backing and affix to the bottle yourself. I’m not sure why they did it this way; my guess would be for legal reasons but that’s entirely speculative on my part (I do know that in the US, a sixteen-year old cartoon character holding an alcoholic beverage would probably incite complaints from somebody). It’s a little bit of a hassle since there aren’t any markings on the bottle to guide the placement of the label.
One other minor bit of required assembly are the bracelets around her left wrist; her left hand is actually detachable to allow the bracelet to be slipped on.
I like this figure a lot, and I will say once again that I’m quite a fan of FREEing’s bunnygirl series, despite their idiosyncrasies, which I mostly forgive. Houki has a lovely sculpt, and though her facial expression might not be the most exciting, the agreeable rendering of her breasts and ass largely mitigates that circumstance. This admittedly shallow rationale coupled with this figure’s fantastically large size are reasons enough for me to be very happy with the way Houki turned out.