The Ikki Tousen franchise is a licensing juggernaut, and with five Kanu Unchous in my collection, I am scarcely immune to its wiles. However, while the manga fields a bewilderingly large cast, for years my only non-Kanu figure was Griffon’s awful Ryofu Housen figure from way back. Now, with Daiki Kougyou’s Ryomou Shimei in my collection, that count increases to two.
Kanu, Ryomou and Hakufu Sonsaku comprise the trifecta of major Ikki Tousen characters but while Kanu is my favorite girl in the series, I’m less enamored with the other two. I don’t mind that Hakufu is a brainless ditz – I find it quite charming, actually – but there’s not much more than that to her personality and she simply doesn’t have many good figures. My reticence to like Ryomou has a more peculiar explanation. When Tokyopop localized the manga, they renamed it Battle Vixens and handed the translation duties to Keith Giffen, who’s more noted for his mainstream work with Marvel and DC Comics. Apparently, he was given a very basic version of what the characters were saying and was told to write the dialogue in a way that would appeal to Americans. So he did that, eschewing subtlety and charging every scene with blatant, profane sexuality. I gather that most of the manga’s readership here did not support this decision, but I didn’t actually mind; I felt that the vulgar writing fit well with the lewd nature of the art. It was crude, perhaps sophomoric, and excessive, but at that time Ikki Tousen’s core themes were nothing but excessive, and Ryomou was the very essence of that; when she accosts Gakushu in the first volume, she is loud and carnal, threatening to climax with every arm lock.
Despite having bought and read all of the manga volumes, I was surprised as anybody when Ikki Tousen took a turn towards the conventional, moderating the innuendo and bestowing distinct, well-defined backgrounds on its characters. I wonder if Yuji Shiozaki knew what which direction he wanted to take the series when he started off; I tend to doubt it, as the early volumes portray Hakufu and Koukin as the main characters and present Kaku Bunwa, Ryofu Housen, and Chuuei Toutaku as antagonists, with Kannei and Ryomou being somewhat enigmatic but generally troublesome wild cards. However, Toutaku and Ryofu are killed off in short order, Kaku just sort of shifts into the background as eye candy, and Kanu and the Seito Academy group eventually move in as co-leads against Moutoku. In the anime, Ryomou becomes the even-keeled, quiet, logical foil to the boisterous and impulsive Hakufu, replacing Koukin to some extent in that role. However, my view of Ryomou is still colored by her depiction early in the series, and even though I found the idea of a violent, uncontrollable, sadistic Rei Ayanami clone to be irresistible at first, she also faded a bit as the story progressed and I can’t quite remember much of what she did subsequent to her introduction. It’s also hard for me to think of her as one of the more normal characters in the anime, given the first impression given of her in Battle Vixens.
Anyway, on to the figure. This rendition of Ryomou Shimei comes from Daiki Kougyou and is sculpted in 1/6 scale, standing about 26 centimeters tall at the top of her head, plus about another two centimeters to account for the optional handcuffs. Her base is a featureless black plastic disc which does all that it needs to do without getting in the way.
This figure is based off of an illustration done by Shunya Yamashita, making Daiki Kougyou the latest manufacturer to have found inspiration in his artwork. Ryomou is often depicted in maid garb, a sartorial choice that is wholly incongruous with her sober, introspective mannerisms, and Yamashita has given his typical spin on Ryomou’s wardrobe, decking her out in a leather collar, bonnet and dress with frills and ribbons in plenty, and chunky purple boots. She also wears her trademark sealing eyepatch.
She’s given more of a realistic, adult body build here than in the anime or manga and I think it suits this figure very well. Her pose is also quite distinctive, although I’m not quite certain what she’s supposed to be doing … is she dancing, maybe? Regardless, it’s dynamic and appealing even if it does look a bit silly, although considering her wild outfit, perhaps that’s fitting.
The sculpting of her clothing is quite detailed, with her skirt, headdress, and garters all crinkled with ruffles. Her blouse features folds that emphasize the forward thrust of her lower torso, and her panties are, uhh, realistically creased as well. One flaw is there is a seam right on the front side of her left leg; it’s difficult to notice under normal room lighting and I didn’t even see it until I looked at my full-size photos, but once you know it’s there, it’s hard to miss.
The paintwork is also very nice. Her hair and ribbons have strong shading which give depth to the figure. Her overall color scheme is rather muted, with lots of black and white, but the bright red bow ties and the violet boots and gloves give her the appearance of being much more colorful than she really is. A hint of blush and lipstick highlight her facial features, and she also has her mole next to her lower lip.
She comes with just one accessory, her favorite set of handcuffs. They’re made of fairly rigid plastic with one open end which slides into her right hand. Besides that, she keeps faith with the source material by separating at the torso so that her skirt can be removed, revealing plain but lovingly-detailed underpants.
I bought Ryomou mainly to go with Daiki Kougyou’s Kanu, but I think she’s a great figure on her own merits. It’s a bit of a different take on the character, coming from Shunya Yamashita’s art and putting her in an unusual costume, but it all comes together very well. Now, I’m ready for a manufacturer to make some figures of Roshuku, Bashoku, and Houtou Shigen, who’s with me?
Daiki Kougyou is putting out two more versions of this figure. The Junior High School Student figure purports to depict her as she might have looked in the 7th grade, although I know of no junior high schoolers with breasts like that. Mou-chan looks quite cute anyway. The Original Face version dispenses with the Shunya Yamashita-inspired face in favor of a design a bit closer to the anime. Her undergarments are given a wet, transparent look, making this version the Ryomou of choice for perverts and letches.