Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

The longevity and impact of the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise is nearly without peer in anime, and a large part of its lasting popularity is due to its iconic characters, particularly Rei and Asuka. And what’s not to like about them? Both are young, sexy girls who are curiously well-developed for their age and wear tight bodysuits when going into battle. One is a taciturn, robotic introvert and the other is an assertive, mercurial hotshot with the temperament of nitroglycerin.

None of Gainax’s other properties have come close to the endurance of their foremost creation, and so they’ve taken the obvious course of action and remade the series, sticking in a new girl in the process. In this hobby, it’s the closest thing to having your own money printer.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

I didn’t watch Evangelion until around 2000, years after its original air date, and so I don’t have a good grasp of the context in which it achieved its popularity. Nonetheless, I can’t say that it made all that great an impression on me, and at its end I was still wondering what the show was about. Ten years later, the main things I remember are the cute girls, abysmally poor parenting, and the copout where Toji survives his fight. Oh, and the peculiar and exploitative religious imagery, it’d be hard to forget that. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if George Lucas made a new Star Wars movie where the Sith antagonists were all evil Shinto spirits with Japanese names; would that look any more silly?

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Mari Illustrious Makinami is the newest of the teenaged warriors and like most of the characters in the series, her names come from World War II-era warships. In this case, she is named after HMS Illustrious and the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyer Makinami. The Illustrious played an integral role in the Battle of Taranto, the first action in which carrier-based aircraft struck against a hostile fleet. She later served in the Pacific, where the resilience of her armored flight deck compared to the wooden decks of the American Yorktown and Essex-class carriers was noted. The Makinami met its fate during the Battle of Cape St. George, where she was engaged in a night battle by the destroyers of Arleigh Burke’s DesRon 23. She was crippled early in the fight by a torpedo and sunk by gunfire, most of her crew going down with her.

Both names are still in use, the current HMS Illustrious being an Invincible-class light aircraft carrier and the JDS Makinami being one of the newest destroyers in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. Somewhat ironically, the most capable units in the JMSDF are derivatives of the American Arleigh Burke-class of warships, making the current Makinami an escort to ships built to a design named after the captain who sunk its forebear.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Mari is manufactured by Kotobukiya in 1/6 scale, and like their Elwing and unlike their Psylocke, she’s a big figure, measuring around 23 centimeters tall. She’s straightforward to set up; her bangs are swappable for one with glasses, and she has a very nice base that she doesn’t actually attach to, but she’s stable enough anyway.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Tsukuru Shirahige has sculpted three other 1/6 scale figures of the Evangelion characters for Kotobukiya, and they all have a distinctive look to them. Rei has an enigmatic, dreamy expression, Asuka has a contented, peaceful smile, while Misato wears a look of anxiety. In contrast, Mari’s expression seems to be saying, “Hey man, check out my ass.” Her grin is sly and seductive and her backside is thrust out for examination and admiration. And it is most worthy of worship – it’s big and round and her plugsuit shows it off perfectly.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Mari seems to wear glasses most of the time, and while I don’t mind glasses on an anime girl, I don’t like how Mari’s look. Red just doesn’t go well with brown and pink, and the oval frames are a fashion relic that shouldn’t have been exhumed.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

The base resembles a petrified head of one of the Eva units, perhaps one of the mass production units. I’m not really a fan of the Eva mecha unit designs and never paid much attention to them, so doubtless someone will correct me if my guess is wrong. It’s highly detailed, looking very much like stone, and it doesn’t take up much space, making it the best sort of base.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

The sculpt looks great, due in no small part to the appealing pose. It’s fairly faithful to the source, as Mari’s body is long and lean. Her chin is also quite prominent and could turn off some people. The paint is good, although some of the black tracing over her legs is rather rough and uneven. The pink paint of her plugsuit doesn’t quite have the latex-like look that is sometimes used in artwork.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

I haven’t seen the movies yet and I don’t know anything about Mari’s personality or demeanor, but I do know that I like this figure a lot, and I have no problem admitting that the exquisiteness of her ass is the principal reason. Too many sculptors neglect to provide the proper curvature for this most important part of the figure, but like Kotobukiya’s Rei, it’s highlighted here and looks fantastic.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya has been providing teaser pictures of Asuka Langley Shikinami – what a dumb name change – all week, and that figure is looking great as well. I’ve been thinking of picking up Kotobukiya’s previous Asuka, but if this test plugsuit figure is of similar size as Mari, I think I’ll just get that one instead. I like the contrast between the two – with Mari being all blatant and inviting sexuality while Asuka looks innocent and nervous. Quite different from what I expect of Asuka, most of the time.

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Kotobukiya Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

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17 Responses to Mari Illustrious Makinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion

  1. Shashin says:

    Cool enough figure. Honestly, I hadn’t followed the Evangelion craze the last few years, and when I started seeing fan art and the like of Mari, I remember going to myself “Well, I certainly don’t remember her from the series.” Nor do I understand how Evangelion became as popular as it is, granted it has been about ten years since I’ve watched it myself, and I was much younger then. I just remember a piss poor ending that made me wonder why I even bothered watching it in the first place, and a lot of wtf moments during the rest of the series. Also the crappy five minute porn that spawned from it, I believe to the music of Closer.

    Also, I love the ass, and the epic ass tag even more. We need more ass!

  2. Aka says:

    My Mari is in the mail somewhere between Canada and Japan. Shipped by SAL, no tracking.

    I think I like Mari’s figure less than the other 3, I bought it for completion as I will the Shikinami figure. Though the Shikinami figure looks like it’ll highlight Asuka’s bum quite nicely with that low cut plugsuit. My favourite part of Mari is her base, I love it, it’s superior to Asuka’s and Rei’s which are similar and use their Eva designs.

    I wonder why they all have poses that don’t look very comfortable… But they all have nices bums. Though my favourite Eva character bum is Alter’s Rei.

  3. Chag says:

    Since fansubs will be released any day now, I won’t go and potentially spoil the movie for you. But I will say this: That stone bust is not of a mass-produced EVA unit,

    Damnnit Tier, no love for the glasses? B-but she’s the glasses character!!! What is a glasses character without her glasses?! Taking shots of a glasses figure without the glasses? You just don’t DO that! GF(@hefvfowdnf

    I think I’ll stop before I pop an aneurysm.

    I’m not a big fan of the chin, and I only like the pose from a side view. But I have to give Sadamoto props for those stripes on her thighs — they make an epic ass legendary. I’ve been curious about the 1/6 scale Max Factory Eva girls for a while, and the impending release of the second movie hopefully will paint a positive picture of Mari’s character in my mind. From what I hear, she’s somewhat of a confident badass, which sounds mighty swell to me!

  4. Tier says:

    >> Shashin
    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought; I also wondered why they gave her such fugly glasses.

    By the time I watched the show there were a lot of websites devoted to doing armchair psychology on the show, and I never quite got that, being that the core theme seemed to be something about kids getting pushed around by adults. That sort of thing happens in high school football teams all the time and nobody cares if you write a master’s thesis about it. I guess the show was also about mecha combat, though I thought that was pretty weak. C’mon, a power cord?

    We definitely does need more ass. Yamato’s Amanda Werner figure could have provided it, except Amiami hasn’t sent me a billing notice even though she dropped last week. I recall they combined that order with Senhime, and I wonder if they’re going to just ship them together. Looking at my preorder list, there’s not much more that qualifies … Compact Hog might, maybe, as might Shoujo M, but otherwise there is a noticeable and lamentable lack of upcoming figures with fine asses.

    >> Aka
    I missed out on their Rei figure, mainly because I’ve already got a bunch of Rei figures. In retrospect I wish that I had picked it up for completion purposes, and I kinda wish that I’d picked up Misato too, since there are almost no Misato figures out there (I’ve got one by E2046 preordered but it doesn’t really look a lot like Misato).

    Alter’s version definitely is nicely sculpted, too. That’s one of the things I like about the Eva girls, they usually all have nice butts when they’re in their plugsuits. Mari looks pretty comfortable to me though, as if she knows how good she looks in a plugsuit.

    >> Chag
    That must be something new then. I guess I ought to watch the movies one of these days. Maybe they’ll have addressed some of the things that I thought were implausible or hokey.

    Yep, no love! You are looking for love in all the wrong places. I don’t mind glasses, but I don’t like her glasses. I took a couple of shots with her with the glasses on and then removed them and tossed them back in the box.

    I think her mouth might be a little bit too high up or something; Asuka and Rei seem to have a similarly pointed chin but they look fine to me, whereas Mari’s chin really stands out. I’ve always liked those stripes, too; they have a way of directing your gaze right to the center of attention. I recall seeing MF’s Mari in some of the recent convention writeups, but I don’t remember if I saw a Rei or Asuka (I saw some Figmas but I don’t know if I saw 1/6 scale versions).

  5. GREW says:

    Nice figure!

    She haves something with that light setting.
    Good job you done here.

    Her back details aren’t bad either ;D

  6. Ashlotte says:

    That base is such a spoiler…ah well.

    Maybe because I watched Eva way back in the day not long after it aired on VHS Fansubs and I didn’t know anything about the hype (Lolwhutstheinternet?) is why it left such an impact on me…I thought it was just gonna be another great “Mecha Anime”, but then as the thing went along I steadily started saying “What the fuck is this?” Alot more each episode…But in a good way haha. And then the original non-movie ending…yea big impression.

    Ah as for the figure…Eh what can I say…I freaking hate this plug suit design. Beautiful shots though as always Tier, but…god pink…Ugh. Atleast if it was the green one ok, but…yea…

    I wanna see you shoot that upcoming Koto Asuka one…I’m sure if theirs anyone out their who could do that half-naked skin tight piece of fanservice they call a plugsuit justice its you! :p

  7. Aka says:

    The green one would have been neat to have. I don’t mind the pink, but I feel Koto’s pink is too faded? Max Factory’s Mari seems a better pink, much more saturated.

  8. Fabienne says:

    nice figure, until now I thought she was an 1/8 figure ;D
    but honestly Im more impressed by the backround you have used,I love purple and black together.
    how did you achieve the pitch black there ?

  9. I really don’t know what to make of Mari. Despite having some important roles in the movie, she wasn’t given much time to show any of her character. You’re basically told that she’s a pilot and there’s more to her than meets the eye.

    But she is indeed very popular with the figure makers, along with Asuka in her new plugsuit. Perhaps that is why there is considerably less Rei, since her design (plugsuit and all) remain pretty much the same. Give her a new plugsuit and I bet the figures will follow like a huge wave!!
    But this mari doesn’t look right. I’m just about siding with Tier on the glasses, but I remember that they are correct but the movie design never gave me that twinge of annoyance that this figure does!! Normally I do have a fondness for meganekkos.

  10. Tier says:

    >> GREW
    Thanks! They definitely got all the details of the tightness right.

    >> Ashlotte
    I’ll have to look out for that whenever I watch the movies.

    I really don’t like the green test plugsuit much. Actually, I don’t really like Asuka’s test plugsuit much either; I’m not really a big fan of the Japanese school swimsuit design, I like it when the leg holes are cut higher. I prefer the original plugsuits, which are some of my favorite costume designs. Kotobukiya’s Asuka sculpt looks way too nice to pass up, though. How should I shoot that … hmm … I have this idea with tentacles, hmm …

    >> Aka
    Yeah, I think a brighter, latex-like look would’ve been better. Not to mention hotter. I know it’s kinda wrong to stick ostensibly 14 year old girls in latex catsuits, but oh well … this is anime, it’s hard not to feel dirty at least some of the time if you watch anime.

    >> Fabienne
    I used a softbox (if you want to call it that … it’s just an open cardboard box with white cloth covering one side) placed to one side with a flash inside it (though I could’ve used a desk lamp like I did for a lot of these shots … I use a flash sometimes since it’s pretty small and I don’t have much space to shoot pictures). I propped up a big piece of paper next to the box to block the light from hitting the background, which kept it dark.

    >> gundamjehutykai
    Most curious … if I were the cynical type, I’d think it sounds like she’s meant to move merchandise!

    I was wondering why I hadn’t seen Rei in a test plugsuit. That’s also most curious, since she seems to be the show’s flagship character … maybe they’re saving her new threads for last. I hope they give her something a bit more imaginative and revealing than something based on a school swimsuit.

  11. Ashlotte says:

    Bah bathing suit…Reminds me more of the Muv-Luv suits then anything else with the torso being transparent and all. Biggest thing I like about it is the funky neon green screws on it for some reason.

    Speaking of asses I can’t wait to get Very nice butt and short tight dress…Best combo! :p

    Still sad about Yamato giving Shunya’s Asuka figure a flat butt…Bastards…Talk about wasted opportunities…

  12. Fabrice says:

    mari! ^^
    she looks very nice, but not very keeen on the pose tought, but overall ye its good =)
    its mari! so of course XD

  13. Tier says:

    >> Ashlotte
    Hmm, yeah, I can see that. Transparent piloting suits are definitely made of awesome. I see Alter is throwing down, it’s funny how Kotobukiya puts out a figure and then Alter announces their own just a few days later, like with that one of the Strike Witches characters. This time, though, I may be rolling with Kotobukiya if Alter’s is only 1/8 scale.

    Indeed! The minidress is fantastic … and that stance … man, I’m kinda regretting passing that one up now.

    Yeah, that’s a tragedy … I’m still gonna get that figure if/when it comes out in PVC form, but it could’ve gone from really nice to unforgettably epic had REFLECT paid proper tribute to the posterior.

    >> Fabrice
    Indeed! Curiously, I still know nothing about her, and from what gundamjehutykai says, I guess there’s not much to learn yet … you know, I don’t even know what her voice sounds like.

  14. BioToxic says:

    I enjoyed the original Evangelion, especially the ending. I also got to see Eva 1.11 & 2.0 when they premiered here in the UK back in Feburary. 1.11 was okay, I guess, as a remake. But 2.0 was absolutely amazing. Mari is introduced right at the start of 2.0.

    Although as much as I liked Evangelion I’ve failed to be won over by a figure from the series. I’m still hoping that one day I will find an Asuka figure that I can’t pass up on.

  15. Nice write up and pics! Not really a fan of this character, for some reason she looks really weird to me.

    I found this picture interesting though:

    To be honest, when glancing at it quickly, that EVA head looks like a penis. LMAO

    Don’t remember much about the series, I can only remember the EVA opening theme music. XD

  16. Tier says:

    >> BioToxic
    It’s a bit peculiar how the Eva girls are very popular and beloved (or loathed, I guess) and yet don’t really have many iconic figures. Off the top of my head, I can’t even think of a scale figure from a major manufacturer that features either of the Eva girls in their plugsuits while standing up (Wave’s 1/10 stuff doesn’t count).

    >> Visual Fanfare
    Haha, yeah, it does. Mari looks pretty comfortable with that, too.

    I remember that song, Cruel Angel’s Thesis or something like that, wasn’t it? It seems like a lot of anime themes are going with more of a pop-punk sound rather than the electronic sound from back then.

  17. Blowfish says:

    You know I actually learned something from this post.
    Didnt know that the Girls were named after Warships.
    Are their colours in any cas erelevant to the Warship deisgns?
    On a second thought a broght red warship would prolly be a bad Idea so forget I even asked that question.

    As a matter of fact I just watched Eva 2.22 yesterday and cant see why everyone was going nuts over it.
    And the new girl doesnt do anything for me…

    What can I say? I like butts so i like this figure?

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