Back in the day, it was all too common for US anime and video game companies to westernize Japanese titles to make them more commercially viable. Mazinger Z became Tranzor Z, Space Battleship Yamato became Star Blazers, and a whole bunch of titles were rolled into Robotech. My personal favorite title change is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, which translates to “The Eternity You Desire” but was localized as the much less poetic and much more hilarious “Rumbling Hearts.” The first time I saw the new title, I thought it referred to a wrestling anime. Thankfully, with anime becoming more acceptable, if not mainstream, title and content changes have become much less frequent. However, Del Rey Manga reminds us of history by bringing us Hosana Tanaka’s series Rappi Rangai as “Ninja Girls.” Seriously, that’s the best title they could think of? One of the “girls” isn’t even a girl so what the hell?
In Ninja Girls, we are first introduced to Kagari when she literally washes ashore at the feet of main protagonist Raizo. Being a considerate and well-meaning young man, Raizo takes her home and cares for her until she recovers consciousness, and of course she misunderstands his intentions and labels him a pervert. And of course it turns out that the destitute Raizo is actually the last living heir of the ancient and noble Katana family, which of course Kagari has pledged to serve. And of course Raizo’s harem quickly expands to three fawning kunoichi – and of course one of them is actually a transvestite dude. And of course they get into all sorts of wacky adventures while trying to restore Raizo’s heritage. It’s not as bad as it might sound but it’s in no way original, and it really could do without the trap.
Of the three ninja that comprise Raizo’s entourage, Kagari is the rambuctious, clumsy, physically powerful one. She powers up by being observed by Raizo while fighting, which I suppose is a somewhat unique plot device, though it’s not particularly interesting. She’s headstrong, willful, lacks common sense, but generally has good intentions. In other words, she’s Hakufu Sonsaku, and probably a hundred or more other characters like her.
Kagari is manufactured by Embrace-Japan, a company that I have never heard of. Their website indicates they have some sort of relationship with older companies Mile Stone and Cafe Reo, but I’m not sure what it is. She’s sculpted in 1/8 scale and is about 21 centimeters in height if you include her base and about 13 centimeters tall if you don’t. Speaking of her base, it appears to be some sort of waterspout or maybe a vortex of magical energy. Whatever it is, it’s necessary to display her, because her back is curved in such a way that she can’t stay upright on a flat surface. The base provides an indentation to keep her from falling over, but she doesn’t physically attach to it.
She’s wearing some very practical ninjawear, namely some tight booty shorts and a cleavage-baring bustier. Definitely the fashionable choice of the serious kunoichi. It’s sculpted well, and one of the nice touches is that the soles of her sandals have a thatched texture rather than just being completely flat.
A less nice touch is that her bustier appears to be glued together. The promo shots indicated that it could be removed, so this is an annoying discovery to make after buying the figure. Not being able to ogle her breastages doesn’t bother me a ton since I was going to let her keep her dignity but this is the first time I’ve ever seen an advertised castoff option require tearing apart the figure’s clothing, and hopefully it’s not something that I ever see again.
The paintwork is serviceable; I suppose I’d compare it to a lower-quality Orchid Seed figure, maybe. It does the job, and Embrace Japan has thankfully not gone for an overly glossy effect. Instead, most of her paint has a matte appearance, which doesn’t stand out that much but also doesn’t look bad.
Close up, Kagari is pretty rough, with a lot of scratches and scuffs, though admittedly some of that may have caused by her repeatedly toppling from her base. Those imperfections aren’t really noticeable during normal viewing, but neither are there many aspects of her that are going to get anyone excited.
One thing that I would have liked Embrace-Japan to have done differently would have been to make her eyes looking towards her right, as in the source illustration. As it is, she’s looking at her thigh rather than back at the viewer, which limits the figure’s impact. Admittedly, she’s got sexy thighs and I often look at them, too.
Overall, this is an alright figure, one that might appeal to fans of sexy ninja girls with a contemporary fashion sense. My fondness for this figure is more because I like Kagari’s character design rather than because of the figure’s quality; as far as it goes, it’s harder to justify shelling out full dollar for it since it’s not particularly notable for anything. Though then again, it’s already been in the bargain bin at Hobby Search and sold out with a few days, so I suppose I’m not the only person who likes a girl in tight shorts.
Here’s another thing I wish the industry had gotten past: not content with just changing the title, Del Rey decided that her shorts bared too much flesh so they covered up her buttocks. Lame. At least it doesn’t appear that they’ve censored the interior art.