One of the more lamentable trends in entertainment media during the last couple of decades is the phasing out of the action girl in the battle bikini. They used to be commonplace, particularly in video games, where examples include Golden Axe’s Tyris Flare, SNK’s Athena, the valkyrie in Gauntlet, Sheena in Contra Hard Corps, and a bunch of characters from the early Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games. Nowadays, not only are they not nearly as common, you often see a peculiar aversion to sexiness on the part of female characters. World of Warcraft hasn’t had adequate bikini armor for two expansions now, much to the lament of my four paladins. I hear that the people running Tomb Raider want to place less emphasis on Lara Croft’s appearance, which explains why Square Enix can’t make good games anymore. Sonia Belmont got torched from Castlevania continuity altogether. This trend may be due to an attempt to be more inclusive and more appealing to larger audiences, or a desire to create more realistic characters, or a perceived lack of maturity associated with creating scantily-clad warrior girls. Whatever the cause, it sucks. Fortunately, Kotobukiya and Leaf agree, so here we have Tamaki Kousaka, the first of many Tamaki figures scheduled to drop this year.
Tamaki Kousaka is the frontgirl for the popular visual novel To Heart 2 and its various spinoffs. She’s often shown in her usual pink and red school uniform, blue jeans, or her underwear, but she’s presented here in a very atypical manner, wielding a katana and wearing combat armor of sorts. She comes from the game Final Dragon Chronicle – Guilty Requiem, which was one of several games on the Leaf-made fan disc Manaka de Ikuno!! Leaf Amusement Soft Vol. 5. I’ve not played this game but looking around for more information, it seems to have a lot of similarities to the two Lightning Warrior Raidy ero RPGs – you play in first person view, you explore mazes with an overhead mini-map, you go around beating up monsters to level up, and I’m told that you can knock up some of the female enemies. JAST USA localized the Raidy games and I bought and enjoyed both, but I suppose there’s zero chance of this game ever getting an official translation.
Tamaki is manufactured by Kotobukiya in 1/8 scale and stands about 21 centimeters tall. Like several of Kotobukiya’s other figures, she comes already affixed to the base, which is an unremarkable white plastic disc. Tamaki’s sword and scabbard slide into her hands without difficulty. She also has a castoff option; her upper torso separates from her body just under her breasts so that you can remove her belts and hip armor. It seems to me that this armor is just going to impede her lateral movement, so in the interest of realism, I’m leaving it off of her.
She’s called samurai Tamaki, and I guess the sword and the shingled armor plating do look sort of Japanese. I’m not really sure the lace-up thigh boots and the bikini are emblematic of feudal Japan, though. Regardless, her outfit looks great. Her strappy top shows off lots of underboob and sideboob, and her panties are cut fashionably low with a tiny waistband that threatens to slide off. She’s got a cute hairpin and headband. Not the most practical battle gear, maybe, but Tamaki is so cute she doesn’t need to go into battle wearing more than her underwear and a winning smile.
I like her expression a lot; her friendly smile is a big contrast to my many fighter girl figures, most of which look really pissed off. I love badass action girls but Tamaki’s happiness makes her pleasant to admire.
Tamaki’s hair is splayed out behind her, adding some energy to her happy pose. Her left leg is bent forward to balance the backward movement of her hair; it’s a nice touch that also gives her backside a bit more emphasis.
Things aren’t quite as good when it comes to the technical aspects of the figure. The paintwork is rather rough, particularly on the white borders of her strappy top and her belts. Like Buddy, her panties aren’t all that detailed. In particular, the waistband doesn’t look that great both in terms of paint and sculpting. There isn’t any cameltoe on display here, which I guess is appropriate because she’s got this tiny metal plate covering her crotch. Tamaki isn’t very detailed but Kotobukiya went so far as to sculpt the rivets holding it to her bikini, which presumably shows where their priorities lay.
Her skin tone is a bit flat as there isn’t much shading there. Nor is there much on her clothing but oddly, there’s a lot of shading present on her hair. Too much, in fact – her bangs are a visibly darker red than the rest of her hair. On the plus side, her gloves and boots have an attractive shiny finish which looks pretty good.
Tamaki’s backside has good definition but lacks detail, which is unfortunate since her panties show so much of it. I suppose it’s not very easy to see since her hair gets in the way, but it would have been nice if her butt crack had gotten a little more love from the sculptor.
Her sword is reasonably detailed and is easily identifiable as a Japanese sword, which is what it’s supposed to do. However, the spine of the blade lacks the characteristic darkened wave pattern found on many Japanese swords. Hamon, I guess it’s called.
So Tamaki’s not the most well-executed figure ever made. That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, being that it’s a small-size Kotobukiya figure, but I really like Tamaki anyway. That shouldn’t come as a surprise either, as I have a big thing for warrior girls in battle bikinis and Tamaki is definitely a great example of such. With her tiny panties, lots of cleavage, a big sword and a happy smile, I’m happy to overlook her technical faults to focus on her most noticeable charms, which are charming indeed.
Here’s Tamaki’s source artwork.
And here’s why Kotobukiya should do a Sasara figure next.
Here’s two Leaf heroines in their war-panties.