Many of the figures I buy tend to fall into at least one of two categories – usually they are holding some kind of weapon or they are dressed in an overt sexual manner. Nadeko could technically fit into that second category but even so, she stands apart from many of the figures I own because I didn’t buy her for her sexy swimsuit. I’ve been looking forward to Nadeko for a while and though spring isn’t really the most appropriate season for her, I’m happy she’s here since this is another great figure.
Nadeko Sengoku comes from the well-received anime Bakemonogatari and is manufactured by Good Smile Company. Many manufacturers have unveiled prototypes of figures derived from that show, but curiously GSC seems to be the only major company with a Nadeko figure in its lineup. She’s 1/8 scale and stands around either 12 or 18.5 centimeters tall, depending on how you elect to display her.
I like many things about this figure, and we’ll start with her hat. It is big and baggy and partially covers her eyes, tremendously enhancing her cuteness. I also like her jacket and this is one of the few figures I own where I’m much more inclined to keep her fully dressed. The modeled movement of the empty sleeves gives the figure a breezy, whimsical feel which wonderfully complements her joyous expression. Should we wonder why her sleeves are wafting in the wind while the leaves are firmly locked in place? Of course not; why should we be so crass? Some things are better left to the imagination than science.
Speaking of her expression, Nadeko’s happy smile is also something that I like. She sports a simple expression of youthful delight, and the leaves she’s gathering on her dress reminds us to appreciate the beauty of nature and to not forget the simple pleasures of life. I’m always cheered up when I glance at Nadeko on my shelf; I think many of us can relate her happiness to our younger days, collecting leaves or rocks or seashells or insects and jumping in puddles and in sandboxes and playpens full of plastic balls. Of course, how silly would we look if we did that now? We are far too mature for that sort of thing.
Nadeko’s base is also quite eye-catching; it is composed of a pink plastic base vaguely shaped like a cartoon animal head with a couple of torii posts sprouting from it. The posts are shattered, ancient and overgrown, somber sentinels that stand in marked contrast to Nadeko’s youth. The leaves also present an interesting dichotomy; while the posts are fairly realistic with simulated wood grain and subtle shading, the leaves are shaped like starfish, individual portions jutting out like shuriken blades. The shading is bold, even cartoonish, providing a striking comparison to the weathered structures they sprout from. The only part I don’t like is the base’s pink color; I would have liked something that doesn’t stand out quite so much. A blue base, something that looks a bit more like water would have been my preference.
Of course, I don’t suppose I can not mention Nadeko’s swimsuit. I’m not a big fan of the archetypical Japanese school swimsuit but I think it looks great here, mainly because it doesn’t call too much attention to itself, at least from the front. The low cut of the suit stays relatively modest but exposes Nadeko’s spindly legs, thankfully left bare. From the rear and sides, it provides a tantalizing glimpse of Nadeko’s cute backside, giving the figure an element of eroticism.
Nadeko’s jacket and hat can be removed; you pop off her head to remove or replace the jacket and the hat just stays on by itself. She’s still cute but it’s not the way I prefer to display her. You do get a different effect from the figure, though, mainly because you can see her eyebrows. The upward slant of her brows gives her a nervous or embarrassed appearance rather than a joyous one, which isn’t the way I like her to look, so I like her with her hat better.
Her legs can also be removed and replaced with a couple of stumps meant to make it look like she’s thigh-deep in water. That’s also not my favorite way to display her, mainly because she then looks like she’s sinking into my shelf. It also looks strange when compared to the other figures on my shelf, all of which have whole legs. I’ll keep her with her legs and with her hat and jacket; she looks absolutely perfect that way.
Good Smile Company has received a bit of negativity recently with respect to a few of their figures but Nadeko looks fantastic. The sculpt is superb, from the stalks of her hair to her individually-defined toes, and the paintwork is gorgeous as well. But what I like the most is her cheerful, innocent look. Nadeko looks a bit odd amongst all the angry fighting girls and seductive anime temptresses that populate my shelves, and I suppose that’s the way it should be, because this is a special figure indeed.
Nadeko kicking it b-boy style with the hat turned to the side. Rockin’, it don’t stop it y’all, gonna turn this sucker out, if you’re feeling it let the rhythm get into your soul let it sing and shout.
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