The love that some people have for certain anime character traits can be a funny thing. There are entire communities dedicated to some particular aspect, like flat chests, or glasses, or the tsundere archetype, or tentacle violation. Equally funny is the fervor with which some people will champion their chosen fetishes. There are some people who will lash out with unbridled hostility if you dare attack their favorite things. I’m definitely among their number – insult my doll collection and I will hate you forever.
Nonetheless, I will go ahead and simply say it – I really don’t like animal ears on anime characters. They bug the hell out of me. No, I don’t know why I feel that way – one may as well ask why my favorite food is my favorite or why I hate certain sports teams or musical groups or waking up early or why I go absolutely ballistic if somebody driving slower than me passes in front of my car. It’s just the way things are.
Charlotte Yeager is the latest figure by Alter from the mecha girl-cum-pantyshot anime Strike Witches. Sculpted in 1/8 scale, she stands about 24.5 centimeters from her base to the tip of her tallest bunny ear. Her base is a standard transparent plastic disc with some biographic information, and she attaches to it via a short metal standoff that plugs into a hole in her left leg. An instruction sheet provides some helpful guidance in getting her rifle into her hand.
Like her fellow 501st Joint Fighter Wing witches, Charlotte pays tribute to a real-life Second World War pilot, in this case Chuck Yeager. While a highly-decorated combat pilot in his own right, General Yeager is best known for his postwar work as a test pilot, in which he became the first person to break the sound barrier. He also appears to be the only pilot to still be alive among all of the flight officers the Strike Witches characters are based off of. One wonders if he knows about this anime.
When Gonzo debuted the publicity materials for Strike Witches, I had conflicted feelings about it. On one hand, I thought the premise seemed pretty cool, particularly since I’m a Second World War history buff and the lack of pants was very cute. On the other hand, I really did not like the anime ears and I also felt the striker units looked stiff and silly, reminiscent of full-leg plaster casts. I also didn’t care much for how they threw almost every conceivable fetish against the wall hoping that the concept would stick, though to their credit they didn’t include headphones or musical instruments in any of the character designs. Watching part of the anime, I feel like I’d like the show better had they handled things differently.
While I’m not a fan of the ears, I’m certainly a fan of anime action girls and girls with weapons. I also like that Charlotte is the American girl in the Strike Witches cast – which, being that I am a happy resident of the United States, is a major reason why I got her.
That wasn’t the only reason, though. In keeping with the conventional depiction of American girls in anime, Charlotte is one of the more buxom characters in the 501st. She wears an attractive military khaki blazer and shirt with an olive drab tie. I find her outfit appealing since I like both anime girls in military uniforms and anime girls wearing neckties. Oh, and I like anime girls who do not wear pants, but that sort of goes without saying.
Charlotte’s striker unit is based off of a P-51D Mustang and is emblazoned with the logo “Glamorous Shirley,” which presumably pays homage to the real Yeager’s aircraft “Glamorous Glennis.” The striker unit is rendered very well, sporting an attractive bare metal finish based on the schemes used by many US Army Air Force Mustangs. Black and white stripes adorn the front of the unit and the little wings, similar to the D-Day recognition stripes painted on Allied aircraft. The side features the Liberion roundel. Overall, the sculpting is excellent and the paint application is nearly as good; there is some roughness and misalignment in the striping, but it’s not easy to notice.
Some extra prop blades are included if one desires to display the striker unit at idle. The instruction sheet also shows how to replace them.
Charlotte’s weapon is the famous M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. The BAR is a World War I-era rifle often used as a light machine gun, and it remained in frontline service for nearly half a century. The BAR can also be seen in the film Saving Private Ryan, where it is carried by PFC Reiben.
Her rifle is sculpted and painted very well, with a weathered finish and heavy shading that give it a realistic and well-used appearance. The wood forestock is a bit less convincing – it looks much more like plastic than wood – but that’s hardly a noticeable fault.
If you watch the anime – or any anime these days, really – you just sort of get used to views like this.
The stiffness of the striker unit more or less dictates the sort of poses that can be used, and most Strike Witches figures depict the characters with their legs spread and ass out. Charlotte is no exception, and while her pose is sort of cool, I can’t help but think it also looks a bit awkward, with her legs defining a nearly perfect triangle. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m assessing the attractiveness of a female body – fictional or otherwise – I don’t want to be thinking of geometry equations.
While I like Charlotte a lot, I’m definitely feeling the temptation to Dremel off her ears and take my chances with putty and paint. I doubt I’ll do that, since it’s easier to just overlook them and concentrate on the parts of the figure that I like. That’s how I’m viewing the anime as well, though I’ve characteristically misplaced the first DVD somewhere. Charlotte is a very nice figure and despite my distaste for the animal ears, she may not be the last Strike Witches figure in my collection; Alter’s Barkhorn looks quite nice and I like Gertrude a lot. There’s an exception for everything, it seems.
Liberion girl, you came and you changed my world …
The background here comes from a photo taken by Abby Lanes which is distributed according to a CC BY 2.0 license. I printed it out because I liked it so much and used it as a backdrop, since Charlotte looks like she is flying through the skies.
Shirley! As a representative of the USA, she’s one of my favorite Strike Witches. They should have devoted a few more episodes to her trolling Barkhorn.
I’m not really big on the kemonomimi stuff, though I guess it’s not especially bizarre in the Strike Witches universe. With the exception of Holo from Spice and Wolf, I’m pretty apathetic towards animal girls. But I admire Strike Witches for its inclusive philosophy. Animal ears? Throw them in! World War II? Throw it in! Nazi fetish? Sure why not. Mecha musume? Hell yeah! That is a winning formula if you ask me.
I haven’t yet seen Charlotte interact much with Gertrud (I need to find that missing DVD and then watch the second season) but that sort of dynamic is something I like, the devil-may-care type getting berated by the martinet. I hugely dislike stringent discipline and rule enforcement, and yet many of the characters I like take that approach, like Gertrude or Eddard in A Game of Thrones and quite a few video game characters.
The thing for me is that one fetish I don’t like tends to spoil the rest. It’s kinda like chili; I like making chili and I’m not averse to throwing in different things. Beans, I like them. Tomatoes, I like them. Chocolate, never tried it but I’ve heard it works well so I’ll probably try it someday. Throw in something like kimchi, though, and I’d hate it, even if I liked everything else that I put in it. Though if they ever make a version of Strike Witches with thongs and fundoshi, that may be enough to override anything I might not like.
God damn, what an magnificent ass. I can’t believe Alter didn’t include a full-frontal closeup of her ass in the promo shots — that alone would’ve raked in sales! I agree that the Striker units really limit the poses on the SW girls, but as a result of the spreadeagle poses, almost all of them have really nice ass shots. I think Charlotte takes the cake for having the best ass so far, but I’m looking forward to Gertrude’s as well — modesty does not seem to be on her mind in that figure, which is fantastic.
I don’t hold a vendetta against animal ears, but I often dislike how they’re used. Oftentimes they seem to be thrown in just as a cheap way to cram more fetishes in a character. The animal ears in Strike Witches literally has zero relevance to the plot (or anything else in the show, for that matter), and they are jarring as hell to look at. At least bunny ears have some nice sexual innuendo going for them, which suits a healthy girl like Charlotte decently well. Gertrude’s floppy dog ears on the other hand…well, let’s just say that I would not at all mind if you decided to chop those off.
Anyways, great shots as usual! I’m really liking the use of all that hard light. The warm sunset colours are a real winner too. =)
I’m really interested in seeing the painted version of Gertrude. I don’t know enough about the cast to say that she’s my favorite, but I really like her from what I’ve seen. Plus a girl dual-wielding machine guns is really cool.
Yeah, I think that was my thing against it; they’re just there for the sake of being there. I remember seeing the previews for the show and I was just like, ” … Why??” Admittedly, I did not have that reaction at all about the panties, but I’m sure there are quite a few people out there who cannot understood or forgive the lack of pants.
Exceptional photography! Love the background and lighting. As always, I enjoyed reading the review. Thanks!
Thanks for the kind words XD
You know I’m a kemonomimi fan, but as I’ve told you, I’m not really fond of the striker units of this set of figures. I do like the characters, and found the anime okay (not exceptional but an enjoyable watch all the same) but I haven’t bought any of these Alter figures due to the strikers being bulky and the poses strange, as you point out. Still, nobody can deny these are gorgeous figures, and I will probably end up getting one or two eventually, but I already missed out on the character I liked most (Sanya) though as Alter has just announced four new girls, and a few others pending release… still plenty of opportunity for me to burn money. ^^;
Beautiful shots, as always. I like the cloudy sky backdrop you’ve used, suitable for her flying pose. Are they just stock photos, or ones you took yourself, or what? Not a whole lot of staging you can do with a figure in this flying pose, I guess, so a sky is about it… but you pulled it off about as best as is possible for her, I dare say.
Also, don’t you dare dremel off her ears. ;.; They may irk you but they make the character who she is. It’s sacrilege to defile the ears. Plus it’d destroy her resale value… if collectable value concerns you at all. Which I suspect it may not if you even give a split second to such thoughts. >.>
I was looking through some pictures of the older Strike Witches figures and I really like Kotobukiya’s Sanya, though people say the face isn’t very accurate. I haven’t seen enough of the anime to agree or disagree, but I definitely like the pose … though I’ll admit it may be too suggestive even for me. I’m kinda surprised that Alter hasn’t done a Lucchini figure yet, and I’m not sure if Kotobukiya has either; I kinda thought she’d be among the earliest, as she seems to be a fan favorite.
It’s not really a stock photo per se, though it’s a photo I found on Flickr that was distributed through a Creative Commons license (and now that I think about it, I forgot to give the appropriate credit, so I’d better edit that information in). It’s the same print that I used as Nymph’s backdrop, lit sort of in the same way (which is to say, in a very haphazard manner). All the pictures use the same backdrop though I tried to vary the angle and lighting to make it look a bit different.
Haha, yeah, I doubt I will, since as you say, she wouldn’t be Shirley anymore. Not to mention she’d still have the tail and I don’t think there’s anything I can do there. Value does indeed concern me quite a bit, as well as keeping stuff intact. I’ve damaged quite a few figures (in fact, I sheared off almost the entire hair of one of my favorite figures just the other week) and I suffer an incredible amount of heartache each time it happens. I know it’s silly to put that much emotional investment in chunks of sculpted plastic but I do.
Too suggestive for you? I should look in to this Sanya you speak of to see what it takes.
Lucchini is one of the new four announced yesterday at Wonfes, so she’ll be coming in the next few months… I may end up getting her, as she was my second favourite after Sanya. Depends how she looks, really.
It’s a bummer to break figures… a risk of handling them for complex shoots, I suppose. I’ve never broken any of mine, though Lineage 2 Dwarf came with a broken twintail. Fortunately it was a trivial fix with some PVC modelling glue I dug out of my old miniature box. Close inspection may reveal seams but in general observation it isn’t noticeable, which is what matters.
Lighting colour/angles certainly do make a difference to the backdrop, and are definitely a large factor in why your photos are so good. I still struggle greatly with it, though I’ve yet to try any sort of picture backdrops (my monitor didn’t work well when I tried that).
I’ve seen people take some nice pictures with monitor backdrops and I’ve seen some really, really bad ones (they probably outnumber the nice ones by an enormous margin). I’ve never really tried it myself, though it’s tempting since it’d be a really easy way to set things up. I’m not sure how to get the light looking realistic – or for that matter, how to not get nasty reflections bouncing off the LCD glass. I’ve kinda got an idea for doing a relatively simple shoot and doing a shot breakdown of that, since I think that may be more helpful to people than the shoots I’ve talked about, in which I’ve used some fancy stuff that not a lot of people have.
Yeah, reflections are certainly an issue for people with glossy monitors. I have a matte one and it’s still kinda bad.
The two attempts I did, though was with P&S and I struggled with positioning, with my SLR and large tripod I have now I could surely do better… though the banding and such evident on the monitor is an issue unless I used a super fast shutterspeed, which means I need a ton of light, which may cause reflection issues… so, a breakdown may be good. =p
I hope you have a large monitor. I have a 24″ and still found it hard to position the figure well to cut out borders. But a good focal length and all will help with that, I should really try it again with my SLR…
Yeah, that first image shows how obvious it can be that the backdrop is a monitor display. The second picture masks it better, though as you point out, I would guess that getting balanced light levels from the monitor and your main light is probably a real pain. I’d probably just use a flash, since that’d let me expose for the ambient (the LCD) by selecting shutter speed while the flash power would be set independently. Of course, then I’d probably run into glare issues and I’m not sure how to get around that without spending a ton of time in Photoshop, and while I take post-processing very seriously, I really do not like messing around with layer masks and cloning and the healing brush.
Hi Tier~ Is the background a poster? I just wonder if the poster can provide as many details as the real sky do when you change the shutter time.
Yeah, it’s a 20×30 print that I got from AdoramaPix. It works great, though I don’t think it’s as convincing or realistic as the real sky would be. There was no way I was taking Charlotte outside, though.
A simple question would be, why if she has bunny ears does she need human ears as well?
But I agree with you wholeheartedly, the bunny ears do look great! 😛
That’s one of the things I wonder about. Here’s a funny thing; I don’t actually have a huge problem with anthropomorphic characters, like the Thundercats or the dude in Altered Beast or the various furries in the Shining Force games. It’s really only when you take an otherwise-human girl and slap some ears on top of her head and a tail to her ass that I don’t like it.
Nice review of Charlotte, mine is only halfway done so far XD
Im someone who like a few animal ears in anime, but only cat ears can really win my heart in some cases. I bought Charlotte because of her buxom appearance most of the other girls were not so attractive for me. I also like her cool flying pose and the striker unit with its metallic finish. Her uniform suits her very well, the olive color reminds me of the time where I’ve built military models, ahh the smell of paint and thinner ;D
Charlotte is a bit shaky on her base with the thin metal rod, isn’t she?
I think the figure would look very pretty with a military hat instead of ears, but I don’t really mind the bunny ears.
In the anime I found it funny that the characters somehow were related to real pilots of this Era, even though it was completely unnecessary for the simple story of Strike Witches ;p
Really nice pictures and a cool light setting, like always. The clear blue sky(poster) with a few clouds looks just beautiful and it is very fitting for Charlotte.
I sorta had the same feeling, her aircraft parts reminded me of some of the model airplanes I tried to build as a kid. I was really, really terrible at it, though; I always got cement everywhere, my paint was awful, and I never even tried putting on the decals because it was too much trouble. It was a lot of fun though.
Yeah, she does wobble a bit, floating up in the air like that. I’m really glad they used a metal pole; it’s been pretty hot here and some of my figures are suffering some major leaning problems now.
Wow, Charlotte looks really nicely sculpted, love the paints they used too. To be honest I haven’t seen Strike Witches but I like some of the character designs… except for the animal parts. With Charlotte, the bright bunny ears clashes horribly with her other drab colors and the vintage looks her uniform and Mustang parts create. If they were the same color as her hair, it wouldn’t look as bad but… yeah.
I had never noticed that the V-look with the ass sticking out as the standard Strike Witch pose. I’m looking at a Strike Witch figma I own, Yoshika, and she comes with some leg parts specifically to make that pose.
Love the pictures, especially like the ones where you used the gold gels. Sometimes the background clouds and the figure have different lighting directions but then I suppose it’d be a boring shoot with the same lighting. Had to laugh at the one with the lens flare, her crotch is exploding!
Yeah, that’s one of my big beefs with them, they look really out of place. Well, so do the underpants but with all the pantyshots and fanservice in anime these days, I think they are less jarring than the ears and tails. Though I tend to avoid stuff that features catgirls and such so it’s probably just me.
Yeah, there wasn’t any way around that, since I did not make a print with the image flipped (and I’m way too lazy to swap out backdrops every time I swing the light to the opposite side, anyway). Plus, I can plausibly claim that there’s a big giant flying Neuroi just out of frame on the right that is shading that side. I am all about creative rationalization.
I love using a star filter; it’s sort of a hokey effect, made all the less appealing by the really terrible Photoshop filter, but I love using it anyway. I probably ought to get a bigger one since the size I’ve got only fits my 100mm lens.
I must admit I thought the same as you when first hearing about Strike Witches. It wasn’t until I finally watched it on DVD (I mean the DVD case says “Winning the War on Pants”, surely that’s worth watching, sounds like part of a slogan for washing-up powder or something) that its appeal became obvious. I’m really not phased in the slightest by animal ears on the characters, heck most of the time I don’t even notice it. I will admit Barkhorn and Hartmann probably had the most visually jarring ears though.
I quite liked Charlotte in the anime series. She wasn’t a favourite but she was still enjoyable to watch, plus she goes flying purely in her underwear in one of the episodes, that’s always a good trait :P. Alter have done a great job of capturing her character and the action within Strike Witches. She looks as though she’s about to dive bomb or quickly dodging an incoming attack, and the shift in momentum has been captured well.
Shirleys Striker unit looks good with the metallic painting. The switch between metal to skin is sharp and gives that stark contrast between man/machine. Being able to switch out the propellers is a nice little touch, although doesn’t drastically alter her look.
I’ve always wondered, you have two plane engines strapped to your legs, how the fuck do you stop them breaking your legs apart, especially at the angle Shirley has them at. Oh wait, animal ears, never mind.
I’d like a Sanya figure personally, although the ones out there at the moment aren’t too appealing. Alters’ Eila shown in HobbyJapan this month could be quite nice though.
I wish I knew where I put that DVD, I kinda want to finish watching the show now. At the least I should watch the introductory episodes.
The plane engines on the legs does look rather odd to me; I prefer the mecha musume look where the bulkiest mechanical parts are strapped to the back, as in the Busou Shinki characters. Something about the striker units looks a bit unbalanced.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Barkhorn looks like painted; she’s seems to do a good job with the characteristic provocative posing.
Dunno if you’re interested in streaming Strike Witches but FUNimation have seasons 1 & 2 on their youtube channel. I’d also assume they have them on their own video portal (they had Strike Witches 1 on there before they region locked the site) too. Sadly us UK peeps cannot watch them.
Ah, sweet, that works out quite nicely indeed; I’ll watch the episodes that are on the first disc online and then I can finish up watching the second DVD. Thanks for the heads up.
Is there a comment limit? I couldn’t reply on the previous thread. Or rather, it didn’t show up. I first tried to reply to a reply to a reply to a reply lol, but it didn’t work, so I tried to just leave a reply not so nested, but same thing. I then tried to normal reply, but it also didn’t show up.
Hopefully I didn’t triple post >_>
There is no comment limit but there is a spam filter in place, since I get something like 30 spam comments a day (which isn’t even a lot, compared to some other figure review sites). It seems to flag comments with bare URLs frequently, particularly when they are placed in their own sentence, since most of the spam comments I get are formatted that way. I’ll unflag the first comment you typed (I see all three comments but I’m assuming the second and third ones aren’t important).
Yeah, I get hit by the moderation approval message fairly frequently, and it’s usually when I’ve posted a link to something.
Pingback: Strike Witches – Charlotte E. Yeager by Alter
Just as a general comment, if you haven’t seen information about it by now; the ears actually ARE important to the Strike Witches girls, though the reason isn’t really explained or emphasised anywhere except the Firstspear non-H doujins and the offical manga that have been released.
Witches being witches, they have familiars, and the ears of each girl are a representation of their familiar. Shirley’s familiar is an Liberion (American) Jack-rabbit, Barkhorn’s is the Karlsland (German) Wire-haired pointer, and Sanya’s is a cat. Apparently the familars (in the Strike Witches at least,) are neccessary for a witch to get the fullest potential out of her magic.
Of the standard characters, I’m partial to Lynette, (Scottish-Fold cat,) but my favorite from the entire series is Heidemarie W. Schnaufer. (Gyrfalcon.) http://strikewitches.wikia.com/wiki/Heidemarie_W._Schnaufer
As far as comments about you site go; I don’t visit that often, but it’s treat whenever I do. You pose your figure well, and you have PLENTY of great shots to go along with your comments. Keep up the good work, and I hope you and your site are around for a long time to come.
(BTW: What service do you use so an avvy will come up when someone posts comments?)
Thanks for the information and the kind words. I think the avatar service is called Gravatar; it’s been a long time since I set up my account there but as I recall, it’s fairly straightforward and works across almost every blog, or at least every blog I’ve ever posted a comment on.
Reading the comment directly above about this site getting 30 spam e-mails per day is kinda funny; I’m getting about 175 per day now.
I just got my Shirley and she is awesome. Her colors (hair) seem a little more muted than I was expecting, but I chalk that up to your pictures and lighting. She definitely is really nice and really well done. Unfortunately I now have to have all of the witches I like (~9 more) so she has some air mates.
I think I was definitely playing with the color saturation levels here to get the sky looking somewhat realistic. It’s funny that I was recently thinking that I should’ve gotten Barkhorn, since as I understand it, she and Charlotte have some interaction in the show and from what little I’ve seen of the show, I think I like Barkhorn the best. I passed on her but I figured she’d get a re-release, since all the Strike Witches figures that Alter makes get re-releases, and sure enough, she’s up for sale again.
I saw that and preordered Barkhorn a few minutes ago. I don’t have her (or Yoshika) on my list of witches I want, but I figured for the price it was worth it to get her. The only reason she wasn’t on my list in the first place is because of the stupid floppy dog ears.
As for Yoshika, I just plain don’t like her.
Yeah, the animal ears and tails are the reasons I don’t have more of the Strike Witches girl. The French girl is cute but I don’t know if I’m going to get it, and I recall that the Volks version looked better, anyway.
Aww, poor Yoshika. I didn’t see enough of the anime to form an impression of her, but I have the sense she’s the average every-girl sort of protagonist who just happens to have the most potential power amongst the cast.
You made of me a happy man today!
I’ve just dicovered your blog about twenty minutes ago, and I trully would like to thank you for posting such good qualtity pictures!
Your opinion, for of what I read, is very interesting and critic. I won’t miss to read any of your figure review, and eventualy, comment them.
You can’t imagine how good it is to see that other people have the same interest as me (I’m certainly only person in switzerland who like such a “strange” thing (they say) as figure which sadden me a lot…)) Being unnable to talk of my passion became really hard for me…
Buying figure as become one of my favourite hobby, with playing to good old video games, but it is certainly my most expensive one XP… However it is always a huge pleasure to spend too much money in pretty PVC figure 😉
So… Starting today, there is a great probability for me to come here as often as I can!
Being a huge fan of alter (hum…from their old products at least, considering the last entries…) I currently own three of their of alter’s strike witches figure (including Shirley, which was the first one I bought, but also the character thanks to the wich I discovered “strike witches”).
I am always amazed to see the highly prohibitive price that reach sanya’s figure on ebay… I should sell mine 😛
There is not much to expect of Yoshika… As you say, she is indeed the “average every-girl sort of protagonist who just happens to have the most potential power amongst the cast”… I would add to that the obsessive need she has to feel obligated to help everyone. in need.. Nothing much else to wait from her…
Did you ever watch Shumida fumikane’s work? He is apparently the main creator of strike witches, and since he is a mechamusume/army/kemonomimi and really obvious panties addict, he seems to draw all of these everywhere… Even when it seems out of place.
PS: I appologize for any grammar/vocabulary mistake there could be in this post or in any of the one that will be written in the future.
Thanks for stopping by! You might also want to visit MFC, which I think is the largest English-language (though it was started by a European – a Frenchperson, I think – and now is published in many other languages) figure collecting website. There are a lot of collectors there from all over the world who post comments there.
I was also pretty surprised at the high resale value of Alter’s Strike Witches figures. I was looking around at prices for Gertrude and she was selling for about 50% more than her original retail price. I figured that I would wait and see if she would get re-released and sure enough, she did. Sanya’s price, though, is very surprising, as you say.
Yeah, Yoshika struck me as a fairly typical, average sort of character. I have the sense that she’s the sort of character that a lot of people like, but that she might not be the favorite character for many Strike Witches fans. I haven’t seen much of Strike Witches still, but I liked Gertrude best – I like that sort of stern, lawful sort of character (which is strange since in real life, I am not particularly disciplined or rule-abiding).
I haven’t seen a lot of his work, though I did watch a little bit of Sky Girls, which I guess was the predecessor of Strike Witches. I liked it, though I don’t really remember much of it (and again, my favorite character was Eika, the no-nonsense officer). He does seem to very much like the mecha-musume style; I looked him up and found that he’s also working on the Busou Shinki anime that is airing now.
No need to apologize at all; I am always amazed at how well people speak and write English despite it not being their first language. Being that I’ve forgotten all the Spanish that I learned in school, I always have a lot of respect and admiration for people who are bilingual.