The child-soldiers of Neon Genesis Evangelion comprise some of the most recognizable characters in anime, and figure makers show no signs of jumping off of the Rei and Asuka gravy train. Thus, here’s another figure of Rei. Plugsuit, wreckage, blank stare, blue afro, you’ve seen it all before. Actually, wait – you probably haven’t ever seen this figure. Imagine that.
This rendition of Rei is adapted from a resin kit sold by Volks all the way back in September 2006. Volks often sells some number of prepainted and preassembled versions of their figure kits, and this figure of Rei is one of them. Nominally listed as 1/6 scale, she is yet more evidence that nobody at Volks knows how to use a calculator; measuring 13.5 centimeters tall, her size is much closer to 1/8 scale. She’s attached to her base, so she’s ready for display right out of the box.
Rei has all the hallmarks of a typical Rei figure: placid demeanor, tight plugsuit, and an odd pose. Like most Rei figures, she’s on her ass, showing that the reluctance of figure manufacturers to make a figure of a standing, plugsuit-clad Rei goes back many years. Like many Evangelion figures, she’s sitting on a big slab of concrete, with her left hand stroking a twisted bit of cylindrical pipe.
And while this figure represents nothing new – or rather, while the Rei figures manufactured since this one do not deviate from its basic precepts – I rather like how she looks. A lot of figure makers remain faithful to Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s original character designs, and while I do like those designs, I also like seeing different artists put their own spins on well-known characters. The darker hair, the splayed-out ends of her bob cut, and the heavy outlining along her eyes give her a slightly haunted look, distinguishing this Rei a bit from all the other plugsuit Rei figures out there. Not a whole lot, but a bit. Her large eyes make her look slightly younger than she usually does, which is a nice change since I’ve always found it difficult to believe she’s fourteen years old.
The blank expression is rather typical for Rei, though. She’s just sort of looking off into space, one hand curiously curled above her head. It’s an interesting pose – in the sense that it stops Rei from looking absolutely boring – but one must wonder what she is doing.
Rei’s plugsuit is also nothing new. Me, though, I never get tired of seeing Rei’s plugsuit; it’s an iconic costume and I really hope that they never give her a new one. Unless, say, the chest and ass parts are cut out. Or somesuch.
The figure appears to be constructed from polystone rather than PVC or model resin, and I assume that it is hand-painted. Like a number of other Volks figures that I own, the painting is quite rough, particularly around her eyes. It’s not too noticeable unless you get up close, but it’s a reminder of how different a hand-painted figure and a mass-manufactured PVC figure can look.
People seem to love placing the Evangelion characters among rubble. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen the television show but I don’t remember Rei or Asuka sitting on wreckage all that much. Maybe I ought to watch the movies to refresh my memory.
While this figure of Rei may not be particularly well known, it’s also not particularly original. Nonetheless, I like it, partially because it’s old and fairly rare and thus appeals to me as a collector and also because I like Rei’s character design. For a character as iconic as Rei, she has received surprisingly few iconic figures; at the time of this writing, her Shunya Yamashita-derived Yamato figure is actually the most-viewed Rei figure on Tsuki-board.
Figure makers have some inexplicable and peculiar aversion to sculpting Rei while she’s standing up in her plugsuit. Virtually all of the plugsuit Rei figures that come to mind have her sitting down or sprawled on the ground. Doubtless this is done to emphasize her aura of vulnerability, but I’d like to see a figure of her standing up. Banpresto’s doing one, but they don’t count since their Ichiban Kuji line isn’t mass-market, and Wave has done one but they don’t count because 1/10 scale is weak. There’s a few other oddball ones, but nothing really mass-market. I’d like to see Max Factory do one in 1/6 scale.
Rei is cute and she wasn’t too expensive – I got her for quite a bit less than the price listed on her box – so I’m happy with her. Volks also released an Asuka counterpart which I’m more interested in, but I’ve only seen it for sale a couple of times. She also looks different from the many Asuka figures available. You can’t ever have too many figures of the Evangelion girls. Hopefully figure makers exercise a bit more imagination in how they sculpt them. Or at least make one of Rei standing up.