If there are any certainties in the anime figure industry, it’s that manufacturers will continue chucking out Tamaki Kousakas and Kanu Unchous with great zeal and aplomb, no matter how many pairs of eyes may roll at seeing them in the Amiami preorder list. The weariness that many collectors take no pains to conceal when it comes to Kanu – and the redheaded lady from To Heart – is understandable, but it’s not a sentiment that I share. My very first scale-size figure was one of Kanu Unchou, and I’m still fond of it, even though it’s a terrible figure by current standards (and probably prior standards, as well). And though there are a truckload of Kanus to choose from, we haven’t looked at one here since Alter’s figure. The one we’ll look at today comes from Daiki Kougyou, a company that isn’t shy at all about making Kanu figures.
Just to refresh memories, in case anyone has forgotten, Kanu Unchou is one of the characters from the manga and anime series Ikki Tousen. First introduced as a supporting character, she’s become so popular that she’s now arguably the franchise’s leading lady. In the series, she is one of the most skilled combatants from Seito Academy, a nearly-peerless warrior who is absolutely devoted to school leader Ryubi Gentoku.
The various anime series play up the relationship between Kanu and Ryubi for comedic effect, frequently making fun of Kanu’s stoicism. I preferred the tone of the manga, even though Tokyopop mangled the translation (going as far as to change its title to “Battle Vixens”). The manga was less slapstick, more bloody, and more dramatic. Unfortunately, Tokyopop’s demise means that I haven’t followed the manga since volume 15 was published a couple of years ago, though I’m sure there are newer translated scans somewhere out there. Some might express satisfaction that Tokyopop is no longer handling Ikki Tousen, and though I usually prefer that a story’s integrity not be compromised to cater to Western sensibilities, I didn’t really mind the liberties they took with localization, given that Ikki Tousen is basically a gratuitous display of sex and violence. In addition, being that Ikki Tousen is a highly distorted adaptation of an historic Chinese epic, it seems sanctimonious to complain that its Western translation was itself distorted.
Anyway, this version of Kanu Unchou is labeled as coming from Xtreme Xecutor, the most recent Ikki Tousen anime series. She’s sculpted in 1/6 scale and measures about 25.5 centimeters in height at the top of her head; with her polearm accounted for, she’s well over a foot in height, overall. She doesn’t come with any accessories but her weapon, which was a colossal pain to get in her hand. I was afraid of breaking off her fingers or snapping its shaft, and I wondered if perhaps her fingers detached or if there was some trick to sliding it into her grasp. In the end I found that just shoving it into her left hand (with more force than I felt comfortable applying) is the best way to get it in. She also has a plain black plastic base with no markings or logos.
This figure is sculpted by Shunji Hagii, a sculptor who previously did a number of notable figures for Max Factory before Daiki Kougyou began manufacturing many of his works. I don’t specifically seek out his sculpts but I’ve accumulated a number of his figures, including Masane Amaha, his Shunya Yamashita-inspired Ryomou, Leina, transvestite Yoko, Tamaki, Sasara Kusugawa, Kureha, and Tsuneko. He also sculpted Daiki Kougyou’s miko Kanu Unchou, which is not just my favorite Kanu but is also one of my favorite figures in my collection. It looks like his upcoming stuff is being manufactured by FREEing, which is a curious change; we’ll see how that works out.
There have been many Kanus and some have depicted her in unique outfits – the aforementioned miko dress, Chinese bikini armor, a maid uniform, a bondage outfit, and so on. Most, however, put her in an undersized school uniform, and this one is no exception. All the hallmarks of Kanu’s design are present: the hair swept over one eye, the exposed midriff, the baggy socks, and the prodigious underboob. One curious aspect, though, is that over time as Kanu has become more popular, she seems to have become lighter skinned; she was fairly dark-skinned when she showed up in the manga but here she has quite a pale complexion. I’ll refrain from speculating on the causes of that peculiar development.
This figure presents Kanu in a statuesque pose, her right leg raised with her weapon – the Seiryutou – held in a dramatic position. Kanu’s design has sometimes been modified by various sculptors, and while this one is a little less meaty than some of her other figures (including one from the very same sculptor), she’s still quite curvy and full-figured.
Her expression is serious, showing full determination and no fear. I prefer this interpretation of Kanu, rather than the lovestruck, tongue-tied simpleton she was often portrayed as in the anime. Her look is also appropriate for her action pose, and that’s another thing I like about this figure – many Kanu figures have her standing around posing like a model, but this one makes her look like someone who can actually tussle.
It wouldn’t be Kanu – or almost any female Ikki Tousen character – without the requisite big boobs. Kanu’s breasts are properly sized and impossibly pert, with her nipples pointing skyward. I’ve seen pictures of Kanu with her shirt removed, but apparently you have to tear it off of her to do that and I’m not willing to do so.
Her skirt is easily removable, however. Like that old Yamato figure, her skirt is loose on her hips and it can be removed by separating a seam on its side. All the Ikki Tousen girls appear to wear white panties and Kanu is no exception.
The waistband of her panties gets lost in the fold of her right leg.
And her butt is a bit lumpy-looking. It still doesn’t look that bad but people who appreciate nicely-formed backsides might be a little disappointed.
Being that Kanu’s design isn’t particularly elaborate, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for intricate sculpting. However, her weapon looks very nice. It’s made of plastic but has a realistic metal finish that looks reasonably convincing.
Her hair is also nicely sculpted, featuring her characteristic metal hair clip and its whale-tail end.
This is a very nicely-done figure of Kanu Unchou. It’s probably my favorite figure of her in a school uniform. But as mentioned, there are a lot of Kanus out there and I’m guessing that one’s interest in this figure will in large part depend on how fatigued one is by the character. This one presents her as a competent, dangerous action girl, which is the way I like to think of her. It also provides for an interesting contrast with Yamato’s Kanu, and that gives it greater personal appeal to me. However, if you hate Kanu and her big boobs, this figure is certainly not going to change your mind. If you’re looking for a special figure of Kanu, this one probably isn’t it either, unless you have a big thing for school uniforms. But I like it anyway, and I’m happy to have it in my Kanu collection.