Cognizant of the fact that well-known titles move more merchandise, most figure companies make figures of characters from licensed properties. However, Max Factory took a rather unusual approach with their figures of the se.Kirara characters; rather than seek out an existing franchise, they developed the title themselves, making them (to my knowledge) the only figure maker to also be an eroge producer. Another unusual thing about their strategy is that Max Factory released the game for free; unfortunately, while it was originally downloadable from the Nico Nico website, it seems to no longer be available. However, even if we can’t enjoy the game, we can at least admire the figures. The first to be released was Aya Kagura, who I actually have – somewhere around here – but we’ll be taking a look at the blue-headed Izumi Shizuno first.
se.Kirara – the exact transcription seems to be mutable (even the figure box spells the title out with both an upper-case and lower-case S) – was released a couple of years ago by Native, Max Factory’s ero-figure label. If I remember right, it was originally packaged with a figma of Aya Kagura, the game’s blonde-haired heroine. Having not played it, I’m not certain what it’s about, but it seems to be a fairly conventional school comedy sort of visual novel. Just making some inferences based on the game graphics, Izumi appears to be sort of a genial, gentle girl, sort of the older sister type familiar to many anime viewers. There are also some odd images of her wearing a miko costume and fighting monsters while shooting fire out of her chest; I’m not sure what that’s about.
Izumi is a fairly straightforward figure. She’s sculpted in 1/7 scale, standing about 22 centiemeters tall. She’s got a cute base that is colored to match her outfit. Her skirt can also be removed by separating her at the waist, and we’ll look at that in more detail in a bit.
Max Factory originally released figmas of se.Kirara’s cast before making PVC figures; in fact, it was this review of Izumi on Wieselhead that got me interested in the game’s characters. Of the cast, I took to Izumi’s design the most. For one, her body has the most appealing figure – Izumi’s product description actually declares that she has the most perfect body on campus, and while perfection is in the eye of the beholder, I surely agree with the assessment. I also liked her outfit, which was unique amongst the game’s cast; while the other girls wear a relatively modest, off-pink single-piece dress, Izumi wears a distinctive figure-hugging corset and miniskirt ensemble, all in varying shades of blue. Those colors particularly appeal to me, as should be obvious from the color scheme of this website, which hasn’t changed since its inception.
Izumi’s outfit seems to be one of the more contentious aspects of this figure, so we’ll start there. Her blouse is cut in an interesting manner; it ends right at the bottom of her breasts, revealing her pink brassiere. From one standpoint, it’s a really peculiar look; there seems to be no reason why her top should be cut open like that. From another standpoint, it’s a really awesome look and the reason why it’s cut like that is blindingly obvious. It’s interesting to note that her character portrait shows her wearing a slightly different uniform, though she does wear this outfit at some point in the game.
While I agree that her truncated blouse looks a bit odd, I like it a lot; in fact, it’s one of my favorite things about this figure. Without its abbreviated design, Izumi would be a fairly straightforward, ho-hum sort of schoolgirl figure, but with the uncovering of her underboob, the contrast between her happy smile and her … well, slatternly outfit becomes apparent. Her expression is pleasant and charming, carefree and a bit whimsical; it says that she’s a friendly, good-natured girl. However, her choice of clothes is a bold statement, asserting that she has the finest rack amongst the student body and that all will admire and respect it, whether they want to see it or not.
Continuing on with the salacious aspects of her uniform, Izumi wears a really tiny skirt. It’s evocative of the little blue butt-twitcher of a dress described by Holden Caulfield, and indeed it is scarcely long enough to cover her backside. It’s flared out from her hips in a very flirty manner, and that’s something that adds a subtle element of appeal to Izumi’s look.
Schoolgirl figures are, figuratively speaking, a dime a dozen and at first glance, Izumi’s pose isn’t all that interesting. However, she has a more lively and energetic look than one might initially give her credit for. The way her hair sweeps away from her body and her necktie levitates from her breasts both convey a strong sense of movement, and her bright-eyed smile and coquettish pose come together to present a playful attitude. Looking to the side, the strong arch of her back becomes obvious, and that adds a certain sexual element to her look, as it thrusts her breasts and ass out, making them much more prominent.
If one prefers naughtiness over playfulness, however, Izumi will oblige by removing her skirt. She separates at the waist and the castoff system is well-implemented, as her skirt doesn’t look overly bulky nor do her hips look unnaturally thin to accommodate the removable clothing. However, I’m not really sure what the point is of making her skirt removable. Sure, she has a great body and her panties are cute, but taking off her skirt reveals her garter strips, which look really weird, as she’s not actually wearing a garter belt. Instead, they come from her corset – or rather, from some place under her corset, as the straps appear to originate from her skin. They also follow her body line in a way that no actual strap would, unless it were glued to her skin or something. I like cute anime girls in their underwear but Izumi is definitely keeping her skirt.
Izumi certainly isn’t a ground-breaking figure but I do like this figure a lot. She has a very cute, charming look to her along with a healthy dose of sex appeal thanks to her unusual sartorial sensibilities. Everything about her – her enchanting smile, her frilly, flared-out skirt, and her tucked-in leg – works in harmony to effect a singular sense of happy, innocent playfulness – not something I usually go for when I shop for figures, but in this case, it’s something I enjoy.