Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere was one of my favorite shows from the fall 2011 anime season. It features a compelling setting, a likeable cast, a delightfully dense plot, and some of the nicest character designs in all of anime. Those designs, plus the sheer volume of characters in the show, would suggest that the series would be one that would get a lot of figures.
So one would think, anyway; however, it’s now been about a year and a half since the show debuted and only a handful of figures from the series have made their way to retail. Even more perplexing is that all of those figures come from Wave. Unsurprisingly, the great majority of those figures belong to their 1/10 scale Beach Queens line, but they did make one anomalous figure of Horizon Ariadust, which is what we’ll be looking at here.
I have to admit that my early impressions of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere – Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon or Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere in Japan – weren’t that great. The initial episode introduces us to the students of Musashi Academy, but subsequent episodes shift focus to the other factions that populate the setting, and those characters aren’t quite as interesting as the main characters. The disjointed, spastic storytelling threatens to derail the series, but the spotlight soon shifts back to Musashi Academy and the anime picks up steam from there, thanks mostly to the appealing nature of the cast. The students are plucky, resourceful, and confident, and they display a charming esprit de corps – even when molesting one of their own. Along the way, they meet and do battle with a variety of quirky characters, including Queen Elizabeth, the Pope, and a Spanish baseball team. It’s … easier to watch it than to explain. (Further, the show is based off of a series of books and I’m sure there is a lot of material that didn’t make it into the anime.)
Almost lost amid all this complexity is the show’s titular character. Horizon Ariadust is actually P-01s, an android who works in a quiet cafe. She exhibits a remarkable similarity to a deceased girl named Horizon Ariadust, and after the show settles into its main plot sequence, the storytelling revolves around her personality and circumstances. Despite being an artificial doll, Horizon possesses a deadpan sense of humor and a direct manner of speaking. That bluntness becomes acerbic when she is around lead male character Toori Aoi, and she isn’t unwilling to use her fists to put him back in his place.
Other highlights of the first season include an erotic story authored by shrine maiden Tomo Asama and a pitched battle between an anti-mecha maid and a giant robot. It’s a good show, one that deserves more figures, and that brings us to this figure here. As mentioned, it’s manufactured by Wave, but it’s not one of their Beach Queen products; rather, this figure is sculpted in a fairly typical 1/8 scale and stands about 21 centimeters in height. It was originally released in April of 2012 as a Japan-only exclusive, which makes it somewhat uncommon, though it’s not difficult at all to find it on the secondary market.
Despite not being a Musashi Academy student at the start of the show, Horizon wears an outfit similar to the Musashi uniform for female students. The outfit almost thwarts description, as complicated as it is – it appears to be a thong leotard and thigh-high boots over pantyhose. Whatever it is, I think it’s the best school uniform in all of anime. Horizon’s outfit is a bit unusual in that apparently her arms are left bare – her skin is actually black, or so I’ve heard. Some interesting protrusions along her sides and hips inform the viewer that she comes from a sci-fi anime.
Horizon is frozen in mid-stride, an enigmatic look fixed on her face. I’m guessing that they wanted her to appear unemotional, but with her vacant stare and slack O-shaped mouth, it’s not difficult to think that she’s walking out of a lobotomy ward. The awkwardness of her pose exacerbates this impression, being that it looks sort of like she’s struggling to keep her balance.
That said, one could also argue that she looks ethereal and inscrutable, or that she’s showing a sense of melancholy. All of those traits are very much in keeping with her character and I can see all of those aspects in this figure. However, I can also imagine that she’s taking a field sobriety test, and that’s probably not what Wave intended. However, even though her expression might evoke negative or comical interpretations, I can’t say that I dislike it too much; just the fact that it’s not easy to deduce what she is feeling generates a level of appeal.
Alternate viewing angles are much more kind to the figure. Here, she seems to be quite sad, and perhaps a bit lonely as well. Her look does bring to mind specific instances from the anime, and that is not a bad thing at all.
This is actually only the second Wave figure I’ve ever purchased and while I had no major issues with the first one, it’s pretty clear that Horizon doesn’t pass the macro lens test. I’ll leave the technical observations to the viewer, as the quality of the painting is pretty easy to assess from the pictures.
Several aspects of the sculpt are not particularly impressive, either. The most obvious example is her hair, which is completely featureless in the rear. That’s a bit nonplussing as her bangs show a reasonable amount of detail.
Speaking of the rear, her hair is split in a rather unrealistic manner, giving the viewer a good look at Horizon’s rear end. Unfortunately, there’s not very much to see there; Horizon’s ass is completely flat. That’s completely confounding, being that the show has official, studio-produced art like this. Brusquely put, Horizon should have a much bigger backside.
It’s difficult to argue that this is a really good figure, but it does have the advantage of being the only figure of Horizon Ariadust currently available, even eleven months after its release. For fans of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, that’s a significant cachet, and it’s pretty much the main reason I bought this figure. It has numerous problems, but I have to say that I still like it. Horizon’s character design is attractive enough to overcome its technical issues, and while this figure flunks a close-up examination, from a normal viewing distance, she looks alright. I paid too much money for it, and I really wish Horizon had a bigger, sexier ass, but beggars can’t be choosers and right now and for the last year, there’s only been one choice for Horizon fans.