The harem high school comedy is a staple of contemporary anime. To Love-Ru is representative of the genre and, judging by its three seasons of shows, is one of the most popular examples of the type. However, despite its success – and its expansive and attractive female cast – it hasn’t gotten a lot of figures. The few that it has gotten come from a variety of manufacturers, several of them being rather less well-known. Such is the case with this figure of Mikan Yuuki; let’s take a look at it.
To Love-Ru was originally created as a manga by Saki Hasemi and Kentarou Yabuki; an anime adaptation soon followed. It is normative rather than innovative, never straying too far from the familiar conventions of its genre. Like most such shows, the male protagonist is a well-meaning guy who goes into a seizure when exposed to tits, and its female cast includes the usual array of character tropes: there’s the tsundere, yandere, little sister, airhead, seductress, and longtime friend, among others. And of course, pretty much every show has the protagonist doing perverted things, generally by accident and invariably at the expense of one or more of the female characters’ dignity.
That said, from what I’ve seen of To Love-Ru Darkness, it’s a fun show and there’s nothing too objectionable about it, unless one disapproves of the unabashed nudity and sexual innuendo. My biggest beef with it is the same problem I have with all harem shows, which is that many of the jokes are stale and recycled and the constant buildup without payoff gets tiresome. However, the characters are quite likeable – I don’t think I dislike any of the principal characters, which is sort of rare – and the designs, of course, are very appealing.
Of all the characters in the show, Mikan is one of my favorites. I tend to like the quiet, mature, duty-minded characters, and that’s basically what Mikan is. She makes for a distinctive foil compared to the show’s wackier characters. It also helps that she stars in some very nice doujinshi.
This figure is by a company called Art Spirits, whom I have never heard of and have no idea if they’ve ever produced anything prior. It’s a 1/8 scale figure, but it’s rather small; counting the sprig of hair sprouting from her head, she’s about 17 centimeters tall. Then again, she’s only supposed to be twelve years old so this figure might not be that undersized.
I don’t typically like talking about manufacturing quality or paint application or whatever, but this is the first Art Spirits figure that I’ve seen and so that’s a logical place to start. In a word, the quality of this figure is mediocre; there are paint specks all over the place and my figure has some small but noticeable scratches and smudge marks, particularly right on her blouse’s left breast. There are some questionable design decisions, the most obvious of which is the big-ass crack where her blouse separates for removal. Mikan’s pose and the position of her head basically dictates that her left side is going to be visible, so I don’t know why they didn’t place the seam on the other side instead.
There’s another seam along the inside of her left leg, though it’s not noticeable if viewing from the most typical angle. Also, her clothing looks a bit bulky, and the re-attachment system of her blouse – composed of three pegs which slot into holes along the facing edge – doesn’t fit tightly, and it’s also a real pain to get the middle peg properly inserted.
Fortunately, one need not bother, since Mikan’s clothes can be removed. No instruction sheet is provided, but the castoff system will be familiar to many figure collectors; her head detaches from her neck, her torso detaches directly above the waistband of her panties, and both arms detach from her shoulders, with the seams merged with the straps of her bra. It does take a bit of force to get her arms off, even though the seam lines could have been a bit tighter; as they are, they are more noticeable than one would prefer.
Without her clothes, some of the aforementioned problems become irrelevant. The more prominent issues on my particular figure include paint flecks on her left shoulder, but this is a lot less noticeable in person than in an up-close photograph.
Mikan is really quite cute, with an attractive, winning smile and a prominent feeling of exuberance. Her playful pose is lively and appealing, complemented nicely by her messy, tousled hair. I noticed just recently that Alter is making a figure of Mikan, and while I’m sure it’s going to be vastly superior in terms of production quality, their figure has her literally just lying down. I think I prefer this sort of pose instead; I almost always prefer figures that are standing up and Mikan’s breezy, lighthearted pose really give this figure a nice touch.
This is a twelve year-old?
Her panties are also cute, being not too revealing but not too conservative, either.
Although both arms detach, they do fit together reasonably well when the figure is re-assembled.
Overall, the manufacturing quality of this figure doesn’t impress but Mikan’s carefree pose and her infectious happiness go a long way in compensating for the technical deficiencies. The lean of her body, the tilt of her head, and the positioning of her arms all work well when integrated together. This is by no means a great figure, but if one is looking for a figure of Mikan – particularly one that is standing up – there isn’t much else to choose from. It’s a nice figure, though probably one that’s best purchased from the bargain bin, assuming it gets there.