Sometimes, I buy figures because I like the character, or because I like the series or game that she comes from. Those figures tend to be the most meaningful to me, but that’s not to say that familiarity automatically elevates a figure in my esteem. As an example in counterpoint, I know a bit about Saber, I’m a fan of Saber’s personality and I have a ton of Saber figures, but while I like them, I wouldn’t really describe any of them as treasures of my collection, aside maybe from gangsta lean Saber, and that’s mainly because she looks so damn peculiar. (Speaking of Saber figures, I’ve got that one with the motorbike still boxed up in my closet, where it’s been sitting for around 17 or 18 months.) Also, that’s not to say that not knowing much about a character means that I view it with less warmth than would otherwise be the case – even if I loathe the game or show that she stars in. Indeed, if the figure looks really cool, unfamiliarity is no impediment to appreciation. Which brings us to this figure of Kuroyukihime, a cute girl from a show I disliked so much that I dropped it fifteen minutes into its first episode. Despite my contempt for Accel World – or at least, its anime adaptation – I was very much looking forward to this figure. It’s not hard to see why.
These days, anime is, in large part, just a vehicle used to move merchandise. When I look at an anime chart for an upcoming season, sometimes I try to guess which ones look like they are going to be fan favorites. My guesses are usually terrible, since I haven’t actually seen many of those shows. However, it was easy to guess that Accel World would be a big hit, since I remembered that the light novel had gotten some hype before the TV series aired.
I like to consider myself an open-minded person, at least when it comes to anime. There have been a number of shows that I either didn’t care for or didn’t think I would like that, after giving them another shot, I wound up enjoying quite a bit. However, I don’t think Accel World would be one of them. For one, the male protagonist isn’t just a pathetic whiner with low self-esteem, he’s also a bizarrely stunted and malformed freak. Further, I didn’t really notice much of a hook; in these sorts of shoes, the chemistry between the main male and female characters is paramount, but I thought that Kuroyukihime’s interest in the porkish male lead was laughably contrived (though to be honest, I barely remember why she began caring about him at all). And like way too many shows these days, there was far too much exposition and explanation regarding in-universe mechanics.
Therefore, I don’t really know anything about Kuroyukihime or her personality, or what her real name might be, so I’m not going to pretend that I do and we will thus move on to the figure. This figure is manufactured by Max Factory in 1/7 scale and measures about 16 centimeters in height; the Black Lotus part is substantially larger but as I tossed it back in its box already, I have no idea how tall it is. Aside from Black Lotus, she comes with nothing else to cover herself up with.
Speaking of the Black Lotus part, I guess we’ll start with that, since that is supposed to be one of the main draws of this figure (or something). I guess this is supposed to be Kuroyukihime’s avatar in Accel World’s MMO environment? I dunno. Unsurprisingly, it comes disassembled in the box and though Max Factory (and the other Good Smile Company partner companies) have made an admirable effort at targeting the international audience, their instruction sheets are unfortunately still written only in Japanese. Happily, instructions aren’t really necessary for putting together this big black beasty; its torso goes on the base followed by Kuroyukihime’s upper body, and then you attach the right arm, then the left, and finally the head. Note that the arms, while made of plastic, have really, really sharp points; I think you could use them to puncture flesh without trying too hard. The antennae are similarly pointy, so due care should be taken while putting everything together.
With everything assembled, Kuroyukihime looks gorgeous. Black Lotus’s arms wrap protectively around her, which is presumably where the “Death By Embracing” moniker comes from. Personally, I think that’s a little inaccurate, since Kuroyukihime looks like she’s more ready to deliver death than dying herself, but perhaps she’ll send Black Lotus to slay her enemies by hugging them. Anyway, Kuroyukihime’s passive expression contrasts beautifully with the intimate, almost sexual interaction between herself and her alter ego.
I’m not sure what the orange liquid is supposed to be, but it kinda reminds me of LCL from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Speaking of which, it occurs to me that that show also had a pitiable male protagonist and an ethereal, almost divine female lead. It’s a lot easier to sympathize with a guy risking his life in battle against space aliens than it is with a guy who plays video games, though.
Black Lotus is really well-constructed, and its abstract, starkly mechanical design gives it a sense of menace that perfectly complements Kuroyukihime’s lithe, youthful body.
If one chooses, one can also display Black Lotus all by itself. There’s a little kidney bean-shaped plastic cover that goes over the slot in the orange faux-liquid panel which Kuroyukihime would otherwise occupy; that hides what would otherwise be an empty pit, but it’s not entirely inconspicuous.
I didn’t notice this before, but Black Lotus has an impressive rack; perhaps Kuroyukihime is compensating for something?
From the rear, one can see that Black Lotus’s back comprises an assemblage of segmented tubes. When trying to design something that looks unsettling, tubes and an insect-like appearance or mentality are good things to feature (the xenomorph from the Aliens series and the Borg from Star Trek are additional examples).
But as nice as Black Lotus looks – and it looks very nice, I must admit – it’s not why I bought this figure. I bought this figure entirely because of Kuroyukihime, and not because of her personality (though I’m guessing she has a nice personality, and that I’d probably like her more if I knew more about her). Rather, the main draw for me is Kuroyukihime’s appearance; she’s all but nude, wearing nothing more than a scrap of white panties. It’s a very daring figure, one that I’m surprised Max Factory made in the first place.
As I understand it, Kuroyukihime is a middle school student, but she looks very young here, so young that I’m sure more than a few figure collectors decided not to buy this figure because of her apparent youth. She’s generally depicted with a fairly modest chest, but besides that, this figure also gives her a very slim waist and upper torso – her waist appears to be narrower than her head, actually. That makes her look quite a bit younger than she actually is. Note that her hair is glued down on her chest, thus preventing this figure from being completely explicit.
However, she also has broad hips, giving her a somewhat asymmetric look that nonetheless significantly boosts her sexiness. Her hips are quite prominent, framing a very long abdomen; the combination of her small bust, wasp waist, and elongated stomach present a rather unique appearance.
Those hips are girded by her one article of clothing, a pair of low-cut string panties. They scarcely protect her dignity in front and fail completely at covering up her rear.
This ass-baring style of brief has obvious appeal but I’d prefer a higher-leg style. Obviously that wasn’t possible with this figure; her legs detach so that she can fit onto her Black Lotus base, and those detachments points have to be squared-off, hence the unusual straightness of her panty’s waistband. That said, this doesn’t look bad at all; it certainly looks distinctive, and it also gets big bonus points for skimpiness.
When a figure is nude or mostly nude, the sculpting of the body takes on increased importance. Happily, Kuroyukihime’s body design is very impressive. Anime character designs are typically highly stylized and tend to lack realistic features, but Kuroyukihime’s body shows details like protruding pelvic bones, apparent abdominal muscles, and discernible ribs. The poor girl seems to need a nutritious meal more than she needs clothes.
Kuroyukihime’s body posture is designed to interact with Black Lotus, but it works reasonably well when she’s by herself. Obviously, one probably won’t be paying much attention to her pose at first glance, but it doesn’t look too strange, and it also lends itself well to certain home-made accessories.
Her strongly-arched back is another erotic aspect of her character design. You won’t see this part of her very often, most likely, but the strong swell of her buttocks provides a lovely complement to the flatness of her chest.
Her face is just as attractive as any other part of her. Although her expression is fairly neutral, somehow it still conveys a palpable sense of mood. The ambiguity of her look also gives her a heightened sense of maturity, in contrast to the young, undeveloped appearance of her body.
Kuroyukihime with Black Lotus is a great figure, but in my view, Kuroyukihime by herself is even better. Removing her virtual persona gives up the artistic uniqueness of the design but makes huge gains in terms of visual appeal – or at least, the sort of visual appeal that I prefer. She looks very sexy with her body virtually on full display. Her panties look great as well, and while one has to admit that everything that is amazing about this figure is so very, very wrong, I figure that if one is disturbed about this sort of thing, one probably isn’t watching much contemporary anime these days, anyway. Kuroyukihime is a fantastic figure, one of the very best figures I’ve received this year.