Kouko Kaga is the lead female character of the light novel and anime series Golden Time. The show seems to have done reasonably well, having received a full 24-episode run along with the usual array of merchandise – posters, telephone cases, keychains, and so on – that accompany a popular series. However, it has yet to draw attention from figure companies, which is too bad, since the characters are both memorable and attractive. This particular figure of Kouko was not sold by itself; rather, it was a pack-in with the limited edition version of the PS Vita game Golden Time: Vivid Memories. That means that expectations need to be tempered, as such throw-in products are rarely as good as a figure that is sold by itself. However, it is to date the only figure of any Golden Time character, at least as far as I know, and I’m not aware of any upcoming figures depicting any members of the show’s cast. Again, that’s too bad, but I suppose one figure is better than none.
First, a bit about the character and the show (which, presumably, follows the books reasonably faithfully). Golden Time stars Kouko Kaga and Tada Banri, who are both first-year law students at a Tokyo university. Kouko is wealthy and beautiful, commanding attention from everyone in her presence. However, her outspoken and confrontational nature conceal a neurotic and wildly insecure persona. She is in turn warm and thoughtless and loving and vicious, and at times she serves almost as an antagonist. She is an interesting character, a young woman who doesn’t quite fit into any one of the conventional, commonly-seen female anime archetypes.
Unfortunately, those same qualities also make Golden Time hard to watch at times. I got through the first five or six episodes before getting tired of both Kouko’s tempestuous tendencies and the random melodrama, which the show delights in serving up. It doesn’t help that the lead male character, Banri Tada, is prone to his own random outbursts of moodiness. It also doesn’t help that he’s afflicted with amnesia, which is one of the lamest plot devices in any entertainment medium. It’s too bad because I enjoyed the first episode, which showed Banri’s first day at school; it reminded me a lot of my own college experience, which was the most formative time of my life and also the period of my life that I look back on most fondly. The awkwardness of club recruiting particularly brought back some cringe-inducing memories. Maybe the show gets better. I kinda doubt it, though.
Regardless of my mixed feelings regarding the show’s characterization and plot development, I do really like the show’s character designs, particularly Kouko’s, which is why I bought this figure. I don’t expect to ever play the game, as I’m not a big huge fan of portable systems and don’t intend to buy a PS Vita (I have a PSP somewhere here, but I really only bought it to play Pangya Fantasy Golf).
Kouko is sculpted in 1/8 scale and stands about 20 centimeters in height to the top of her head, and 21.5 centimeters tall overall, excluding the base. She comes ready for display right out of the box; however, I had a hard time getting her feet aligned with the base pegs; she tends to lean forward when they are inserted all the way, and I thought that looked fairly dumb, so I only pushed her feet in partway. I’m not sure if that’s a quality control error or an intentional design choice.
I dislike talking about manufacturing quality but being that Kouko is a cheap figure – the price difference between the standard game box and the limited edition is about 3,600 yen – that seems like the proper place to start. Kouko’s technical quality is somewhere between bad and mediocre, and I suppose it depends on how one is observing the figure. Up close, or looking through a magnifying glass or macro lens, Kouko’s flaws are apparent; she has huge seamlines running up her legs, her skin is pitted in places, and her paint job is conspicuously rough.
However, from a normal viewing angle it’s difficult to discern those issues. Part of the reason for that is that Kouko is rather small; despite having a more-or-less adult body build in the anime, she looks quite young here, with a large head and a very slender physique. She’s noticeably smaller than almost every other 1/8 scale figure, which makes her technical flaws less obvious.
One other aspect in which she differs from almost every other figure is her skin tone; she has a very ruddy complexion, which looks very unusual when she’s placed on display with other figures. I like it, though; I think it gives her a healthier, more vibrant look, though it also makes it so that other figures look a little jaundiced in comparison.
This figure is based on artwork done by Eiji Komatsu, the illustrator of the original light novels. He’s a well-known artist whose style – like many anime illustrators – tends to be on the fan-servicey side of things, and so it’s not too surprising that Kouko is depicted wearing a very skimpy swimsuit. Her top is typical but her bikini bottom is much more unusual. It seems to consist of two bottoms, one that is apparently more substantial and another that is strikingly immodest. Her inner bikini bottom is cut high on her hips and comprises a thong in the rear, which looks great. Also attractive are the contrasting black and white colors of her swimsuit.
Kouko’s pose is also appealing; the anime shows her to be flirty, particularly when pursuing her destined mate, and this figure does a good job of giving Kouko a look that is both sexy and tantalizing.
Her rear is also very cute, though any close-up inspection is hindered by the poor workmanship on display.
Her hair is just passable; it’s a prominent aspect of her anime character design but it’s not a standout part of this figure. It is, after all, a cheap figure.
And that pretty much sums it up; it’s a pack-in that, although failing to impress in technical terms, still looks appealing, at least stylistically. If one can get past the manufacturing flaws – they’re far more disconcerting in photographs than in normal observation – Kouko has a number of things going for her, particularly her saucy pose and revealing attire. And of course, there’s the prospect that there may be no figures of the Golden Time characters from any of the major manufacturers. I’d be mildly surprised if that occurred but then, we’ve seen ostensibly popular series go by without getting much in the way of figures. It would have been great if this figure had been made by one of the bigger figure makers as a standalone piece rather than a game pack-in, but being that there aren’t any other choices if one wants a figure of Kouko Kaga, it will suffice.
It’s sad that such great character artwork ends up in this poor quality. I like her weird hybrid style bikini bottom. I can’t help want to get some sandpaper and get those parting lines worked out. Today’s 2000 yen level prize figures could easily be better than this.
Nonetheless the base looks quite nice except the fact that you have pointed out that she can not stand straight up when fully plugged in. I think that’s a pretty common problem even in some higher level figures.
Hopefully a big manufacturer will make some figures of Kouko and the other Golden Time girls. That the show is over with no figures having been shown off at any of the conventions is a little discouraging, though; I have the feeling that they’re all jumping on the Kantai Collection bandwagon or something.
Kaga was a super pretty anime character, it was kind of refreshing to see a cute college girl with a glamorous look. Well, she turned out to be neurotic to the bone. Like in real life haha.
I completed the show, a little less drama had been an improvement for it 😉
The figure picked my interest as it was announced, it’s nice on first view. Also from the backside angles in your pics she’s stunning from the front its a bit less impressive I would say. Kaga looks like a model but compared to the figure she seemed slightly rounder and developed. Oh her outfit… Looks like a porn bikini and porn shoes, the ladys like these crazy heels, I should not talk about the shoes like this ^^
These mold or whatever lines weren’t really necessary, I’ve bought prize figures some months ago with cleaner curves, Well, the shanks look great as well as her backside does.
That is a cool choice of background, I like the metallic shine.
Yeah, I really liked that the show was set at a university rather than high school; I still think a lot about my own school memories and sometimes watching all these high school harem shows gets a little uncomfortable for me, being that I’m over twice the age as the characters.
Haha, yeah, the outfit is very much on the risque side. It does kinda seem like something Kouko might wear, though, from what I’ve seen of the show. It would’ve been nice if they put a little more effort into the figure; I would’ve rather had had a 7,000 yen figure with a 3,000 yen game packed in rather than the other way around.
Huh, I guess the background does look kinda metallic. It’s actually a sorta-rubber dinner mat or something.
I never bothered watching Golden Time, because the first episode turned me off completely. From the stupid amnesia stuff to Koko’s insane behaviour, I figured it wouldn’t be worth my time. I did keep up with posts covering it though, to see if it amounted to anything later, but apparently it didn’t. Most reactions to the show are rather mixed and its tendency for melodrama and stretching out the plot by ways of stupidity on the main char’s end convinced me I’m not going to bother. Too bad, because I too would like more stuff in a college setting. I sure as hell enjoyed that time a lot more than high school (though funnily enough, back then my life was like some anime character in the sense that I was always surrounded by girls – I was the only guy in the class).
As for the figure, I’ve seen worse pack-in game figures (that Bravely Default figure dear god), but she does look cheap. Though I don’t care much for this character, it’s always sad if the only thing a show gets is a figure like this. I do like her pose and at least her face looks nice enough. Her base on the other hand…it always annoys me to see a figure that doesn’t properly fit on their peg (especially with a barefooted one).
How’s that Pangya game for the PSP by the way? Because I ragequitted the Wii version last week because the A.I. was insane. The very first opponent I had to go against played like a goddamn golfing robot, they start rubberbanding if you’re even one point ahead and apparently they start blatantly cheating later on (no-clipping through mountains and all that). Stupid golf game, grmbl.
I was hoping it would be something different due to the college setting. At least I was hoping that the show would focus more on Kouko, since she has obvious issues and is a lot more interesting than the other characters. But then the show kept focusing on Banri for some reason, and I didn’t like his character very much; the amnesia thing was really lame and his weird habit of seeking out confrontation (particularly when trying to extract love confessions, which was nearly painful to watch).
I guess I had a fairly boring high school experience; I did okay in classes, didn’t really get in trouble, never had much trouble with other students, didn’t really meet a lot of people. College was great, though; I really miss it, even though I didn’t do all that well.
I liked Pangya a lot, though it does have the catch-up AI you describe and that can be infuriating. (There was this game called NFL Street which I really liked, but it had the same sort of lame-ass catch-up AI. Similarly, I’ve been wasting a lot of time playing the Monopoly app and the AI players are hard-coded to avoid your properties if you have houses on them.) The game didn’t seem too difficult though; I beat several opponents without much trouble. I didn’t get too far, though, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the AI becomes the grand master of golf later on. For the price I paid (which wasn’t more than a few bucks), I got my money’s worth out of it.
I just had a peak at the original promotional shots and my God the quality difference is staggering. Unfortunately I can’t look beyond flaws like that. Simply knowing they’re there has made me want to box up and resell some of my own girls.
Though I’ll give you some serious credit for picking her up if only because you like the character/design and want to support the franchise. That’s pretty hilarious that you’re not even going to play the game (not that I’m judging, I can’t get into handheld either).
Haha, it can be tough to overlook problems, even if they’re not easily visible. It can be maddening when they are; my Rika Shiraki figure has this weird spot on her left tit that I can’t get rid of and I have no idea where it came from, and it was driving me nuts for a while. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about it; I guess in the worst case, I can try mixing up some paint and painting over it.
I have no idea what this game is about but I’m guessing I wouldn’t like it very much, particularly since I would be trying to make Banri do the dumbest things, just because I don’t like him much. (Back when I played Final Fantasy X, I didn’t like the protagonist much so I had Lulu and Rikku kill him over and over.)