People who’ve visited this site before may know that I’m a big fan of fighting game girls. There are less of them that I’d like, particularly of the characters from Street Fighter. Like many gamers, Street Fighter II was my introduction to fighting games, and though I did not play as Cammy very often, I appreciate her design, particularly in all its immodesty. Therefore, when Kotobukiya rolled out this figure of Cammy, it was a no-brainer to buy it, no? Well, not quite, which is a little odd, because their Bishoujo series synthesizes Shunya Yamashita’s artwork, characters and series popular amongst international audiences (including characters from Star Wars and DC and Marvel comics), and low prices. Should be a no-brainer, but I had to think a bit before buying Cammy, and while I’m happy with this figure in the end, it’s an equivocal level of happiness.
But first, the usual background synopsis and bit of personal trivia. Cammy White is a clone of M.Bison, a member of the British paramilitary and anti-terrorist group Delta Red, and is by far the most popular character of the four combatants that debuted in Super Street Fighter II. The rationale for her acceptance seems obvious today but back in the early 1990s, her future popularity was less predictable. There were far fewer female characters in video games, particularly fighting games, and at least back where I lived (Seoul, Korea), they weren’t commonly used. I used to play Chun-Li most of the time, partly because I liked using female characters but mainly because she was easy to play, and I’d occasionally get some odd looks from other players, who invariably chose male characters (Guile was a really popular character at the local arcade). It was a strange time. Video games haven’t come as far as one might prefer with respect to giving female characters more prominence but at least nobody cares these days whether a male player picks a female character.
Manufactured by Kotobukiya, Cammy is 1/7 scale, and is reasonably large, unlike the earliest bishoujo figures, which were 1/8 scale but were considerably smaller than that. She comes more or less ready for display right out of the box; her only accessories are a couple of stickers which can be affixed to the base. I used neighter but for those who are curious, one is of the Street Fighter logo and the other is a reproduction of the artwork this figure is based off of.
Speaking of the artwork, that’s a good place to start off, since one thing that all the bishoujo figures have in common is their art style. Every figure in this series is based off of artwork by Shunya Yamashita, whose work and style should be well-known to figure collectors, at least those that have been in the hobby for at least a few years. The figure takes a few liberties with the source illustration, particularly in the design of her face and her musculature.
Bishoujo means something like “pretty young girl,” and that’s an apt description for Yamashita’s work. However, despite the quantity of figures in Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo series, something always seems to get lost in the translation from art to three dimensions. The faces often don’t look much like the artwork, and sometimes they have a noticeable pink or reddish hue rimming the eyes, as if the character had gone off on an all-night bender. Cammy doesn’t have that particular issue but she does look noticeably older than she does in the illustration, which is an odd thing considering that the term bishoujo specifically references youth. She reminds me a bit of Panty from Panty & Stocking, whose older form looks much more mature than the typical anime girl. Moreover, I don’t think it’s obvious that this figure is based off of Yamashita’s art, which is weird for a couple of reasons. One is that his style is highly distinctive, even amongst the mostly homogeneous characteristics of anime design. The other is that a great many figure manufacturers have made figures derived from his work and none of them have had problems effecting his style, and many of them are quite pretty.
Is Cammy’s face pretty? Yeah, I guess so, but not in that sterotypical anime manner. She looks nice from a couple of feet away. Close up, though, I guess her face is alright; I mean, maybe she’s not as cute as she is in the picture, but at least she doesn’t look like she ran a hundred-yard dash in a ninety-yard gym. As a fan of Yamashita’s art, I do know I feel like Kotobukiya could do better than this, though I’m not sure if they’re inclined to try; the Bishoujo series is undoubtedly targeted at the American audience and I’m not sure an accurate adaptation from the source art is accorded much priority.
Her body build is another interesting aspect of her design. As mentioned, Yamashita specializes in drawing attractive anime girls and in this culture, bulging and chiseled muscles are generally not considered beautiful. Certainly they are not an element of what would classically be considered “bishoujo,” but nonetheless, Cammy’s body is ripped. This is an accurate representation of her appearance in Street Fighter IV, in which most of the characters have enormous muscles, sometimes to a comical degree. I do like the way she’s sculpted; she looks very strong while still looking feminine. (However, despite her impressive muscles, she seems to get beaten up a lot. In some of Street Fighter IV’s animated material, she gets manhandled and punted around by Crimson Viper and defenestrated by Juri.)
Yuri in Street Fighter?
GET OFF MY PLANE
Cammy wears an interesting military uniform, consisting of a beret, leotard, and boots and gloves. The way her footwear is sculpted takes some liberties from her original design; she’s wearing high heels, which are a bit impractical but then, there is not much about her outfit that seems practical so I suppose it’s not a big deal.
Cammy has had a few different designs – this one, obviously, and her Shadaloo design, which may be better known, as well as a Delta Red variant seen in the spinoff game Cannon Spike – but one element that has carried over across each of her variations is a thong leotard. Her leotard here is a little smaller than usual, and is cut much higher on her hips. It’s sort of a shameless design but it looks great. The wrinkles in the material give it a heightened sense of realism as she turns around, and its tightness adds to her appeal in a very obvious way.
And while we’re talking about immodesty, we’ll look at her backside, since it is so prominently emphasized in both this figure and in her character design. She has a great looking ass; it’s quite large despite her more-or-less petite build (perhaps not so petite in this figure, but she’s generally drawn with a more waifish look in much of her artwork) and it’s entirely visible.
Her pose is a little odd; it’s a typical fighting game pose, I guess but it’s not evident what she’s doing, aside from looking sexy. I’m guessing that the main purpose of her stance is to show off her ass, which it does quite effectively.
I’ll wrap this up by griping about one more thing; instead of using conventional tightly-fitting pegs to attach her to her base, her feet have slots which fit loosely into standoffs built into the base. That means that whenever you pick her up, her base often slides right off, which is a little annoying. I’m guessing there wasn’t enough room in her feet for pegs, given her high heels, but other manufacturers have come up with ways to get around that and it would have been nice if Kotobukiya had done so as well.
But then again, this is a fairly inexpensive figure and perhaps its more fair to judge it in that light. Being that Kotobukiya charged a ridiculous 15,000-ish yen for the 1/8 scale Tomo Asama, the price I paid for Cammy – $65 shipped from Amazon.com – seems like a comparative bargain. Considering the price, this is a pretty good figure – certainly way, way better than the original batch of Bishoujo figures, which were undersized and sort of malformed. Moreover, despite some of my qualms regarding her face – and those are strongly motivated by my fondness for Yamashita’s style – Cammy doesn’t really look like a budget figure. This is a fairly good-quality figure (with some visible seam lines if one inspects if very closely, true, but that doesn’t bother me too much), and it gets a lot of things right, particularly with Cammy’s muscles and ass-baring outfit. So, I’m pretty happy with it. Not quite as happy as I would be if they’d made her a face a little prettier and a little younger, but pretty happy. I haven’t bought that many Bishoujo figures since that initial group (my only other one is Ms. Marvel, which I ought to review someday) but Cammy might compel me to buy more. (What I’d really like to see are some Mortal Kombat Bishoujo figures; a Kitana figure would definitely compel me to buy more.)
My man at Makigumo has some pictures of the setup he used to shoot his own shots of Cammy; they look nice. And his camera is more expensive than mine, too.