We’ve noted before that fighting games don’t seem to get a ton of figures, at least relative to the number of popular and well-known characters that would seem to make for attractive figures. Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo series has ameliorated this dearth to some extent, though I admit I kinda have a hard time taking that product line seriously. Nonetheless, it’s nice to see some of the girls from Street Fighter and Tekken getting some love from a figure company.
One series that hasn’t gotten much love in terms of merchandising – at least until very recently – is Dead or Alive. It’s an unexpected situation since Dead or Alive’s main appeal stems from its female cast. Street Fighter, Tekken, Soul Calibur, and other fighting games are known for the sophistication and responsiveness of their combat systems, and one can find many videos of tournament matches attesting to their gameplay depth; meanwhile, it is equally facile to find videos of the Dead or Alive girls in their defeated poses, the camera lingering on their succuluent, sweat-streaked bodies. As crude as that may seem, that type of content ought to be old hat for anyone who watches contemporary anime and particularly for anyone who collects anime figures, and it seems like the Dead or Alive series should have more figures than it does. Well, now we have one more, of lead girl Kasumi. Unfortunately, its manufacturer has a reputation that is charitably described as mixed. Seeing the Griffon logo on the box doesn’t engender confidence but it’s not like there’s a surfeit of Kasumi figures to choose from.
First, though, a brief bio: Kasumi is the daughter of the leader of the Mugen Tenshin ninja clan. A series of unfortunate events results in her departing her clan, and her exile defines the contours of her personality. She is presented as melancholy and wistful, but also determined and courageous. Despite her impressive martial skill and penchant – like all of the Dead or Alive girls – for wearing immodest outfits, she’s also depicted as being rather meek and emotional, quite the opposite of her half-sister Ayane, who is a popular character in her own right.
This figure is manufactured by Griffon Enterprises. Kasumi is sculpted in 1/6 scale and stands about 26 centimeters tall. She comes with no accessories or additional parts; she’s ready for display after placing her on her base.
For its fifth iteration, the Dead or Alive franchise followed the trend set by Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Soul Calibur in revamping its presentation. The most obvious departure was the substitution of the anime styling of the characters with a more realistic look; gone are the oversized eyes and round faces, replaced by a more Final Fantasy-esque look. It’s a jarring change, one that I don’t think I’m quite used to, despite having played the last few Dead or Alive games. It’s particularly strange to see during the cutscene sequences inspired by Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball; the cuter anime look fit that game well, whereas the realistic style seems a bit out of place.
Obviously this figure takes after the contemporary style, though it doesn’t quite hit the mark. For one, Kasumi’s expression is completely devoid of emotion, which makes her face less interesting, particularly since this figure’s pose models one of her victory celebrations, if I remember right. For another, her face seems to lack a feminine quality, at least in my eyes. I’m not entirely sure why, but comparing this figure with her official DOA5 art, perhaps her eyes are too close together, and her face looks a little narrower than it should be. That said, I don’t think her face looks terrible, and while that is certainly faint praise, I was very much expecting her face to be terrible, so that’s still kind of a win.
Breast bouncing has a long and storied history in anime, and it’s a somewhat common thing in video games. In particular, it’s a Team Ninja trademark, as are female breasts in general; one really can’t go for very long when talking about the Dead or Alive series without tits entering the conversation. They’re an obvious aspect of this figure’s design, with the front of Kasumi’s dress shaped to expose her impressive cleavage. I don’t recall that her breasts were this large in the game, to be honest, but they still look pretty good.
The size of her rack combined with her forward lean gives her a rather front-loaded appearance.
Kasumi’s dress takes after Mai Shiranui’s style of ninja wear. She wears a revealing blue dress, cut high enough up her hips to show off her buttocks.
The patterning on the front and back of her dress is nicely done.
As is the detail on her bracers.
I think it’s supposed to look like her sword is secured to her back by a length of rope, but that doesn’t look like rope to me.
There actually are a couple of lengths of twine dangling from the handle of her sword, though.
Looking at her, it’s not too difficult to think that her head is smaller than each of her breasts. Her body proportions tend to make her look a little older than she’s supposed to be, I think.
From the side, her shapely rear can be observed. She’s wearing white thong panties under her dress, though it’s obviously quite difficult to see.
In the Dead or Alive games, Kasumi can usually be selected with her hair done up in a ponytail or with her hair down. A lot of people seem to like her better with her hair let loose but me, I like the ponytail best, and that’s how she’s wearing her hair here. Her hair is flipping towards her left which, combined with the lower part of her dress, gives this figure a sense of movement.
And finally, we can’t talk about a Griffon figure without pointing out some technical problems. My particular figure has a couple of issues on the back side of her left leg; there’s a odd area in the middle of her left calf where it looks almost like a section of paint flaked off, and there’s a peculiar groove just above her ankle. Neither are particularly nice or desirable of course, but if one were going to have a problem with a figure, the reverse and lower side of a leg isn’t a bad place to have them, I suppose.
Kasumi is a decent figure – certainly not an excellent one but a step up from what I had anticipated. The rendition of her outfit is pretty good and while a more expressive face would have been nice, her pose is attractive as it is. I really wish that her face were a little more feminine; that would have more than compensated for any of her faults. As it is, she’s okay, and I suppose the major takeaway is that I’m a little more confident in Griffon’s ability to make figures that don’t look mediocre. Hopefully someone makes more figures of the Dead or Alive girls in the future – Griffon, Kotobukiya, anyone.