For the first review of the year we’ll be going back eleven months with this figure of Sumika Kagami, one of the central heroines of the popular eroge Muv-Luv Alternative. She’s the third figure from this series to be produced by Kotobukiya, following lead girl Meiya Mitsurugi and a peculiar figure of Kasumi Yashiro in a skimpy bunnysuit. It’s possible that Sumika will be the last figure that Kotobukiya produces from the core science-fiction series, as it looks like they’ve moved on to the Carnelian-illustrated spinoff Schwarzesmarken, though who knows; they’re still producing model kits of the mecha from the game, so perhaps they’ll revisit Alternative someday. If not, at least Sumika is quite a nice figure to end the mainline run with.
Muv-Luv Alternative is, of course, the game from which Total Eclipse was spun off of. We’ve looked at a number of figures of the Total Eclipse characters before and Sumika’s design and construction is in much the same vein. I recently watched most of the anime adaptation and in lieu of any better place to write my thoughts, I thought I’d mention here that it was slightly better than I initially thought it was, being that I dropped the show after the tenth or eleventh episode. Unfortunately, its elevation in my esteem is due to its transition from the overwrought, melodramatic Soviet arc to slapstick antics once Cui Yifei is brought on board; sad to say, the show works a lot better as a harem comedy than as a war drama or giant robot series. I’m not sure if that’s more of an indictment of the production staff or of the larger themes rife in contemporary anime.
I have not played the eroge, but as far as I know, Sumika is one of the main girls from Muv-Luv Alternative and served as a potential love interest in the original game Muv-Luv, in which she was the archetypical childhood friend of lead male protagonist Takeru Shirogane. Her circumstances are quite a bit different in Muv-Luv Alternative, and her enigmatic status comprises much of the framework of the game’s narrative.
Muv-Luv Alternative is one of those eroge franchises that, as it has entered the mainstream, has minimized the pornographic aspects of the series (Fate/stay night is another example; both series also share an obsessive and often pretentious emphasis on historical trivia). However, while I do not know much about Sumika, particularly as she is in Muv-Luv Alternative, I do know that she is possibly the only Muv-Luv Alternative character to be tentacle-raped, which makes her a pretty cool character in my view (I have a similar affection for Sakura Matou from the Type-Moon series). Any lady who knows how to show a swarm of tentacles a good time is fine by me.
This figure is produced by Kotobukiya and is sculpted in 1/7 scale. She comes with no accessories except her base, which, like the Total Eclipse pilot suit characters, is made to look like urban wreckage. That puts her design at odds with her castmate Meiya, who has a rather more garish purple base. She’s about 21 centimeters tall, overall.
The Total Eclipse girls are presented as war-hardened veterans with tragic or difficult backgrounds – Yui witnessed the slaughter of her homeland and many of her friends, Cryska and Inia grew up as experimental medical subjects – but Sumika’s initial introduction in Muv-Luv appears to be as an ordinary, friendly girl, and that’s what she looks like here. Her warm smile and and gentle, inquisitive gaze make for an inviting expression. She also has huge hair with an enormous ahoge, prominent hair intakes, and a conspicuously oversized bow, giving her a softer look than that presented by the figures from the cousin series.
Her placid demeanor contrasts sharply with her futuristic outfit. Like many of the Muv-Luv characters, Sumika’s body is sheathed in an impossibly-tight bodysuit. Sumika’s suit is uniquely colored, featuring an attractive mix of pink, purple, and black. It’s an eye-catching combination, particularly when compared to the blue, black, and white suits the rest of the cast wears, and it lets the viewer know that Sumika is a very special girl.
Sumika doesn’t quite have the curves of Cryska or even Yui; her breasts are a little smaller and her body build is a little more slender. She still looks very appealing, though, particularly in the way she’s seated on the girder. In particular I thought the shape of her thighs are quite attractive, and of course, the way she’s vacuum-sealed into her suit is also striking.
The base does look very nice; it fits in perfectly with the Total Eclipse characters. I’m not sure why Meiya is the outlier in that group. Note that Sumika does attach to the base via foot pegs, so there’s no risk of her toppling off of her perch.
One odd thing about the design of this figure is the way her hair sweeps upward, as if it were defying gravity. Not that that’s unusual in anime figure design, but I thought I’d mention that, as there doesn’t seem to be any reason for her hair to be moving.
I really like the feeling of serenity conveyed by Sumika. She’s not a character who has much cause to be happy, at least in Muv-Luv Alternative, but regardless, her tranquillity is pleasing to look at. The sexy Muv-Luv suit is also attractive, as it always is, and its sleek, body-hugging appearance and Sumika’s more girlish accessories complement each other nicely. It’s a little unfortunate that Kotobukiya hasn’t made more figures of the Muv-Luv characters in their pilot suits – there are a ton to choose from – but hopefully they’ll make more. It’s not that Irisdina looks bad or anything, it’s just that swimsuit figures are really commonplace in this hobby.