Yamato never got a lot of love from figure collectors. Most of their products aren’t particularly well-remembered and nobody seemed to mourn their demise; indeed, I don’t think many people even noticed, nor was it really acknowledged when they briefly came back as Arcadia. I’ve always liked Yamato, however; I have quite a few of their figures and I also own a number of their 50-centimeter dolls and Macross variable fighter toys. In fact, one of the first figures I reviewed for this site – nearly nine years ago – was Yamato’s Shunya Yamashita-designed Rei Ayanami. It’s a figure that I still like a lot, and when a spiritual successor to it was announced, I was quite pleased. Flare’s catalog comprises a continuation of series and themes that Yamato used to feature in their own products, though I’m not certain if the two companies are actually connected in a business sense (I’ve heard that Flare actually has some affiliation with Alter, though I’ve never seen that corroborated anywhere). Regardless of who they are, I’m glad they’re around, for while Yamato may not have been amongst the most respected of figure makers, I missed them.
There’s a bit of a parallel between the entity formerly known as Yamato and Rei Ayanami in that both have sort of fallen out of memory amongst their respective fanbases. The comparison isn’t that great, admittedly – Rei was one of the most recognizable anime characters of the early 1990s, but it’s surprising to me just how little love she’s gotten over the last few years, particularly compared to her mercurial castmate Asuka, who now seems more popular than ever. Even Mari appears to have surpassed Rei as far as fan appreciation goes. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we got a scale-size Rei figure; it might have been that one ridiculously expensive figure that came with an entire Eva cockpit.
Nonetheless, here we have a figure of Rei and we are all the better for it. As mentioned, this figure is brought to us by Flare and in keeping with Yamato’s peculiar tendencies, no official scale size is listed for this figure but like its stylistic forebear from Yamato, it’s about 24 centimeters in height, making this figure roughly 1/7 scale. This figure was sold in two versions, a standard model sold at the normal retail shops and an exclusive version, which is what we have here. This exclusive version merely has an additional head with a cheerful expression, versus the regular one, which features a seductive pout. Otherwise, the figure features no accessories and is ready to display once she is fixed to her base.
This figure is based on an illustration done by Shunya Yamashita. A few liberties have been taken with the design; notably, Rei is standing upright instead of leaning forward and her legs are set wider apart. Her sculpt tends more towards a realistic design rather than Yamashita’s pinup style; the noticeable facial flush is gone as well, giving Rei a more enigmatic look that seems better in line with her typically inscrutable disposition.
Rei’s pose is one of the most appealing aspects of this figure. Her stance is sleek and sexy, complemented by her strongly arched back and torso twist towards the viewer. Her attire is equally striking: she’s wearing a scandalously short, black butt-twitcher of a dress, as Salinger would describe it. The way her hands frame her buttocks draws attention to her femininity, and the contrast between her lithe body and the futuristic design of her outfit makes for an attractive juxtaposition. The color scheme is also startling, at least for anyone familiar with Rei from the television series, as she’s normally associated with a white and blue color scheme rather than the black and red shown here. The overall effect is to make her seem much more provocative than her anodyne personality would suggest.
That said, her outfit does highlight one aspect that could be improved, which is the size of her ass. Yoshizawa Mitsumasa – better known by the handle REFLECT – has always preferred flat backsides for some reason, which is a little strange to me; while there are proponents of all sorts of different body shapes, breast sizes, hair colors, skin tones, and levels of muscularity, I have never heard of anyone who preferred a flat rear versus a curved one. Nonetheless, this is what it is and it is what we have to live with.
As mentioned, the exclusive version of Rei gets the smiling head that we’ve been looking at, along with the normal head, which is this one here. Rei looks a good deal more sultry in this version, with her lips slightly parted and pursed. Both heads look fantastic, though I prefer the smiling one a bit more, partially because I paid extra cash for the extra head, but also because we seldom see a figure of Rei smiling and she’s pretty when she does so.
A close-up examination of her outfit shows that her dress does feature a sort of thong part, rather than being open on the bottom. I suppose this makes it more of a unitard than a dress. A neat detail is the contrast between the glossy black parts and the brownish panels, which I imagine are supposed to be see-through mesh cutouts. The palms of her gloves are colored aqua, which is an interesting touch. The way her thighhighs constrict the flesh of her legs is nearly unnoticeable but it’s a really nice aspect of the figure; it’s one of those things that helps present Rei in a sexy way.
Her base is a bit odd in that it’s colored pink, which really clashes with the rest of the figure. I suppose most people – including myself – don’t pay a lot of attention to bases, though. Yamashita’s artwork is printed on the disc, though I notice she’s smiling here; I haven’t looked around but I wonder if the standard version of this figure uses the alternate head style for the base’s illustration.
Of course, Rei is wearing high heels, which are a common theme with Yamashita’s designs.
And since I’m sure someone will ask, here’s Rei with the older figure. They’re about the same size, though I think the newer Rei is a bit more slender, with more of a wasp waist. The difference isn’t all that conspicuous though, these pictures notwithstanding, as the newer Rei is turned at an angle here and thus looks quite a bit slimmer than the new one.
The effect is less pronounced from the rear.
This is a figure that I am thrilled to own. I liked the previous version but this one is quite a bit better in my view. Aside from its obvious appeal, this figure reminds me of my earlier collecting days, when Yamato was still around and Shunya Yamashita’s figures weren’t limited to Kotobukiya Bishoujo products. It’s a very nostalgic figure, one that brings back warm feelings, which I find helpful and comforting at a time when I’m really wondering how long I can keep up with this hobby. It’s a great figure all around, and I’m quite looking forward to their accompanying Asuka figure, which I expect to turn out just as well.
There is another version of this figure at E2046…s special Gathering version with different coloration. The suit is white and blue with the brownish panels sort of “punched out” to show more skin. I have that version on order myself. She is a beautiful figure either way, and once again your pictures make her even more beautiful than in person. Well done. I personally think she is a much more attractive sculpt than Asuka.
I did see that, though after I had already ordered (and paid for) this figure. Honestly, I would’ve been really tempted to buy it even if it is a bootleg just because they amped up the lewdness factor.
That does remind me that I bought their Misato figure in the bikesuit with the Vispo motorcycle and never did review it. I probably ought to given that Misato’s probably never getting another figure.
incredible figure.Your body is well molded,the fund is good
It really is a great figure.
Really takes me back. The original version was one of the first statues I ever bought. She still has a nice place on my shelf and remains one of my favorites.
The nostalgia factor is one of the most appealing aspects of this figure to me. Not only was the Yamato Rei figure one of the earliest figures I bought, I watched Neon Genesis Evangelion around that time and that helped me get back into toy (and figure) collecting. I’m trying to cut down on the number of figures that I buy (and own) and I haven’t watched an anime series in at least a year, but this figure reminds me of where this all started for me.
Very nice photography and figure! I’ve always liked Rei, and this is an attractive reinterpretation.
Thanks! I do like seeing this more mature take on Rei, especially since she hasn’t gotten nearly as much love as Asuka has in recent times.
If you’re curious about the relationship between the companies Flare and Alter, their company profiles on their webpages state that they are owned by the same person (ä¸‰ä¸Š éš†). I believe Alter acquired Flare some time ago, likely mid 2014.
Ah, thanks for that. Most interesting, though I wonder if there will ever be any collaboration between the two companies. (But even if not, I have to admit I’m more enthused by Flare’s upcoming figures than Alter’s, which is a strange turn of events, since Alter was my favorite figure manufacturer for many years.)
Ooh that alternate face looks nice. I skipped the first version but now I’m kinda tempted to track it down. Definitely looking forward to the new Asuka, and they’ve teased Mari with a gigantic sniper rifle!!
If I had a time travel machine (or more money than I do), I’d probably have gotten the version of the first figure where Rei’s head is all bandaged up. This might be a strange predilection to have but I think Rei looks really cute when she’s all wrapped in gauze with one eyeball covered up.
I’m definitely looking forward to Asuka as well; I dig the high-cut leotard she’s wearing. I have not seen the Mari figure but hopefully Rei fits in well with her castmates, since she’s comparatively unarmed. Like a New Yorker in Tennessee, so to speak.
Yeah that’s a good point. Woulda been nice if they gave Rei the Lance of Longinus just so all three girls are armed.
Yeah, that would’ve been neat. Though personally, I kinda like her pose here since it’s pretty much leading your eye straight to her ass. Kinda wish they did something similar with the new Asuka, to be honest.
I own the original Shunya Rei and Asuka and am happy to see some new additions. That being said, where are all of the goddamned Misato figures!?!?!?!? Also, much love to Yamato. I can thank them for some of my (still) favorite figures in my now vast collection.
It’s unfortunate that Misato has gotten so few figures … though I suppose any Ritsuko fans have even more cause for angst. Are there any Ritsuko fans out there? I don’t think I’ve ever met any. I do actually have an E2046 figure of Misato straddling a motorcycle which is sort of spiffy, but room is limited so I haven’t actually unboxed it (along with the 150+ other figures I have around here …). Maybe I ought to just go ahead and do it since it is not like Misato will ever get another figure anyway.
I have a lot of fondness for Yamato as well; some of their figures are still amongst my favorites, like Kiriko Hattori and Ringo Noyamano, whom I don’t recall ever reviewing, either.
Ringo is fantastic! I picked her up in a comic shop for like $30 before ever having read Air Gear. Unfortunately, her lead pole (not sure if thats what it’s called) snapped at some point down the road.
Also, no. There are are no Ritsuko fans…. well, I would be thoroughly surprised if there were. That being said I did read a great Evangelion doujinshi called R-Lab that centrally focused on her and Shinji.
Yeah, my figure has a snapped foot peg after leaning forward for quite a while. I think I just used some sticky putty to hold her up while I figure out how to repair the damage.
She definitely seems to not be all that popular! Now that I think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single picture of her while casually browsing Danbooru. I haven’t seen that doujinshi but I have come across a few where she appears as a secondary character, often as a mad scientist type who puts Rei and Asuka in sticky situations. She works pretty well for that sort of thing.
R-Lab if I remember correctly was part of a series that focused on Shinji and Misato and Ristsuko in a sort of Edipus Rex story outline.
Not everyones cup of tea; however, the art was extremely well done.
Ah, yes, Saigado was always great with the Evangelion franchise. And, uhh, with Guilty Gear. I’m trying to remember if Izurumi did a doujinshi with Ritsuko; I could swear that he did.
I first preordered this thinking she was a recolor of the original, it was only weeks later that I was was pleasantly surprised when I realized she was entirely different. Her box is amazing.
Rei and Shunya have never been a bad combination.
Great pics as always!
Indeed! It is great to see Shunya doing something aside from the Bishoujo stuff (though I am looking forward to Kotobukiya’s GI Joe Bishoujo figures). They did an amazing job with this figure (and the box is indeed quite nice. As was the postcard and mini-poster I got, though I suppose anyone can find the original artwork and make a nice print of it themselves).
And thanks for the kind words XD
Evangelion was my first anime experience and I love it, even when some people say it’s weird. For me it will always be simply awesome. The funny thing was though that I only liked Misato as female character, Asuka and Rei weren’t of much appeal for me, weird girls lol.
That slightly changed a little when I watched the first 2 movies. I think the archetype character of Rei became a bit neglected in recent anime productions, serious and timid girls are not really present or in demand anymore.
I like the smiling face a lot, it shows some motherly affection. I always had the impression that Rei has a motherly personality. I prefer white, although the figures glossy black and semi transparent areas are looking really nice.
…and yes she has a flat gluteus maximus XD Although its funny how her arms frame her backside when there actually is not all that much butt.
It’s definitely a classic, even though I don’t really have a ton of desire to re-watch it. Rei was my favorite character; I tend to like those quiet, mysterious female characters. Though Misato was definitely great, too. I’d probably say I liked those two characters more than I liked Asuka, though she’s a good character, too. I haven’t seen the movies yet but I understand Rei’s personality is a bit different, and that’s a little disappointing I guess.
The smiling face is really nice; well, the original face is really good too but somehow the smiling face seems to work well with the design of this figure. There’s that one part where Rei smiles at the end and she smiles specifically because it’s not something she normally does; I think that idea works well here, where she looks a little older and is dressed in a more mature way. I kinda like to think that Rei would become more of a normal girl as she grew older.
Kind of unrelated to the figure itself….
Did you remove your older figure reviews? I was trying to find a few from way back and did not see them.
Err, no, I don’t think so. Which figure reviews were you looking for? I think I’ve only ever deleted one post and it was a pretty useless post. I’d be pretty perturbed if my posts have just randomly gone missing.
I was looking for Kozue Sakakibara and found her after reading your reply. I guess I remembered her face wrong and I’m terrible with names so that was a brick wall.
Another one had your tentacle monster and Obama making an appearance, I really don’t remember much about that one – and too lazy to go one by one looking for it.
Ah, okay. Hmm, not sure what that last one might be. Could’ve been that Mikuru Asahina figure I photographed years and years ago that I honestly didn’t really want to write a bunch about, since the figure isn’t really that great.
You should add tags for “starring guests” to your posts, it might be helpful in certain instances. They appear to be memorable at any rate, lol
Ha, I probably should. It would help keep things organized for sure.