Scarlett from G.I. Joe (Bishoujo Version)

Scarlett from G.I. Joe

Unsurprisingly, virtually all of my preorders from the last two months have been delayed, and so I’ve only received one figure order in that time (a virtual cookie goes to whoever guesses which figure that might be). Therefore, we’ll take a look at Kotobukiya’s Scarlett, which came out last summer. I actually took these pictures shortly after receiving it, as this was a figure that I had been excited about since I saw Shunya Yamashita’s concept art the year prior. Growing up, G.I. Joe was one of my favorite cartoons – no surprise, as I spent much of my childhood on an Army base – and Scarlett was my favorite character. To say that I was eagerly anticipating this figure would be an understatement.

Scarlett figure

Unlike many of her compatriots – many of whom are based on stock archetypes – Scarlett’s roles, characterization, and appearance has varied through the years. As I recall, she’s listed as an enlisted intelligence specialist on her original action figure filecard. In the cartoon, she was sort of a generalist – I remember her flying a Skystriker fighter jet – and a love interest for Duke (contrary to the comic book, which paired her with Snake Eyes) as well as an occasional damsel-in-distress. She’s also variably been a helicopter pilot, a ninja, and a very high-ranking commander type; I’m not certain but being that she’s gone from sergeant to colonel over the years, she may have the widest disparity of all the Joe characters in terms of rank.

Scarlett figure

This figure is manufactured by Kotobukiya as part of their long-running Bishoujo series. Despite my fondness for Japanese interpretations of American entertainment properties, I haven’t actually bought many of them, for no reason that I can discern. Given their willingness to incorporate characters from both horror films and fighting games, I hope that they one day produce figures of characters from the Mortal Kombat series; that would be hilarious and I think I would buy them.

Also of note is that Kotobukiya launched a website for the Bishoujo series this month. It’s a very comprehensive site that provides a detailed overview of more than a decade of figure production.

Scarlett figure

Scarlett is sculpted in 1/7 scale and is about 21 centimeters in overall height. She’s attached to her base and is thus ready for display right out of the box.

Scarlett figure

Scarlett is one of the most iconic and easily-recognizable characters from G.I. Joe but she’s gone through myriad costumes over the years. Her later outfits have generally been more reminiscent of military-issue battlefield dress, with the unfortunate result of deemphasizing her sexiness. That’s not the case with this figure, however; Kotobukiya and illustrator Shunya Yamashita have adapted Scarlett’s appearance from the old Marvel comic books, with her clad in a purple bodysuit and yellow leotard ensemble. It’s an outfit that is emblematic of the 80s but with nostalgia for that decade so prevalent in the contemporary zeitgeist, it’s a welcome sight.

Scarlett figure

Her bodysuit features an unusual snakeskin pattern; it’s a bit unusual to see since texturing on her costume was never apparent in her earlier appearances and any sort of ophidian styling cue was more of a Cobra thing. Nonetheless, it certainly catches the eye. Also attracting interest – probably in larger measure – is the way her bodysuit positively sheathes her body. G.I. Joe toys have never really been noted for their sex appeal and one wonders what sort of opinion the approvers at Hasbro had when they viewed the prototype figure. A high-cut leotard further emphasizes the curves of her body.

Scarlett figure

Scarlett’s outift is completed by elbow gloves, boots, and a practical belt that, while certainly not required to hold up her trousers, offers some useful pouches. Indeed, her costume is festooned with pouches. Tight-fitting clothing typically offers little in the way of storage options but Scarlett was seemingly determined not to suffer that inconvenience.

Scarlett figure

G.I. Joe is a military-themed series and as such virtually of the characters are associated with weapons. The women of G.I. Joe have some atypical preferences regarding their weapons of choice, though; Lady Jaye chucks javelins, Cover Girl rolls with a tank, and Scarlett is usually associated with a crossbow, which is what she is holding here. No reloads are visible, but she does have what looks like a grenade clipped over her left breast.

Scarlett figure

Scarlett is aiming that crossbow in a threatening posture, but her pose is decidedly relaxed; she’s depicted as casually leaning on a large rock or something. There’s this odd thing on this rock; it looks like a sea urchin or a nautical mine or a stylized coronavirus, but the illustration shows that it’s actually some sort of laser beam hitting the rock (and very narrowly missing Scarlett’s foot). As I recall, the Joe team used red lasers and Cobra fired blue lasers, but this laser is yellow, so who knows who’s shooting at her.

Scarlett figure

The design of Scarlett’s face is instantly recognizable as being Shunya Yamashita’s handiwork. It’s kind of amazing that both he, Kotobukiya, and the various licensors have maintained their relationships to keep the Bishoujo line going for this long. We’ve seen so many trends in the figure industry come and go – Black Rock Shooter, Ikkitousen, Nanoha; even Kantai Collection seems to be on the way out, at least as far as figures go, but the Bishoujo series is still going as strong as it ever has.

Scarlett figure

Going back to Scarlett’s costume, it’s particularly pleasing how well it clings to her form, particularly her backside, the view of which reminds me a bit of Konami’s G.I. Joe arcade game. Indeed, one of the very best aspects of this figure is how most views of Scarlett highlight the prominent swell of her hips.

Scarlett figure

There are a lot of things I like about this figure, so it’s no surprise that it was one of my favorite figure releases of 2019. I hadn’t really expected anyone to ever make a superb scale-size figure of Scarlett, so I was happy that Kotobukiya took a shot at it, and I’m even more thrilled that they did such a great job of it (I’m not as big a fan of Prime 1’s 1/4 scale statue of her, and I’m curious to see if Pop Culture Shock makes one of her). Scarlett is a figure I’m very happy to own, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where else Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line goes.

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10 Responses to Scarlett from G.I. Joe (Bishoujo Version)

  1. TomTheCat says:

    This is a very appealing figure. The colour palette is rather striking. I’m always interested in Koto’s Bishoujo series, because I’m quite fond of Yamashita’s style. Unfortunately, Koto doesn’t always nail the faces, which is a major letdown. For example, I was excited for Wasp https://www.kotobukiya.co.jp/kikakugai/kikakugai-56504/ (I admit I’m a sucker for skintight bodysuits), but I disliked her face so much that I didn’t get her.

    But this one really does look very nice in every aspect. It’s always a pleasure to get a decent figure of a beloved character.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, the faces are not as good as the artwork. They’ve gotten better over time but they’re still not that amazing. I miss the other figures that were based off of Yamashita’s artwork but it seems like the bishoujo stuff is mostly what gets made, with the occasional random Evangelion character figure.

  2. Aya says:

    Wow you even remember their laser color, impressive πŸ˜€ During my childhood I think only watch Gi Joe extreme on TV..
    Scarlett pose really great I like her concept getting shot and aiming the bow to shot back,and even in war she wear a heels boots XD the suit texture looks great too

    • BostonBrandon says:

      It’s so funny to look back at how many shows used lasers as a way to side step around the finality of bullets.

      • Aya says:

        now that you mention it when toonami(cartoon network) aired gundam seed , I heard they replace the handgun with laser pistols every time a character draw gun with realistic looking one

    • Tier says:

      It’s great how regardless of who the character is and what she’s doing, Shunya Yamashita seems to always throw in high heels. I really enjoyed the cartoon when I was young, though I lived in Korea at the time and I don’t actually remember if we got G.I. Joe on TV, despite getting broadcasts from the Army. My aunt in the States used to record the afternoon cartoons and send us the VHS tapes. It’s funny how I can remember that well and yet it seems like a lifetime ago.

  3. wieselhead says:

    Kotobobukiya’s Bishoujo line is interesting, for some reason I haven’t bought any so far.
    I don’t dislike them, but something must be missing for me so far.

    Scarlett nevertheless looks really nice in your post. I really like the striking colors and that she has pretty red hair.
    It’s a very good example of an comic character adapted into anime style, it’s not too cute and not too western looking πŸ˜€

    The yellow latex or leather like parts of her outfit look so great , the detailed texture of the blue bodysuit adds a lot of depth to the figures sculpt. The sculpt is very attractive, I like the waist, especially how it looks from the right. The aiming pose and stern expression are probably the right choice for her.

    • Tier says:

      I don’t buy as many of them as I thought I might, being that I’ve been a big fan of American comics and cartoons. I’m still waiting for some Mortal Kombat bishoujo figures to get more interested in the line.

  4. I forgot my old name says:

    This figure is awesome. However I think the thing on the rock it is the aftermath of the laser hitting the rock and creating a small explosion and I think it was accomplished really well.

    I lke everything about this figure.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, that’s what it is. It’s a neat effect and it’s surprising and humorous that they decided to include it in the actual figure.

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