Today we’re looking at yet another leotard-clad girl from a fighting game – in this case, Marie Rose from Tecmo Koei’s Dead or Alive series. She’s a character I’m conflicted on; I like her design, in a general sense, but I have not been enthusiastic about what her – and Honoka’s – introduction to the series has meant for the Dead or Alive franchise. Nonetheless, in figure form, we can simply admire her for what she looks like, and that’s good enough for me.
This figure is manufactured by Max Factory, in something of a followup to their figure of Kasumi, released all the way back in 2004. That figure was one of the first scale-size figures I ever received; oddly, it got an update and re-release last year, sixteen years after it was first sold. Marie Rose was released in 2018 and is sculpted in an unusual 1/5 scale, standing an impressive 27.5 centimeters in height.
First, the good, or rather, the things I like about Marie Rose’s design: I like her costume quite a bit. If I remember right – and it’s been a while since I played Dead or Alive 5 – this blue leotard was one of her default costumes in Dead or Alive 5, but Tecmo then made her less revealing black-and-white dress her standard outfit in Dead or Alive 6 and locked this costume behind some sort of point or currency shop. Regardless, it’s a daring costume to give to such a young-looking character and while Marie Rose doesn’t really fill it out all that well, she still looks pretty nice in it.
Perhaps it’s untoward to expound on Marie Rose’s sexiness but her pose certainly emphasizes her appeal. She’s depicted leaning forward in a playful and saucy pose, flashing a mischievous smile. Her stance also conveys her childish and impish personality.
I’m not sure if she actually adopts this pose in the game, though; I don’t play as Marie Rose often but I do remember her intro and victory poses and I don’t recall any of them looking exactly like this.
Another virtue of her pose is, of course, viewers get to admire her backside in all its glory. My particular figure appears to have an unsightly scuff, though, which is unfortunate.
Fortunately for me the scratch isn’t all that visible in ambient light. I usually display my figures facing forward, anyway.
A profile view reveals how much of her back and sides are also visible; there would be some prominent sideboob visible here if Marie Rose were more well-endwoed. She’s also wearing frilled thighhighs and long arm sleeves with large, rather puffy gloves, which are quite cute.
One aspect of Marie Rose’s design – and the design of all the female Dead or Alive characters, really – that I am conflicted on is that in Dead or Alive 5, Tecmo transitioned away from the anime-styled faces of the previous games and debuted a more realistic look for each of the characters. That shift is evident on this figure, and it’s particularly obvious when compared to the earlier Kasumi figure. Personally, I liked the anime styling of the earlier games, and I think the previous look worked better with the traditional motifs of the series, which focused heavily on exaggerated aesthetics and copious amounts of fanservice.
One other thing about this figure is that the hair is sculpted with a sort of translucent look. I own several figures with this feature and I’m really not a big fan of it; I’d prefer hair to be sculpted with a solid look and matte finish.
I think that the main thing I dislike about Marie Rose and Honoka is that they represent some tired tropes that I wouldn’t mind not seeing, particularly in a series like Dead or Alive. I don’t really think the franchise needed an underaged gothloli nor an airheaded Super Sonico knockoff. That they’ve effectively become the faces of the franchise is even more unfortunate in my view. I guess what I’m really saying is that I wish that Tomonobu Itagaki were in control of the series again, even if he is apparently not that great of a human being.
But regardless of how I feel about the character or the present circumstances of the Dead or Alive franchise, the figure does look really good. It’s big – perhaps not an important consideration to many collectors but me, I much prefer larger figures and a 1/5 scale figure is something I respect and celebrate. Although I’m not an ardent loli fan – as a survey of my figure collection would confirm – I like Marie Rose’s design, with her shiny leotard and cute socks and gloves. This is quite a nice figure, one that I’m happy to own. I’d also love for someone to make a figure of Lisa, but given that she seems to be the least popular female character in the series, that’s probably too much to hope for.
The Dead or Alive franchise was incorporated into the Azur Lane universe via a collaboration last December; as Marie Rose was one of the included characters, I think that this review is technically the first review of an Azur Lane character on this website. That’s a really odd fact given that I’ve been a fan of Azur Lane since its global release and that I own several figures from the series.