Happy New Year and welcome to my first review of 2020. It has been quite a while since I have done any written reviews here on MFC, so I apologize for my lack of presence on the site. I have been putting a lot of time into Instagram lately doing video reviews on there and slowly began to neglect the art of written reviews. Video reviews is something I would like to aim towards, but before I start posting videos on youtube or even on here, I will continue to practice on Instagram and hopefully continue to write written reviews on here as well!
And one final statement before we begin, I was finally able to change my user name from “Celestrial” to Rycat220 “, to match up with my other social media platforms.
At any rate! Let’s get into the review! Today we are going to be checking out the final figure in the Madoka Magica movie trilogy line of figures, Sakura Kyoko. She is 1/8 in scale by Goodsmile Company. For some quick perspective, the first figure from the set ( Madoka herself ) was released back in 2014, so it has taken 5 years to release all the characters based on the movie illustration. I can’t believe it has been such a long journey, with Kyoko getting countless delays she is finally here to complete the magical girl group!
[WARNING - THIS IS AN IMAGE HEAVY REVIEW -]
________________ BOX ________________
Let’s begin by taking a look at the box. All the figures in the Movie trilogy set have used the same box design and it is absolutely gorgeous. The front features a nice circular viewing window with some intricate patterns and designs surrounding the frame. The swirls and bends are very reminiscent of old gothic styled gates and fencing. Scattered throughout the designs are different coloured apples, which is a reference to some key imagery featured in the show and relates to her character. I think what really holds this design to together is the diamond pattern for the background, which has these lovely shades of red and orange, it’s so vibrant and eye catching especially with that subtle gradient of intensity started strong at the top and eventually fading down to white towards the bottom.
The white helps draw you attention to a banner featuring some details about the figure and a little photo image of what you expect to see inside. The viewing window on the front is very generous and helps the buyer really get an idea of what they expect to get when purchasing this figure. I also like how towards the back of the box, it features these coloured circles ( a motif that is featured in the original Madoka Magica OP as well as featuring in the witch worlds ) is cut out to act as a tiny viewing window, so that you can get a peak of some details of the figure from other angels. The box itself is quite large, but in a way that is appropriate to keep all the contents on the inside safe and secure.
________________ BLISTER ________________
Once the figure has been opened you will be greeted with one large blister and one smaller compartment attached to the back by tape. Inside the main large blister you will find:
1. Main figure
3.Metal pole attachment
Whole the thinner blister attached to the back contains Kyoko’s lance.
Also inside the box you will find a set of instructions, one side featuring the instructions in Japanese, while the other side features the instructions written in English. While Goodsmile already does an amazing job efficiently communicating the construction process of a figure through detailed photos and steps – it’s always reassuring to have any finer important details spelled out in English for us not able to read the native tongue.
There are a few steps to the construction process, so before we take a look at the completed figure, let’s take a look at the process step by step.
________________THE CONSTRUCTION ________________
Before we do anything else, let’s have a quick look at the base. Rather than the base being just a plain round clear base, it’s slightly elevated in the center and has a red colouring applied to it. I believe the idea is that it is supposed to represent a bubble, where the colour is stronger around the outside and becomes clearer towards the center. The base itself is huge, the biggest base we have gotten so far from the Magical girls, and this is because the base has to be large enough to counteract the balance and weight distribution of the figure…which we will touch on in great detail momentarily.
Once you have base removed from the blister, the next step is to attach the metal rod into the base. On the right hand side of the base you will notice a little hole extrusion peeking out. The longer end of the pole will connect into the base with the hook hanging over above. The connecting is quite tight, so you may need to apply a little force to ensure the pole is connected securely into the base. Keeping in mind the base is quite thing so you don’t want to push too hard in order to not snap the base. Connect with caution!
After that, the next step is to attach Kyoko to the pole connection that’s hanging out.
On the bottom of Kyoko’s left boot, you will find a small square hole on the tip. Line this up with the pole and connect. The pole is designed to be square so that it locks the figure in one position, so make sure Kyoko is an a upright position when attaching her (Use the photos down below for reference) One important thing to note is that this pole connection will need to be inserted quite far into her foot, almost halfway down her entire boot. So make sure you have a firm grip of Kyoko’s boot as you apply careful pressure to ensure the pole is as far in as it can go. Cause this will be absolutely necessary in ensuring the figure is secure and won’t fall off as years go by due to her weight. ( All very important points I’ll be covering soon ).
Once Kyoko is locked in, the last step we need to do is give her the lance! Open up the second smaller blister attached to the back of the larger one and remove the lance. In order to connect the lance to the figure, we need to remove the head of the lance. It uses a simple peg connection and pops off with ease.
Starting with the hand closer to her chest, slide the pole with the peg connection facing forward. Slide it in-between her hand, reaching all the way to her other arm/hand. While her right hand wraps around the pole completely, her left hand only holds the pole in place by her index figure. Once the pole has slid past by these points, continue to push it down further so that there’s about 30% more of the rod behind her rather than in front of her. Once you have found the perfect spot, re-attach the head of the lance and the figure is complete!
________________SAKURA KYOKO – THE COMPLETED FIGURE ________________
Now that the figure is fully constructed, let’s take a turn around look before we dive deeper into the finer details of the figure. Now let’s talk about the most important aspect of this review, the presentation. Upon first glance, this thing is terrifying. It’s awful, ugly and just doesn’t seem quite right. I completely respect that every one of these figures based on the films is based on an original illustration, which cannot be easy to replicate, especially when all of the girls are simply floating in the air. But with something as daring as this, I truly believe some sort of creative liberties could have been put in place to avoid this looking so…prototype. It honestly looks unfinished.
My biggest gripe is with the pole connection. Any figure that has a metal pole connection is a welcome one. It ensures the figure is safely secured and will not be prone to leaning or succumbing to falling over by weight over time. But in order to get Kyoko at such an insane height, they have used the largest pole connection I have ever seen, and sticks out like a sore thumb. There is literally no attempt in covering up this connection and that’s what bothers me the most. The first figure in the series, Madoka, featured a pole connection but was covered up by a swirling cloud effect. While the effect was not present in the original illustration, it was a creative move that did a fantastic job at creating an aesthetically pleasing functional pole. The next was Homura, who had the tiniest lift off the ground it didn’t matter the pole was so obvious. Next was Mami, who had a large ugly pole connection that also took away from the figure quite a bit.
And then now with poor Kyoko, the pole got ridiculously large and very off putting. The fact that they put so much more effort into covering up with connection with Madoka 5 years ago, makes me wonder why as time went on they decided to drop this concept and go with a much more raw look. I understand that with the way THIS pole is placed, it would take a lot to cover it up. But I also don’t believe the pole NEEDS to be connected at that point for this pose to work. They could of easily of placed her on a clouded podium around her knees in the centre instead. But with Homura and Mami both getting the ugly pole treatment, it’s disappointing to see that they lost interest in trying to cover it up as time went on, rather than improving it.
Seeing her from this shot here just strikes fear to my heart. It’s one of those instance where the pose is so dynamic and her being placed up so high is amazing to look at. But when you step back and you see how far above the ground she is placed with nothing but a pole holding her up by her foot…its terrifying. The space that is underneath her is equally equivalent to the space she takes up herself. So rather than being drawn to what is a beautiful figure, I am straight away drawn to the empty space, the ugly pole and the Frisbee base. As I mentioned before, I understand that the base IS that size so that it can counter balance the weight and height of the figure. But I also don’t believe it NEEDS to be that large. If a different method was used, a smaller base could have been produced.
Something that is also not quite apparent in my photos, but in the few hours that I have had her displayed, I can already notice the back of the base is being lifted. So despite the base being designed to counter the weight, already her being so far out from the connection is causing stress on the base to lift up. Concerning for the long run.
The base takes up A LOT of room on a shelf, and quite frankly I don’t think she looks great as a standalone figure. This being the final figure in the set, I really feel like the figure is complimented more as being part of a set. The other figures cover up the imperfections, which having her on her own only draws your attention to them instead. It’s a massive shame because I really love this figure and her pose, but just the execution of getting her up there was not worth the wait.
Now with all that out of the way, let’s forget about what is around her and focus on the figure herself, which has many amazing qualities to her. I really like how her face turned out, GSC has continued to follow the tradition of using these gorgeous eye decals that have this pencil grain effect on them. This was an effect used throughout the series as well, and seeing that kind of detail illustrated in figure form is stunning. She has a cheeky expression which perfectly captures her personality. Although I’ll admit I think the tongue is a little “Too pink “for my liking. When I was taking photos of her I constantly thought that something had gotten onto her face, no, just turns out it’s her tongue. I think on the promo photos and the box art it is more of a darker red, I think the shade of pink is more equivalent to a cherry blossom. Otherwise I think the face detailing is great.
The maroon red colouring for her hair and jacket is not a colour you see as a dominant colour on figures very often. While it’s mostly dark with minor highlights, it radiates vibrance and truly stands out amongst the collection. I really like the way her fringe sits above her head, while the sculpting hair lines are minimal, there is enough depth and texture in there so that natural light can cast some very nice shadowing to highlight those sculpting details, rather than painting toning and shadows instead. I also love how light reflect off of the grey/silver parts on her arm, really nice usage of glossy paint there.
One of my favourite aspects of this figure is how amazingly dynamic her pony tail is. I love how in motion all of these strands are, it really helps to illustrate that illusion of her soaring through the air read to strike! Beautifully sculpted and just adds so much to the figures presence.
From the angle we can get a better look at the white detailing on her jacket/dress as well as her soul gem. The white line work came out really clean as it is sculpted rather than just painted white lines directly onto the jacket/dress itself. Having those lines sculpted adds an extra sense of depth to the figure, especially around her neck and shoulders, it helps not only draw your attention to those spots, but also helps to illustrate how the clothes would function in real life, I LOVE those kind of sculpting details and this figure has quite a few of them.
The soul gem on her chest uses some clear plastic/material, the colour is stunning.
Moving on down, we can get a better look at her outfit. I absolutely love how much her dress/jacket flares out at the back. You can imagine just how the wind must have caught up with it and created this beautiful “Whooooosh” effect. I really like how the white frills turned out around the edge of the jacket/dress. They have a slight pinkish tone painted over the white which does wonders to highlight all the little bends and crevasses in the frills as they wrap around the outfit. The sculpting detail on the body is fantastic, the way the outfit clings to her petite body and how you can tell exactly where the puffy/looser part of the dress begins to flare out, and how well the rest of her body kind of continues to flow down underneath it. Beautifully done.
This section here is honestly one of my favourite elements of sculpting detail. Each layer of clothing is carefully sculpted and distinguishable from each other. You can tell exactly where each clothing begins and ends. Her dress on top, the white frills/petty coat underneath that, then the black shirt underneath and finally the pink pleated skirt. All of these objects could have been combined to one solid sculpt. But they have all been perfectly layered to create this really stunning effect, just love how that turned out. You can also see a little bit of “thigh “over flow there from the purple stockings, very nice!
Another shot illustrating how wonderful her outfit looks. The painting work here is spot on, you can see how along the edges the colouring is darker and then continues to become lighter as it gets more towards the middle. I especially love the shading work done in that big dip just below her back. Having those darker tones really bring those bends in the clothing to life. Just such a beautifully dynamic pose! Especially when you cannot see the pole or base like this….sigh…
Here we can take a look at how wonderful her boots are! I love long boots like this, especially the way the little “collar “is sculpted around near the mouth of the boot. All of these white lines are so striking against the maroon red, almost like racing stripes! All of the magical girls just have really harmonious colour combinations, Kyoko’s small sections of purple along her stockings and gloves just add so much to this characters design, simply stunning!
You can also get a cheeky glimpse of Kyoko’s pleated skirt from this angle too, a beautifully sculpted piece of detail that could easily go un-noticed if you have her displayed from the front!
And lastly, a shot from above showing off how insane her lance is! Her weapon is absolutely huge! The way they have her posed looks like she is ready to swing that bad boy around at any moment taking down a witch with full might! It’s so impressive they were able to capture its size and having it swung all the way behind her like that is so amazing to look at! The pole of the lance uses this really nice shiny pearl gold paint work, which compliments well with the metallic silver on the spear head and end cap of the pole. So cool!
This is a figure I am really emotionally conflicted with. Ultimately it IS an amazing figure. GSC have done an incredible job creating the Madoka magica movie set of figures. I personally think the sculpting, paintwork and detailing is miles ahead of the original Madoka magica figures they first produced based on the series – with the movie figures all having a very coherent style to them and a sense of vibrance and magical wonder I felt the others lacked. Kyoko herself is amazing, love the sculpting and paint work on the clothing. GSC have done an amazing job in creating a true sense of motion and perfectly layering each piece of clothing in a realistic and believable way. Her face turned out great, love the decals, the expression but could of gone for a darker tone of pink on the tongue. The pose is powerful, energetic and true to the original art piece – which is respect and admire a lot.
Overall some great paint work, tone and shading, sculpting and keeping up with the same level of detail and standards as the other figures in the line.
HOWEVER – the presentation with the pole connection and the base heavily detracts away from this figure. If you are JUST getting this figure of Kyoko and nothing else is around her, its hard to look at JUST her and not look at the monstrosity trying to support her. The metal pole connection is painfully obvious, huge and ugly to look at. The base is gigantic in trying to compensate for the height and weight of the figure. She is up too high in that there is too much empty space beneath her. It’s just an illusion that is shattered very quickly when looking at the grand scheme of things and it is really such a shame.
I understand how hard it must have been to achieve this, I truly do. But I feel this could have been avoided with some sort of cloudy “woosh” effect holding her up In the middle rather than by the furthers point imaginable. Maybe even a wonky tower of blocks or some odd witch world structure? I'm not sure.
Either way I am very happy to finally have her in my collection, and as a collective she really DOES complete the set in a very satisfying way. Why don’t we wrap up the review with seeing how she looks with the rest to add some perspective to my words?
And here they are! The entire set finally complete! Having this shelf slowly come together over the past 5 years has been a long task. I got each one of these figures as they came out and I was truly not prepared for it to take this long. But they all look absolutely incredible together. I'm really satisfied with how I have them displayed and I feel that this particular layout does the best to highlight each one of the figures pose and height. You can see how as a collective, the others all do a great job in masking Kyoko’s ugly pole scenario, which shouldn’t have to be the case. While I collect figures based on how they look as a set, I know there are many other collectors out there who buy figures of just characters they like and I feel it’s important to analyze a figure based on both of those perspectives too! So ultimately, looks great together with the others, but alone, not so much.
And just another shot showing a little more of my collection!
Thank you so much for reading this review and would love to hear your own personal thoughts and opinions in the comments. Do you think Kyoko could have been connected in a better way? What do you think of the pole connections presence effecting the figure?
If you have any questions or would like to request any photos of different aspects I didn’t capture; I’ll do my best to help out! Or if anyone has any requests on ANY of the items I own in my collection I would be more than happy to review them also :)
Thank you so much for your time,
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