Kotobukiya creates Jaina Solo figure. Not Perverse. Hell freezes over.
Kotobukiya make some damn good figures. My bookcase is guarded by no less than five clone troopers from their Star Wars ArtFX+ line. Their figures are always solidly built and feature really impressive designs. That is er, apart from their “Bishoujo” series. The Urban Dictionary defines Bishoujo as: “Literally means “pretty girl” in Japanese.” Okay, so their Bishoujo line is going to be ‘pretty’ female characters in an anime form. That doesn’t sound too bad right? Personally that’s not my thing, I prefer my figures more on the bad ass side than the ‘pretty’ side but if that’s your thing then sure, whatever floats your boat. Let’s look at the figure they made for Mass Effect’s tough alien scientist Liara T’soni.
Do you remember that part in the trilogy where she struck this pose with that facial expression? Yeah, me either. I had a lot problems with this figure at the time and since Kotobukiya invited fans to give feedback I certainly did. Liara is a character who starts out as a reclusive scientist and by the end of the series has become one of the toughest in the series. She has the power to throw people around a room, knows her way around a gun and is one of the smartest characters than you team up with. So why oh why did they choose to pose her like a stripper squeezing her breasts together with the facial expression of a baby? What am I supposed to think looking at this figure? Liara wouldn’t be caught dead in that pose. It’s an insult to the character and is just plain ridiculous.
Unfortunately the Liara figure was the norm not the exception. Out of the whole Bishoujo line I only found two that looked like they embodied the character and aimed more for ‘pretty’ rather than sleazey. It’s such a disappointment as it’s basically degrading strong characters into nothing but titillating eye candy. There’s already such a lack of female characters in nerd culture it makes this even more deplorable as it further pushes the stereotype that female characters are designed by and for men with their physical appearance more important than their personality.
So when I heard Kotobukiya had announced a Jaina Solo figure I set my face to cringe and got ready to be disappointed yet again as one of my favourite female characters gets transformed into a bimbo. The final design for the figure is…. drum roll please…
Now is it just me, or is that actually not so bad? Maybe since I had such horrible expectations I’m seeing it through tinted glasses but I actually think that figure looks pretty good. To start with she’s wearing her pilot gear and holding her helmet which is true to the character. For those who don’t know Jaina Solo is basically the best pilot in the galaxy putting her in her uniform was a really good idea. Speaking of which notice how she’s just wearing a normal vest beneath? I was expecting some ridiculous cleavage. You can also see she’s carrying her lightsaber to signify she’s a Jedi Knight. Unlike a lot of the Bishoujo figures this doesn’t look like a Barbie doll who’s stolen a wig and a character’s clothes, this actually looks like Jaina Solo. Another surprise was her pose, unlike Liara she’s not pushing her breasts together or anything incredulous like that she’s just stood there.
So I’m actually pleasantly surprised. It is the first time I’ve ever seen a Bishoujo figure that I would purchase. I’m actually pretty impressed with Kotobukiya. Whether this is a response to the early negative backlash they got from Liara or it’s a coincidence I don’t know but I hope this is a sign of things to come and not just a fluke.