(This week, we have a special treat from our dear friend Molly who has not only allowed us to borrow this figure for review purposes, but also wrote the actual reviews itself! I hope you’ll enjoy this review as much as we did.)
Within the realm of manga, it’s hard to imagine a title more endlessly enjoyable than the ever-classic Genshiken. However, within its diverse cast of characters and strange situations, there stands a single gleaming gem- and she goes by the name of Ogiue Chika. I am certain that I’m not the first to be charmed by Ogiue’s flustered blushing or adorable anger stints, nor is it likely I’ll be the last, considering this highly in-character figure.
Strangely enough, Genshiken has been graced with a few notable- and highly desirable- cosplay figures within its 9-volume run and anime adaptation, most notably Yamato’s Kasukabe Saki and GSC’s Ohno Kanako, although many may wonder at the latter’s odd choice in pose. For those of you who haven’t read the manga, the design for this particular figure comes from a chapter in which shy and combative yaoi doujin-artist Chika is reluctantly persuaded into a popular in-series manga cosplay by fellow club member and fanatic Ohno. Alter has done this highly-enjoyable episode justice with Kujibiki Unbalance Ogiue.
From first glance, Ogiue is everything you remember her to be- adorably awkward and oddly proportioned. Some might criticize her stiff and embarrassed pose; however, I would claim the opposite- the pose is almost so in-character it hurts. It’s even more explainable when you take the time to consider this figure’s hidden feature, which shall be unveiled and expanded upon later in the review.
Moving on from the pose, one may find a few qualms with the quality of her clothing, which is made out of a bendy sort of PVC to allow for changing. What struck me the most was just how unnecessarily wide it made her look- compared with her lithe frame, Ogiue’s uniform seems a little overly bulky and ends up making her hips appear too wide. In general, the design of her cosplay is not one of my favourites, but some of the detailing on the uniform, such as the buttons or flared skirt, really do detract from the overall look of the figure.
Despite the shortcomings in costume, Ogiue’s face and legs make for enjoyable visuals. Her uncomfortable, embarrassed face is painted with a sort of slow-blooming blush which adds a nice touch for anyone looking for details. A lot of figures rely on larger, unnaturally coloured eyes to draw you in, but there’s an odd subtle beauty in Ogii’s slanted hazel gaze. It’s somewhat refreshing to see a figure more grounded in reality but still as luscious as some of the fancier ones we’ve seen recently on the market (I’m looking at you, Miku VN02 Mix).
Ogiue’s legs are also stunningly sculpted in that they keep the shape of real female legs. Running your fingers along her thighs (do I sound a little creepy there?) you can feel the natural concaves in her skin and where her muscles might be pulled taught were she animate. Her skin also looks very natural, and in some lighting you can even notice a sort of healthy glow, which is always very pleasant to see in a figure.
One thing I noticed fairly early on when I received Ogiue (I was lucky enough to receive her as a present from Jianyan and Chag on my last birthday) was that her arms are freakishly skinny. This flaw doesn’t jump out at you when you first view the figure, but on closer inspection it seems rather glaringly obvious. As mentioned previously, Chika’s uniform is far bulkier than her actual frame, which might explain why her arms have such a small diameter in comparison to her torso. Regardless, it’s not a major problem unless you’re looking for trouble.
Another little problem is her ears. So big! Clearly, though, this is the influence of character design(you might have noticed that Shimoku Kio has an odd way of drawing faces). For those of us who like the big-eared look (such as monkeys) this shouldn’t be a problem.
There’s a big problem with this figure, though, and that would be her glasses. They don’t come pre-formed, so you have to bend them into shape yourself (there are a few replacements, which is not a good sign) and place them on Ogiue’s tiny face with an almost impossible delicate finesse. The problem is that even if you do manage to place the glasses on Ogiue’s nose, there’s no way of securing them- they cannot wrap around the side of her face and the grips that they come with offer no stability. Sadly, I had to give up trying to get her glasses on, so a warning for the wise: if you’ve got a glasses moe, turn back – only tears await you.
Moving back to pleasanter subjects, Ogiue’s hands are easily cute in that they are so tiny. Looking at the side of her fists, her discomfort is once again highlighted- one hand is gripping itself firmly for dear life while the other is flexing nervously. Unfortunately, her thumbs are a little less distinct than her fingers, so if you look at her hands from a frontal view, they do not look very natural.
I’m sure there’s a number of those out there who have a thing for foreheads, but I happened to like Ogiue’s bangs, so the choice of Renko cosplay for her leaves us lacking in the fringe department. I’m also a little sad we don’t get to see her paintbrush ponytail, which gave me a few heart attacks when I was reading the series.
And now we move on to the really enjoyable part.
Sukumizu have to be one of the greatest joys in life. The design is so perfect- demure in coverage yet gripping in all the right places. Ogiue’s swimsuit (which is also a part of her cosplay, boasting her character’s name and class on its front) fits like a glove, complete with suggestive creasing on certain bits and some gratuitous bumps on others. One of the most enjoyable features of this figure is the small of her back- arched and juvenile; it’s easily attractive in a classy way.
There are one or two cons to Ogii’s hidden costume change. The first problem is that she’s still wearing shoes and knee-high socks, which really betrays that out-of-the-water look that her gripping swimsuit suggests. Also, due to her uniform’s high collar, her neck is slightly longer than usual. Although this is no big problem from the front, a quick glance from the side is enough to point out this flaw.
Something that’s quite becoming about switching to Sukumizu mode is Ogiue’s new arm pose. This particular top-of-the-fingers placement is a favourite among fans of a certain book-defacing poor violinist, and this addition is quite becoming on Chika. The combination of removing most of her clothing and changing her posing slightly casts Ogiue in a new light-she now looks just plain embarrassed, which adds a lot of femininity and a sort of odd seductiveness to the figure. Doubtless Sasahara would have liked to be there when this costume change came about.
Overall, Ogiue is a treat in both sculpting and visuals despite a few minor flaws in proportion and paint application. Old fans of the series and newcomers alike can both enjoy her on a first-look basis as well as with further insight to her personality. If you’re a fan of fine sculpting, though, you’ll doubtless do like I did and cast off her bulky uniform in favour of the form-fitting sukumizu found beneath- hopefully you are able defer any questioning glances that come your way when invaders make their way into your room!
- detailed, luscious skin
- attractive expression
- multiple display choices
- some strange proportioning
- odd uniform colours
- sukumizu and socks combo