Greetings ladies and gents, and welcome to what will hopefully a timely review of a new release, unlike the months old stuff I’ve been chucking out lately! Oh who am I kidding…this is going to be delayed weeks by me dragging my feet on the photography… and there’s also the post-processing after I finally get off my ass and shot her. Oh, and we can’t forget the almost month long bickering between me and Chags about all the little nit picky details of such a simple article! *sobs*
Sigh. Well, putting aside my utter lack of efficient time management, let’s get on with this review of the always adorable little drunkard Ibuki Suika from Griffon Enterprises!
If you didn’t already know Suika, hails from Touhou, which is…errr…ok, I’m not even going to try and sum it up. I’ll just say there’s the long version or the short version. Honestly though Touhou really is one of those things that’s as enjoyable as you want it to be because of the tons of varied content pumped out by the vast and seemingly infinitely talented fan base. I don’t think it’s a lie to say there is literally something for every taste within the great doujin community supporting it.
As for Suika herself, she was the main antagonist from Immaterial and Missing Power, game 7.5 in the series. It’s marked with a .5 because it’s actually a sort of spin-off fighting game (though still 100% canon) instead of the typical shooters in the main series and was made by a different group with the aid of ZUN. The plot is largely unimportant, but I’ll just say Suika throws a lot of parties and generally annoys almost everyone along the way.
Suika’s personality can be kinda hard to describe. She’s a jolly carefree drunk most of the time and gets portrayed as mostly harmless or silly in most doujins, but like so many other Touhou characters, things change slightly if you dig past the surface. She has a rather sharp tongue and many characters in the Touhou universe are outright terrified of her strength as she is one of the 4 most powerful Oni in Gensokyo (And “normal” Oni are plenty crazy strong as is.). Also rather well known for her DFC. :p
As some of you may remember I had a rather….mmm lets say not nice opinion of my first Griffon figure, which turned me off on the idea of ever buying one of their figures ever again. But given their status as the most prolific Touhou figure maker and my love for the series in general, it was rather inevitable I’d cave in eventually. So let’s see if my second run-in with this manufacture will be any better!
Now! Unboxing…START! *cues overly-dramatic music*
First impression: REAL METAL CHAINS, YES!!! Even though they resemble keychains, I dig the fact that Griffon actually made them metal instead of some terrible plastic crap. Figures need more metal! The various chains attached to her waist are also metal! Joy! And they even give you that oh so rare item “Instructions” for how attach them!
Honestly though you don’t need the instructions all too much in this case as opposed to some of the more complex cast-off figures. Simply pop the binding on the back of her hair for the square chain, the right gourd holding arm for the pyramid, and lastly the ball one which you don’t even have to remove her arm to slip on!
Well the attachment process isn’t too terribly hard although they made her hands more fiddly then really need be by letting her hands pop off of her cuffs when it really doesn’t serve any purpose to…Should have been glued together and save us the trouble. Also don’t be a dummy like me and try to attach the chains AFTER you put her on her base. *facepalm*
Being a loli character Suika is a small figure only coming up to the waist of a standard 1/8th figure (Not counting the horns.). I prefer bigger figures most of the time, but I really like how petite-looking Suika is, and thanks to how big her dress is she doesn’t feel excessively tiny. I just wish her retail price reflected her small size, though.
There are some nagging issues here and there on her, but on a whole this figure is a lot more well thought-out than my Claudette.
Being the cynic that I am, let’s start off on a lousy point: the sculpt. Suika has a lot of mold lines on the bottom of her skirt. Actually, I wouldn’t even call them mold lines because that’s more about where the molds are joined together, whereas this is more like…mold defects? There’s a lot of messy raised areas all over it, especially on the white portion of the skirt. Her gourd also has a large line running up its side, and oddly enough, the side facing away from the viewer doesn’t have it! Maybe you should have flipped that gourd around, eh Griffon? Asides from that Suika has a few more sculpt flaws here and there, but thankfully they are far less obvious.
Getting past outright errors, her dress is certainly not what I’d call detailed in any sense of the word. Going by the Ribbons, it’s very clear that Griffon’s standards are far from that of Alter’s. Thankfully, the details on Suika are not all doom and gloom! Her hair is fantastic! I mean, wow this is just gorgeous and worlds apart from the disgusting glob that was Claudette’s “hair”. All the myriad of tresses wave about wildly cascading down her back finally all being brought back into order by the tie near the bottom. Speaking of that tie, it’s very nicely detailed, giving off that great rough fabric look. Also the semi-transparent parts of her dress look a great deal more convincing than the opaque parts of her dress.
The other strong point absolutely has to be her face. I’ve ragged on Griffon Enterprises many times in the past for making the same boring stale face (and somehow managing to do it while employing multiple different sculptors!), but this is anything but boring. She has this really cute sideways glance going on with her mouth partly open looking like she has just taken a chug from her gourd. Her eyes are excellently painted and full of life, unlike most of their other efforts I’ve seen. If Griffon could make faces this good more regularly for their Touhou figures, I’d be a far poorer man!
Other than that her body sculpt is competent — from what little you can see of it, at least. She has nice slim legs and lovely arms with some armpit action going on if that’s your thing. I’m not crazy about the fact that they fused two of her fingers on the right hand together, and the fingers in general on the right seem a tad odd, but thankfully nothing too hideous.
As I always like to say, paint tends to follow the sculpt in quality, and that’s pretty much the case with Suika. Her bottom skirt is, for a lack of a better word, hideous. It looks like a 5-year-olds’ finger paintings or something. Not only is it messy and runs over into the blue but it’s not even consistent. In certain parts they didn’t paint it on thick enough and others too thick! It leaves a really terrible-looking inconsistency especially around the back…yuck.
The rest of her clothes are firmly in the mediocre category with little to no shading or detail. Curiously, the shapes on her chains are really well painted with shading…they shoulda got that guy to do her dress! Her hair and the cloth tie on it it are superb, though! She really is sumptuous to view from behind with all that lovely hair. The skin tones are okay, striking a nice balance between pale and warm, although her left leg had flecks of black on it that I’m going to try to fix.
The pose is really great though! You can’t really get more iconic for Suika then having her holding her gourd after just taking a swig with her arm in the middle of being raised to her mouth to wipe it off! I can think of a few poses I’d love to see as well, but this one is just fine for me.
And then of course there’s the base. These things seem to encapsulate all I hate about Griffon’s views on figure making…no matter what the figure or how much it doesn’t suit them, they will always us the exact same black plastic base with metal nameplate affixed to the front. I guess I should be happy they didn’t pick a damn rainbow colored plastic disc as their standard, but come on guys! Is creativity really such a scary thing for you? Can’t you try it? Maybe just a little? It’s not so hard I promise! As it stands, stuff like this just holds them back and will forever make them a second tier maker as far as I’m concerned.
- Fantastic cute face
- Lovely real metal chains
- Long, flowing and lovingly-sculpted hair
- Great pose
- Absolutely terrible paint job in places
- Excessive mold defects
- “THE BASE”
So with how harsh my tone was up there, you probably think I’m not crazy about Suika, but honestly I kinda am. They did royally screw up some things, but this is very much a case where the good parts overcame the bad. Specifically she just looks exceptional from a distance with that hair, face, and those awesome chains! The large full multi-layered skirt they gave her also really adds some shelf presence that belies her otherwise small stature.
With that said, this figure could have been far more incredible if Griffon had some decent goddamn quality control. Stuff like her bottom skirt should not happen, because there’s just no excuse for that. Also, why do they shade certain parts of her so nicely and leave the rest so fugly flat?! So yea, Griffon is certainly still mid tier quality along with Kotobukiya, Orchid Seed, and Yamato, but this figure at least gives me a glimmer of hope that they have it in them to make some really great stuff that can rise above their own standard of mediocrity.
Tune in next month when I (hopefully) get Yukarin and discover if Griffon has fixed any of the issues I’ve seen here or gotten even worse!