Alright people, in case you don’t already know, I fuckin’ love Neon Genesis Evangelion, so much so that I don’t even know where to begin. After I first watched the VCR rips off of a friend’s collection of 13 burned CDs back in high school, I spent a couple of months lurking around on Evangleion forums and imageboards looking for answers. The series is a undoubtedly flawed, especially from a storytelling point of view, yet there’s just something so compelling about it that I willingly dug through the most obscure and bullshit retconned information in order to piece together some semblance of coherence into the plot. Of course, all of that religious symbolism and convoluted sci-fi clusterfuck is simply fluff, as what makes Evangelion an enduring classic are the characters and the beautiful ways they crash into each other.

My favourite of the cast is Soryu Asuka Langley. Her relationship with Shinji encapsulates the Hedgehog’s dilemma — the rifts between individuals  in which the pains of intimacy and isolation swirl about.  Through the course of the series, their relationship ebbs and flows. From jealousy and rivalry sprouted the seed of cooperation, trust and perhaps even attraction, yet their unfortunate circumstances ultimately drives both of them into the lowest points of their young lives. I understand why people like Rei, and I’ve always preferred her in the looks department, but to me, Asuka is a lot more integral to Evangelion‘s story, and thus she’ll always be #1.

By the way, I really don’t care for Asuka in Rebuild 2.0 — due to the reduced screen time, her character development was taken to the back shed by an axe murderer and reduced to a pile of misaligned chunks. I hated how the gradual revelation of her inner psyche was replaced by shoehorned scenes and plot developments like her retarded hand puppet and her rivalry against Rei for Shinji’s attention. Both of these could have worked if she was given more time to develop, but when she’s in a three-way deathmatch against two other female protagonists, it just came off as flat and ineffective in the eyes of this Asuka fanboy.

I had wanted a figure of Asuka for a very long time, but even though the character has received a lot of figures, there really hasn’t been a PVC scaled figure that I really liked. They’re either hilariously out-of-character, ridiculously overpriced, and/or of underwhelming quality. I thought the Rebuild films would usher in a new wave of Asuka figures, but much to my irritation, most of the attention has been diverted to the shiny new test plug suit. Both Alter and Max Factory decided to go down that route, leaving me with a serious case of figure blue balls.

When I first saw the Plug Suit Style version of Asuka from Kotobukiya, I was a little disappointed. I really liked the Plug Suit Style Rei, which does a very good job at capturing the character’s distant air. On the other hand, the sight of Asuka smiling sweetly on the ground seems a lot less fitting. Asuka does have a mischievous side, sure, but it’s melancholic and determined sides of her personality that makes her special to me. As I was hurting for money at the time, I skipped on the pre-order.

Fast-forward to a year later: Hamstercorp decided to buy something off Timelords, and since he was going to visit my place in May, he asked me if I wanted anything to combine shipping. A quick scroll through their inventory revealed a “second-hand” Plug Suit Style Asuka for ¥3,000 and I thought to myself “meh, why not?” It was a textbook impulse buy, and I have to admit that I did not have as much anticipation for her arrival as most other purchases. Does this mean I regret getting her? Read on!

The Plug Suit Style Asuka is 1/7th scale and 135mm tall, which means unlike some other sitting figures, she has a good amount of heft to her.

Unlike the Kotobukiya’s previous plug suit Asuka, this one does not feature a glossy finish on the hair. This is pretty important, as it puts the attention squarely on Asuka’s form-fitting rubber suit. Mmmm form-fitting rubber suits. I remember a series of doujins in which Shinji does nothing but dry-humps Rei and Asuka in their plug suits. Normally I’d consider dry-humping to be pretty weak, but when it comes to form-fitting rubber suits, I’m totally okay with that.

As much as I denounce the Rebuild Asuka, I really like the Alter’s figure of her in the test plug suit, which features a lot of fine wrinkles across the torso that just rubs me the right way. Unfortunately, the wrinkles was never really featured in the source material, so most Asuka figures (including this one) don’t have that, and thus the suits seems like it’s painted onto her body as opposed to something she squeezes and vacuumed seals herself into. Don’t get me wrong — naked body paint is fine too, but when the inevitable new wave of Evangelion figures come out around the time of the next Rebuild movie, I hope some of the more ambitious makers would get a little creative with these plug suits, if only for the sake of variety.

This is the third Kotobukiya figure I’ve reviewed, and like Kirino and Hitagi, there’s something about the skin tone that doesn’t feel right to me. It’s really subtle and I’m not even sure if these photos capture it, but it’s just a little dull and lifeless. Furthermore, the figure is missing the blush from the original illustration, which would’ve added a great deal to the figure. Ironically, Alter’s Aigis (who is a freaking robot) has more life in her complexion than Asuka.

Asides from that, Asuka looks like Asuka, which is a good thing. Her smiling expression may not capture the crux of her character, but it’s very cute nonetheless. I am also digging how scary-thin her waist is — her thighs are wider than her waist, for crying out loud! The sight of her skinny waist makes me want to take her out and force-feed her a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Is this what moe is?

In terms of build quality, Kotobukiya’s Asuka is fine, but not exceptional. I like the subtle application of shading on the plug suit, but there’s a general lack of “crispness” about the figure. Sure, there are a couple miniscule cases of overpaint/underpaint here and there, but that’s not what I mean. I think if the lines and grooves on the plug suit were brought out further, that would’ve brought out the details in the sculpt and given the figure a good deal more definition.

For her display base, Asuka has a piece of blasted concrete that actually really cool to look at. The little cracks and weathering on it makes it look pretty convincing, and best of all, fits into Rei’s display base like a jigsaw puzzle.

Final Say

Honestly, there’s not too much to say about the figure itself. There are some figures I buy primarily for looks (like GSC’s Dead Master), and Asuka is not one of them. I bought this Asuka because I had given up hope on a better Asuka figure being released in the near future. There’s nothing exceedingly spectacular about her, nor are there any problems glaring enough to sprain my dick over. If you’re a fan of Asuka and sound of “Asuka Shikinami Langley” makes your eyebrow twitch like mine, then I’d recommend this figure to you, as it’s easily one of the best figure depictions of her in the classic plug suit. If you’re not an obsessive case like me and don’t mind the new Asuka in the movies, then I’d point you towards the Max Factory and Alter versions. I really hope either of those two companies would make another Asuka in her old plug suit, but I doubt that would happen anytime soon.

I may not have much to say about the figure, but these last few photos do have a bit of a fun story behind them. Feeling a little unsatisfied with the Selvaria photos, I decided to give outdoor figure photography another stab, so I met up with Aka of Tailgrab.org over the long weekend. Problem is: he doesn’t live in the city, and I, being the shut-in that I am, don’t really know any spots off the top of my head that would suit Asuka and Rei. So we ended up defaulting back to High Park because neither of us had any bright ideas. We swung by the spot where I took the Summer Saber photos, and that’s when Aka saw it — a storm sewer 20 feet away from the spot. It was perfect.

Shooting with Aka was really fun, partly because I got to play with his fancy photography toys. Aka also took the liberty of snapping a bunch of photos of me in the act while I wasn’t watching. These candid shots are my favourite photos of myself in recent memory — it was really cool to see me being…well, me. Beats the crap out of putting a stupid smile for the camera, I say!

Later on, we went to another spot to shoot one of Aka’s innumerable Horo figures, this time being right in the middle of a small stream 10 feet away from a paved pathway. It was a pretty surreal experience as I helped Aka hold the flash while passing people looked at us with puzzled expressions on their faces. It was a tad embarrassing, but it was also a ripping good time. You’ll find one of his Horo photos here and his Asuka/Rei photos in his Rei review, whenever that comes out. I’ll be sure to update this page and tweet about it when he posts it. As for me, I’ll be busy looking for another victim friend to do more outdoor shoots with.