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Review: 1/8 Kousaka Kirino

1/8 Kousaka Kirino

Ah Kousaka Kirino…if you’ve been following Hobby Hovel for a long time, then you might have seen some parts of my tumultuous relationship with this mischievous little scamp. When I first learned of the premise of Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, or Oreimo for short), I could not help but to roll my eyes: “A closet imouto otaku that also happens to be a fashion model, an honor student, a track athlete, and a feisty tsundere younger sister character at the same time? Really?” But when I saw the first promo photos of this figure of her by Kotobukiya months ago, I could not help but to put away at least some of my prejudice, because I’ can’t help but to love bright-coloured, energetic figures like this.

When the TV anime began to air, I quickly warmed up to Kirino as a character. As contrived as the story’s premise may feel, Kirino’s underlying struggle to seek out others who share her socially stigmatized hobby is something that really resonated with me. Collecting figures and watching anime make me happy, but they are the sort of hobbies that are easily misunderstood and dismissed. At the time Oreimo was airing, I had just begun to attend meetings of my campus anime club, and thus I understood Kirino’s difficulty in throwing the hidden side of her life in front of a bunch of complete strangers. And when she finally finds success, I found myself genuinely happy for her.

But as the series progressed onwards, Kirino quickly became a serious test to my patience and tolerance. Her bratty antics were borderline unbearable, especially considering the extent to which her brother Kyousuke goes to help her. The author and director seem completely conscious of Kirino’s uncanny ability to induce rage, and they seemed to be using it to manipulate the audience. As my mouth foamed with frustration and anger, the side characters (such as Kuroneko and Manami) began to seem better than they actually are. I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems that this rage-manipulation tactic worked in the end, because by the end of the last broadcast episode, I was earnestly happy to see the announcement for the second season.

Oh Kirino, can I truly say that I hate you? No matter how great the side character may be, you are still the festering heart of the series! Yet why do I look forward to the sequel, and why am I sitting here, writing a review of a plastic figure made in your image? Why couldn’t I cancel the pre-order months ago when your shrieking voice was banging against my tattered nerves like a battering ram? I may never truly understand the method behind my madness, but I do know that I don’t regret not cancelling this figure. The Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino is not perfect, and I am especially disappointed with one of its flaws, but in the end, she’s still a figure I’d recommend to most Oreimo fan out there.

Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-020

Ah Kousaka Kirino…if you’ve been following Hobby Hovel for a long time, then you might have seen some parts of my tumultuous relationship with this mischievous little scamp. When I first learned of the premise of Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, or Oreimo for short), I could not help but to roll my eyes: “A closet imouto otaku that also happens to be a fashion model, an honor student, a track athlete, and a feisty tsundere younger sister character at the same time? Really?” But when I saw the first promo photos of this figure of her by Kotobukiya months ago, I could not help but to put away at least some of my prejudice, because I’ can’t help but to love bright-coloured, energetic figures like this.

When the TV anime began to air, I quickly warmed up to Kirino as a character. As contrived as the story’s premise may feel, Kirino’s underlying struggle to seek out others who share her socially stigmatized hobby is something that really resonated with me. Collecting figures and watching anime make me happy, but they are the sort of hobbies that are easily misunderstood and dismissed. At the time Oreimo was airing, I had just begun to attend meetings of my campus anime club, and thus I understood Kirino’s difficulty in throwing the hidden side of her life in front of a bunch of complete strangers. And when she finally finds success, I found myself genuinely happy for her.

But as the series progressed onwards, Kirino quickly became a serious test to my patience and tolerance. Her bratty antics were borderline unbearable, especially considering the extent to which her brother Kyousuke goes to help her. The author and director seem completely conscious of Kirino’s uncanny ability to induce rage, and they seemed to be using it to manipulate the audience. As my mouth foamed with frustration and anger, the side characters (such as Kuroneko and Manami) began to seem better than they actually are. I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems that this rage-manipulation tactic worked in the end, because by the end of the last broadcast episode, I was earnestly happy to see the announcement for the second season.

Oh Kirino, can I truly say that I hate you? No matter how great the side character may be, you are still the festering heart of the series! Yet why do I look forward to the sequel, and why am I sitting here, writing a review of a plastic figure made in your image? Why couldn’t I cancel the pre-order months ago when your shrieking voice was banging against my tattered nerves like a battering ram? I may never truly understand the method behind my madness, but I do know that I don’t regret not cancelling this figure. The Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino is not perfect, and I am especially disappointed with one of its flaws, but in the end, she’s still a figure I’d recommend to most Oreimo fan out there.

Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino

Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-001

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Kotobukiya’s Kirino measures in at 18.5 cm from the bottom of her foot to the top of her head – a healthy height for a 1/8th scale middle-schooler. She is depicted in a running pose, pointing at some unspecified object. Knowing Kirino, she’s probably dragging his brother through Akihabara and getting overly excited about something her poor victim has no interest in.

Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-012

Whatever the case, she seems genuinely pumped! Kirino’s face has the series’ signature perma-blush, and the fang sticking out of the corner of her big smile is all sorts of adorable. If only she wore faces like this more often in the anime, then maybe much of the hatred and frustration would be dissipated. Strategic application of dere to tsun is vital for the maintenance of the tsundere moe engine, after all.

Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-017

Comparision with the promo shot, original artist’s illustration, and my personal favourite figure. As you can see, the Kirino figure’s hair is a far cry from the original bright orange. Thus, it ends up looking pretty flat in comparison to some other figures.

One thing I immediately noticed about Kirino is her pastel colour palette. Everything has more of a lighter shade than what I usually see. While I don’t mind pastel colours as a style, they really don’t suit Kirino’s character. The keyword of the figure is energy; from her head of bright orange hair, to the playful expression she’s got on her face, to the motion captured in her clothing, the promo photos promised a figure that is ready to burst out of the box. But while the pose and the sculpt made the transition from the prototype stage just fine, her hair colour seem faded by comparison – it barely looks orange under regular lighting conditions, and when under my room lights, it looks like dull blonde more than anything else. For such an energetic character and pose, the colour nerf dealt a nasty shin kick to my enjoyment of this figure.

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The paint application for Kirino is pretty good. There are no significant mishaps to speak of, and since her uniform is of a pretty simple design, there aren’t any complex details to muddle up. The combination of a kinetic sculpt and subtle shading keeps the uniform from looking dull, and small details like her fingernails and ear piercing are cleanly executed. There’s not a lot of skin shading on this figure, but it’s definitely there if you look for it.

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Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-022

Speaking of details and skin, Kirino is unique in that you can see a part of her bra if you look up her shirt. It’s a totally unnecessary detail, but I appreciate it nonetheless. Kirino is also wearing some pink panties that her short skirt is doing a terrible job at concealing…not that I have a problem, of course!

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Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-009

Like the previous Kotobukiya figure I reviewed, there is a bit of a seam line issue, but since Kirino does not suffer from the same semi-gloss finish, they are far less glaring. The exception to this is the lines on her socks and on the sides of her hair. The latter also suffers from minor scarring near the division between the front and back half of her hair.

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Kirino’s display base is pretty unique – it’s a speech bubble-shaped base that consists of two clear plastic disks and a clear insert that goes between them. The figures come with two inserts, one of which simply has the series’ title written on it, and the other features smaller version of the title, along with Kousaka Kyousuke’s nervous face sticking out of the corner. I had no idea of this gimmick before I received her, and I gotta say it’s a pretty nice surprise. If you are the creative type, you can easily make your own inserts to mix things up.

My final complaint against figure is its somewhat wonky assembly. A lot of things wiggle on this figure when they really shouldn’t. Her left arm wiggles around in its socket, and the division between the upper and lower half of her torso also shimmies around. Given that Kirino’s skirt is separate piece that loops around her waist, I thought the torso is supposed to come apart for the purpose of removing the skirt, but after a few attempts using reasonable strength, the figure refuses to come part, despite the seemingly loose fit between the components. I’ve seen a couple of photos of this figure with the skirt off, but I’m not sure whether that was managed, and I don’t not brave enough to find out first-hand.

Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-010

But while these aforementioned problems don’t really affect Kirino as a display piece, the wiggle problem between her foot and the display base does. Her foot is permanently attached to a clear plastic wedge, which is then attached to the base via two short pegs. But due to the looseness of the fit and the backward weight distribution of the figure, the wedge loses its grip on the base pegs pretty easily. This means that if you pick Kirino up by the base or bump into her base by accident, the wedge will probably be partially separated from the base. While this won’t exactly send Kirino flying into the air, it will probably create additional stress on the pegs. If you plan to display this figure cabinet or some other secure location, this won’t be an issue for you. But if you plan to display her on a desk or if you like moving around your figures regularly, watch out for the loose pegs!

Final Say

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I may have spilt a lot of ink on the miscellaneous flaws like the seam lines and the loose assembly, but for me, everything boils down to the colours. Kotobukiya’s 1/8 Kousaka Kirino is very cute and has a great sculpt that perfectly captures the character’s enthusiasm, but the figure’s toned-down colours are a huge disappointment in my eyes. It’s not so much I regret buying the figure, but rather because it’s so close to my idea of perfection. If you aren’t bothered by this flaw, then by all means snatch up the re-release of this figure for around 4,800 yet at the usual

suspects, as there won’t be much else in the way to hamper your enjoyment. If you ARE bothered by it, it may be a better idea to exercise your patience, as there seems to be another scaled figure of Kirino by Kotobukiya is in the works. Or you can just go for the Figma, the Nendoroid, the Beach Queen, or the Chara-Ani version – rage-inducing or not, Kirino is here to stay, and there’ll probably be even more figures of her in the near future.

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Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-021

Pros

  • Super-energetic pose and sculpt
  • Simple & clean paint work

Cons

  • Dull hair colour
  • Slightly loose assembly

23 replies on “Review: 1/8 Kousaka Kirino”

Seriously Chag, are you me?

I really don’t think I can say much more if/when I do a review of Kirino once she arrives after reading your review, as your opinions mirror mine on all fronts.

Although I do think a little bit more orange in Kirino’s hair would have made this figure near perfect I do think the slightly dull colour is better than going too over the top and subsequently destroying the colour scheme and balance like in the case of Wave’s Asuka Apron Ver.

It’s nice to see your reviews are still more oriented towards information and the figure itself with useful and clear pictures showing exactly that.

Keep up the good work!

Hehehe, Kirino is a maddening creature, isn’t she? Considering the fact that this figure is getting a re-release, the rage tactics must be working to some degree! I guess much of the audience has accepted Kirino as “one of their own” and thus accepts her personality defects as a part of her character. In that respect, she feels more real than most moe-oriented characters, even though she’s also a bucket of moe tropes herself.

I can you what you mean on the other extreme of the colour problem. As far as colours go, this figure is pretty accurate when compared to the source material in all the non-hair parts. Perhaps the painters at Kotobukiya shared the same concern as you, but overdid it when it comes to balancing out the bright orange with the pastel uniform. I’m still pretty bewildered since they already got it right in the promo photos, but what can ya do?

In lieu of creativity, I opt for detail. That’s the name of my game, and I’m glad people aren’t sick of these giant blocks of text yet. Thanks Sloth! =D

Gonna try something new and post a comment here if ya don’t mind.

You’re so critical dood! Though it is expected since you were hyped out about her during her pre-ordered wait period. I recall you mentioning her at least 3 times when we had our good old figure chat/discussion. I’m impressed that you wrote a review for her on the week you got her too… You probably won’t see me doing that (If I even get around to bother writing a review). The red background looks good too. I think its a nice change from the black I’m so used to seeing in your photos.

The only thing that’s on my mind is where are ya gonna display her? If I recall correctly you’re running out of space in your room dood!

Cheers!

Oh yeah, you should seriously consider getting a Ikea detolf or glass cabinet equivalent display case when you move out. It helps with the dust… the dust…

It is my firm belief that every blogger is a comment whore underneath it all, so I doubt ANYONE would mind a comment on his post. =P

Being critical is one of the few skills an English major gets, and the propensity to rant is another. Combined with my pre-existing enthusiasm for the figure, writing this review in few hours really wasn’t all that hard (btw, if you want to see critical, go read my Saber Lily review — the nit-picking in that review is downright excessive). The photos, on the other hand, were a little tricky. I just couldn’t find a lot of good angles for her. I’m glad you like the red background, though! I chose red because it’s the colour of my RAGE, but in retrospect, it really suits Kirino’s energetic presentation, as well as compensating slightly for her colour problem.

I am displaying Kirino on the left side of my monitor. My room has truly reached critical mass at this time. I can probably squeeze in another MG model and figma, but that’s about it. I might consider selling Saber Lily in the future. She’s worth a pretty penny, and I don’t think I am extremely attached to her. Still, I’ll be graduating soon enough, so I’ll probably just box some of the figures and hold it out.

And yes, a detolf is on the top of my moving-out priority list. I would rather have a detolf than a table to eat on.

Naw, I’m just a rage-aholic. Why else do you think I still lurk 4chan?

Also. the grammar police told me to give you this ticket: “YOUR =/= YOU’RE”. =P

Don’t start with me! You used “that” twice in a row in the second paragraph so boo to you too! :p

Rage-aholic sounds like a fancy word for M to me honestly…Mah keep your Kirino then! Kuroneko all the way for me!

I didn’t realize Kirino herself was such a source of rage! Though, I only watched a few episodes before stopping because I didn’t like the male lead. I actually wanted to see more Kirino and less Kyon-nnabe.

Since she’s a model, maybe she suddenly decided to bleach her hair a bit, causing confusion among the Chinese factory workers!

If she’s a model, shouldn’t the agency have some control over her appearance? It’s like if a bikini model suddenly decided to to dye her hair green. Then again, given how shitty she is as a sister, I doubt it would surprise anyone if she turns out to be a lousy model as well. Besides, we all know she’s been giving handjobs left and right for her “bonuses” — all that dvd/figure/game money has to come from somewhere!

Wow, that color change is pretty drastic! Almost enough to go, who IS that character? That being said, her pose is suprisingly dynamic for such an ‘every day’ type of pose.
I think Oreimo pushed beyond my rage boundaries towards Kirino, I was actually yelling at the screen and nearly foaming at the mouth. But I love the other characters, especially Kyousuke and Kuroneko, and watching their struggles against the tyrant is my reason for looking forward to season 2.
By the way, in response to your comment above: We have 3 detolfs and still no dining table 😉

I’m with you on the rage, man. But at the same time, I can’t wait to see more of Kirino. She may drive me nuts, but her neckbeard shouting matches with Kuroneko are downright hilarious. Their first trip through Akihabara was absolutely gold. By the way, did you watch the first episode of the OreImo OVA yet? It’s apparently the “true” ending to the series. The first episode is mostly rehash, but let’s just say that there are promising things on the horizon.

Your impeccable order of priorities make you true champions. A true collector cannot sit down to eat in peace while his figures oppressed by insidious dust. I bow my head to you!

We have not watched it yet, Zai has it DLed and we’ll probably get around to it this weekend. Honestly we were a little ehh about it after your tweet earlier but now it sounds interesting, especially since we had thought it was a movie and not just the first of several episodes.

Does this mean the OVA is ‘season 2’?

I was mistaken when I made the tweet. I thought OVA only consisted of the one heavily re-hashed episode I saw, but afterwards I learned that there are actually 4 episodes to it, which is plenty of time for some potentially fun shenanigans. I think the OVAs lead into season 2. Sorry about the mix-up ^^;

Nice review of Koto’s Kirino. I actually am in the same boat as you when it comes to reactions about Kirino throughout the series. Although my first impressions when I first heard of the show before it started airing was different. I was glad I’m easily swayed and tried watching the show anyway. I personally think that it was good that Kirino made us rage so we could appreciate the other characters as well. At the later half of the series, I sympathized with Kyosuke so much and I just grew to love Saori and Kuroneko. Although I still like Kirino a bit, mostly because we all can relate to her as otaku.

About the figure itself, I liked how dynamic her pose is but I’m surprised at how the colors turned out. I pretty much liked how her colors were in the promo photos and it’s a shame that they turned out a bit dull. I saw some other photos of her with tweaked brightness/contrast and it made quite a difference, that the colors look as bright as the ones on the promo pic — and now I’m confused which photos really depict the actual colors. I wish she wasn’t unstable though, the last thing I would want is for her to get broken in case her peg decides to fall off and she crashes on the floor. /bad mental image.

Will you ever get to review the Kirino figure from Chara-ani?

Thanks Ninjovee! I have a feeling that we share similar views on Kirino. She may do things that drive us nuts, but in doing so, she creates contrast against the rest of the cast, and I think that’s what makes characters like Kuroneko and Manami shine. Without Kirino, Kuroneko would just be a snarky cosplayer and Manami would be a dull childhood friend character, but when you put them next to Kirino, we start to love Kuroneko’s sharp tongue and appreciate Manami’s girl-next-door qualities. Yet at the same time, I doubt that I truly hate Kirino. I think she embodies the impulsiveness and childishness that comes with being an “otaku”. It may be exaggerated, but that part of her does feel genuine to me.

The issue of colour is something I’ve been struggling against recently. There are just so many variables when it comes to how a photo looks on a monitor, like the monitor’s type, age, settings, the angle of viewing, etc. When I visited my friend’s place, I was pretty shocked to find that my photos looked significantly more yellow than I thought. It really is a maddening issue — even if you calibrate your monitor perfectly and the images on it are true, it means little when everyone else have a slightly different setup.

But with that said, the gap between the promo photo and reality is too great to be passed off as monitor discrepancies. I tried my best to avoid tweaking with the colours in my photos, but even then I think I might have subconsciously skewed it to the warmer side when I was correcting the white balance. The colours on the real thing are probably flatter, if anything.

I can’t picture myself getting another Kirino figure in the foreseeable future. I kind of have a one figure per character rule — with a small collection like mine, I’d rather have a variety of different characters than alternate versions of the same. Besides, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Kirino here ^^;

I definitely feel you there on the issue of colors of photos on different screens. It’s gotten to a point where I just try my best to make it look okay on mine since I’m pretty sure it’s going to look too bright/too dull on someone else’s computer. Dx

If only I had some painting skills though, I would probably buy this Kirino and just repaint her so she’d be vibrant enough for my liking. Well, as for a review of the Chara-Ani Kirino figure, I never asked if you were going to buy her =P just curious if there would be a review of her in the future. I am a bit curious about your take on that one. I actually got convinced to hunt for that QuesQ China figure because of your review, so =P

Aww, what a shame about her hair! She’s a cutie (I’m especially liking her stomach peeking out from under her shirt) but the loss of vibrance makes the whole figure seem washed out to me. However, the movement in the sculpt is so lovely and she seems so energetic that I couldn’t help but to smile when I was looking at your photos of her!

As for Kirino herself, I found myself liking her a lot! I do tend to find myself enjoying those tsundere type characters who are rather heavy on the tsuntsun though. I also have to admit that she reminds me a little of myself when I was a high schooler.. well sadly minus the whole fashion model, honor student and star track athlete parts. I remember hiding all my geeky anime related shit in my closet and would only pull it back out to mess around with when no one else was around, haha.

Fantastic review and I’m glad that you’re start to feel more comfortable with your hobbies! 😀

Yeah, thankfully she’s got plenty of energy to spare enough without the colours. Happy figures like this make me feel all warm and fuzzy when I look at her, so I definitely am happy that RAGE didn’t get the better of me.

Ohoho, there’s such a difference in opinion between you and Luth! Did you watch it together? If you did, I can only imagine the spectacle — one screaming at the screen and while the other is lost in a reverie of the past.

I come from a northeastern Chinese family, and my grandparents experienced the Japanese occupation firsthand. Therefore, they’re not exactly super-enthusiastic about my infatuation with Japanese crap (I remember my grandpa getting cranky about my Doraemon manga collection when I was around 10 years old). So while my parents are far from the stereotypical Chinese control freak parents, I had good reason to keep my hobby to myself as much as possible. In this respect, seeing Kirino’s dad lay down the law on her really really close to home, because that’s pretty much my worst nightmare. I wish I had an open-minded sibling who would take a bullet for me like that.

Thanks Zai! It might taken 3 years for me to come out of the closet, but it was definitely good. I’ve never been to disneyland, but I imagine it would feel something like my friend’s figma-laden room that I visited the other day, hehe.

Ahh, happy figures! I have a few of them that’ll make me grin every time I look at them. I wonder how creepy I must look when I do that? 😀

Mmm! We did watch it together although I probably spent most of my time when watching the show fantarding every time Kureneko made an appearence or worrying about my precious monitor screen being attacked by a certain raging boyfriend who also commented here, haha.

That’s a very understandable reason to feel the need to be cautious about your hobby. I can’t really say I had a good reason. I was just being unreasonably terrified of being judged for having such unusual interests but thankfully that fear lessened a lot once I got out of my teens! My parents still haven’t seen our collection and probably have no idea that I still watch “those robot cartoons” but that could be due to living far away from them and only getting to see them a couple of times a year rather than some sense of shame (that’s what I tell myself anyway!). My brother told me he finds our figures awesome but he’s certainly no Kyosuke!

Ah, good man, you got some money shots! There should have been more of those in the series to make up for her bitchdereness. Like the shots of Kyousuke molesting his sister in front of her friends. Not that I endorse molesting anyone of course, just I really didn’t like her. I did however like the childhood friend and her family. And the alternate/true ending for the series was far superior to the tv broadcast ending.

Interesting about that base, is Kyousuke trying to peek up his sisters skirt? Looks like that base shares a similar assembly to my Cospa Horo with the clip on wedge thing. It’s a very poor design and while Horo’s still standing fine, she does wobble a lot more than other figures. It’s also interesting to note, most of my Kotobukiya figures of recent all used screws to hold the figure in place, I wonder why they made the change for this base, because of it’s transparency?

All in all, it looks like a cute figure. I just… Kirino… you’re as annoying as a real little sister!

I dunno man, there was plenty of ass service in the series. The director was not shy to exploit the camera every time she bent over for whatever reason. Of course, Kirino molested is superior. I’m sure many others would agree, because I’ve seen so many doujins in which Kirino in on the receiving end of some very unpleasant intercourse. All this pent-up frustration seems to be pretty good creative fuel!

I was pretty frustrated at the true end episode that came out a few days ago, but I recently found out that the true route OVA is going to be 4 episodes long. More Kuroneko? Kirino an ocean away? Hell yeah, I like where this is going.

I assume the lack of the screw is due to the insert-swapping gimmick. The Senjougahara Kotobukiya made also has a clear base, but she was firmly screwed into the base. Come to think of it, the colours for that figure also looked duller than the promo photos, although I didn’t find it as a bad thing. Weird!

Haha, that was my immediate impression when I saw Kyousuke’s face as well! If that is the case, he doesn’t seem very excited. Which makes sense, considering he knows better than anyone of the blackness of her heart.

Kirino is a cute girl at the outside, but she has a very ugly personality.
I only liked her freak side 😉 , most of the time I would say she was a stupid bitch. XD
Kyousukes wimpy reactions torwards Kirino’s tyrannic behaviour made it even worse.
He should have shown her the limits of bitching around once in a while.

The figure of Kirino here looks really cute and energetic. I love fangs =D.
Her the hair could have been really more orange like in her origin aside from that she looks like a well made figure with a cute face and with a nice looking flow on her dress.
My Hachikuji Mayoi foigure from Koto had a similar looking base but its very steady

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