When we took a look at Suika and I managed to determine Griffon’s “quality control” is still absolutely abysmal, but also that they do have it in them to make a pretty decent figure in spite of this large handicap. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the only other Touhou figure they’ve made since then that has managed to pique my interest…Yakumo Yukari!
First I’d like to apologize for the delay on this review…Originally it was because she took so long to get to me, but during the course of that I determined I didn’t have the proper equipment to do the shots I wanted of her so this was cause for further delay.
Hopefully the resulting eye candy will be enough for you to forgive my lateness. Or not…*explanation at the end*
Now getting back to our lady here last time I didn’t really have it in me to explain Touhou and well…I still don’t (Chag: It’s a series of top-scrolling bullet hell shooter games produced by Team Shanghai Alice which has inspired a large body of fan content from the online community — that wasn’t so hard, was it? =P). But I will at least interject some more personal thoughts on the series: the thing that makes me so attached the series is probably the aspect that’s most intimidating to new comers — its massive cast of characters. This makes the entire world of Gensokyo feel alive. You know at any moment from the mountains to the underground some characters somewhere are doing something, and to me that’s the hook that keeps me interested.
Anyway enough of my rambling its time to talk a little about Yukari! She is…errr…well, as hard to describe in the same way Touhou itself is honestly. She is an immensely powerful youkai (think godlike levels) with the ability to manipulate boundaries, but she also sleeps a great deal and generally spends most of her few waking hours goofing off. Yet Yukari tends to have this air of loneliness around her that makes you almost feel it’s all a front. You have to wonder what godlike powers and extreme long life might do to a person after all. (I highly suggest reading this Doujin if you have any interest in Yukari. Just make sure you have some general Touhou knowledge first) One last thing of note about her is her dresses: the one on display here is from her first appearance while in subsequent games she wore the more eastern looking dress you see in the video above.
So let’s see if Griffon did our lovely
gap hag fresh young 17 -year-old girl justice! *Fun personal anecdote time* I actually didn’t open this box for 3 days because I was so afraid Griffon had butchered one of my favorite characters. So there’s the degree to which I like Yukarin for you! And of course since this is a Touhou review we can’t forego the requisite epic music!
*Ahem* Right then lets see what Griffon has in store for us this time…Well, to start: good job Amiami for not putting any packing material on the top side of the box! Because of the large empty space that produced, the top of Yukari’s was damaged. Oh well, it’s not like I was going to resell her anyway! Thankfully, the contents of the box were not damaged, although this does not speak to the credit of Griffon, as neither the box nor the plastic tray had any tape holding it shut…Brilliant!
Well since barely anyone cares about boxes, lets move this right along to the figure itself, and on initial inspection the thing that strikes me first is…she has a rather large noticeable bit of black on her nose…what? Is it some sort of smudge or dirt that managed to get into the bag or something? Why no — it appears to be paint! Joy! And now that I’m looking at her face I notice lots of smaller little bits of black around her cheeks… Was the painter drunk when he did her eyes and let his hand slip then thought “HEEEY who’ll notice, eh?” It’s good to see Griffon’s “QC” is alive and well!
Ok, so once again we’re not getting good impressions, but lets soldier on, shall we? Since we’re already on the topic of paint lets keep going on that tangent. First off let’s look at that voluminous hair of hers: first off all, it has no shading, but this hardly phased in comparison to the large black smudge on the front lock of her hair…lovely. The bows are also on the same quality level that Suika’s clothes, that is to say a brief step above trading figure quality. The hair also has lots of random bits of red splattered here and there from when the bows were painted with some of these red spots nowhere even near said bows. Only other noticeable thing is there’s quite a bit of clumping and general mess in her hair but due to how it’s sculpted they are hidden somewhat when viewed from a distance.
Oh, and they somehow manged to throw a bit of that red onto her gloves too just for good measure…wouldn’t want any part of her to feel left out!
The only other real offender is the umbrella. It has bits of faint red smear on the top in several places and…I’m not even sure…Dirt? Just a discolored smear area I guess is what to call it along with some flecks of errant black paint. The underside has these random flecks of black too. I’m starting to understand more of how those ones got on Yukari’s face. And of course, the ribbons on the umbrella also look like junk.
Now that we have all the spite out of the way, let’s check out the good! Which is mostly her dress. It’s very VERY lovely looking. The dress is well-shaded all around and almost entirely free of any defect whatsoever. I’m really amazed at how impossibly well done it is while almost every other part of her has some random paint from who-knows-where. It isn’t just the outside of that dress that’s nicely painted, because even though its hard as hell to see them, her legs are exquisite! There are sadly still some random black smudges here as well, but the actual skin tone is just beautiful and really helps to make those slender legs look quite enticing.
Her mob-cap (The non ribbon part) is also beautifully shaded and the same goes for her umbrella where the random paint splatter didn’t ruin the splendor. Also of special note about the umbrella is the handle and the support arms are all metal…It’s a shame that the tip at the top isn’t as well though.
So now that we know the paint is hit or miss, what about that sculpt? Well again the dress is the real winner here with its numerous subtle folds and the delectable way it hugs Yukari’s body from the hips upward. Also again her legs are a very nice treat for anyone gutsy enough to peak up her skirt — they’re long, slender, and just begging to be stared at! If ever there was a figure that I would have liked a cast-off skirt this would be it. Guess I will just have to settle with tipping her over and staring up her skirt occasionally like the perv I am! Those lovely legs however do not end on a good note as her feet are pretty underwhelming to look at. Her shoes have very little detail and the fact that they painted on the ribbons on her ankles dropping any pretense of realism, which really doesn’t help the area look anymore attractive.
Her gloves have somewhat noticeable seamlines on them, but they’re nothing too terrible. Sadly, the area where the gloves attach to her upper arm look like someone stopped half way while attaching them. Her hair is sculpted fairly well, although like Suika the front is far inferior to the massive flowing locks of the back. Her face is OK in general although not quite as seductress-like as I remember the promo shots looking. The top of the umbrella has been finely sculpted with its various sections carved out perfectly. Unfortunately, not as much praise can be laid on the skirt or ribbons of it ,which again look slightly better than trading figure level. One has to wonder if this was all done by the same sculptor or not…
And then of course THE BASE…I think I’ve ranted about this enough in my previous reviews, so I’ll just say its the same as it ever was: black…too big…hollow…cheap looking…just an all around uninspired piece of junk. Also, for some reason her left foot doesn’t touch the base but rather hovers over it, because she’s affixed to a raised plastic bit. Not a huge deal, but it’s kinda silly looking having a small gap between her foot and the base.
Last oddity of note is her umbrella. It doesn’t slot into her hand very securely and tends to flop over awkwardly at the slightest movement (Or none at all it seems…). This problem is of course made worse by the fact that her base is the hollow cheap piece of junk that it is thus making her wobble easily. And actually after getting it slotted right the first time she simply won’t hold the thing at all anymore because the umbrella weighs so much it pried her fingers open too far…Awesome!
That weight coupled with the poor base design also has a fun side effect of making her lean slightly to her left when you do actually managed to get her to hold the umbrella, which could possibly warp her legs over time or even break the base pegs due to stress…even more fun discoveries, yay! *sigh* The only solution to the problem is to glue both the umbrella and the base more securely, then if any leg warping (i.e. leaning) occurs, I’ll just have to correct it with any of the normal means for leaning. Still, the fact that Griffon never thought that such an obvious problem (This is not something that happens days after displaying her, but hours) didn’t need fixing just boggles the mind.
- Beautifully constructed dress in both sculpt and paint
- Hat and Umbrella (Where they didn’t flick random paint at it…) is equally well shaded.
- Yummy legs well painted (Again excluding the random errors…) and sculpted
- The pose is better than the average Griffon Touhou figure, but it’s still not quite as appealing as the promos made it seem
- Total lack of QC on the figure in general resulting in random paint flying all over the figure with the exclusion of her hat and the dress.
- Crap base is crap
- Umbrella poorly secures and near impossible for her to hold.
So there we have it folks! Now like Suika, does the presentation overcome the problems this time? Well…no, not really. Suika’s face was a good deal more accurate and her pose was enjoyable in a way that Yukari just isn’t. The problematic umbrella isn’t really helping the annoyance I’m feeling either. In the end Suika puts a smile on my face, but Yukari just comes off underwhelming in almost every way and really doesn’t “feel” enough like the Yukarin I know and love…
Yes her dress is lovely, but the utter lack of QC truly drove me crazy while reviewing her. It seemed like everywhere I looked, I found some stupid mistake or another…disheartening would be the best way to describe my feelings as I slowly found all these screw-ups. So I think this is it for me and Griffon…I love Touhou, but I have no interest in gambling with my money and accidentally getting stuck with another botched figure like this one again due to Griffon’s complete inability to ensure the quality of their products (This is the same reason I don’t order figures from other mid-tier manufactures in general…I have little interest in taking unnecessary chances).
More than the annoyance at buying an inferior product is the fact that they’ve managed to, in my eyes, disrespect a favorite character to the point that I’d almost want to tape over that name plate that bears her name, and in the end, that’s probably the worst offense of the whole affair — more than the feeling that I got ripped off by paying too much. I don’t quite understand why ZUN — who has in the past done his utmost to protect the integrity of his intellectual property — let these people put products like this out there. It’s fairly clear that Griffon is just barreling forward as fast as they can cranking out as many characters as possible with no care for quality while trying to make a quick buck. This really is just another cash cow for them like Queen’s Blade before it and Ikkitousen before that, which is a true shame…
*sigh* So anyway, as the saying goes: “three strikes and you’re out!” Moving forward, I’m going to be giving Phat Company and Ques Q a chance to fulfill my Touhou fix (I don’t buy Kotobukiya figures anymore due to my own personal experience with their quality as a mid-tier company…plus I find some of their choices in sculpts to use not much to my liking, but I’ll keep my eye on them.) so you can look forward to those!
*Personal Note on the photos*
“I’m sorry the photos aren’t of the greatest quality…This wasn’t exactly how I wanted to do my first review with the new camera. I didn’t get into figure photography to try to photograph every gory detail, but instead for the creative possibilities. So a lot of them lack clarity among many other problems because I just simply don’t like taking such shots…Probably an “unprofessional” attitude, but as this is a hobby I prefer to do what I enjoy in the end more than being professional.
There are in fact numerous other problems on her I didn’t photograph (Specifically on the umbrella and her legs) because I started feeling physically ill doing this, so I hope you’ll forgive me for not taking every angle of every problem…I barely even made it through post-editing just what I took here so…yea…I just didn’t have the heart to keep doing shooting…This figure is assuredly going on the back wall of the room along with Claudette where my gaze rarely reaches…”