For those of you guys still hunting mammoth with your stone spears, Range Murata is the character designer for Last Exile. His other works include the amazingly beautiful Robot manga series and Blue Submarine Six, as well as the upcoming Mardock Scramble and a ton of artbooks.
I really should do a People Focus on this guy. Anyway, what is PSE? It stands for his circle/brand, Pasta’s Estab. In addition to his art, he also designs accessories and figurines. His style is instantly recognisable. It has a lot of patterns, like dots, stripes and circles. The colour scheme is always brown, grey, beige, black and other fleshy colours with a metallic touch to it in the form of silver accessories, zippers etc. His human characters all look very expressive and harbour a lot of emotion. His artstyle is a major factor in the greatness of Last Exile really. Can you imagine like…. Akamatsu Ken doing the character designs for Last Exile? NOOOO the mere thought is scarring me.
Check out his previous two figurine releases. Solid 3 Trinode and Solid 1 trading figures. Just think Last Exile.
Anyway, onto the main review now. I purchased this out of sheer impulse, I was eyeing it a while back but back then I wasn’t ready to buy figurines of original characters yet. Now with my immense crush on Murata’s artstyle, I just had to get it. The Bosspoint (I’m starting to think this is a really retarded word. Could anyone suggest a better word to mean something along the lines of ‘selling point’ or ‘best aspect’?) of the figurine is of course Murata’s design. The other is the super unique base.
The figurine is produced by Alpha. It’s not a big company I think, it’s upcoming notable works are Sei from Burst Angel (the kneeling version) and Lain. It costs 4200 yen but I think I paid about 75 for it which is quite the ripoff.
Now, the box. It’s very simplistic and clean in its design. Which is totally not his style. I suppose there’s a nice constrast with the actual figurine.
All the pictures have bigger versions.
Dots are cool.
And so I opened it up.
It comes without the need for assembly, save for that small cube.
A lot of packaging was used, every limb had its own plastic cover. Environmentally friendly it isn’t, but that ensures a perfectly shipped figurine. Remember how we all hate one legged figurines since they tend to warp? I am worried about this one too but precautions have been taken by Alpha to prevent that. Her foot is screwed tight to the base and the leg plastic feels very stiff so I do not expect Pinup to start leaning anytime soon. The base is deceptively light because it is basically a hollow cube. With such a high centre of gravity, there is less stablity than a normal figurine. Since the cube consists of several pieces of ABS plastic, you can see the seams. The right eye of my base was not perfectly moulded but the flaw is not visible normally.
I actually think the base is rather cool and unique but it takes some of the spotlight off the figurine herself. The concept is very interesting though, Pinup standing on Mr Cube and holding a Cube herself.
That’s how they are joined. Secure. I would’ve preferred a solid cube but production costs would’ve skyrocketed.
The full figurine. The little cube has to be inserted into a hole in Pinup’s palm. Mine had a flaw, the connecting peg was supposed to be transparent to show the cube floating in her hand. Mine was overpainted and the peg was green, spoiling the effect. The pose is decently dynamic. A casual viewer will surely notice the base first, then the cube in her hand and then finally the girl. It’s probably due to the bright colour of the cubes.
What do you notice first?
Pinup’s face is the Range patented kind. I feel PVC figures cannot totally capture his style of faces. The hair is very finely detailed with two pony tails of cross-patterned ribbons. The hair is brown like 80% of his characters. I am not very impressed by the face actually. The high standards of the Robot artbooks and Last Exile has spoilt me.
See how the cube is attached to the hand? That green peg is the flaw. But otherwise, a very good idea. One issue I have is the black line which marks where the sleeve ends is not very crisply painted. The good points of course, are a lot more. The logo on her chest is stylish, her dotted collar and chest + arm cuffs are also unique and well-painted. The many wrinkles on the compressed parts of her clothes are very detailed and realistically done.
"Look at this!", she says.
It was supposed to look like it’s floating. Now it’s an evil cube monster parasitising on poor Pinup.
A closer look at her chest, I mean clothes.
Murata has never been a fan of fanservice and it shows in his designs. There are never panty shots or big boobies. The girls are all petite and proportionate. In other words, let’s move on to other areas.
The shoes are pretty normal court shoes. But the interesting thing is the sole. Do they make shoes like these in real life? Cool. Too bad the paint application and moulding of this part leaves much to be desired. The lines aren’t uniform and there are defects.
Does this give good grip?
Murata has always placed great emphasis on patterns. Lines are especially common in his designs. Let’s look at the great detail Pinup’s accessories have. Her hat, which is a bit like those bonnets babies in cartoons wear, is really perfectly moulded. While I’m reminded of a mushroom, such elaborate headgear are part of his style.
The leggings are striped too with the same pattern as the hat. According to lolitron’s poll
, 57% of the population like thigh high leggings. So there you have it, thigh high. I voted knee high.
I can’t remember seeing any non-Murata girl wearing brown socks.
As for upskirting, sorry guys. I would like to point out that the pants are very nicely sculpted. Looks like real pants right?
This is clean and innocent.
Now for a four directional view.
This is very very beautiful. I’m aware that not everyone likes his style of character design, so this is more for those who do. The quality of the figurine is of no question really, aside from a few niggly mess-ups. Strongly recommended.
Score (Maximum is 10)
- Pose: 8.5
- Paintjob: 8.5
- Detail: 9
- Base: 10
- Design: 10
- Originality: 9
- Excitement: 7
- Total: 8.9