Nevertheless, all three figures turned out to be fantastic. Today, we shall play with Itou Chika and Matsuoka Miu of Ichigo Mashimaro!
This series of Ichigo Mashimaro figures by Konami is quite awesome both in quantity and quality. Aside from these two waitresses, we have the already-released Matsuri as a Vet (animal doctor.. not an experienced soldier), Ana as English Teacher and Miu as Stewardess. I got Matsuri and plan on getting the full set. I wonder if Nobue’s going to be made as well. All the figurines in this series come with a diorama set of props and this is fantastic.
Chika and Miu are sold separately at 4200 yen each. They each come with one table, 1 couch and 1 finished Sundae glass. The couches are combinable and if both are bought, you don’t really need both tables. The tables serve as a great prop for other figurines. With the props plus the girls’ waitress maid costumes, the diorama setting of a cafe is soo cute.
I brought the girls downstair to the pool for a poolside Al-fresco cafe setting. The time was 4 pm (also known as SFT – Standard Figurine TIme) and it was a hazy overcast day. Using a small table for elevation, I attempted the effect of making the figurines look life-size instead of mere toys. For more fun and variation, Kasukabe Saki (GSC Version)’s chair was brought along as well. This time, the pictures turned out rather well thanks to a few factors.
The background was pretty fitting, adding some setting to the pictures rather than just pure grass or white. The lighting was soft and aligned well with the anime’s very very soft colours and rounded designs. The use of props also allowed for varied posing and creative layouts.
The top three pictures are:
This rather level angle and composition fills up the frame nicely, with the rounded appearance of the girls contrasting the angular background. In terms of colour, I like how everything is pretty mellow except the bright pink and red plus the brilliant blue of the swimming pool.
A quick rearrangement of the positions allows for a totally new and fresh angle. Much like the anime, this picture has focus on Miu while Chika plays a supporting role in the background. Saki’s chair makes the difference here as its foldable design makes their role as staff more realistic. Staff are supposed to sit on crap chairs while customers enjoy the comfy ones. But more importantly, this picture seemingly tells a story on its own. Miu, the playful ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder, not Anime Desho Desho) girl isn’t too interested in work and daydreams while Chika notices the photographer.
This brooding picture of Chika gazing into the distance has a sense of loneliness or boredom, perhaps after the restaurant is closed for the day.The emphasis on her back adds to this effect.
I’m pretty pleased with the way these turned out. The setting and diorama made the figurines look better than they already are. A vast improvement over the previous Tokiko shoots. What I learnt from this shoot was, having a relaxed attitude (it’s at home) and taking your time makes for better pictures than rushed outdoor shots with a long schedule of figures. I was lounging on the pool deck chairs slowly taking photos and actually got a lot of good shots, not all of which are uploaded here.
As for the actual review, you can already tell I’m totally in love with these figures. They totally capure the spirit of Ichigo Mashimaro, unlike the rather rubbish Banpresto set I bought a while back. The use of diorama is always great and it adds an added dimension of cuteness with purpose and even some elements of fetishism. Though I’m no fan of maids or waitresses, the girls totally level up their cuteness rating with these costumes.
The couches are well made, with a depression for their little butts to be placed securely on. One side of each couch is flat, so both can be joined as one. The detailing is great because the leg area also have stress-wrinkles that would naturally arise when little loli legs are pressed against the cushion. Adding to its perfection is the solid feel of the couch. Unlike other bases/props which disappoint with a hollow bottom (it’s like wearing clothes on the front and leaving your buttt bare because "nobody would see it"), these couches are all fully covered. How? It’s a three piece design. The backing and seat are two pieces permanantly inserted into the bottom pseudo-wooden base piece (a cuboid without the top). I love props because they can be used for other purposes. See below for great surprise.
Another important prop is the table. Each figurine comes with one so I have two. The table comes in two pieces, one being the table top and the other, the stand. You’ll have to assemble it – a simple process of just inserting the stand into the table. The rims and stand are a dull metallic finish. The stand, unfortunately, has a seamline and a couple of injection scars running down the cylindrical portion. The tabletop area is a light brown, all matte. What is disturbing is the two drops of white liquid painted on. I have no idea what this is, I can only guess that it is split ice cream or lolicon semen. But the latter explanation is a lot more logical considering facts I’ll bring up later.
Note that Chika must sit on the left and Miu on the right for perfect alignment of everything. If not, little gaps between elbows and tables will appear. The surface on which all these sit should also be perfectly level. Half of the weight of each figure will then be distributed to the elbows and the table will lean slightly (in a good way) for realism. My surface was a table all bumpy and unlevel so you can see the figures aren’t properly arranged.
The third and final prop would be the ice cream. This completes the holy trinity of "LOLI YURI ICE CREAM". Each figure come with one each. But if you look carefully, there are two spoons in each sundae (or parfait? Never was a fan of girl food. MEN EAT STEAKS ALL RARE AND BLOODY.) So only one should be used if both girls are posed together. The cup is made of clear plastic, I can’t really put a finger on what type it is but it’s a pretty cheap and common light-weight one. Hell, maybe it’s just unpainted PVC. The cup has some remnants of strawberry (WOOO) sauce and vanilla icecream. Either that or cream and strawberry icecream. Whatever. The idea is that it has been eaten together by the girls and this leads to a Yuri moment. Would I have preferred a half-eaten or uneaten one with its shape infact? Perhaps. But this finished state has its own virtues – namely, its clarity doesn’t obscure the girls’ faces and the lack of ice-cream is the result of their rather hopeful faces. Loli begging for ice cream would be perhaps, more moe than ice-creaming lolis.
The sculpt is nicely-rounded for major cuteness yet retaining the sharpness necessary for a sense of good moulding. In other words, round areas are round, pointed parts are pointy and flat chests are flat. The shape of the face is loyal to the source material, with blushy cheeks, barely noticeable stubby noses and a large potato head. The eyebrows are also correctly situated high above the eyes (now this is in real life, rather freaky). Most of the seamlines are not visible and nicely placed on areas where there should be lines.
The pose is great. Sheer brilliance when coupled with the props in a diorama. While both girls strike similar poses in terms of feet, body and arms (which misleads one into thinking whether the sculptor got lazy), upon closer inspection, there are a lot of minute differences. The folds and wrinkles of the clothes and ribbons, the hair, the face, hair, body torque all create individuality in this piece of symmetrical art. Miu, naturally more fidgety, shows a bit more movement than the deadpan Chika (my favourite chara btw).
The paintwork is not exceptional but still gets the job done. These figures are really matte and don’t have much pronounced tone. While flat, there’s still a very minute amount of shading that isn’t noticeable on a conscious level unless you look hard. In other words, it looks good yet you don’t notice tones at first. There’s a bit of painting imperfection here and there, especially on the skirts, where the hooped white and red design requires perfection but doesn’t really get it. Otherwise, there really isn’t much to complain about. If you haven’t noticed by now, there are a couple of strange white patches on their faces and the table. As I said, these appear to be split ice cream. But those on the face probably should be interpreted as an effort to show the reflective, silky and supple attributes of untainted loli flesh as Barasui loves to do in his manga. Each face has one on each blush and a couple on the mouth. I think this is poorly done and detracts from the beauty of the girls, possibly being misconstrued as lolicon semen bukkake. And the splatter on the table would be inaccurate lolicon semen bukkake. Disgraceful!
The hair is simple yet adorable. Chika’s usual monosidetail has been shifted slightly, about 26.4 degrees back, for her headdress to fit on. Her little balls (lol) are still there though. Her fringe is crisp and hanging above her face unlike Miu’s. Miu has twin tails and these are nicely done. For interesting variation, her fringe clings to her forehead. One unexpected bonus arising from the headdress is its camouflage of the mandatory head seam line. So a top view of the figures is flawless as well.
The skirts are removable, even though no sane or honourable person would want to do such a thing to innocent and lovely 12 year olds. But Riuva is not run by such a person. The free nature of the base sets forth limitless photo opportunities and setups, when used in conjuction with the props and skirt, is a lolicon’s wet dream.
And now for the uninhibited monster section, which is illegal in some countries. NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR MORAL-HIGH-HORSERS.
Remove the couch and the girls fall. Panty shot.
Oops, how could we subject poor Chika to this humiliation? OMGWTFBBQ.