EDIT: 50th Post! And since Noriko is waifu #2 right behind Ariel, I couldn’t have planned it better! ♥ ♥ ♥
Since this is ostensibly a figure blog (and since I’m still working on FanimeCon 2012 photos), it’s time for an overdue figure review! Please excuse the lighting, as I still don’t really know what I’m doing with my lightbox. ^^;
One of my favorite (if not my most favorite) anime series of all-time is Gainax’s 1998 OVA Toppu wo Nerae! (トップをねらえ! / Aim for the Top!), better known as Gunbuster. This space opera has everything: aliens, robots, action, horror, romance, comedy, and angst. It was directed and co-written by Hideaki Anno, the man who would later go on to write and direct the much more well-known Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Noriko Takaya is the main character of the series, and even though she’s clumsy and unpopular, with her exuberance and dedication she manages to accomplish her dream of becoming a space pilot! She proves that you can do anything with hard work and guts!
I know some of the younger anime fans won’t watch older series because of the animation style, but if you don’t give this Original Video Animation a chance, you’re really missing out! It’s only six episodes, so it’s really quick to watch (although, to be honest, I saw the first two episodes when I was younger and didn’t get to see the last four until many years later).
The series has little “science lessons” in-between episodes and it actually uses time dilation to great dramatic effect. The final scene haunted me for days afterward and raised all sorts of existential questions, like good science fiction should! :O
Anyway, when I first started collecting figures, I knew I had to get my hands on a Noriko figure! It’s a shame that there aren’t too many of her and they’re hard to find. I saw this 1/6 scale rendition by Kotobukiya available on-line for $50 at one point but thought it was so expensive! (At the time, I didn’t know what “expensive” really means in this hobby!)
This dynamic figure manages to capture Noriko’s energetic determination perfectly, and the miniature version of the space cruiser Exelion in the back manages to make it look like she’s floating in the air. Her pose evokes her “hard work and guts” work ethic — she looks like she’s rolling up her sleeves and getting ready to go to work!
Of course, not everything is perfect with this figure, and now that the requisite turn-around is done, let’s pick some nits. Here we can barely make out some blemishes on Noriko’s yellow socks. Even though I bought this figure new off of Yahoo!Japan Auctions, there were lots of marks on the figure. Ah, that Kotobukiya quality. :<
The base also has some blemishes and some chips and rough edges as well. Granted, this is an older figure, so quality control wasn’t as strict as it is nowadays, but it’s still disappointing to see things like this.
These spots on the back of her leg really stand out! If these are where the sprues were, I guess the legs were molded from colored PVC and not painted? :3a
The seam lines are pretty bad, too! >_< I'm just glad most of these are on the back side of the figure and aren't really noticeable when it's on display.
Not sure where this gouge came from. It’s actually got kind of a sheen to it.
Another blemish on the shoulder.
Now we’re back to the front of the figure. You can see the seam here. D:
The painting on the straps of her outfit is quite terrible. xP This is one of the reasons why I try to avoid buying figures on-line. I’m sure not all of them are this bad!
Some of her hair strands look rough, like they might’ve even snapped off at some point! DX There’s some shoddy painting on the top of her outfit, too, as well as on her lips.
It’s a shame that this older series isn’t better-known; I think it’s far superior to the marketing machine that is Evangelion. If it were more popular, there might be more figures of Noriko and her co-stars available! Besides this out-of-print 2004 figure from Kotobukiya, there is one figure from Kaiyodo’s Mon-sieur BOME line and another from Wave’s Treasure Figure series. While I’m glad to have found her, as she’s becoming increasingly rare, I really hope I’ll get the chance to replace her some day with one that has fewer problems. If you don’t mind the issues I’ve pointed out, then you should definitely try to find one for your collection! Despite the quality problems, this version really does capture her likeness and spirit best!