In Defence of Ame-Comi and Kotobukiya Bishoujo (Sort Of)

I seem to be destined to be uncool. Even within the geek community my tastes seem to run contrary to public opinion. I don’t do this on purpose, to be contrary or play the devil’s advocate. It’s just the way it is. For example, I preferred the movie ending in Watchmen. I’m enjoying the new 52 Catwoman and Guillem March’s stylised sultry art. I’m not enjoying the art in the new Wonder Woman, which is why I stopped getting it. And you know what? I freaking LOVED Smallville! So it should come as no surprise that I own a few of the much maligned Ame-Comi and Kotobukiya Bishoujo statues.

I can’t help but love the anime aesthetic on the figures, and Ame-Comi in particular has had some real success in reimagining familiar costumes, which is something I really dig. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazy obsessed collector.  I like the statues I own, but not the whole line of either range. I only chose characters that I like and statues that I thought captured each character’s personality, and I’m not the type to be obsessed with chasing down rare variants. I think the trick to appreciating these particular ranges is to be discerning so here’s a little look at why I bought some figures, but not others, and maybe I’ll be able to convert some haters.

The Ame-Comi Wonder Woman  was the first statue I bought, and at a knockdown price too. Although I’m not the biggest Wonder Woman fan, I really liked the redesigned costume, her no-nonsense expression and pose, and the fact that this wasn’t hyper sexualized. There was, however, stiff competition in the form of the Kotobukiya Wondie statue…

Although a more classic take on the costume, I loved this too (despite the insanely high cut briefs.) The base is just amazing, and it’s almost worth buying for that alone, but the reason I didn’t is an odd one, perhaps. It’s her tummy button. In a part of her costume that should be, and is painted to look like, metal, there is no reason for it to have that skin-tight navel effect going on. And for that reason, I’ll never be parting with cash for this.

It’s a battle of the Catwomen next, and a perfect example of why people hate both these lines. On the left we have the Ame-Comi Catwoman – the first in a long line of variants and repaints, and while I think she’s playful and sexy in the right measures, it’s still not appealing to me, or my interpretation of the character. On the right, Kotobukiya’s offering boasts another fantastic base, so it’s a real shame that the statue itself is a clichéd anime-styled mess. I mean, let’s face it, that mad case of absolute cleavage is never going to be gracing my shelves. If only they had pulled her zipper up, this would’ve been a must buy.

The Batgirl face off couldn’t have been more different though, and as a result I own both. The Ame-Comi version on the left was the only collectible I have actively chased. Trying to get my hands on this seemed like an impossible task, especially since I wasn’t prepared to pay jacked up prices. But somebody was selling their collection on eBay at retail prices, and I  jumped at the chance. I love the costume, and the Speed Racer inspired helmet, and I think her pose and demeanour is perfect for a young girl.  The Kotobukiya figure is perhaps a slightly more mature Batgirl, but the detail is stunning and the dynamic movement created with that cape is a real treat. Yes, both versions of Babs feature idealised body types, as do all of the statues featured here, and the comic versions of these characters, but it is not so offensive as, say, Kotobukiya’s Supergirl’s ridiculous upskirt action (which I won’t post here, to spare your blushes) and is something we’re used to seeing.

I also own an Ame-Comi Harley Quinn, that is appropriately carefree with a great costume and a creepy alternate Joker face, and a Kotobukiya Dark Phoenix which is beautifully detailed, from her flaming eyes and hair, right down to her fiery base. Next on my list is Kotobukiya’s Jean Grey and Poison Ivy, and potentially their Invisible Woman variant too, at some point in the future.

The bottom line is, that yes, there are horribly gratuitous statues in these ranges, that feature cheap titillation on a level I am uncomfortable with. But, on the other hand, there are some lovely figures that don’t resort to tits and ass and provocative poses that do a disservice to the character. And when the workmanship is good, as it is in almost all of Kotobukiya’s figures and the early Ame-Comi figures, they are fun, attractive collectibles that I for one am not ashamed of enjoying.

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