As someone with an anime figure collection that has been cultivated to a specific taste, I occasionally find myself conflicted when a character I like gets a figure release that doesn’t fit the ideals behind my collecting. I try and stick to family friendly figures of characters that I’m fond of, or if I’m not especially fond of a character, it must at least be part of a set I’m collecting. This figure of the Major, released as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations for Ghost in the Shell has been a thorn in my side. I adore the Major. She’s risen above Shirow Masamune’s original ideas to become the star of some truly thoughtful anime and manga outings. There have been very few scale figures of Kusanagi Motoko that have been released within the tier of quality I’m used to, and I’ve always found it to be a shame that one of the most iconic anime characters of all time hasn’t had a plastic, mass-produced form worthy of her fictional synthetic one. Union Creative comes VERY close with this figure. And that’s why it has been so hard coming to a decision concerning whether to keep her.
The detail is what’s to be expected from Union Creative. The gun and jacket have minimal texture or paint, but are still suitably intricate. The scale is pleasing, and there are very few missteps with the paint job. There’s a strange inconsistency to where her tan falls, but this issue isn’t noticeable when in the well-lit cabinet. I initially hated the expression on the face of the coloured prototype, but I feel that on closer inspection, there’s a sense of achievement or perhaps a completed mission being celebrated behind those plastic eyes, rather than the out-of-character, “come hither” look shown in the promo shots. I felt that anything short of neutral and robotic would be a mistake, but her eyes are indeed pleasant and bright.
Although nudity features heavily in the series and films, her animated form has managed to avoid the overt, pandering sexualisation of Shirow’s art in the comics. Her outfit and form are mostly accurate in this sculpt, but sadly her pose screams “pin-up” more than “deadly agent”. Of course, there’s always something to be said for pre-ordained camera angles when comparing a figure with an animated counterpart. Her slipping jacket, and tilted hip are more in line with potential cover art than her actual character. The base has minimal detail. It’s a black, uneven triangle with the S.A.C. logo. Some rubble, a metallic surface, or perhaps a smaller-sized base would have been preferable, but I’m generally pleased with the overall balance (or lack thereof).
Union Creative released two versions of this figure, and I’m pleased with my choice. This “Optical Camouflage” version depicts the Major in mid-transition into camouflage. Her legs are sculpted of clear plastic with metallic glitter floating inside to mimic light distortion. It adds a little interest to a figure that would otherwise be a detailed, but poorly posed Major Kusanagi.
Whether she remains in my collection will rest with how comfortable my wife is with this figure, but as of right now, she’s the best Motoko on the market, and although she has wonderful attributes, this isn’t the compliment it should be. Click on any of the images to see them at full size.