THE AFJ REVIEW: KOTOBUKIYA BISHOUJO SPIDER-GWEN
By Jarrett Kruse
KOTOBUKIYA is one of those companies that I approached at my Toy Fair appointment earlier this year, keeping in mind, "don't break anything in their booth!" I had this image of the company being museum style pieces that were not as accessible as I wanted. I couldn't have been more wrong because KOTOBUKIYA is actually one of those brands that while it maintains an air of "look but don't touch," is an amazingly well crafted hybrid of statues & figures making for epic style pieces at affordable prices. Make no mistake, these are high end pieces for the display shelf but also have an air of play-ability perfect for the budding toy photographer. The sleek, lithe style of the sculpts lend itself to being perfectly captured on digital image perfection bringing out all of the illustrious detail in each piece.
I immediately gravitated towards the Spider-Gwen piece as her meteoric rise in the MARVEL canon has been nothing short of historic. It is hard to remember another character that has so quickly gone from the pulpy pages of comic books to plastic iterations of all kinds. Maybe Winter Soldier, but before that, I really cannot remember a character that the public has so collectively fallen in love with so quickly. Earlier this year, the MARVEL LEGENDS Spider-Gwen was the hottest figure out there topping the AFJ TOP 10 and topping out at close to $50. So anything Spider-Gwen is going to sell, its just that simple.
As the very first KOTOBUKIYA piece in my collection, I was seriously wowed at the packaging for the $69.99 statue. It is the Fort Knox of protection for the beautifully designed work of art, completely secure and there is no worry of any pieces breaking off and coming loose. That is a big concern with higher end collectibles these days because while the quality on the figure increases, it seems that some companies begin to skimp out on the packaging. However, KOTOBUKIYA is all in on making sure that their pieces are well preserved. And the box art is really sharp looking on all sides of the case. Here is a peek at what you will be getting.
The wiry and muscular frame of Spider-Gwen is masterfully captured in the superior sculpt from renowned Japanese illustrator and game designer Shunya Yamashita. Google him and marvel at some of the works that this artist has brought to the world, particularly his designs of the female form. The hard plastic of the statue, I am thinking has to be some kind of resin composite because it is weighty without being overbearing. I was thankful for the stand that the foot of Spider-Gwen locks into but it was a little difficult for me to get it to balance just the way I liked it. Adding some weight to the base can help and I suggest adding some quarters if you have the same issue. Perhaps my favorite feature of the piece is the interchangeable heads that allow you to have the equivalent of two figures in one. I actually made the mistake of leaving the ruffled cowl on before realizing that it needed to be taken off when adding the masked head. However I have to say, it kind of looked cool leaving the extra "cowlage" on Gwen's head! In either head, this is a piece that absolutely begs to be photographed and enjoyed. It was a real treat to explore my first KOTOBUKIYA piece for review and I sincerely was wowed at the sturdy construction, paint job and overall quality.
THE FINAL WORD
No pun intended but I was absolutely marveling at this amazing work of art. Make no mistake, this is for the serious collector but has the accessibility to be an amazing addition to an office shelf for even the casual collector. At such a manageable price point, I think that the Bishoujo pieces are an excellent gateway product for the new KOTOBUKIYA consumer to begin their collection. The passion and love that clearly goes into these pieces really pops when taking it out of the box and I had a blast photographing Spider-Gwen. Despite not being an award-winning photojournalist, the KOTOBUKIYA statue makes any photographer look like a pro as you digitally capture the sheer beauty of a high end statue/figure type that continues to grow in popularity. Well done.