It occurred to me that the Busou Renkin manga was pretty bad when compared to other series of its time while its anime version currently airing is one of the better shows this season. Does that mean the plot and premise for most anime series are actually much worse than most manga?

Anyway, the biggest draw of Busou Renkin is Tsumura Tokiko, the fierce amazonian tsundere babe armed with four wicked extendable blades on her thighs. Man, I liked her in the manga already and the anime just adds a whole new level, with that low, violently sexy voice, gracefully deadly actions and girlishly elegant gestures. I would like to point out that with Nobuhiro Watsuki (Kenshin’s author btw) stance against blatant fanservice (he claims to be embarrassed just drawing Tokiko’s bare tummy), she doesn’t have get panty shot or whatever indecent exposure through the manga. Even when landing after a high jump, her hands’ll be holding down her skirt (that’s why having four extra limbs are great).

This figure of Tokiko was released in December last year, with a price tag of 4800 yen by Megahouse. She’s 1/8 scale and from the Excellent Model Series.

Name: Tsumura Tokiko
Height: 154 cm
Weight: 39 kg
Stats: 75-55-79
Birthday: August 7th
Zodiac: Leo
Blood Type: A
Age: 17
Favourites: Onigiri, Purple, Places close to the sky
Dislikes: Homunculus, unnecessary sacrifice
Hobbies: Training
Skills: Super-quick changing (she can put on her uniform in a flash)
Organisation: Renkin Warriors Syndicate

I wanted to make a video at first but it proved too difficult so screw that. Tokiko is a rather unusual figurine, for she comes with her trademark Valkyrie Skirt all poseable and extendable. But first, let’s see the three best (or least worst) pictures. I thought of photoshopping these to make them better, with minor tweaks like contrast and saturation etc but decided against it for the time being. Ok mainly because this batch of pics sucked.

It’s not really possible to fit everything inside the frame, but this picture fills it up reasonably. A bit too dark though.

I tried to add a more actiony feel, with Tokiko pointing her blade at the camera. The foreground has her blade looking menacing. I wanted to straighten it a bit more so it’ll have a greater sense of lead-in to her body but the blades couldn’t take their own weight. The background turned out pretty sucky too.

Here we have a low angle shot with two arms framing her. This angle makes her face pretty good, unlike other straight shots where the ugliness is pretty apparent. A bit too dark thanks to the sky meddling with the metering.

Yup, not that great pictures. The sheer width of the figure makes it hard for my little digicam to capture everything and photography was difficult. I’ve come to the conclusion that direct sunlight is bad for figurine photography. The harsh lighting creates way too many shadows, messes up the exposure etc and a cool overcast sun does better by bringing out the details more.

Tokiko comes with four detachable parts plus a base. The former have three points of articulation each capable of about 340 degree rotation. They are moulded very sharp and can pierce skin if you press hard enough. These are great and innovative but the application left a lot to be desired. While the actual moulding is good as I said, the choice of material was totally wrong and the method of attachment to Tokiko is just horrendous. The blades and arms are made of PVC and such thin rods cannot support the weight of the huge blades at all. So you’ll have to either let them stay on the ground like a spider’s legs, or risk them warping like a banana (which I did for a couple of months). The rods are attached to her thigh plates via a ball-and-socket joint, 4 to be exact. But these get  very loose and the rods are dislodged too easily for my liking. I’m pretty sure if Tokiko had been made recently instead of a year ago, she would’ve gotten a much better design thanks to improving general quality of figurines these days.

Perhaps too much attention was diverted by the Valkyrie Skirt, because the actual figurine is bloody ugly face-wise. This was based on the manga design and we all know Watsuki favours a pseudo-Western art style heavily influenced by Marvel (not apparent here at all though). The manga had her with very angular features which the anime rectified and improved on.  Tokiko’s eyes are are too big, too square and the decals used are really ugly. Her eyebrows are bloody thick too and we all know girls with thick eyebrows ought to have their plucked. Her unique scar, such a defining feature on print and animated media, sticks out like a sore thumb, especially because it’s the same shape as her mouth.

Tokiko’s hair sucks too. The sculpting could’ve been more detailed, it looks like a round ball from some angles. Her fringe is too stubby for my liking.

While I never was that into her school uniform, the slightly goth style of it suits her, with all those cross and dark colours. The paintjob is not good. The colours are very flat and monotone. Despite the lack of obvious manufacturing flaws, I cannot say good things about the paint quality. Mediocre.

Takiko takes a rather stoic pose, with hands by her side and feet spaced apart - the pose of power. It’s only natural that with her skirt, her arms don’t really move all that much. Her left closed fist creates an impression of power while her right openly-stretched fingers show the attribute of control. Her hips are slightly leaning to the left and I don’t like this. I would’ve preferred a symmetrical foot placing. Anyway, she’s stable enough to stand without her base, especially with her weapons supporting.

Her base is an enlarged version of her kakugane (core metal), the origin of her power. I don’t like it because the cheap gray finish and ugly hexagon design (Watsuki’s fault) is so gaudy. The base has two plugs, one for each of her feet.

Megahouse betrayed Watsuki anyway by having her skirt removable lol. So fanservice for us. Those are some ugly panties unfortunately.

I like Megahouse because they do figurines of interesting characters and not just blindly follow the trend of making multiple versions of the same Ms Popular (OMG 241st Saber!) This figurine may have a truckload of areas where improvement is needed, I still think it’s worth the money. Major credit goes to the rather cool Valkyrie Skirt and the choice of character to figurise.

12 Responses to “Figure Review: The Star of Busou Renkin Strikes”  

  1. 1 Waterfall

    Dr Octopus’ daughter? Nice photos. You convinced me to give the anime a look if just for her. XD

    I’m guilty of watching anime for one character and FF-ing until its that character’s turn or scene. ^^

  2. 2 Karura

    Go for it, Waterfall, Tokiko is actually the only reason I’m still watching Busou Renkin instead of dropping it after one episode.

  3. 3 Alafista

    I think busou renkin is not bad … the only thing tat still bother me is their concept of alchemy clashes with what I have in mind .. instead of alchemy … theirs is more mai-hime type of technology

  4. 4 Gary Ee

    Hmm, yes Tokiko is quite a fetching and charismatic heroine. However I am a tad worried that she’ll fall into the Rukia-syndrome in subsequent episodes and become all but useless just so that Lancer, er, Kazuki can shine.

  5. 5 tj_han

    Gary, that doesn’t happen. Not to as large an extent as Bleach anyway. The nature of Busou Renkin weaponry is that improvements aren’t easy because there aren’t flashy attack moves. So you don’t go like , “New move! Level Up!”

  6. 6 Zzz...

    “its anime version currently airing is one of the better shows this season”…Oookayyyy….umm…I can’t really respond to that without…hell I just can’t respond to that at all…

    …do love her choice of weapon though…I envisioned something like it long before I heard of the manga or the anime…really sexy concept…

  7. 7 super rats

    It is amazing how much better figures have gotten on average as far as quality of the finish goes.

    What time of day do you take these pictures? Judging from the shadow length the sun was still fairly high in the sky. The higher the sun is in the sky, the harsher the light and shadows. Cloudy days do diffuse the light a lot, so you have more latitude as far as what time of day to shoot, but the colors turn out with less contrast (which is sometimes better depending on how reflective the PVC is). Keep paying attention to what light conditions do what and you’ll be in control.

  8. 8 tj_han

    Yup super rats. Juxtaposing my Dark Saber and Tokiko, it’s really apparent how much the paint job and sculpture of PVCs has been refined over just the period of one year.

    Normally if I’m alone, I’ll pick 4pm to take figure pictures. But in a group, it’s normally slightly earlier.

    So are you saying a matte PVC should be photographed under an overcast sky? Or a shiny PVC is better overcast?

  9. 9 super rats

    One isn’t better than the other, as it kind of depends on what you want, preference, etc. There aren’t many absolutes with photography, which is why I didn’t find your statement about direct sunlight to ring true.

    Cloudy light is soft and less contrasty, but also tends to grey things out a little. You’ll get fewer blown out highlights right next to deep pockets of shadow on a cloudy day. Clouds are more forgiving, but it comes at the cost of less color vibrancy, something Black Dress Saber wouldn’t mind at all. Sometimes you actually want the dulling effect.

    With the sun shining directly on the figure you almost need a reflector to fill in the shadows in order to compress the contrast between your darkpoint and whitepoint. Direct sun is more treacherous, but does offer the opportunity for superior results if everything lines up just right. If the sun is high in the sky it will usually be ugly and harsh. If you have to tilt your head up to see the sun, the light will often be too harsh to be pretty.

    They both have pros and cons.

  10. 10 MaverickRonin

    I have to say I share Gary’s concerns as well.


    I’ve just seen the second ep and Tokiko has already lost her powers. She better get them back in the next ep because I want to see that sexy Valkyrie Skirt again.

  11. 11 Waterfall

    Noizi Itoh rendition of scar-tan iS awesome!

  12. 12 Yakuri-moe

    Thanks so much for the photos, I’m making a Tokiko costume for cosplay and this pictures helped me a lot ^^

    You’re right the valkyrie kicks ass but Tokiko herself looks cheap and has a horrible head.

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