October 18th, 2008 at 4:51 pm (figures)
Ena Ayase is the sixth figure released by Kaiyodo as part of their Yotsuba& Revoltech series. Though it was officially scheduled for release September 1, the sexy idea of high profit margins from a cute shojo figure prompted most retailers to stock shelves the last weekend in August. She sold out before the end of the week not only in Akihabara, but also on Amazon.com and the Kaiyodo online shop.
Following the big bang of Fuka, the second figure released in the series and which also sold out in a matter of days, many of the Ena purchases can be attributed to speculators. However, unlike Fuka, demand has seemingly not increased. Even at the time of this publication, the figure can be found at Yahoo! Auctions way below retail price. (I’d even venture to say the price is going down…) But, more on that later.
Ena comes in a cute but simple packaging, suitable for displaying the figure if that’s your thing. The design is reminiscent of the Yotsuba&! bound manga, with plain white background and brown paper obi. The sides are splashed with photos of the figure, and the obi reads “Atashi kara, natsu yasumi,” roughly, “Summer vacation starts with me.”
Ena is the only figure in the Yostuba& Revoltech series to be sculpted by Yuki Oshima, the rest of which were sculpted by Tomohide Enoki. At first glance, the figure blends right in with the others, and at least artistically has no distinguishing features to mark it out. On the contrary, mechanically speaking the figure is quite different and perhaps shows some of Oshima’s capsule-toy roots.
Fresh out of the box, Ena is wearing a cute summer dress and holding her bear Julia. However, there are visible seams on the side of her shirt composed of soft snaps. With some careful maneuvering, her shirt and skirt can be removed to reveal a swimsuit underneath. Some more careful maneuvering can put a towel in place of Julia to create a complete beach get up.
The figure is fairly well balanced, but comes with a branded pink base that snaps into the feet.
For what reason solid figures were incorporated into the Yotsuba& Revoltech series, I may never know. As it stands, Yotsuba and Danboard are the only two characters to incorporate Revoltech’s extremely awesome joint system, which makes for some the most natural looking super posable figures I’ve ever seen. Actually, the jointing is almost a waste on Danboard as the character is bulky, inhibiting movement. But, to make a long story short, Ena can’t move.
However, her arms and head come off to aid in changing her clothes. This would be of some comedic value, if the process itself weren’t so difficult. There are no instructions on how complete the change, and the clothes are made of a soft vinyl material that could potentially tear if not handled properly. Taking off the garments is also much easier than putting them back on due to the awkward shape and position of the arms. The soft vinyl snaps are no picnic, with the positive ends refusing to connect with the negative ones; after 20 minutes or so trying to restore her previous form, I more or less gave up on making a good seal.
A towel… A bear… A base. Yotstuba can also hold the towel or bear, which is cool, but I’d bet there aren’t too many other things Ena can hold. Personally, I’d like for Ena to have some sort of flotation device, so that when she’s swimming in the bathtub – I mean ocean – she remains safe from drowning.
Ena is ridiculously cute, which more or less mandated this purchase. The other characters like playing with her – I mean, she blends in well with the other characters, helping to create better play scenes… And, yeah. She’s really cute.
The only thing I’m a little dissatisfied with, aside from the moving prospect of “zero points of articulation,” would be the slightly sloppy changes between outfits. It’s difficult to gauge how long her soft vinyl clothes are going to last, especially with the obstacle of her arms. Just from three or so attempts, the color already seems to be bleeding onto her skin a bit. She doesn’t seem to be made for the kind of play I had in mind.
I don’t really consider myself a collector, but she makes a fine addition to the Yotsuba family. But as a stand alone, she might feel a little lonely.