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Penguin Parade 1/8 Kuroko Shirai

Today we'll be reviewing Penguin Parade's figure of Kuroko Shirai, released back in December of 2011. There is exactly one minimally-NSFW panty shot to be found, so if that will offend you, now's your chance to turn back...

About the character: Kuroko Shirai is one of the main characters from A Certain Scientific Railgun, although this figure depicts her as she appears in A Certain Magical Index where she is more of a supporting character. Like most of the students residing in Academy City, she possesses esper abilties. Kuroko is a level 4 esper (the second most powerful rank), and her special ability is teleportation. This enables her to instantly retreat from dangerous situations, and she is able to use her ability as a weapon. Teleportation through objects seems to disturb their molecular structure, and she could in principle teleport projectiles directly inside a target's vital organs, although she prefers a less lethal approach, using her abilities to pin down and immobilize her adversaries when in a scrum.

Now on to the review.

Packaging----------6.5/10

The box features a large window.

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The sides also feature windows and the back features a photo of the figure.

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The box is made of corrugated cardboard and it is sturdy, but the box is absolutely gigantic for a 1/8 scale figure. The box measures approximately 25 by 30 by 25 cm, so she almost certainly will have to be shipped via EMS. Figure and box weigh in around 600 grams, but since she'll need a large shipping box, her shipping weight will probably be well over 1 kg, so if you live in Europe or the Americas, don't be surprised if shipping sets you back 3000 yen or more.

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That is FREEing's huge 1/4 Kuroko next to the box for this figure. Crazy.

Posing----------8.5/10

Complaints about the box aside, Penguin Parade did a pretty good job designing her pose. The pose suggests that Kuroko is whipping a sheath of nails from her bag, no doubt preparing to use them.

The sheath of nails is a separate piece.

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The end of the sheath tucks into her bag, and once the other end is placed in her hand, she's ready to go.

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Let's take a look around the figure.

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It's a nice moderately dynamic pose, although she will take up a fair amount of shelf space. Kuroko herself and the nail sheath will occupy a more or less circular area about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter.


Sculpting----------7/10
Painting-----------8.5/10


The sculpt and the painting are generally okay, although as we'll see, both are not entirely without issues. Here's a close up of Kuroko. Generally, all the colors on the figure are pretty spot-on from her light brown vest to her reddish-brown hair.

Possibly my biggest issue with the sculpt is the way her face is rendered. In fairness, this is meant to be Kuroko as the appears in Index as opposed to Railgun and the character desgins in the former are just a tad more rounded, while in Railgun the characters are a bit more slender and angular. That said, from certain angles, I think her face appears just a little too wide.

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In fairness, if you view her from slightly off-center, the effect is not quite so pronounced. I will give Penguin Parade credit for the way her expression is done. While Kuroko is not nearly as powerful as series lead Mikoto Misaka, she is no slouch, and she generally carries herself in a very assured manner; this is reflected in the subtle smirk on her face.

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A closer look at her face.

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Here's a good look at her hair. It's a little bit globby in places (especially here on her bangs), but overall her hair is decently done.

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On the other hand, all that material on her bangs does hide the seam where they attach to the rest of her head.

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Kuroko's twintails are a key element of her character's design. I think they're replicated faithfully enough, although you can see a bit of excess material in a few spots.

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Kuroko is of course a member of Judgment, the agency responsible for keeping law and order within the esper community, and her green armband identifies her as such. You can see the armband is a little sloppy where the safety pin attaches it to her sleeve. We again see that excess material on her hair, and there is also some excess material on her sleeve.

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You can see that the trim on her vest is not quite uniformly wide. I was going to complain that there are no buttons on her shirt, but I went back and looked at some of the artwork; oddly in the anime, the characters' shirts usually have buttons, but everywhere I looked through the Railgun manga, it looked as if there were none. Therefore I suppose I shouldn't complain about that fact. The insignia on her vest is well-done, although you can see a spot or two where the brown color on her vest gets over-painted onto the insignia.

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A view of her bag. Generally the painting of the various buckles and metal corners is okay, but mine was a little bit scuffed up right out of the box. You can also see a spot or two where the brown paint from the nail sheath spills over onto some of the nails.

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The back of her bag. The painting is okay except for that spot on the bottom right corner, but generally the bag will be completely out of view from this angle.

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You can see her that some of that brown paint will transfer to her hand after a while.

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Penguin Parade did a decent job with her shoes and socks. All the characters in Railgun seem to wear their socks sort of loose like that.

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Another one of Kuroko's signature features is the straps she wears on her upper thighs, ensuring she always has a projectile handy when she needs one. I made the mistake of noticing that the lengths of the nails aren't completely uniform, a fact I am no longer able to ignore. Also, I hadn't really noticed before, but you can see a seam running the length of her top.

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In case you're wondering, she does separate at the waist which allows the removal of her skirt. Honestly though, she just doesn't look all that great displayed in her panties, so I won't even bother with that aspect of the figure. In addition, she doesn't hold together very well at this point of separation. If you attempt to pick her up by any part of her upper torso, she will immediately come apart. Penguin Parade should have done better in this regard.

Overall, the finish of the figure is okay. There aren't really any glaring flaws, but there are a number of small little picky issues. Taking everything into account, the finish of the figure is definitely not comparable to something you'd get from Alter or Good Smile; I'd put it somewhere close to the top end of what you'll typically get from that second tier of companies.

The biggest issue though in my mind is the roundness of her face. For comparison, Penguin Parade's Sister Mikoto (ITEM #63701 ) does not share that particular issue. It's too bad, since a better job in that area really would have offset some of the other issues and elevated the figure in my mind.

Base----------4/10

Here is going to be the really sore point for many collectors who are seeking out this particular Kuroko. As you can see in the photo below, her base is just a nondescript black disk, but there's more to the low rating than just that.

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Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture above, Kuroko's base contains only a single peg to support her. The peg is far too short to begin with and unfortunately the peg will not fit either of her feet. Now, the good news is that she can be made to stand on her own with some patience and effort, but I'm guessing very few people want their figures in a state of constant precarious balance.

Penguin Parade, to their credit, did offer replacement bases and I seem to recall seeing that AmiAmi worked with those who had preordered her to make sure that everyone who preordered her got the corrected base. Unfortunately, I bought her secondhand and in my case her previous owner never took her out of the box and presumably never bothered with the replacement base. My DIY solution was to drill a small hole in her base, and carefully thread a small screw into the existing hole in the bottom of her foot. The base for the corresponding Mikoto, if you're wondering, is at least functional but it has problems of its own (the pegs support the figure but are quite brittle). Maybe one of these days I'll just make a custom base for them both.

So, if the base was functional it would get a 6/10, but let's average that with a zero for shipping the product with a base which is for all practical purposes unusable, and add a point for the fact that Penguin Parade made some attempt to correct the problem. However, if you spot her preowned, it might be worth inquiring about whether or not she has the corrected base or not.


Overall verdict and enjoyment----------7.5/10


This is a tough call. There are some good points about this figure, such as the highly creative pose, but the issue with the way her face is sculpted, that outrageously big box, and the base fiasco tends to offset a lot of the good.

Let's finish up by comparing her with a couple of other Kurokos that are available.

Kuroko with her 1/4 FREEing counterpart. I think the way FREEing renders her face is much more faithful to the character.

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Kuroko with Kotobukiya's 1/6 maid Kuroko.

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I do like Kuroko quite a bit, and sadly there just aren't that many proper scaled figures of her out there. As far as these three go, I'd say FREEing's is the best, followed by the Kotobukiya (although I'm really not too fond of the design Koto used for her face either), and alas Penguin Parade's Kuroko brings up the back of the pack.

She's not really bad by any means (depending of course on whether you regard the base issue as a deal breaker), but neither should this one be considered a must-own figure for Kuroko fans, even though there only a few figures of her wearing her canon uniform. I'll probably end up paying a premium for ITEM #75291 or throwing the dice on ITEM #167166 in my quest for a uniformed Kuroko.


Availability (as of this writing)


Sold out new, sporadically available preowned.

She isn't exactly rare, but neither is she in constant supply at the popular pre-owned outlets. I'd guess that around 4000-5000 yen is the going price these days but with that giant box, keep in mind shipping could be much more than you might expect for a 1/8 scale figure.

THANKS FOR READING!

If you liked this review, leave a comment or check out my other reviews:

Kotobukiya 1/6 Asuka Langley Shikinami (Evangelion 3.0-You Can (Not) Redo) blog/9804
Kotobukiya 1/7 Mikoto Misaka Beach Side (A Certain Scientific Railgun) blog/9755
Sega Sena Kashiwazaki PM prize figure (Haganai) blog/9654
Kotobukiya 1/8 Karin Sasamori (To Heart 2-Dungeon Travelers) blog/9537
Alphamax 1/7 Sena Kashiwazaki (Haganai) blog/9423
Good Smile 1/8 Triela (Gunslinger Girl): blog/9286
Phat! 1/8 Meruru (Atelier Meruru): blog/9178
Phat! 1/8 Totori (Atelier Totori): blog/9107
Griffon 1/7 Etna (Disgaea): blog/9056
FREEing 1/4 Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Scientific Railgun): blog/8950
QuesQ 1/8 Taiga Aisaka bunny (Toradora): blog/8880
Alter 1/8 Hanna-Justina Marseille (Strike Witches): blog/8821
Kotobukiya 1/7 Kuroneko swimsuit (Oreimo): blog/8699
FREEing 1/4 Kuroko Shirai (A Certain Scientific Railgun): blog/8666

4,962 hits • 4 comments

Scores7/10

Sculpting
Painting
Posing
Base
Packaging
Enjoyment

4 comments

0pt
Thanks for the review.. I'm now rethinking about getting her, she'll probably be around 80-90$ including shipping but I think the penguin parade figures for Mikoto and Shirai are the best depicting their character.. I mean all the others are just really out of character with blushing faces or just weird poses.
Sigh I don't know what to do!! I'm for sure getting Misaka though so maybe I'll just cave and get her friend so she wouldn't be lonely
3 years ago
0pt
Merleawe (4 years ago) #1705933The shipping price is the only reason I don't own this figure :( she's the best kuroko figure by far in my opinion :3 I love the pose so much.

I honestly have no idea what they were thinking with that box; about 60% of the volume is literally empty space...

secretly-otaku (4 years ago) #1705938Thanks for the review! I do consider myself a Kuroko fan as well, and I was waiting for a good figure of her in the 1/8 scale. This one was the closest to be the one I wanted, but looking at the size of her box, the space she would require, the cheap base and the fact that she is not that easy to find, I will definitely keep waiting for the right one.

I'm holding out hope that ITEM #167166 might be the one. I've also thought about ITEM #75291 but the high price kind of scares me, considering it's a Kuji.
4 years ago
0pt
Thanks for the review! I do consider myself a Kuroko fan as well, and I was waiting for a good figure of her in the 1/8 scale. This one was the closest to be the one I wanted, but looking at the size of her box, the space she would require, the cheap base and the fact that she is not that easy to find, I will definitely keep waiting for the right one.
4 years ago
0pt
The shipping price is the only reason I don't own this figure :( she's the best kuroko figure by far in my opinion :3 I love the pose so much.
4 years ago
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About this blog

 
Welcome to my blog.

Most of my articles are figure reviews, with the occasional loot post thrown in.

Hopefully you'll find the reviews informational if you're considering the purchase of a particular figure.

I like to do a mix of reviews of both old and new figures, so if there's some figure in my collection that you'd like to see reviewed, leave a comment.

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