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Jigoku Shoujo - Enma Ai - 1/8 (Chrono Gate)

rowynrowyn7 years agoReview
Introduction and background

Jigoku Shoujo is an anime series that aired for three seasons in 2005, 2006, and 2008. Revenge is the prevailing theme, and it is repeatedly emphasized that everyone suffers, even when the revenge is deserved. Those seeking revenge summon Enma Ai, a mysterious girl who gives them a straw doll tied with a red string. Untying the string unleashes retribution, but the doll also offers one last chance to choose against revenge. Each episode of the series explores many variations of this premise.

http://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/enma.jpg
Enma Ai is the main protagonist. She is one of the constant characters, as it is her task to deliver the tool of revenge, and torment and escort the object of revenge to hell if the tool is triggered. She is aptly named; Enma is one of the judges of the underworld, and frequently shows up in anime as a character. She is generally portrayed as emotionless and imperturbable. More about her background is explored in the series and she is revealed to feel more than initially apparent. She has a doll-like appearance, which translates nicely to figure versions.

There were two higher-quality PVC figures I considered getting, one by Alter and the other by Chrono Gate, a collaboration between Kotobukiya and Happinet. Although I have more faith in Alter’s technical output, I liked Chrono Gate’s concept more. As I decided I wanted this figure long after both were out of stock everywhere, I picked up the Chrono Gate Enma Ai second-hand from the Mandarake store in Akihabara, Tokyo, while on vacation ^_^


http://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_02_all.jpg
Chrono Gate Enma Ai
Review
Sculpt
Chrono Gate’s sculpt is quite a good one, and exceeded my expectations. There are some artifacts, on some seam lines and on the hiyoku, but fairly minimal. Clothing flows well, wrinkles realistically, straw doll and bracelet are detailed. Her hiyoku is simple and looks good, with the lower half somewhat translucent, presumably because its wet. If you must know, she’s nude underneath. Her hair, flowing in separate locks, is mostly very well done, smooth and elegant; to my surprise, this was a highlight. Her face is somewhat off, being a bit shorter than the animated version, but is otherwise a good likeness.

http://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_06_side.jpghttp://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_05_front.jpg

Paint
Paintwork is generally competent. Still, shading is not at the level of manufacturers such as Alter, Good Smile Company, and Max Factory, falling short where fine shading gradations are needed for skin, and very dull rock painting. Kimono colors are better. This figure is not so challenging overall to paint as she does not have too many colors, though.

Pose
Both Chrono Gate and Alter’s Enma Ai have static, simple poses consistent with her character. Both succeed in capturing her personality in a different way. I like Chrono Gate’s version because she has a thoughtful, reflective look. She is depicted in a way not commonly seen, undressed to her hiyoku, dipping a tabi-covered foot in the water, carrying her kimono and straw doll, with hair flowing gently. I find it a unique and different look for her, more vulnerable than the impassive look she typically has (used in Alter’s version).

Base
Enma Ai is connected to her base, sitting on a 90 mm tall rock connected to a green, opaque, and wavy surface that does a passable job evoking water. The round, brown plastic base underneath is unfortunately very cheap-looking. Overall quality of the base is far inferior to the incredible bases of Good Smile Company in terms of detail and texture, and when you look closely, it really shows. Still, it’s a good effort, and since the base design is very fitting for the figure, it does lend toward a nice diorama effect. Since Enma Ai is what really draws the eye when viewing this figure, it works fine.

http://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_03_side2.jpghttp://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_09_back.jpg


Package
Enma Ai comes in a compact, small box. Nice square cut-outs on the side, butterfly-shaped one on top, and red colors make it fairly attractive. I'm giving it points for its minimal size for easy storage, and not being excessively bulked up.

http://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_01_box_Front.jpghttp://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_01_box_Angle.jpg

Enjoyment
Another figure with a fairly static pose but I love her atmosphere and mysteriousness. The objects she carries create visual points of interest and everything, from base to pose to her expression works well. I think this is a very beautiful figure and definitely like it a lot.

http://www.cyandora.net/images/misc/ai_07_closeup.jpg


Conclusion
I’m very happy to find Chrono Gate’s Enma Ai. It is a very good, unconventional depiction of this character. It is also a beautiful figure, with a reflective and serene atmosphere. The major colors are very neutral but her kimono, red eyes, the straw doll and bracelet add visual accent. It works. Although the technical execution of this figure is certainly inferior to the better figure manufacturers, it is still a very good figure overall and a worthwhile addition to any collection.
6,565 hits • 3 comments

Scores7/10

Sculpting
Painting
Posing
Base
Packaging
Enjoyment

Comments3 comments

0pt
Hi! And thanks for the review. It was helpfull to me, and it only proves that i even want her more. ;)
7 years ago
0pt
Thanks for this nice review.
7 years ago
0pt
Ashlotte Full-time Reviewer
Another excellent one row! Very enjoyable read...Not too long...Not too short...Stradles the line between a personable and professional tone wonderfully. *thumbs up*

Your thoughts on her remind me a lot of my own on the one Chrono Gate figure I own...The technical aspects aren't quite on par with the best but their figures certainty can excel at capturing a certain atmosphere perfectly. ~_^
7 years ago
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