You know how there are those figures where you pass on ordering them new only to subsequently wonder what the hell you were thinking? Well, today we'll be reviewing one of those figures, an older (2011) offering of one of my favorite characters, Ques Q's Taiga Aisaka.
About the character: Taiga Aisaka is the lead character from the Toradora! anime and manga. Despite her very petite and cute appearance, she is extremely short tempered and hence she comes to be known as the palmtop tiger. Despite her often-sullen disposition, she is quite popular with her male classmates but she doesn't seem to show much interest in any of them (save for her crush Kitamura) until she meets classmate and neighbor Ryuji Takasu. Seemingly able to see through Taiga's abrasive outward persona, eventually Ryuji gets to know Taiga very well; in reality, Taiga is actually quite clumsy and somewhat insecure about herself and as Taiga and Ryuji get better acquainted, Taiga's personality shows some sign of mellowing.
The box is cute and functional. The front window gives a nice view of the figure inside.
I like the little vignette on the back panel which points out Taiga's alternate parts (her tsun tsun face and heart shaped tail).
The two side panels show each of Taiga's faceplates.
Because of Taiga's petite stature, this is not a large figure, and the box is pretty compact. The box measures 26 by 14 by 13 cm and the package weighs 350 grams.
Taiga's base is quite simple, but it works. The base has a matte black finish with the Toradora! logo, and you see little indentations where Taiga is meant to be placed.
With a lot of sitting/kneeling/reclining figures, I will ditch the base, but I opted to use Taiga's base; she is a small figure and the black base gives the figure just a little bit of extra height and helps her stand out on the shelf. It's not a flashy design, but sometimes less is more.
Taiga's pose is a highlight of the figure. The pose was inspired by this PICTURE #163312 illustration, and while Taiga is a tsundere through and through, she does show something of a playful side every now and then, and this figure gives a snapshot of that part of her personality.
Let's have a look at her.
Sometimes figures with these lying-down poses only look good from a limited range of angles, but I was pleased to see that Taiga looks good from a number of vantage points.
The pose is also full of personality, and I like how her body language makes it look like she is very relaxed and comfortable. The pose also has a little bit of a boudoir element which also makes sense given that Taiga is wearing that skimpy tiger outfit. Taiga can be extremely awkward when it comes to expressing her feelings, and so it would not be unthinkable that she might go for an over the top approach like donning this skimpy tiger costume to get the attention of someone she really likes, particularly if they are View spoilerHide spoilerrather dense and oblivious like Ryuji...
Taiga is a little bit of a mixed bag in terms of her finish. Ques Q gave Taiga some really neat features, but there are some spots where they could have done a little bit better. Overall, I'd say her finish is about average.
One area where Ques Q did just fine was the design of Taiga's face. She can be rather intense from time to time, and I think the design of her eyes reflects this fact. Further, I think her little smile just makes the figure; she can be remarkably shy and awkward when she tries to express her feelings and I think the smile captures that fact.
The tiger (temporary?) tattoo is a very cute affectation which reflects how most people see Taiga-cute but possibly fierce.
Taiga has an alternate face, and the front of her bangs must be removed to change out the faceplate. One thing I noticed is that the way she's got her arm/paw positioned and the fact that her chin almost rests on her shoulder, it's difficult to find a good spot to grip the faceplate.
Notice how huge those pegs are! This means that the faceplates *really* want to stay in place once they are attached, and thus a combination of force and finesse is needed when swapping out her face parts.
Taiga in tsun tsun mode. The little blush is definitely in character.
Taiga: Hey, just because I dressed up in this tiger costume for you, it doesn't mean I like you or anything. Got it?!
The fuzzy cat ears are a nice touch. However, notice there's a little bit of a yellow/green discoloration at the peak of her bangs. My Ques Q bunny Taiga ITEM #99153 also has a similar discoloration at almost the exactly the same spot. Weird...
I could not get her bangs to sit perfectly flush with the rest of her hair. You can also see a run in the paint of her hair, and there's also a spot where it looks like her hair didn't get sufficiently sanded before the paint was applied.
A couple of painting flaws aside, I like the coloring of Taiga's hair. Sometimes brown hair can look very plain and flat, but there's a good amount of color variation and shading in her hair. Taiga also has a huge mane of hair, and I like how you can see her hair resting on the base and flowing away from her body.
In the shot below, you can again see a few rough patches where some more sanding might have been in order. I really like the little heart-shaped pads on her gloves and I also like how the gloves have claws. The claws are much less pronounced than they are in the source illustration PICTURE #163312 , but that might be for the best. More pronounced claws would probably be really difficult to sculpt, and they would no doubt present breakage risks too, so I am OK with Ques Q scaling back the claws.
On her shoes (are are they socks?), I like the way Ques Q sculpted Taiga's heel and the arch of her foot. The heart pads also appear on her feet.
Taiga is a very slim girl, and the way she's bending her upper torso means you would definitely see a suggestion of her rib cage. This effectively conveys the fact that she has a slim physique without making her look malnourished.
Since Taiga measures in at 4'9" and 75 pounds (144.5 cm and 34 kg), this means she's going to be pretty flat-chested, a fact about which she is quite sensitive. Her top allows a little bit of underboob, but there are no truly naughty bits on display.
Additionally, the skimpy top could only really work with someone of Taiga's body type. The top is not much more than a sheet of fabric with a tie in the back, and a more buxom character would probably fall right out of it!
I really like the jean shorts + bikini bottom combination! I like how Ques Q sculpted the button and the various loops around the waistband, but they could have done better with the painting on the white fringe of the shorts.
Toradora is not a fanservice anime, so the Daisy Duke cut of the shorts is sort of a daring look for Taiga!
I bought Taiga preowned (B/B from AmiAmi), and it wasn't until I started editing these shots that I noticed how dusty she was in places! Her previous owner obviously must have had her displayed outside of a case, but after a bath in the sink, she was good as new.
Sometimes it's the little subtle details that distinguish a great figure from a figure that is merely good, and one such detail is the ribbon tied to Taiga's tail! It gives her a very cute and girly look.
Taiga comes with an optional heart shaped tail. So cute.
I like figures that have multiple display options, and Taiga has a total of four face-tail configurations.
I prefer the lovey-dovey happy face + heart tail Taiga, but the tsun face + heart tail combination also nicely reflects her tsundere nature.
Taiga's slender legs are consistent with her overall physique, and one of my favorite things about this figure is the fact that she wears a stocking on one leg while keeping the other bare. This asymmetrical look is really very neat!
The black paint on the stripes bleeds a little bit. Since I did not buy this figure new, I can't say whether Taiga looked like this new, or if this is just what tends to happen to painted PVC over time...
There's a really messy spot where on the band of her stocking. With Taiga's pose, you normally won't be able to see this, but still...
With her sprawled-out pose, Taiga spans about 8 inches (20.5 cm) at her widest point. If she were standing, it looks like she'd be about 7.5 inches (19 cm) in height. Taiga is established to be 4'9" (144.5 cm), so Taiga is at the large end of 1/8 scale (more like 1/7.5). This is a good thing; even though Taiga is a very petite girl, the figure is large enough that she doesn't just disappear on a shelf with other figures.
Taiga with another Ques Q Taiga, ITEM #99153. One thing I like about both of these figures is that you can display Taiga with either a tsun face or a happy face! Bunny Taiga is 1/8 scale.
Taiga's petite frame, 1/8 scale, and the way the figure is posed means she will look smallish sitting on the shelf. Here is Taiga with Naoe Kanetsugu ITEM #96896. Naoe is not a huge figure (1/8 scale), and you can see how Taiga compares.
Etna ITEM #153 and Taiga have very similar body types, and since Griffon's Etna is 1/7 scale, you can see how Taiga might be closer to 1/7 than her listed 1/8 scale.
These two, on the other hand, have radically different body types but I still like how they look together. Marin Nonomura ITEM #6893 is 1/5 scale for comparison.
Seeing how Taiga and Mikan Yuuki look in this photo, it might have been nice if Ques Q would have given Taiga a fluffy base, as that would play up the slightly boudoir feel of the figure. Alter's Mikan ITEM #166752 is 1/7 scale, and once again you can see how Taiga looks close to that scale.
These two look so cute together! Yuriko Nanao ITEM #287696 is 1/8 scale, but she's less petite than is Taiga, so while Taiga might be a true 1/7 scale, because of her small stature she will look more like 1/8 sitting on the shelf.
Asuka's ITEM #1156 bunny suit and Taiga's tiger costume both mix up their typical look a little bit, but I think they are both good looks :). Sega doesn't list a scale for Asuka, but she's 1/7-ish.
Yotsuba ITEM #127107 practicing her gravure/boudoir photography skills.
Overall verdict and enjoyment----------9/10
Arguments for: Many. Multiple display options, lots of neat little details (like the asymmetry of her gloves and stockings, the heart-shaped pads on her shoes), and the tiger costume is not only a reference to Taiga's nickname, but it seems like the kind of boudoir costume Taiga might choose.
Arguments against: When swapping out her faceplates, they take a lot of force to remove, and her hair pieces just don't want to quite fit right together, a few instances of sloppy paintwork, and the tiger outfit is a little more fanservicey than you tend to see in the Toradora world.
This is another one of those figures that I did not buy new, but in retrospect I don't know what I was thinking. Taiga is one of my favorite characters, and the cute and playful feel of this figure makes it one of my favorites; if you're a Taiga fan, I would strongly recommend this particular offering.
Availability (as of this writing)
Not too hard to find.
There seem to be plenty of these figures circulating around (390 people on MFC own this Taiga), but it is also a highly wished figure (currently this figure is on the wishlist of 615 MFC'ers), and so these days you will pay more than Taiga's original 6800 yen retail price. I paid 9500 yen for a B/B Taiga, and so I'd say somewhere between 9000 and 12000 yen is about the right going price for this figure. Taiga also has a variant ITEM #77915 without the stripes on her face; that one was limited and it seems to be pretty scarce, but interestingly it doesn't seem to command much of a premium in price.
THANKS FOR READING!
If you liked this review, here are some of my other reviews you might also find interesting:
Ques Q Taiga Aisaka Bunny BLOG #8880
Alter/Hobby Japan Naoe Kanetsugu (Hyakka Ryouran) BLOG #13555
Sega Asuka Bunny (Evangelion) BLOG #12330
Griffon Etna (Disgaea) BLOG #9056
Kotobukiya Yotsuba Koiwai model kit (Yotsuba&!) BLOG #10241
Arcadia Super Sonico "Sweets and Bikini" BLOG #15772
Embrace Japan Shiroi Neko (Planet of the Cats) BLOG #23289
Max Factory Mikan Yuuki (To Love Ru Darkness) BLOG #35150
Wave Elyse (Oretama) BLOG #17530
Kotobukiya Maryan "Dancer" (To Heart 2 Dungeon Travelers) BLOG #11782
One of my favorite things about this figure is its variety of possible display options. So the question is...