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Product:
  CapsuleQ Fraulein Yotsuba& Monochrome Animals Figure Collection 2

Product Type:  Collectable Figures

Number of Figures in Range:  5

Manufacturer:  Kaiyodo

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  4 each (approx.)

Purchased from:  Den Den Town, Osaka, Japan

Rarity:  Uncommon

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)
 

Japan can be odd sometimes.  A couple of years ago I reviewed a children's book called Yotsuba&! Monochrome Animals, a book based on Kiyohiko Azuma's excellent slice of life manga Yotsuba&!.  The book was aimed at very young kids, with a little more than illustrations and animal names, but it was very in keeping with the quirky charm of the original manga.  And it has inspired no less than two figure ranges.

These capsule figures recreate five of the book's charming illustrations, each depicting the inquisitive, green-haired girl Yotsuba interacting with a different black and white animal.  The range includes Yotsuba with a penguin, a Malayan tapir, a giant panda, a ruffed lemur and a zebra.  The little dioramas stand approximately 6cm (2.5") tall, and come fully painted with only minor assembly required to connect the figures to the supplied display base.  Each figure is sold 'blind', meaning you don't know which you will get until the capsule is opened.

As is often the case with figures based on manga rather than anime, these figures are at the higher end of the price range for figures of this kind and type.  It must be said that they're quite small for the price and are pretty simple too. lacking the detail and myriad parts that you usually get with boxed collectable figures.  However, that's not to say they aren't well made, Yotsuba& is quite a simple series and that's a large part of its charm.  These figures capture

the feel of the series perfectly, and are also excellent recreations of the Yotsuba&! Monochrome Animals illustrations.  The sculpt is spot-on, capturing the joyful inquisitiveness of the character and picking out every detail of the simple designs.  The contrast of colour between the monochrome animals and the colourful Yotsuba is accentuated by the pastel shades of the display bases, which - in a nice touch - are styled in the same way as those supplied with the Yotsuba&! Revoltech figures.

What's best about these figures is the fact they're unusual.  Many Japanese figures depict action scenes or dynamic or sexy poses, but these are just fun.  They sit in a unique niche between anime figures and those odd Japanese figures that depict everyday items such as furniture, animals or food, and are all the more charming because of it.  If there's any real issue it's probably that the poses in a couple of the illustrations don't always work as well as they could in figure form.  The tapir illustration shows Yotsuba from behind as she crouches and stares at the animal, meaning you can only see her face in the figure from

 certain angles.  However, for the most part they are excellent, with my personal favourites being Yotsuba feeding grass to a zebra, mimicking a penguin and confronting a lemur!  A drawback for some may also be the fact that the figures aren't in scale to one another, with Yotsuba being twice as big in some as she is in others.  However, considering the relative size of the animals there really wasn't any way round this, and despite the size difference they all look pretty good.

These CapsuleQ Fraulein Yotsuba&! Monochrome Animals 2 figures are great for fans but also hold appeal to anyone who likes something quirky and Japanese.  Like most modern Japanese figures they're well made and finished to a high standard, although there are the usual visible join lines on the character's hair and on the bodies of some of the animals where pieces have been slotted together.  You expect this from these kinds of figures though and it doesn't really detract from the visual impact of the figures.  The paint application is neat and the sculpt of each figure is excellent, but best of all they perfectly capture the fun and simple charm of the series and character.  Figures based on less well known titles like Yotsuba&! are not frequently sold by Western import retailers and you can expect the price if you find them here to be higher than that quoted above.  Nonetheless, if you can find these for sale they're well worth picking up.

Extras:

Each figure comes with its own display base, which the figures connect to firmly (although it does take a little effort to connect them).  These are in a similar style to those supplied with the larger Kaiyodo Yotsuba&! figures, and have the series name printed on them, although it's a shame the animal name isn't included on the base.  Also, the lemur figure comes with a bonus skunk, although it's unclear if this can be used in place of the lemur or if it's just a bonus.

Ratings

Feature:   Extras:
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