Fruits Basket Shigure Sohma

Regular readers of my QSE column may see a little similarity here tonight. Back about two months ago, I reviewed the Kyo Sohma statue based on the Fruits Basket license, produced by Southern Island. Tonight I'm covering another of the statues in this series, Shigure Sohma.

Fruits Basket is one of those shows (and corresponding manga) about a young school girl (Tohru Honda) who’s an outsider, never quite fitting in. She ends up working for a family, the Sohma’s, who are definitely outsiders themselves. Each of the Sohma’s are possessed by the animals of the Chinese Zodiac, along with one extra - the cat. The theme of this show is the loneliness and pain when you’re not part of the crowd, a universal condition certainly but one that’s all the more poignant in Japan, where the population is so dense. And before you write me complaining that I just made a rude comment on the intelligence of the Japanese, I meant dense as in ‘crowded’.

Shigure is sort of the wild man of Fruits Basket. A romance novelist and a bit of a slut, he tends to add color to the proceedings. His alternate animal is the dog, and like the earlier Kyo statue, this alternate version is included with the statue at his feet.

Southern Island, in concert with Funanimation, is producing a series of these small statues based on the license. The first release was Kyo Sohma in two paint schemes, both reviewed over at QSE. They also have plans to release Tohru Honda (the main character) and Yuki Sohma, along with Shigure that I'm reviewing today. These will retail for about $40 each, and all are available now.

Packaging - ***
Hey, it's a box! And it's a box that protects the various pieces of the statue quite well (the dog, figure and base are all separate), and includes a small window so you can see at least part of what you're buying in advance. Inside the package is also a free Fruits Basket card from Skybox, which is a nice touch. There's no COA, but the edition number is printed on the bottom of the base. This edition size is 2000 this time.

Sculpting - ***
They've done a good job of getting the general look and feel of Shigure down, but there are a few issues. I like the hair, and it can be very tough to get that sort of Moe Howard/emo thing that is so common in anime characters actually right. There's always those thin strands of hair that hang down into the face, which are difficult to do in a sculpture. But they did do that quite well, and the overall feel of the statue matches both the comic and show quite well.

Shigure has a fairly unique chin, more sharply pointed than most, and that translated pretty well too. It's not quite dead on, but it's close enough that it doesn't detract from the overall appearance. The nose is also quite good, although that's a little easier because it's pretty text book anime style. The eyes and lips are where they lose me a bit. The eyes are quite wide, but the Shigure character tends to have eyes that are half closed or expressive than this. These are a little too generic. Likewise, the lips aren't quite in an expression that matches up with my general feel for the character. I'm not an expert by any means, but he doesn't quite come off as Shigure to me. It's close, and fans will recognize him easy enough, but it's not a slam dunk.

These are done in a six inch scale, so they are fairly small.  Because the characters are also thin, they can seem more insubstantial than some other six inch statues as well.

Paint - **1/2
The paint work isn't quite as well done on this figure as on the Kyo versions. There's some good use of color, and there's consistency in the thickness and coverage of the major colors, but there's more slop around the edges and details.

I notice it the most in the sleeves of the outfit, especially in the shadows of the inside of the sleeves, and where the sleeves and arms meet. There's more slop here than I think you would expect at this price point in the specialty market.

Design - ***1/2
One of my complaints with the Kyo design was the lack of any real dynamic appearance. Here, we get a bit better design, with an expressive stance to Shigure. You get a bit of a feel for his mischievous nature, and the size and pose of the dog adds to the appearance. While this is not an extreme pose by any stretch of the imagination, it's a bit more creative and visually interesting than the Kyo design.

Value - **
At $40 - $50, these are fairly expensive for a 6" scale statue. The edition size is relatively small though, and the license doesn't have a ton of available merchandise in the States. Big fans of the show are likely to overlook the expense, and be less aware of how these stack up value-wise against other similar collectibles for different licenses.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you have the chance to pick this guy off the shelf, you'll want to watch for the best paint you can get. Otherwise, I think things will be pretty consistent.

Overall - ***
While the statue isn't perfect, it is a solid representation of the character. Price is the biggest issue here, but I'm betting that it will be less of an issue for die hard fans. Southern Island also has plans for mini-busts based on this license, so fans will get even more product this year.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt -  ***
Paint - **1/2
Design - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Southern Island still has them for sale, but I believe they are already sold out through them. Entertainment Earth has them listed on pre-order, but are charging $50 each. Circle Red also carries this guy, and they are just $34.

Related Links -
As mentioned earlier, I reviewed the two versions of Kyo earlier.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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