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Love Plus - Kobayakawa Rinko - 1/8 (Konami)Love Plus - Kobayakawa Rinko - 1/8 (Konami)Review

omoomo9 anno/i fa
TL;DR version: Long legs, nice shoes details, excellent bag detail, perfect shimapan, really short skirts, possible lean, hair accessories are okay but YMMV, weird head assembly, a few painting flaws, overall very detailed, light shading on the paint job, face is alright, for fans and the rare collectors, be careful with that mp3 player. 9/10 or A-.

Long version:

http://myfigurecollection.net/upload/pictures/2011/01/06/142747.jpeg

Rinko is one of the three "girlfriend for the masses" from the Konami Nintendo DS game Love Plus and her appeal is partly based on her interchangeability in appearance and personality. Even in that case, this figure radiates quality, despite nowhere nearly as fancy as anything popping out of Alter's assembly line. She's technically a video game character, so I'd compare her to my last video game PVC figure, Alter's Selvaria PVC figure/13815 . Personally I feel that Selvaria was too gaudy, and Rinko isn't like that at all. She's more like a stylish GSC or one of the quieter Alter figure, where she stands in a semi-dynamic pose (in mid-motion). There are a lot of details on her, even if at a distance she looks like any other anime girl figure. In fact there's so much details that I probably need a magnifying lens to examine them all. Part of the reasons is due to Rinko being more of a real-life-like character, and more of an abstraction than an illustration from an anime or game, but I'm happy to see all those details.

Rinko's construction and paint job are not perfect. The details on a couple of her accessories are not the best, once you get close enough, but the flaws are within my tolerances. It's not like copying a file; mass produced kits like this will have some flaws, especially given some of the paint job details. Then again, your mileage will vary.

Rinko comes with 5 different hair styles that you can put on her, a gym bag, and her PMP. The hair styles are:

  • semi-long with pink hairband
  • twin tails with short bangs
  • twin pigtails
  • melonhead
  • uneven long bangs, short in the back

You can see them best from the image gallery for the official PR shots itself on MFC. I personally went with the pigtails for now, but I think all the hair choices have their charms, and each gives the figure a significantly different feel. [If I get a better camera and some time to shoot her various hairdos, I will update this review.]

If I had another hobby of photographing dioramas of bishoujo figures I think I would find Rinko's bag pretty useful. It's got a large strap so it probably can go on most figures easily, and it's by far the most detailed thing that came in Rinko's box. The only thing you need to be aware is that the bag is customized with Rinko's chibi mascot, so it may look odd if you use it on another character. (Each of the 3 Konami Love Plus PVC figs has its bag with a respective custom mascot on it, so you will get the raccoon with Nene and the rabbit with Manaka.) The strap is soft vinyl, so it doesn't slack as if it was rope. It looks better this way, although it might be more perilous to stretch or bend it than if it was an actual strap. The mascot is small, but incredibly detailed, just like how it is on your DS...

The only real problem with this kit, albeit a temporary one, is Rinko's mp3 player or PMP. It's just this dinky PVC loop with a mp3-player-looking rectangle attached lousily at one end. And the loop is quite small and not adjustable. The way to put it on her, as far as I can tell, is to remove her hair and carefully force it down her head, and it barely fits. Rinko's upper body is constructed so the head and the neck are one piece with the torso; you can't remove it like most PVC sculpts in which the head is made up of 2 pieces sandwiching the neck joint. However once you install the PMP on Rinko you are all set, so it's not a big deal. It's just one thing that can go horribly wrong if you aren't dexterous enough to force the loop down her head and get the loop caught on her ears or something. But then again the MP3 player is optional, and honestly it doesn't add much to a figure that is already very detailed.

The reason why Konami went with an unorthodox build with Rinko's head (and presumably Manaka and Nene as well), I presume, is to facilitate swapping out her hair. In the packaging, the hair pieces come in a separate plastic "tray" with a matching thin cover. It looks like temporary storage but it is pretty easy to keep the hair in that thing. Each set of hair has a front and a back piece, and they are unfortunately not interchangeable (as in you can't use one hair style's front piece with another hair style's back piece). That would have made this very cool, but you run the risk of not being able to remember which piece went with which hair, and it probably would limit the amount of details each hairdo contains (if not the hairdos themselves). Once you remove Rinko's hair, you see this D-shape thing with a O-shape lock inside, at the back of her head. Each of the back hair pieces has a matching D- and O-shape connector, so it's easy to reassemble...sort of. Some of the longer hair styles can get in the way of Rinko's ears or shoulder, so there's like an angle in which you have to insert the back piece so it locks in right. For the short ones, it's easy. The back hair pieces each also has its unique connector to the maching front piece, so you can play LEGO/Tetris/blocks with the front piece and put it all together.

And now for the scores:

Sculpting: It's well-sculpted, but it falls short of evoking a strong feeling. Rinko's lines and features are faithfully reproduced in this sculpt, and it expresses her identity well. Probably an 8.5 or 9 for something very true to origin, artisan, and excellent. It's just not ZOMG outstanding must-have.

Painting: I'd give it 9.5 if I could, but let's roll back to 9 just to reflect that despite the very detailed paint job, the eyes, the mp3 player and a few minor flaws make this not a perfect 10.

Posing: Solid 9. It manages to be more exciting than an average Kotobukiya kit (which is kind of the measuring stick I use) and it doesn't go overboard despite being a motion shot. There are a lot of good angles for this kit. If there's a complaint, it's that her skirt is too short; to some that might be a plus, since her shimapan does play that peak-a-boo thing with the super-short/lifted skirt, in an adorable way. Almost perfect stuff.

Base: It's a simple plastic disc shaped in the iconic Love Plus shape. What is worth noting is that it also has a pattern pressed on it, in line with the Love Plus game motif. Probably just an 8. Rinko stands on it with one foot down, two pegs secure her action pose. I don't think lean will be a problem, but there's no way for me to tell at this point ^^;

Packaging: The packaging is simple. All the parts are well secured and are safe. As described the hair pieces come in a separate plastic mold tray thing, and it's stored behind the cardboard backdrop inside the box. Nothing really special but it gets the job done. 8. The packaging is a little rare since this is a exclusive, so I took some pictures that you can see here:
PICTURE #142754 - PICTURE #142753 - PICTURE #142752 - PICTURE #142751 - PICTURE #142750 - PICTURE #142749

Enjoyment: Considering Rinko is my steady now for over a year, I have to give it a 10, right? She's gonna kick me in the shins otherwise. ;) Do you play Love Plus? I think in the age where figure collectors don't know the origin of their kits in and out like they used to back way back, how you feel about Rinko will be the only thing that matters when it comes to enjoyment. As objectively as I can to speak for people who don't know her, it's probably not worth the hassle, because these are exclusive Konami kits and they can be annoying to fetch. However if you like the designs or the illustrations from Love Plus, you probably won't be too disappointed with Rinko. The hair customization is actually unique for a kit like this, and overall it is a quality product. It's just not worth the hell and high water one might need to go through to obtain it. But if you find this in a bargain situation, please don't hesitate to pick it up. It's not often to find something that is rather classy and still visually pleasing, at least for a tomboyish character.
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