Makinami Mari Illustrious (Plug Suit Style) by Kotobukiya

Whatever the reason may be, I’m not sure myself, but I’ve maintained my long running rule of never opening a figure until I was ready to write a review. This is of course a pretty silly rule to keep as I haven’t written a figure based post since February 9th, 2013, almost two years ago, yet I’ve continued to purchase figures, albeit a much slower pace. Okay, not entirely the truth, I did open one figure, at least that’s all I can remember opening. It was Megahouse’s Misaki Yuria and she was only $16, and somehow that made it ok. Posted the evidence to Instagram: one, two.

I believe I’ve mentioned previously why I stopped writing reviews but I’ll briefly summarize once again. I don’t have the space for the ‘studio’ anymore as you might have noticed by the photos. Some of the past reviews I’d done in my closet, but that’s full of figure boxes now, so even that terrible method is impossible. As such, without the ability to control all the lighting and keep things consistent it hasn’t felt right to just photograph the figures on my desk, or around the house, like it might with the Dollifes, so I never did. Until now. And the photos aren’t great, but I needed an excuse to unbox her. I mean c’mon! She came out almost exactly two years ago, in fact it’s almost the 2nd anniversary of her arrival even.

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I’ll start off with the bad, Makinami Mari Illustrious’ name is still terrible, it’s a horrible name, no one has the name “Illustrious” anywhere in their full legal name unless their parents are cruel. Yeah ok, that’s not really related to the figure, but it’s great SEO to have the full name somewhere in the body of text for when someone Googles. The actual bad about this figure is the fiddly assembly you have to do to get those tubes attached to her arm. Thankfully they’ll only go into their respective places, but that’s still difficult when they don’t want to go into the hole they’re supposed to in the first place and you’re worried about tearing off the bits attached to her arms. Never the less, I did manage to get them in while still being reasonably gentle and rocking them back and forth. Additionally her arm has to come off to attach the helmet. With all this assembly I was pretty surprised she already came attached to the base and without a screw in her foot either.

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The lesser bad about this figure relates to the base. I like how Kotobukiya planned all the bases to fit together, I think that’s great and helps them fit into my cabinets quite well. Had they all had individual circle bases they’d have taken up more space and been further apart and wouldn’t have looked as good together. However there’s a problem, Mari’s base doesn’t match. Asuka and Rei’s match pretty closely, but Mari’s is darker and looks out of place. If you look below in the group shot you can see the difference, though it looks milder there than to my eye in person.

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As for the good, Mari looks right. Her pose looks like something she’d do, her expression looks like an expression she’d make, she looks her part far more than Asuka does in the same set. Asuka’s looking way too playful for her personality throughout the series. Rei however is still my favourite in this set, she’s definitely got the sexier pose and the nice ass when viewed from behind. Mari’s isn’t too bad either mind you, but she’s got the Japanese school swimsuit sort of problem with that piping around the edges. Not that Japanese school swimsuits have piping but the piping here does what the swimsuits are intended to do which is look unattractive. Both fail at doing their job entirely, but they are less attractive than they’d otherwise be.

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Despite fitting her character more than Asuka does, I still think I rank Mari as 3rd in the set of three. It could be that she’s in the prototype suit instead of her pink production suit, or it could just be I like her less than Asuka and Rei. I will however grant her, her suit looks more realistic than the production plugsuits.


First figure “review” in two years and this is it? Lame… Keyboard in shot, screensaver distracting in every photo, terrible bokeh… Good job at getting Drossel fisting herself in shot though, how long has she been posed that way? *checks* May 12th, 2012 is the earliest evidence. You’re a real winner Aka.


  1. Tian says:

    Nice to see another figure review! I really dislike Mari’s plugsuit (green and beige… ick) but overall this is a nice set from Koto. Asuka looks like she dropped a bit too much ecstasy.

    Oh and Drossel fisting herself is hilarious!

    • Aka says:

      Really wish I had the space to do it proper again. I’ve been itching to do some for a while, probably because I can’t open any of them otherwise.

      I like Mari’s plugsuit, I just like the others more. I think her plugsuit looks functional and reminds me more of a space suit than the others do.

      Recreational drugs aren’t really my thing, but if Asuka asked me to do E with her, I’d probably do it.

      I like how figma Drossel is looking straight into the camera while she does it. I think that’s what makes it awesome.

  2. Mustafa Unal says:

    I’ve adopted a similar rule recently, going as far as putting all my figures back into their boxes and keeping them there until I’m ready to photograph them. This has removed a ton of clutter from my room, plus as an added bonus I don’t have to keep dusting them. I have five figures whose boxes I can’t find, perhaps they’re from the early days when I wasn’t thinking far enough ahead to keep the box. I’m going to start with reviewing those and work my way through.

    Funny thing about your space issues is that I’m kinda having the opposite problem. I can pretty easily create a studio style setup for my figures with a white/black background and I sometimes do, but I find it too bland. I’ve been thinking about ways to have more interesting backdrops, but either doing what you’ve done and shooting them on my desk or growing a pair and doing my figure photography outdoors. I’ll probably start with the desk as my backdrop, but need to work on making my workspace more visually interesting first.

    • Aka says:

      The reason I prefer the white/black backgrounds is because of consistent lighting. Whether it’s white or black it was the same lights and so you can more easily compare between figures in terms of colours and shading etc… I felt for a review (and my site layout) it fit best. I always liked to do the outdoor shots as extra if I chose to do them.

      But I can understand how they’d appear a bit sterile.

      I’ve sold a bunch of figures in the past two years since I stopped doing reviews, this freed up space and removed figures I didn’t like as much as others. But with my long standing rule those spaces were never filled with new figures. So I’ve got gaps here and there that need to be filled, but to do that I need to either break my rule or write more reviews.

      • Mustafa Unal says:

        If maintaining consistent lighting and colour is the goal then yeah, I totally get you. I’m guessing that’s less of a priority for some figure photographers who appear to be more interested in expressing their style using figures as a model rather than trying to accurately show you how it really looks as a more technical review (for lack of a better term).

  3. Quazacolt says:

    hey don’t sweat it, my room condition is no better than yours and things i’ve procrastinated (lol) can date back to many years ago…

    i actually just wasted money (like 106SGD) buying the same bluray that i didn’t realize i had it last year LOL
    but it’s signed so eh, probably would just keep it anyways and pretend that i’m reaching Konata’s (lucky star, which i didn’t watch anyways lol) level.

    • Aka says:

      I’ve done that. I bought a digital album, forgot I had it, saw the physical CD in a store and bought it again. D’oh! Now I don’t even listen to it anymore either…

      • Quazacolt says:

        nice lol…

        i really need to find time watching it though… and yea, that’s procrastinated since last November 2013 (Anime Festival Asia – Singapore 2013), and now it’s AFA14 oTL

        if i actually watched it i’d definitely know i actually had it and could have saved that money which is like MYR277 and that’s 27 days of lunch ;______;