Thank Jeebus, Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo Spider-Gwen is Not a Complete Trainwreck
I have to admit, I was worried about this one. While Kotobukiya's had a string of really strong comic character Bishoujo figures, there have been some wild swings and misses from that line as of late. When the Spider-Gwen Bishoujo was first teased, there was no telling which way the figure would fall. Thankfully, Spider-Gwen seemingly gets the comic statues back on track and falls more in line with the Batwoman and Black Canary pieces rather than the Lady Deadpool and Starfire statues. The horror line is still a hot mess, but I'm pretending those exist in a vacuum somewhere far, far away.
I understand the point of the Bishoujo line is to show a Japanese approach to beautiful girls, but sometimes that concept just doesn't result in very good portrayals of these characters. Shunya Yamashita's renderings, while stunning, don't always translate to Western audiences. With Spider-Gwen being a teen hero, there was a chance this figure could have ended up on the wrong side of "beautiful." After seeing these production shots of the somewhat final statue, I'm impressed and pleased. Spider-Gwen doesn't have a lot of collectibles at the moment, and that her Bishoujo has come out this nicely is good news for fans.
The exaggerated proportions of Spider-Gwen's body work well to add a bit of dynamism to the piece. Unlike the oddly lengthened torso of the Lady Deadpool Bishoujo, the long legs on Spider-Gwen make her appear more like she's leaping right off one of Robbi Rodriguez's pages. The action pose also gives her a more dramatic sense of movement, which is something Bishoujo's have lacked from time to time. Many of the statues have been more about standing poses, and see what Koto and Yamashita are capable of doing with a characters like this has me wondering why so few others have gotten this kind of posing.
Both the masked and unmasked heads look nice, and the unmasked Gwen captures her youthful innocence well. Too often the portraits fall into the wanton gaze territory, but again, when Yamashita and Koto get a character and figure right, they really do get it right. I wish more of the Bishoujo line followed this trend of portraying these characters as strong and beautiful instead of just offering these female characters as eye candy for your shelves. As this Spider-Gwen shows, it is possible to make a great-looking statue without it being overwrought with sexiness.
We'll likely learn more about the US release of the Spider-Gwen Bishoujo at Toy Fair this weekend, but the Japanese release is scheduled for August. The figure will likely retail for ~$60 when it arrives.