Gift’s Akemi Homura – She is just so cool!

Hello folks, once again it has a been a while hasn’t it? I been wanting to sit down and do this photoshoot for a couple of weeks now. I did try shortly after I received the figure but alas my original idea ended up in failure so instead there is the always the ever present “Plan B”.

Without much further ado I present to you the super cool Akemi Homura by Gift from the ever so popular franchise of Magical Girl Madoka Magica.

Given it’s popularity I was expecting everyone, and when I say everyone I mean EVERYONE, to jump at the chance to make some “easy sell” figures based on the characters. Except that no one really did except mainly for Good Smile Company and the ever present Wave Beach Queens line.

Where was Ater, Kotobukiya. Max Factory? This kinda felt like it would lead to something akin to everyone making a Saber, you can never have enough Saber figures in the world apparently, yet only Good Smile Company came forward with proper scaled figures of all five girls. Did they manage to secure an exclusivity deal or something?

Usually this would have been fine, Good Smile Company is Good Smile Company after all and they make some very nice figures overall. Except that they chose to base them on the most boring piece of artworks available. All five girls are pretty much just standing there unlike say the Bakemonogatari figures which were also based on different artworks where it nicely reflected certain aspects of each of the characters.

In the end I ended up finding a few garage kits way more interesting than the figured available for purchase.

This is where this figure comes in, this was actually one of those garage kits. Every once in awhile, I see some fairly nice garage kits and I think about how nice it would be to have a nice proper PVC version of it. Luckily for me Gift came to the rescue!

This is actually the second time this has happened, a few years back there was this garage kit I really liked of Reimu and Gift went and released it as a PVC figure shortly afterwards.

This nice looking Homura is sculpted by Toda Satoshi from Gift, probably most known for his line of Saber figures featuring his distinct style. Which for some it has been a cause of discord due to his renditions in a stylized manner for his Saber faces. As for me, it has been pretty hit or miss, I liked his Lily Saber for example but didn’t care much for say his original Saber.

Quite obviously his rendition of Homura was a hit for me. At first when I was looking at the original garage kit I wasn’t so sure, I liked the pose of the figure overall but when looking on her face something felt off. After seeing the actual PVC release though those feelings went away I was all in and hit the pre-order button. I wonder if there was some small minute tweak that made everything just look right for me.

So, let’s address the elephant in the room.

This figure is of course different from Aoki Ume’s lovely wide fade designs as seen in the show and promotional art and as mentioned above carries Toda Satoshi’s own style.

Short answer, I like it. To my eyes what this ends up doing is giving Homura a more adult appeal, almost if I was looking at an older Homura. I like the style of the eyes, the shading they have and the eyelashes. Plus I think the colored lips with a bit gloss are nice touch not normally seen in figures.

I found the pose to be really neat, you have Homura as if she was dropping down from a greater height and because of that you get a lot of cool movement going on with figure.

All the different elements of Homura’s magical girl outfit, the skirt, the ribbon in the back of her skirt, her collar and neck ribbon all add a lot of nice details to convey movement.

Add to that her flowing hair and you really do get a nice dynamic figure. I love dynamic figures, I always find it add a nice little extra touch of figure goodness.

Gift did a fairly nice job with the hair, the different strands of Homura’s long hair each moving in a manner befitting of the apparent action really turned out great. Quite importantly seam lines on the hair also seems pretty much non apparent an area where I seen even the likes of Alter or Good Smile Company falter sometimes.

To close it all off you get the surprisingly appealing base to me. After my last disappointment with Tenshi’s cheesecake base I’m glad Gift took a way better route and link the base with the character. The pattern on the base is reminiscent of the “time traveling” scene during episode 10 of the show where we see Homura go back in time. Pretty neat stuff if you ask me.

Given her pose and base this figure really does make it seem Homura is the girl who leapt through time!

Detail on some of the important bits like the bracer and handgun are not too bad. Unlike the figma version this Homura does have a nicely detailed bracer with all the right colors. I’m not too hot on the actual part with the mechanism though, while bits of stuff is sculpted the painting makes it all a big messy blob. A shame considering the painting was perfect on the rest of the figure.

The handgun looks the part, just the way the Beretta handgun Homura uses to make some Swiss cheese out of Kyubey did in the show. Interestingly enough I liked how her finger is not actually on the trigger, Homura practices proper gun safety!

Overall I think Gift did a very good job with this figure. This is the second time I get to sit down and shoot one of their figures, the first was the previously mentioned Reimu, and both times it has a been a pleasant experience. I still got their giant loli Nanoha boxed and look forward to taking pictures of her. As things stand I will definitely buy more Gift figures if any that tickle my fancy show up.

Before I finish I want to talk about the pictures. As I mentioned in the beginning this is actually “Plan B”, the first plan didn’t turn out as a I wanted.  I was originally planning to do something similar to the “time travelling” scene to match the base. However, I couldn’t quite get the effected I wanted with the background so I ended up scrapping that idea.

That’s when I thought, Homura is like all dark and edgy so perhaps dark background will do.

Except that Homura also happens to have a darker color scheme with her long black hair. What ended up happening was that the hair would simply ended up blending with the equally black colored background.

So, I researched on how to shoot black objects in front of black backgrounds. I found a couple of ways to do it, both involving the use of colored gels to simply add some color. One was to use a rim light with a colored gel to make the edges of the object stand out. The other was to point it at the background to add some color to separate the object of interest from the background.

I did exactly just that.

I had my key light aimed at Homura as usual, then a second light this time pointed at the background behind her to both illuminated the background and to provide a rim light for her hair. I used a combination of two “gels” on that second light to provide the signature purple color associated with Homura.

You can see a picture of this set up right here, very simple to do, very simple to recreate. I think this is something that I will probably revisit in the future, I already have an idea in mind for a future photo shoot where I might reuse it.

What do you guys think? I’m quite happy with how these pictures turned out for my first attempt. I look forward to giving it another go and refining the lighting.

Alrighty then, until next time!

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18 Comments

  1. Good review! You’re right, it totally is hit or miss with Gift and Toda Satoshi. But from my own perspective, I do have to disagree with you on this one being a hit (for me anyway). To be honest, I really liked every Saber sculpted by him so far, except for this one. The face really turned me off. Her nose isn’t well defined, and looks kinda big. Her eyes look cross-eyed.
    I really like the dynamics of the flowing hair and clothes for this figure, but the pose really bugged me for some reason. It just looked awkward to me. To each their own of course.

    You did a great job lighting this one! The subtle purple is just enough light to bring out the hair, but I think having a back light would have helped with adding rim lighting to her hair and really pull her out of the background.

    • That! That! Is what I find more interesting with Toda Satoshi’s stuff. I can understand why people might not like him but pinpointing why people like it is harder to me, even more so when not everything is a hit even with people that liked his previous work.

      Hmm yeah, I still need to tinker with it, I like the effect on the background but still need to work on the hair.

  2. Looks like plan B went pretty well!

    I love Toda Satoshi sculpts as he goes to great lengths for detailing. Homu’s outfit isn’t as elaborate as Saber Lily’s but you can still tell that a great sculptor was behind it.

    It was nice of you to point out Homu’s trigger discipline. Just think how many accidental gun deaths can be prevented by basic gun safety awareness!

    • Yay for plan B!

      Yes, I was thinking about that when I was looking at this figure. His Saber’s were just full of amazing detail makes me wonder what he would have done if Homura didn’t have such a simple outfit.

      Just doing part ot save lives!

  3. Your style is really unique compared to other folks I have read
    stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

    • Awesome a new face!

      I don’t really go for a straight up review like most people do, not my thing. I hope to see you in posts to come.

  4. I guess GSC paid for being the only quality manufacturer for this, otherwise it would be all weird. Or ALTER Boss hated the show XD The prize figures seem to ba a different case.

    Im so bold and say that Toda Satoshi forced his style on her, I can’t lie, I don’t see Homura here. Well, but I think it is an interesting adaption, it seems more like art than merchandise, which isn’t bad. The clothes have more flow and that makes them look more interesting. Even if I said these “mean” things before, the face isn’t bad, I like the hypnoticing glare of her. Thats also a really cool base.

    The setup is cool, the light has a nice feel to it. Purple gel, I only have blue and orange, that will change soon ^^

    Good to hear that you are happy with this figure, this it what counts. Of course, it is a daring adaption for people who know the anime. But it is also good that manufactures have their freedom to differ from the source.

    • I don’t may be, I’m guessing GSC got some sort of exclusivity deal here.

      This is how I see it, there are some things where I a perfect copy of things as they look in the show. Like say figmas, I want those to be representative of the show. When it comes to scaled figures I don’t mind someone doing things in their style, kinda like making fan art.

      I was surprised with how nice the purple looked, I did use to random gels to make this shade after all.

  5. Man, nice photos! That shade of purple just suits her really well, almost as if the purple shading belongs on the figure. It feels really subtle, yet it enhances the image a lot at the same time.

    Now I want to play around with my coloured bulbs some more too, gwah.

    • I just go these two transparent films, one pink and one purple. I thought hey if I put these two I bet they would make a nice shade of purple. I’m super surprised it was almost a shade that matches Homura so perfectly.

      Do it, Mikudayo with dramatic and terrifying colored light!

  6. Nice pics! The purple background seems to fit Homura quite well. When I first saw the figure I was kinda put off from her face design… However after seeing your pictures it doesn’t look as weird as I remember.

    • Thanks, purple ended up so good, didn’t expect it at all!

      Yeah, definitely not for everyone but if this figure floats your boat it is really nice.

  7. This Homura’s been one of my favourites since her GK released, but somehow, I can’t get over Toda Satoshi’s face. I find his style’s an acquired taste. Still, I think I prefer this Homura over GSC’s (GSC’s is just…so plain). Her dymanic pose is too impressive to ignore, and her overall quality is obvious. I’m also disappointed no other companies seem to have rights to the Madoka line. I would love to see Alter take a stab at the girls, given their proclivity for airbourne poses and all.

    By the way, I love the way you arrange some of your photos. Organization, go!

    • You know what, may be, I think you might right about him being an acquired taste. When I first saw his Sabers I was just like, no thanks, but as more figures with his style I saw they kinda grew on me.

      Yes, I was actually hoping that GSC would listen to feedback and do a second set with a more interesting approach but alas that was not meant to be.

  8. I was blown away on how this set turned out. I like that purple effect on her hair. I like this adaptation of Homura, very dynamic and mature-looking. Thanks for the link of how this was set up. ^^

    • Ha, ha, I’m as blown away as you were. Yeah, I like too how nice and mature Homura looks. pretty neat stuff.

      Hopefully you noticed but the set that picture belongs to also has other pictures of past set ups and will have of future setups.