Review: Volks 1/6 Horo

I was watching Spice and Wolf–the first season–for the first time not long ago and it occurred to me that my collection lacks a Horo figure. Given how great a character Horo is–she practically carries the show–and the fact that my collection is rather lacking in animal anthropomorphism, this simple fact immediately struck me as a grave injustice. It was time to go shopping.

A quick survey of the Horo figure landscape revealed a number of potential options. Good Smile Company featured Horo in my favorite outfit, but I felt like they made Horo look younger and shorter than she does in the series. I made similar evaluations of several other Horos before homing in on a figure put out by Volks last year. Simply put, this 1/6 scale specimen from their M.O.E. line appeared to be truer to my personal image of Horo’s character than any other version I could find.


While deciding on the Volks Horo figure was easy enough, acquiring one could prove to be a painful process. Volks merchandise is notoriously hard to get due to their limited distribution channels, which frequently serve only the Japanese market. Their Horo was no exception to this trend, but I got lucky by finding one on eBay from a reputable seller–Tokyo Hunter, in this case–the day after I had started searching. I had my shiny new Horo within the week.

Picking up Horo felt very much like an impulse buy–and it was–so I was prepared for some disappointment associated with making a hasty purchase. Thankfully, I feel like Volks pretty much delivered exactly what I expected and desired out of their Horo figure. Sure, the sculpt work isn’t perfect–close inspection uncovered some minor blemishes similar to those noted by Aka in the OMGWebsite review–but I feel like the overall fit and finish is very high. Perhaps more importantly, the final PVC measures up very well against the pre-release photos you’ll find on the web that were used as a basis for making my purchase.

Liked

  • WYSIWYG — Many PVC figures fall short of the ideal of fully reproducing the look and feel of the hand-painted resin masters that they are modeled after. This is likely an inevitable consequence of mass production and an area of disappointment that I have learned to manage as a collector. That said, there are occasions where I am pleasantly surprised to find a figure that comes very, very close to looking exactly as it should. I think this is one such figure. Close inspection will reveal a few defects in the sculpt work, but the mass production Volks Horo manages to look almost exactly like the official product photography, which goes a long way toward ensuring my satisfaction with the figure.
  • Character appeal — There are figures that I buy because I think they look cool or sexy and there are figures that I buy because I have an individual appreciation of the character being represented. This purchase was definitely one of the latter, as I started with the explicit goal of finding a Horo figure. More succinctly, Horo is an extremely likable and instantly identifiable character in modern anime, which makes her a desirable addition to any figure collection.
  • Large scale — I appreciated the fact that Volks decided to deliver Horo in 1/6 scale. I prefer my figures to be larger in general, but I think this is particularly important when the pose is naturally compressed (e.g., kneeling) as is the case here.
  • Unique base — Volks supplied a rather unusual base with their Horo figure. It’s an obvious reference to the wagon that Lawrence and Horo use to travel around in the series. A clear piece of plastic is used to join the upper (wagon) and lower (wheel) parts, which gives a subtle impression of Horo and the wagon being suspended above the ground. It’s always nice to see something outside of the ordinary when it comes to display bases.

Didn’t Like

  • Volks exclusivity — This is really a knock against Volks rather than against the figure itself, but it touches upon an issue that is a personal peeve of mine. As I mentioned previously, Volks makes a business decision to sell their figures exclusively through their own stores. This, in itself, wouldn’t be a problem if Volks didn’t arbitrarily choose not to directly service customers outside Japan or allow arrangements with international distributors to handle the job for them. Doing so cuts off a segment of legitimate, paying customers–like me–who then have to find workarounds (i.e., proxies) that are inconvenient and costly.
  • Alternate face — Volks ships an alternate face with Horo that can be swapped in to give her a rather drastic mood swing, replacing the open-mouthed expression of joy for a toothy sneer. I understand that this is playing on Horo’s mischievous side, but I felt like the alternate face is so ugly that it wasn’t even worth taking any pictures of it for this review.


Financial Data

  • Purchased from: Tokyo Hunter (eBay.com)
  • Order date: 28-Feb-2010
  • Receive date: 5-Mar-2010
  • Base price (USD): $130.00
  • Shipping cost (USD): $28.00
  • Total (USD): $158.00

Technical Data

  • Package dimensions (width): 180 mm
  • Package dimensions (height): 255 mm
  • Package dimensions (depth): 135 mm
  • Shipping weight (figure + base + accessories): 274 g
  • Shipping weight (packaging): 247 g
  • Shipping weight (shipping box): N/A
  • Shipping weight (total): 521 g

5 thoughts on “Review: Volks 1/6 Horo

  1. Nice review Adam! I like the break down at the end for Financial and Technical Data at the end. I may steal that idea if I ever get a scale. It seems like it would be useful information sometimes. Perhaps including box dimensions might be useful as well.

    I agree with you, this is the Horo to get as far as I’m concerned and it’s really too bad that it was an exclusive. Good Smile Company and Kotobukiya both did a fair job as well, but if I had to choose just one of the Horo figures I own, I would surely choose this one. Volks’ Horo embodies her character much more closely than the others and has a much more believable casual pose than the others that both appear to be dancing, Cospa’s included in that as well.

    I have a question though, do you feel she’s actually 1/6th scale? I’m still thinking she’s closer to 1/7th. I base this on the fact my Good Smile Company Saber figure is ~28 cm tall and 1/6th scale, which makes her about the right height (~168 cm tall). But extrapolating out Horo’s height she seems she’d be awfully short and using a 1/7th scale fixes that in my guestimates.

    Oh, and I agree the second face really wasn’t my favourite. Though I do like leaving it in a certain place as it gives an interesting response when people notice it.

    • Thanks for the suggestion regarding the packaging dimensions. I went ahead and added that info to the review. I’m glad someone found the financial and technical data sections interesting. I was worried I might have been wasting my time. 🙂

      Regarding whether or not Horo’s a true 1/6 scale figure, I think it’s a bit difficult to answer. She’s very comparable to my other Volks figure (Miku) which is also 1/6 scale, but she definitely looks one size smaller than my Cospa Shana. Unfortunately, I think there’s a fair bit of variance between manufacturers and even within one manufacturer’s line. But overall, yes, I think Horo is on the small side for a 1/6 scale figure.

      I like what you did with the alternate face. Very clever!

      • There’s definitely a varience between manufacturers so I always try to compare to an imagined real size by multiplying out their height vs the scale. If they’re too tall or too short then I figure the scale was chosen poorly. But I like to hear what others think just in case I’d missed something or they had a better view.

        Thanks!

  2. been looking for this since 2012… they all gone!!!!!
    the one I found on amazon / ebay cost 77000yen or like 700$!!!!!

    been looking for this for 4 years, I finally gave up. so long, Horo~ seems that I’m not worthy of your presence. cheers~

    • Wow, you weren’t kidding. It’s been a good while since I last checked the price on Horo, so I didn’t realize she was selling for quite so much these days.

      Keep in mind that sites like Amazon and eBay have a lot of sellers trying to gouge on out of production items in hopes of getting a desperate buyer to bite on an inflated price. The fact that those listings tend to stick around for months on end means that nobody is buying at that price. A better metric would be to watch shops that sell pre-owned figures like AmiAmi and Mandarake. Prices tend to be much more reasonable than Amazon/eBay and listings are shorter-lived as a result. It looks more like Horo’s been going in the 35-40K yen range, which is still a good bit of bread for a single figure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s