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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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