I was 24 back when Yu Gi Oh! first hit the UK all the way back in 2002, by which time I was 9 years into writing about anime here on UKA. While I certainly didn't feel like the target demographic, I instantly saw the appeal of the designs. Dark Magician Girl is an interesting study in East to West adaptation, as despite the relatively inoffensive nature of her design, she was often censored. In the original design, the jewel on her chest is actually a pentagram, but this was changed to a red jewel for religious reasons. The cards actually went so far as to airbrush out her cleavage, while the anime would add shorts to her outfit to hide her thighs. A couple of years ago, Konami decided to release "Lost Art" cards for the game, which used the original uncensored Japanese artwork, proving that fans of the characters are still in abundance all these years later.
What we have here then is a hybrid of sorts, designed with a Western audience in mind - this is no surprise considering that as a European studio, ABYstyle Studio would stick to what we became used to in the West.
As we can see, the pentagram remains banished, replaced with a beautiful transparent red ruby, but there are no sign of the shorts and the cleavage remains fairly ample.
I have to say, I love the underlying design here, and I think the choice of a fairly stoic pose works to show off the outfit to its fullest. While I'd welcome a more dynamic version in future, I love looking at all the design details that make this such an iconic look. Obviously the segmented headgear is everything you'd want, looking like a cross between knightly armour and a witches hat, I adore the angles, the way the hair is visible from the crown and the lovely strands of hair just falling under the brim, it's all captured perfectly here.
The blue dress, replete with pink ribbed edges, pink cape and skirt is beautifully sculpted, with enough sharp angles to make it look dynamic. The blue/pink boots are suitably chunky, and even the matching wand is causally held aloft as she floats (thanks to a clear plastic attachment) above her striking black and gold base.
Unlike other recent ABYstyle releases, there's not a lot of wash in evidence here, the pastel colours remaining flat, allowing natural light to cast shadows where needed. Normally I love a bit of matte detailing, but for a character like this I don't think it's necessary - realism isn't the goal on this figure, the colours are crisp and where extra detail is needed - gold paint, the clear ruby on her chest - it stands out all the more. I was also pleased to see that the tampo details on the face are incredibly sharp.
I'll admit that I'm probably not the main demographic for a magical girl figurine, but my 3 year old, Thea, was absolutely enchanted by it, and Dark Magician Girl will now be living on the shelf in her room reserved for the pretty girl figures that were long since relegated to Daddy's storage cupboard.
Despite this rampant thievery, there's something so eye-catching about this figure that it's fast become one of my favourites too.
Take a look at the figure in all it's glory below. Dark Magician Girl will be released by ABYstyle Studio late May/early June.
This figure was provided for review. You can find ABYstyle Studio figures at most retailers, including Smyths and Forbidden Planet or on their websites here and here