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Ame-Comi Heroine Series
by Artemis

Yup, it's time for more anime statues - only these are American, so they're not thrusting their barely-clad groins into your face. Spoilsports.

With her days spent in the library among stacks of books and her nights spent defending the streets of Gotham City, Barbara Gordon presents a double threat of intelligence and agility when she assumes the identity of Batgirl.

Actually, it's probably just as well - the Masane Amaha statue managed to walk (or rather strut, with those heels) the fine line between anime styling and actual maturity, but these girls are more obviously girls, at least so far as their faces go, so sexualized poses would just be creepy. Rather than titillation, the point of the Ame-Comi line - its uniqueness, rather - is that it reinterprets DC characters as they might have been, had they grown up on Tokyo cartoon cels rather than American artists' boards.

First cab off the rank is Batgirl, who's evidently auditioning for Battle of the Planets. I have to say, of all the Ame-Comi statues we've seen so far (I have six, and photos of at least the next two have been released), Babs is the one whose anime stylings most overwhelm her origin - she's got the blue cape, the black body with gold trim, the little bat-ears, a batarang and that silly little purse she used to cart around, but the design of the costume is all sci-fi spacesuit, and doesn't really hark back to her comic book form very much at all. Even the gold bat logo blazoned across her chest manages to seem incidental, distorted in shape as it is by the way it's built into the contours of her typically enormous breasts. The face doesn't help either, with the switch from a half-face mask to a helmet with eye shields really divorcing her from the Batgirl we know and love (or tolerated, until she became Oracle and Gail Simone got to her, whereupon she became awesome).

Personally I'm not such a fan of anime that I appreciate this generically interpreted Babs - the other statues in the line (especially Series 2 and onwards), while plenty inventive in their interpretations, and also far more faithful to their origins, and I feel they're stronger for it. Still, for what Batgirl is, she's good work. Sculptwise she's sharp and well-proportioned (for anime's definition of "proportions"), and the paint holds up its end, with good coverage and little bleeding across colour divisions. Her cape and hair appear to be blowing in opposite directions, but you could put that down to the cape billowing back and forth dramatically, as they tend to do in anime - each piece on its own is good, striking work, especially the semi-transparent hair, which is a nice way of capturing a rich brunette colour on an already-unrealistic statue like this.

Her pose itself is a bit odd - I'm really not sure what she's trying to do, apart from just show off for the cameras. Another oddity is the zipper running up the centre of her torso - it opens half-way up her midriff, but the suit doesn't, just continuing on unbothered. I'm rather inclined to think that she was first sculpted to have an open top, showing off her cleavage, until DC nixed that idea and she was partially re-sculpted, but aside from the anomalous zipper I can't find any evidence of that. Her face is your typical anime girl, with a self-satisfied little smirk - the statue itself has a wider, squarer face than the art on the box, and is more childlike and playful-looking too; I think I'd have preferred them to stick closer to the art.

Batgirl stands about 8¼" tall to the tips of her pointy bat-ears - the raised hand doesn't really add much height beyond that - and comes with a 6⅛" circular base, which is pretty necessary unless you plan on displaying her with something behind her for her to lean on. The base is universal to the Ame-Comi line, but the connection points are customised to each statue - for Babs, it has two pegs, incorporating wedge-shaped blocks that fit into the recesses between her heels and toes. It's a bit unusual on first encounter, but rather low-profile really, and quite stable.

-- 11/05/08

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