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Night of Noctilca

Resurrection of Monstress
by yo go re

Back in the late '90s, Japanese toy company Yellow Submarine partnered with famed designer Yasushi Nirasawa (he's done a lot of Kamen Rider stuff) to create a line of toys that turned classic monsters into sexy women. European monsters, not crazy-ass youkai or anything - nobody wants to see a slutty kappa, you know? [Rule 34 says different --ed.] Called Resurrection of Monstress (or, thanks to translation problems, "Monstless," as on the front of the packaging), the line was planned for three series, but only got two: Series 1 had a vampire, werewolf, Frankenstein, and sea creature; Series 2 had the Phantom of the Opera and this witch.

In the North Soup Village there is a rumor lately: "There is something going on in the woods...... strange sightings of the psychedelic light covering the forest haunts enery night!" Another rumor people said it's a UFO! Ah ha! May be not! That's me Noctilca! I think that i have to save my hyper action a little bit Grandma told me "if you are looking for old magic remedy, you must go to the North Soup Village". So, I'm here but look at this place. Is this place ghost town or what? There's no cool clubs, funky bars, no nothing but some morbid stinking material that i need for my magic!...........Oh! may name Noctilca was named by grandma meaning [luminous bug], perfectly fit with me right?! Year!! I wanna find the materials A.S.A.P and adios, sayonara from this out dated place. Hey by the way Nui, don't even think to bite that Mandol..a...g........o..... "Gwaaaaaarrrrrrrrr"........ (Mandolagora's scream). c... too late!

...What?

If we're parsing that mess correctly, Noctilca (whose grandma named her after a firefly?) either went to the town of North Soup Village or to a random "soup village" (whatever that is) in the north (the north of where?) to collect rare spell ingredients, but the lights she emitted made the local residents think there were UFOs in the woods. Okay then.

The figure's crazy biography doesn't matter - what matters is she's a sexy witch, and as a sexy witch, her design works well. She's wearing orange high-heeled shoes with the toes curled way up, straps above the ankle, silver spikes on the back, and springs of purple cloth poking out the top. Her pale orange leggings are ripped and restitched, and they're dirty around the knees. There's a small silver knife slipped into the band on the inside of her right thigh. Her patchwork skirt is sewn together from scraps of orange, green and purple, held up by an orange belt with a pumpkin and a skull hanging near the hip (another, smaller set of the same itemss can be found dangling from the bottom of the skirt, along with a real metal ring), as well as a small silver lizard tucked into the front. She's going topless, but is still wearing some kind of sash around her ribs below her chest - it's the same piecemeal style as her skirt, and is clasped by a tiny skull. She's wearing long orange gloves with green and purple scraps hanging from them. Her breasts are covered by jack o'lantern faces - one frowning, one smiling - and she's got a charm necklace with more pumpkins, more skulls, and a few other stray items strung around her neck.

The whole ensemble is topped off by a large, floppy witch's hat with pointed edges rather than a smooth, round brim. The hat is half purple and half green, and is held together by uneven orange stitches. A pair of eyeballs seem to be worked into the stitching, and there's a face on the cap (similar to the Sorting Hat, but less "organic," for lack of a better term - it looks like it was cut into the cloth, not just formed by folds and wrinkles). Three pointed nubs under the hat help hold it on the figure's head.

Noctilca's skin is pale white - so pale, in fact, that it looks like she should glow in the dark. Sadly, she doesn't. That would have lent a little bit of sense to that weird bio of hers. On the plus side, the pale, gothy skin makes a nice contrast for all the bright colors of her outfit. All the Resurrection of Monstress figures had at least one variant paintscheme, and Noctilca's turned her (and all her accessories) hot pink - it's kind of a hot mess, but the thing is, it works. If you can't get plain Noctilca, the variant is an acceptable choice.

No matter which one you get, though, don't expect much in the way of articulation: she has swivels at the neck, shoulders and wrists. That's all. But you're not going to buy RoM figures for their movement, you're going to buy them for their design and their accessories - and what accessories they are!

Witchiepoo, here, has an 8" tall piece of stone-and-mortar wall, like a chimney or altar or something similar along those lines. The floor is also stone, but darker and more worked to make it nice and flat. A semi-circular wooden shelf sticks out about halfway up the wall, and there's a (removable) rack of (removable) ingredients hanging above it. The rack looks like wrought iron, and the ingredients are all named in wonderful Engrish style:

  • Garlick
  • Geckow
  • Magic Mash
  • Dragon's Eye
  • Mandolagola

In case you can't translate that, it's a bulb of garlic; a green, spotted gecko; two Mario mushrooms; a large eye from some sort of mythical, fire-breathing lizard; and two mandrake roots. Remember the Herbology class in Harry Potter, when the roots that looked like monstrously ugly babies began screaming? That was mandrake, which is a real plant that sometimes grows in such a way that it resembles tiny humanoids - medieval people thought they were used to create homunculii. The ones in this set take it a step further, with one that's obviously male and one that's obviously female. Mandrake is the common name for the Mandragora plant - it's just the L/R thing that turned it into "Mandolagola" in print.

Anyway, she's also got what the packaging calls a tsubo and what you'd call a cauldron. It's purple and cracked and appears to have been repaired with duct tape. Green goop has boiled over the sides, and there's a large spoon (with a real metal ring through the handle) so the pot can be stirred. Flames lick up the sides of the cauldron - in fact, they're a molded part of it! While the set does include a pile of stones and kindling, they're not lit: by making the fire part of the cauldron, you can have the fire pit be sitting cold if you so choose.

The best Engrish in the set has to be "memorial tablet of ancestor," which is what Japan apparently calls a jack o'lantern. It's a white pumpkin, sculpted to look like a skull, and actually has an articulated jaw. Neat! But still, what's with that name? "Memorial tablet of ancestor" sounds more like "headstone" than "jack o'lantern" to us.

Every witch needs her cat, and Noctilica's is named "Nui." The word 縫 means "sewing" in Japanese, so you can imagine her name is "Stitch" or something. She's sculpted like a hairless cat, but is molded entirely from purple plastic. She's wearing a tiny green hat, and has a pumpkin on a silver ring around her tail. They could paint all that, but couldn't paint the cat's eyes a color that would actually show up? Weird. It's like the apps for her eyes (black) and her hat (green) got mixed up somewhere along the way.

Oh, I almost forgot, she's also got her broom! It has a wooden handle with an axe in the end, a spiked silver band around the middle, and another "pumpkin and skull" set sticking out from the green wrapping. The broom is a bit more than 6½" long, all told. The bristles are mainly green, but there are a few orange and purple ones scattered throughout, as well. Her right hand is molded to grasp the broom lightly.

When the Resurrection of Monstress figures were released, that's all they were: figures. They were just sexy designs turned into plastic. Then, in 2002, a manga called Hells Angels was published in Ultra Jump magazine. In 2008, it was turned into an anime (with the title shortened to just Hells). The story is about Linne Amagane, a girl on her way to her first day at school who instead ends up at a Monster School in hell. Anyway, the designs of the monsters are clearly just the RoM crew - even the unreleased Series 3 figures! And it's not like these were just cameos, they were central characters in the story! Noctilca was called "Kiki," which we have to admit is a better name (if derivative), but the design was unmistakable.

-- 10/26/13


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