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figma: Table Museum Otani Oniji as Yakko Edobei by Sharaku

Callooh, callay – oh, fabulous day! I actually get to feature something that is NOT Marvel or Star Wars-related! In fact, this new Otani Oniji as Yakko Edobei figure is about as far as you can get from those properties. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVES me my SW and Marvel, but variety is the spice of life as they say, and this Table Museum series from figma is one of the most unique action figure lines going right now. Furthermore, this new figure, based off of Sharaku’s most famous woodblock print, might just be my favorite in the series.

At first thought, seminal art works, such as “The Scream,” “David,” and “The Thinker” might not seem like prime ground to develop super-posable action figures, but figma has certainly taken the idea and run with it. I had admired the line as a spectator until the release of “The Scream,” but because the execution was so well done, and the plastic realization is so unique against the backdrop of the rest of my collection, I just had to have it. Fast forward to today, and I am still catching up with the rest of the line, but it is my goal to be a completist going forward. While the sculptures make more sense from a direct translation standpoint, I am actually digging these painting/drawing/prints even more due to the unique work that is being done in bringing them from 2-D to 3-D.

This new piece, based on the art of Sharaku (actual name and identity never confirmed), might be the least known to western audiences compared to the previous offerings, but even if you never knew the name, you have likely seen this print before. Otani Oniji as Yakko Edobei is probably one of the most famous pieces of Japanese art ever and is a pivotal piece in terms of how that aesthetic has permeated western popular culture. Noh theatre was BIG in the Edo period of Japan, the woodblock prints by Sharaku highlighted actors from a few different theaters. This particular work was part of the “first period”  set of about 30 prints and was created in 1794. The thing is, this was created in a fashion that would now consider popular art as, this is a woodblock print, and the prints were sold to celebrate the popular theatre of the time. Popular art becomes fine, and now becomes action figure. What a time to be alive.

Now, recreating an iconic work of art based on a single pose is, while not simple, pretty straightforward. However, this being figma, you just know there is going to be more to it, and indeed there is. Of course, you get the full Otani figure to perfectly recreate the look of the block print, and you even get a framed backdrop to complete the background of said print. However, you also get a stand, several different hands, sheathed swords, unsheathed swords, and even a completely different upper body.

This second body is the one that is really the “poser” for anything  beyond the iconic and somewhat odd pose. For this, the arms are actually in the sleeves of the robes, so once you swap everything out, you can actually have the figure wield the swords and stand in action positions. This is an interesting addition, but, seeing how this is based off of an actor in a Noh play role, the further expansion of the possibilities can just help illustrate scenes from the play. The thing to note is here is that the second upper body is significantly smaller than the other one. However, it fits the lower body more proportionately. This is likely due to the skewed perspective of the print itself, and to recreate the theatre poses, a more human proportion is used here. That is some pretty snazzy thought in the realization of this figure, so kudos once again to Good Smile.

What a great figure of a very cool overall figma series. I really admire this Table Museum line, and all of the figures make very interesting additions to the collection, but can also be great conversation pieces for, well, tables, or work desks or any other place. This figure is still available from Ami Ami, and I highly recommend it.

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