Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kotobukiya: DC Comics Harley Quinn Bishoujo Statue

Hey Everyone

Hope the year 2013 started well for you all! Med school pummelled me when the holidays were over. But there's good news, I am figuring out a way to take photoshoots and churn out posts on a more regular schedule. Thank you for your support, and it is definitely a delight to share in our nerdy pursuits :)

Today's post is about a recent acquisition I made (on impulse): Kotobukiya's 1/8 Scale Bishoujo sculpt of Harley Quinn, the villainous jester sidekick of DC Comics fame (or infamy).

We all know "DC" stands for Detective Comics. It's interesting to know that its first hero was not a caped superhero at all. DC started off with Slam Bradley, an private eye who solves crimes with brawn and brains, with the aid of Shorty Morgan (who is rather inept for comic purposes). In fact, Batman is DC's earliest iteration of a modern superhero, and he appeared on the 27th issue, about 2 years since DC's inception. Batman has become such a cultural icon that a copy of issue #27 reportedly sold for a million bucks!

Slam Bradley, DC's original detective hero.
Anyway, back to the topic.
Window box that Harley Quinn arrives in, simple and functional. No fancy flip outs etc.
Kotobukiya started a bishoujo line of statues a few years ago, which are Japanese re-iterations of female characters from a wide range of genres, from Tekken to Marvel Comics. Due to its expanding range, I am guessing that the Bishoujo line is proving to be rather popular and profitable for Kotobukiya.

Inside the box: the statuette and an alternate white face.
These sculpts are based on designs by Shunya Yamashita, and measure about 10 inches high. This particular sculpt has Harley Quinn playfully posing with a gigantic mallet, which makes for quite a comedic combination. A demure damsel on top of a massive mallet was something I couldn't resist, and spoke right to the core of Harley Quinn's (mis)adventures of mayhem and comic relief. Kotobukiya has given Harley's eyes a "toy doll" treatment, which makes her appear rather demure and the detail is well done.

Harley comes with a protective strip behind her default flesh face.
Harley with her default flesh face.
Harley with her white makeup face, which I prefer over the default one.
The figure itself comes equipped with 2 faces. One with a flesh-colored face for a natural look, and an alternate face with white makeup. Each face is magnetic and the magnets themselves are quite solid, so you'll have to be careful in swapping the faces without damaging them. I highly recommend using a smooth or microfiber cloth to hold on the faces during a swap. I went with the white face.

The entire statuette, with the mallet base. The tilting mallet adds some kinetic energy to the sculpt.

The sculpt viewed from the front.
Harley Quinn began her DC career in Batman: The Animated Series (one of the best cartoons IMO) back in September 11, 1992. She quickly proved to be popular and her creators (Paul Dimi and Bruce Timm) produced a graphic novel about her backstory...which went on to win Eisner and Harvey awards of Best Single Issue Comic of the year. In the cartoons, she is depicted to possess a very strong Brooklyn accent.

Harley with her hand perched....on a mallet handle.
Close-up on her face, notice how the eyes are done and the cloth-like effects of her dangling pom poms.
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel is one of the most well-known fictional example of hybristophilia, or the arousal and sexual attraction to individuals who commit crime or outrage. In real life, there are checks and sanctions in place if a medical professional starts to have feelings for his/her patient, and there have been cases of doctors hooking up with their patients. It's a pretty serious offence and medical professionals are advised to immediately notify the patient about it, and even stop being the patient's caregiver to avoid conflict of interest and all that ethical jazz.

Harley's head viewed from above.
A look at how far her big pom poms fly from her head.
Harley Quinn's story does seem to be tragic, which may explain for the inherent pull of her backstory. Coming from a background of privilege (intelligence, good looks, respectable job) and with the noble aim of helping others, Harley Quinn recklessly drops it all due to her obsession with the maniacal Joker. While it may be obvious to us that the Joker does not return her feelings for him (can't blame him, he's really nuts), Harley Quinn continues to be madly in love with him and proves to be a terrifying fanatic when it comes to playing out Joker's destructive plans.

Another view of Harley on top of her mallet. Her pose strongly reminds me of WWII USAF noseart.
Kotobukiya's sculpt of Harley Quinn is excellent and artful. Harley Quinn's pose with the mallet has a dynamic feel towards it, and the little details (the jester cuffs, cloth-like effects) add quite a bit to this impressive statuette. Paint job is quite well done and the smooth finish to her jester's costume is immaculate. Somehow, her slapstick pose reminds me of WWII USAF noseart, where women are depicted in playful poses on the noses of bombers and fighter planes.

A dainty hand on top of a massive mallet, a rather comedic touch!
Harley's foot gracefully on top of the ginormous mallet of pain.

The way the legs gyrate around the handle also adds a sense of kinetic energy to the sculpt.
Hope you like the shots, and I highly commend Kotobukiya on their impressive effort not just producing a statuette of quality, but also successfully capturing the spirit of Harley Quinn of mayhem and comedy. That is an explosive combination.
Sideview of the sculpt.
While writing this post...I thought about this: would you classify Harley Quinn as evil? Sure she blows stuff up, and won't hesitate to kill people while committing the will of the Joker. But is there any malicious intent behind it? Is she chaotic neutral or chaotic evil? Or am I trying to gloss over a tremendously flawed but attractive character?


  1. Really nice pics! Great to see you guys back in action again!

  2. A wonderful figure by Kotobukiya. In my opinion, based on your question, I feel she is inherently just mentally dysfunctional. There must be an acknowledgement of her conscience that what she do is wrong, but i think out of her blind love for joker. She can't tell whats right from wrong. Hence, I say she is flawed and can't really be defined in the standard ADND alignment of Good and Evil.

  3. I must say you have quite a good point Jess. To a large extent, Harley is clinically insane. I really like the figure and I am quite surprise that her face is interchangeable. I too do like her white face over the skin colour as it makes her look more like a really cool porcelain doll.

  4. I would say Harley is Chaotic Evil. She is evil beyond the knowing of the quintessential act of evilness. However, I still think that she knows what is inherently bad and still goes ahead with it! On top of that, this is a fine work by Joshua! great stuff Bro!

  5. Great shot on Harley Quinn Josh!