The president has arrived! I mean, the president of the After School Tea Time band has arrived! Ritsu Tainaka, from the moe juggernaut anime K-ON! is finally unleashed in her figma glory. Following from the template of her Nendoroid counterpart, Ritsu embodies an upbeat and excitable personality. Though relatively easy-going, Ricchan can be quite a sly and devious being too, regularly poking fun at childhood friend Mio Akiyama for being easily scared or bringing up an uncomfortable memory from their past. Though focused when hyped, the rest of the time Ritsu is just as lazy as Yui, like forgetting to register the light music club amongst other things.
Regardless, Ritsu has found her own fanbase in how she operates, and doesn’t let much get to her. To exemplify her easy-going nature, Ritsu is the only K-ON! girl who doesn’t have her navy blue school blazer buttoned up. Her shirt isn’t tucked in either. Tut-tut. This could also represent a more masculine persona, with her already tomboyish nature, short brown hair tamed only by a singular yellow headband, and constantly rubbing Mio the wrong way. The rest of her uniform is the usual stuff we’ve seen with her friends already: a blue ribbon tied from her collar, a light blue frilled skirt, and two pairs of shoes, one brown, one white with blue accents.
We get three faces to swap around on Ritsu, the first being the usual smiling and looking straight forward, with her mouth open and looking tenacious. The second face shows her cheeky side, eyes shut and teeth bared as she grins mischievously after doing something naughty. The final face shows Ritsu at her most vulnerable. Again this is one open to interpretation in relation to what pose you have her in. Is she stunned? Crying from pain? Is that pain physical or emotional? Or is she just getting frustrated or angry? With her eyes half shut, eyebrows furrowed and that grin lopsided, it’s a multi-faceted face for sure.
The reason I mentioned physical pain is for the accessories that attach to the extra front hair-piece we’re given. Two different ‘bumps’ are provided, complimenting a regular occurrence in the show when Ritsu will get hit on the ol’ noggin by Mio for saying or doing something mean or inconsiderate. We get a large fleshy one or the two-storey joker, to justify just how often poor Ritsu gets hit for her attitude. Swaps are as simple as pulling one off and attaching the other. As the old question goes, one lump or two?
A basic set of five pairs of hands are packed with Ritsu, and cover the general range one could ask for. We have a fist set, a grasping set, a pointing finger set, and a set of open hands with splayed fingers. The last pair are dedicated to holding Ritsu’s tiny drumsticks, which slide into place very securely. These things aren’t coming out in a hurry. The last minor accessory in the set is a stand attachment, which continues the tradition for K-ON! figma to have. It’s just a plug that provides a different angle to use the stand on the character, but it’s only really necessary for the longer-haired ones.
Ritsu’s main reason for purchase are those yellow Yamaha Hipgig drums of hers. With the figure coming in a larger-then-usual box, it’s an impressive kit. Comprising of eight individual pieces, and manufacturer Max Factory kindly provide illustrated instructions to save you a headache putting it together. An impressive amount of detail has gone into Ritsu’s drums, with each drum being a specific shape and size and the same goes for the cymbals. There’s a bass kicker and a separate hi-hat which both have pedals to rest Ritsu’s feet on to create a more authentic look; though these do not actually operate. Even the seat is nicely detailed, making the whole image of this lightweight, though intricate drum kit of Ritsu’s look convincing.
Being picky, there was always going to be gripes, no matter how minor. The main one centres around the drums, which while looking fantastic, are dangerously breakable. By keeping in scale Max Factory have made a lot of little odds and ends and lines that could break quite easily if you overexert your strength by just a little, which is worrisome when you’re posing. The drumsticks too are suitably small, meaning suitably prone to snapping. I was surprised that we didn’t get an extra set just in case, so be good to the pair you’re given! The last complaint is with the hi-hat, whose legs are connected oddly. This part can come loose, move around far too easily and become a regular problem when posing because it cannot balance properly. Why it wasn’t glued in place is beyond me. An important omission from this figma is the “bangs down” option, something I and many alike have cried over. Surely one of the few fanservice deals for Ritsu would get included in the figma? She got it in the Nendoroid, but not here? For shame.
The other thing I’ll point out (though I didn’t find it that huge of a deal), was the chest piece for Ritsu. It’s in two parts, breaking up what would usually be a single piece of flexible plastic with enough dexterity to accommodate the movement of the joint in her chest. Only a few female figma have been released like this, and a lot of people have complained about it from a visual standpoint. It could be seen as complimenting Ritsu’s small (for her) bust, or it could make her look like she just has big pecs, or just cheapens the whole look. How this is received will depend on the person, and I don’t really mind it. The expected cardboard punch-out for any extra di:stages you have is here, following suit of the others with a wood deck floor, and the shows logo emblazoned across the front. Ritsu is a fine figma to pose, but she’s not much without her drum kit. Combine her with anything else though, and she’s a treat to play with, especially considering her nature. Only one more band member to go!
Originally posted 06-06-2010 here.