Character: Mao Isara
Series: Ensemble Stars
Run: Limited Exclusive
I don’t think my fangirl heart can handle many more of these franchises dedicated to beautiful boys. Touken Ranbu caught me off guard, and before I new it I was buried in preorders of gorgeous samurai men < Not a complaint. Then while I was distracted with the sword boys Ensemble Stars quietly planned an ambush. Once again I was blind sided by beautiful bishonen. Over the last few years I have noticed a steady decline in the traditional bishie. Now they seem to be mostly generically cute like Kirito, or the boys from Free. Attractive sure, but beautiful, not so much. Could they be making a return? I sure hope so. That being said my heart just about stopped when I found this one. Mao Isara.
Ensemble Stars follows a bunch of students in an all boys music school. Each group of boys forms a group with a different style. I think this is pretty cool, and I hope it comes off entertaining in the anime. There are four particular character that struck my fancy, Rei Sakuma, The Aoi twins, and Mao Isara. I have always had a thing for red headed anime boys, as if this list doesn’t say enough, but Mao is exactly my cup of tea. For that matter when I first opened this figure, I said he was so cute he was going to explode. He is affectionately referred to as “My Little Hand Grenade”!
Palmate are tiny figures, roughly 1/12 scale in size. I think it mostly because of this that they get a bad rap with a lot of collectors, but we are going to take a closer look and see what we find. I mean look at that adorable face. What isn’t to love? He has huge vibrant green eyes which compliment the colour of his hair rather well. His smile is also quite expressive. He looks like a lot of fun. Megahouse did a great job with the application of his features. The only flaw I see is a tiny bit of red paint at the top of his teeth. This isn’t even noticeable on the figure itself.
One of the things I really dig about Mao’s design is his hair. The colour is a cool pinkish red, as opposed to the typical red or orange, and he pulls most of his bangs back with a hairclip. I really like this look. It is simple and sexy. The sculptor did a really nice job detailing the separate parts of his hair. I especially love the loose little strands of bangs.
From the sides you can see how his short hair is layered and styled with little spikes. It seriously looks really nice. He also has a cute profile.
In this particular image I kind of think he looks like he is looking at someone while having a very interesting conversation. He looks so excited!
The back of his hair has several spiky layers. Anime characters must use a lot og gel in their hair to get it to do that. It looks really good. The sculptor did a really good job bring him into the 3D world.
Mao’s TrickStar outfit is red plaid, which I absolutely adore. This out fit looks good too, so I am not complaining, but I have an natural love for men in plaid. It isn’t quite the same, but they did give him a plaid tie.The pattern looks really nice. I also dig the lapel designs. The gold cross and stars are really cool.
The gold trim of his jacket is a bit sloppy, but it isn’t terrible. The paint on his vest isn’t bad at all. The vest looks a little stiff, there are just enough wrinkles to make the material look pliable, but I don’t think they are enough. Maybe if they were a bit more creased…
The seam line where his arm attaches to his body looks a little rough. The sartorial deam going down the side of the jacket is a nice touch. I absolutely love good looking clothes! Seams, wrinkles, and buckles are things that I pay very close attention too, and I get excited when the sculptor does the same. (In case I never mentioned it, I am a big fan of Piron) Speaking of wrinkles, those in his jacket look much better than those on his vest. The jagged gold design adds a bit of flair to the costume. The same could be said for epaulettes. I appreciate that the shoulder decor, and costume trim are two different shades of gold!
Mao’s arms look really nice. He is a pretty thin boy, so it is nice to see that they didn’t go crazy with muscle definition. They have the proper shape to keep them from looking noodley, but are thin enough to really keep with the “pretty” boy style. I have no idea what he is doing with his left hand, gesturing or reaching up to play with his hair are both viable options I suppose. The hand looks good nonetheless, as do the little black gloves. (Given the position of his left hand that will come up a bit later.)
The back of the jacket is done very well. The added embellishments are applied well, and the center seam looks good. If you look at the coat tails you can see that one is slightly shorter than the other. I don’t know what made Piron decide to do this, but it is an interesting detail…
Part of that coat tail is actually folded under and painted. I kind of appreciate that tiny imperfection, it seems a bit human to have that little bit out of place. (Yeah I know, I am strange)
Mao is wearing plain black pants that wrinkled in all the right places to make his outfit look natural. They also make the flashier parts of his costume stand out more. The white jacket and sexy boots kind of “pop” in contrast of his dark pants.
In case you couldn’t guess I love his boots. The creases around his ankles are nice. The souls have no tread, but I am nearly 100% sure that dancing shoes aren’t supposed too. The grey paint is neat and clean.
Back to my obsession with practicality, buttons and buckles, I can say that I love the buttons and trim on the outside of the boots. These details are entirely unnecessary, being that they are on the bottom of the figure, but I think they are a fantastic addition.In this picture we can also clearly view his left hand. It looks pretty good. There is a lot of detail to his fingers and palm, even though they rest flat on the base.
His base is cute, and plain. The clear white circle is embellished with Mao’s full name, as well as a ribbon reminding us of the game’s title. There is also a little starburst twinkly pattern. I honestly think all of the white is a bit too much. The base looks good, but I think it would have been sufficient to have his name and the sparkles. The ribbon looks out of place to me.
In closing I have to say that Mao is one of the cutest figures that I got this year, and with any luck the other two will look just as good. I also have to give a nod to ColonelFancy as he picked this one up for me! Palmates get a lot of crap for their tiny size, but I honestly believe that adds to their charm. As long as Megahouse keeps making characters that I like, then I will continue to collect them!
This cutie is travel size!
His expression is so lively.
His costume looks really good.
He only costs around 40 USD!
He is travel size??
The base may have to much going on.
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10