I know I say this every time, but Kokoro is one of my favorite figures, no joke. Like a lot of my “favorites,” Kokoro taught me a few things and was my “first” in a number of respects. For those unfamiliar with her character, Kokoro is originally from Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360), a perfectly average entry in the long-running fighting series. I’ve played almost all of them, and my favorites are Dimensions (3DS) and Dead or Alive 5 (PS3 & 360). I played the latter at E3 this year, and it’s gotten a significant and much-needed visual facelift. The physics are also better—take that to mean what you will. Kokoro is 17 years old during the events of DoA4 and uses a unique Bājíquán fighting style. She wants to be a geisha and a martial artist. Around the same time as DoA4, she starred in DoAX2—that appearance is what this figure is based on. By the way, DoAX2 is a terrible game and you should not play it, but the original—Dead or Alive Extreme Volleyball—is fantastic. It’s unfortunately not backwards-compatible on the Xbox 360, so you’ll need an old Xbox Classic to play it. Totally worth it, though. And let’s not forget Dead or Alive Paradise, which is basically DoAX2 on PSP: it is also awful, but it adds a cute new character, Rio (who is guest-starring from a Tecmo gambling property).
Let’s get on with the show. Kokoro was the first figure I ordered off the secondary market (Amazon) and she was very cheap ($70) compared to what she is now ($150). She was a birthday present to myself that I got several years ago. Kokoro was also my first cast-off figure, and she quickly taught me the pros and cons of that feature.
As you can see, she’s kneeling on the beach as the ocean water laps her legs. It’s a very pretty base. She’s twisting her torso slightly, looking up and to the left as her (functional) umbrella shades her from the unyielding heat of Sol. Her swimsuit (called “Citron”) consists of a yellowish skirt with a belt and a black-and-white belly-shirt with arm bands. It’s not a bad swimsuit, certainly. The little details, especially on her top, are appreciated. It’s pretty conservative, though, especially compared to the rest of the swimsuits in the game (like the actual Venus suit).
I do like that the skirt is stretched taught across her thighs.
But you can pretty clearly see where things come apart, so let’s get that out of the way.
As I said, Kokoro was my first cast-off figure, and man did I get good mileage out of that feature. As far as cast-off figures go, she’s a cinch: pop the head off, take apart her skirt and shirt, and fit that necklace-tie around her neck. It’s what keeps her new top on, after all. My other Venus on the Beach figure, Kasumi, is FAR more complicated than this, and her seam lines are unfortunately very visible.
This “new” bikini is called “Apple” according to the game. My wife thinks it’s tacky. “Her breasts are spilling out all over the place.” Indeed they are; it’s part of the charm. Kokoro is one of the only characters I have with very obvious visible under-boob. That may change soon—I’ve got Selvaria Bles’ bikini figure on ye olde “to buy” list.
Due to the ease with which Kokoro could change her outfit, I swapped her costumes all the damn time. As experienced collectors are probably thinking, this led to problems down the line. Most annoyingly, paint began to transfer, especially on her top half. Kokoro now has some rather unsightly marks and lines on her back that I can’t rub off with water or alcohol wipes. Her head, as well, is getting easier to remove, which just means the interlocking mechanism—a notch on the mold—is wearing down with repeated friction. One might expect that, given that PVC is a very soft plastic, but I was young and dumb at the beginning of my collecting days. I was just happy to have a cast-off figure.
Nowadays I leave her “Citron” costume off. It’s sitting in my bedside table drawer and only comes out when I have to do reviews like this.
Despite its simplicity, I really like Kokoro’s posture: back arched, legs angled away from each other, both arms doing radically different things. The spaces between her hair strands tend to collect dust, which is annoying. Kokoro’s expression is great—gazing wistfully at the sky, enjoying the sun. I could pretty easily pose her and another girl so that she’s looking back at somebody—maybe Mercy or Nami. Unfortunately, the Venus girls weren’t really made to interact. That would’ve been great, but alas, it’s not to be; they’re all doing radically different things.
Kokoro’s parasol is both functional and incredibly fragile. You can unfold it by pressing up on a little plastic ring that locks above a metal thread. Depressing the thread lets the umbrella fold back up. It’s actually pretty impressive given the small scale. The red and black color scheme is a nice contrast to Kokoro’s cooler blue shades.
You can see where I’ve accidentally ripped the parasol’s paper. I forget how this happened, but I attempted to use Scotch tape to get it back together. Thankfully, the top of the parasol is angled away from the viewer, so the tear isn’t particularly obvious.
Let’s get our detail on.
I am especially impressed with Kokoro’s torso. There are indentations for her abs, hip bones, and ribcage–the paint job is even shaded to highlight those anatomical features. Kokoro has fairly wide hips, but I confess disappointment at how they’re quite squared-off in front, a detail magnified by her bikini bottom straps. She doesn’t, unfortunately, have much of an ass. I suspect her gluts were downplayed as Kokoro’s ideal viewing angle is right in front.
Kokoro’s legs are a bit basic, but there is some impressive sculpting at her ankles and feet, which retain good arches and–if you turn her over–toenail polish. Extremity detail isn’t limited to her pedicurist: Kokoro’s hands and fingers are given a similar level of polish. I especially like the carefree way her left hand is angled at the wrist fingers III-V have subtle curl to them just as fingers at rest would be. Try it! Lower your arm and let your fingers hang. They should curl slightly. If they don’t, you should get that looked at.
I guess we’re moving up Kokoro’s body (but also down–we’ve gone from her torso to her legs to her hands), we come to the organs which give mammals their name. In Dead or Alive 4 and DoAX2, Kokoro is consistently portrayed as having a pretty small bust along with Hitomi, Lei Feng and, surprisingly perhaps, Kasumi. This figure doesn’t seem to care about that and have bumped Kokoro up two three cup sizes. While I do ultimately approve of this modification, I am curious as to why it was made. The bikini top itself–all grays, silvers, and subtle blues–is nicely stretched across her chest and, in fact, pulls her breasts together. You can see where they dig into her skin along the top. The ridges in the middle where the neckstrap string tightens through the bikini are nice too. The strap itself is decorated with colorful little beads and a ring–all very nice.
Kokoro’s shoulders and clavicles are nicely defined, but here we get to my one problem with this figure: along the front of her arms and thighs are fairly visible seam lines. In the right (read: wrong) light, they’re hard to miss. Her neck is very simple, though you can see her right sterno-mastoid very prominently. Again, I’m going to bring up her wonderful face, with gorgeous eyes and hair.
Kokoro is about as good as they get. I bought her for $70, and she retails on Amazon for far more now (about $150). She’s only 7″ tall, which may seem short, but keep in mind she is kneeling. She’s the same scale as Venus on the Beach Kasumi, though the Venus girls all seem to be their own scale relative to other figures in my collection. For example, Kokoro is in about the same position as Tamaki, but Tamaki is obviously larger. The umbrella makes displaying Kokoro around all my other girls a little difficult, since it’s so obstructing. But I wouldn’t trade her–Kokoro really is one of my favorites. As usual, I took far more pictures than I intended to use, so here are some bonus pictures!