If you’re a fan of My Hero Academia, then it’s impossible to not be aware of who the League of Villains are. Led by Tomura Shigaraki, what started as a small group of outcasts, quickly turned into a large antagonistic force hell-bent on tearing apart the very superhero system that the show revolves around. In fact, it probably isn’t hard to come across fans who consider the villains some of the best parts about the show. Everything from their backstories to their presentation helps reflect the problems that this hero society has ignored, making the villains as sympathetic as they are cool. It really gives the impression that a lot of characters are labeled as heroes and villains by circumstance rather than because some people are inherently good or evil.
Things are definitely more interesting in the world of My Hero Academia thanks to the League of Villains and Kotobukiya is here with their high quality line of ARTFX J figures that help put the intensity of the league’s members on full display. Kotobukiya is a popular hobby manufacturer celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and is based in Tachikawa, Japan. Not only are they re-offering their popular Toga and Shigaraki figures, but they’re also adding fan favorite Dabi to their upcoming releases. Each figure is roughly 1/8 scaled, crafted out of PVC and ABS material. Fans from all over have grown attached to the league’s members thanks in no small part to their incredibly unique designs that are all informed by the tragic backstories that led them down the path of being labeled villains in the first place. Not only are these scale figures incredibly detailed, but their overall presentation speaks to a firm understanding of what makes these characters so memorable in the first place.
Toga and Shigaraki have poses that exhibit a confident aggressiveness without going over the top. Toga has her knife drawn with a giddy expression on her face, giving the impression that she’s not really worried about anything. Her signature school uniform manages to stand out despite not being super distinct on its own thanks to the various fabric ripples. But what really draws attention to this figure is Toga’s expression. The pronounced fangs combined with the well-drawn, affection filled eyes make the character look both innocent and dangerous at the same time. Even more subtle details like the extra lines drawn at the base of her eyes help emulate her iconic glare. Very few characters in the show really look like and it’s a great, subtle detail to capture.
Shigaraki’s body language and added exterior details do a good job of exhibiting his overall unhinged demeanor. The iconic hands associated with his character backstory appear to gently embrace his body as if they are comforting him. You can see every wrinkle on each hand, giving them an organic feel and Kotobukiya managed to add a lot of dimension to Shigaraki despite his simple clothing. Shigaraki’s hunched over stance gives off a sense of intimidation as if he could pounce at his enemies to decay them in an instant. He is truly a dangerous adversary worthy of being labeled as the leader of the League of Villains and this figure does an excellent job of emulating that impression.
It’s no surprise that these figures are popular, which is all the more reason why Dabi’s upcoming release should be so anticipated. Kotobukiya‘s scale figure of Dabi captures the strengths of both Toga’s and Shigaraki’s, making him a perfect addition to the roster. Like Toga, his overall stance and disposition is incredibly casual while exhibiting a sense of confidence as if he’s appreciating something simple. Then the beautifully sculpted transparent blue flame on his left hand shows that he is also ready to incinerate something he doesn’t like at a moment’s notice. In fact, with his right hand pocketed and his posture turning away from where his face is looking, there is a feeling of being untouchable exhibited in his demeanor. This perfectly matches the character from the series as Dabi was often seen as a threat while also keeping his cards very close to the chest, even from his own allies!
Dabi’s iconic burn marks ironically feel natural with a shade of purple that stands out without taking away from the rest of the design. Even the addition of individual lines and wrinkles on the burnt skin make everything feel believably organic. There’s a real sense that this was crafted with care, exhibiting a firm understanding of what made Dabi so appealing despite most of his background being kept in the dark for such a long time. Even seeing Dabi pose alongside his fellow league members feels completely natural and all three are bound to look great in anyone’s display.
Once again, Kotobukiya has gone above and beyond for the sake of delivering high-quality products to its fans. All three of these models are set to be released towards the end of 2023. Shigaraki will be re-released in September, Toga will be re-released in October, and Dabi will have his official release in November. Pre-order them now while you can and look forward to other releases from Kotobukiya in the future!
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