Harumi Kouno, introduced as a new character in To Heart 2 Another Days yet starts-out already familiar with the player? Who is she really? What is her identity?
That's right, Harumi Kouno is not your childhood fiancé you might have forgotten about. However, you did indeed meet before, in the past. Here she is right there on the left. Yes, the prototype AI in the teddy bear know as Milfa. Because the player character used to always man-handle the stuffed animals roughly, Milfa always considered the player to be perverted. Being re-fitted into a humanoid robo, Milfa is now known as unit HMX-17b, first sister to the initial maid robo, Ilfa.
Unlike Ilfa who is built to general specifications as a maid robo, Harumi requested to be a bit more 'specialized' to better suit the needs of her future partner (who happens to be perverted). And that is why we get the 'boin', everywhere. Because she is actually insecure about herself, she takes the name of Harumi and the player characters last name, Kouno, as an attempt to move into her new life quickly.
So, here we have it, folks. Alter vs. Kotobukiya, who makes the better Harumi? Starting off, just the sheer size difference is daunting. Just a general rule of thumb, 4-leaves figures are really huge. But we are not looking just at max numbers here, value is important.
The Alter version comes in at 7140¥ MSRP. The figure was also produced in moderately low numbers making it scarce and keeping it's resale value high. The quality of the plastic is great and the paint job is top-notch, exactly what you would expect from a figure produced by Alter.
The Kotobukiya version is the heavy hitter here, coming in at 9240¥ MSRP. That clearly puts it out of reach for most casual figure buyers. Once you go over 100$ USD you are appealing to hard core collectors only. However, we do have a silver lining. Since this is kotobukiya we are talking about, market price varies with production and there are still a good number of these figures floating around. In fact, if you keep an eye out you can easily snatch this up for between 4500-7000¥ putting it right in the center of any figure price value battle. This figure also comes with a bonus, you can switch out the stand with another leg piece and lay the figure flat on a pillow bed - which is also included.
Now, getting down to the nitty-gritty, how well does the figure represent the character she is based on? Any To Heart 2 fan knows, it's all about the shima-pan! And Yes! we have it! Both figures have the shima-pan and the zettai-ryouki. Thin or thick, which pattern is more realistic? That choice will be left up to you.
Now, for a close up, here we have the Kotobukiya version with an open-front shirt and a matching top?! Someone is pulling out all the stops here, we are just inches away from being X-Rated! The eyes are beautifully done and the light color treatment on the hair works well. Interestingly, if you look around the web you can find examples of people who have modified this figure to be fully cast-off-able, I won't post you any links though, brave at your own risk.
And here is the Alter version. I love the way the clothes move with her body language but something just doesn't seem right. Yes, it is her face. It just does not have that brightness or warmth someone in this pose should have. Also, the production model is a bit different that original concept, The face and hair seem to be slightly off.
Here are the original mock-ups.
And the winner is: KOTOBUKIYA!
If I was going to pick one model and one model only, it would be the Kotobukiya version. The utility to stand her up-right or lay her flat on a bed is appealing (although serving no real function) and entertainment and appreciation is what figures are all about. The sad news, I cannot display such a risque figure as a center piece or focal point so back into the box she must go. Thanx for reading and happy collecting!