A magician never reveals his tricks

“…except when he totally does!”

About the figure:

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?? is getting a lot of love with one figure release after the other. And of course, since this is a Stronger product you can expect some high quality and an explicit love for details. This time our little coffee-girl goes the sorcery way by becoming a magical girl. For the price tag of 12800 Yen (~95 EUR) you not only get Chino herself, but also Tippy, Anko and Wild Geese. While Anko and Wild Geese can be either mounted on Chinos skirt, or be displayed separately on tiny solo-stands, Tippy is molded in a way that he sticks on her head. So no magnetic function like in the Kotobukiya Version this time.

Chino003

Sculpted by Kouda Kazunari this 1/7 figure is gorgeous to look at. Her floating pose and the twirly hair are definitely the highlights. Also they did a really god job in hiding the holes for the rods beneath her skirt. I really like the spoon in her hand, that should resemble some sort of magical girl wand. It doesn’t look or feel cheap and gimmicky like at the Alice version of the figure. The only point of criticism I had with this figure are her glossy eyes. For a normal collector this gloss might not be a problem and in some cases this will only enhance the brightness of her eyes, but for me as a figure photographer the gloss was very annoying, since it casted big, ugly reflections and highlights into the pupils.

Chino002

About the character:

Kafuu Chino from Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?? (engl. “Is the order a rabbit”) is one of those characters that pretty much stole all the attention from the shows main character CoCoa. Chino is the granddaughter of a coffee shop keeper called “Rabbit House”, where she also works as a waitress.  She is very reserved and soft spoken and owns a mysterious, bunny-like pet called Tippy,  that often sits on her head.

Chino005

This comedic slice of life show was originally released in Fall 2015 by studio White Fox. The source is a Yonkoma Manga by Koi that is still ongoing. Because of its modern, moe portrait of its characters, which are all named after various hot beverages like coffee or tea, the show generated a pretty large fanbase and lots of merchandise.

Thoughts about the picture:

This is the first time in my career as a figure photographer that I revisit the same character not once, but twice in a relatively short amount of time. I did my first chino picture back in August 2016 and despite of working very hard on the additional window frames I didn’t like the outcome of this shooting at all. Then I did my second picture with Aquamarines Alice style version and even if I was quite unsure about the final result it scored potd on MFC and was beloved by the community. So I was pressured to do this figure justice in creating a composition just as well, if not better than the previous one.

Chino001

Early on I came up with the idea to once again use my trusty fog machine and a puff of smoke, to cover up the base. But I dismissed this concept and searched for another solution. Then I found a DIY video on YouTube where people created clouds by using lampions, light strings and cottenwool. I thought to myself: That’s pretty cool, I only have to size it down a bit. Once I got the basic setup with the clouds and the blue ribbon, I just ordered some miniatures online and added a bunch of mint colored pearls to the mix.

Chino004

Of course, since the tiny firefly lights I used (I love those micro lights so much) are not enormously bright the hardest thing about this composition was to balance the ambient light against the studio light, so that booth light sources would be visible. And since I do like to try our new things this is my first attempt on the once so popular HDR photo format. HDR in figure photos? I’m curious…is this even a thing people do?

Behind the scenes:

Sadly I don’t have much making of material this time since it was an relatively easy set up.  The illuminated clouds are created out of tiny lampions, which I crafted myself and some cotton wool. First I did a draft with only blue lights but I thought that maybe this would be a bit too much and I ordered the same string of lights only in multicolored.

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Here you can see the final set up on the photo table. It was quit annoying and time consuming to wait for all the strings to stop swinging around but in the end I was very satisfied with the outcome. I was a little afraid that the HDR was a bad choice of style but it served the picture well. I even added the spurt effect from my previous Chino picture as a little Easter egg.

Magical_Chino_finished
Canon EOS 5D, 90mm Macro lense / ISO 100 / Exposure time 1/2 sec. / aperture: 13n / HDR

Uhr

Time and effort:
It took me some time and glue sticks to craft the clouds but the amount of time I spent om this picture was much more reasonable than some other projects I did. However, it took me some time to arrange the final set. To place the plates on the ribbon was a very filigree task.

CostsCosts of the props:
I had to buy five strings of those micro lights but other than that the costs were also very reasonable. A few bucks got spent on glue sticks, pearls and the miniature plates but altogether this was a very cheap set up in comparison to other shootings.

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