“Promises must be kept no matter what the cost may be.”
About the figure:
This astounding figure of Belldandy and her angel Holy Bell was released back in 2013, by Max Factory in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this long running series. (The manga ended back in 2014 after 48 volumes) Right from the get-go you can tell that sculptor Chieri had put some major effort into this piece of art. When it came out four years ago, it totally blew my mind. The attention to details, as well as the finish still holds up, even with much newer sculptures of today’s standards.
Despite of being 1/10 in scale, with a height of 32 centimeter it is a relatively tall figure. It’s one of those cases, where you might want to reserve a whole rack shelf for her alone. What I really love about this figure is the harmonic color scheme and this whirl part, that is connecting Belldandy to her base. She is definitely a great addition to almost every collection, but you might consider to put her into a showcase since you don’t wont to clean her up and there are lots and lots of thin, fragile parts on this figure as well.
I couldn’t find any further information if this was a limited edition or not (let’s face it, almost every figure is somewhat limited) but Belldandy comes with a metal plate on her base, showing a four digit number on it (mine is 0246). The product page on Good Smiles info site didn’t mention any specific limitation either. So I would assume that the number of copies ranged somewhat between 1.000 and 9.999 copies, with a higher tendency to lower numbers. The only thing that somehow bothers me is that the plate showing the number is on the backside of the base. So if you but the figure on display you might not seeing it at all. I even tried to turn the base around, since the pecks look almost identical, but no, it’s meant to stay on the backside.
About the character:
Aa! Megami-sama! (jap. orig. titel) was one of the three series that introduced me to the realm of Manga and Japanese pop culture in general. I started to buy the paperbacks in the early two thousands but sadly the releases of new issues really slowed down after volume 30 and I somewhen lost interest in it. So I wasn’t able to finish the whole series and sold my copies a couple years ago. The story of Oh My Goddess! revolves around your typical, luckless college student Keeichi Morisato who accidentally called upon the goddess of present time, Belldandy via a telephone service help line. Thenceforth she will stay on Keeichis side, making his life a lot more troublesome but in the end also much more enjoyable than before.
It’s a really heartwarming, slice of life comedy show with some heavy fantasy and supernatural elements to it. But just be warned, the art style of later issues is not the same one that you might get with volume one of the manga. What I’m trying to say is that Kōsuke Fujishimas drawing skills improved quite a lot over the almost two decades this series was running.
Thoughts about the picture:
This was another project that sat on my table for way too long and got postponed a couple of times. I remember buying this figure at Dokomi 2014, when Good Smile Company had a booth for the very first time at a German Convention. I had a little nice talk with the staff and also bought this figure. I got her for the fair price of 180,- EUR and I believe it was one of the last figures I bought at a convention. It’s quite a shame but nowadays the margin some retailers are charging for their products are just insane. Only recently, at a local event I saw a figure I ordered last year, for twice the price I paid. Spending all your money at the vendors hall was quite fun ten years ago, when the market was very niche but now, since we are living in a globalized economy where with a credit card and an internet connection you can buy almost everything, it’s unaffordable and also unnecessary to shop direct at conventions.
Anyhow, back to the project! My very first intention was to once again use my fog machine to create a heavenly image, where rays of light bursting through clouds in the sky. But then I remembered that I quite suck when it comes to complex lighting and I shoved this idea away. Early this year I bought some feathers to have them somehow included into the composition, however I had no clear vision how to do it until I finally started shooting her. I know it sounds crazy but I really had no idea how the final picture would have to look like. I just popped everything on the table and thought to myself: “Well, what to do with all those props.”
Fortunately it didn’t take very long that the goddess of creativity pitied me and gave my some direction to go. For the final composition I took a bunch of Lego Technic gears and some clock hands, as well as the same hourglasses I already used when shooting Makise Kurisu. On top of that I arrange the feathers on a plate and cut a large hole in it, so that it looked like a picture frame with feathers around. The background is simple tissue paper, which was crumpled and then unfolded again. The light source is lager studio light behind the tissue paper.
Time and effort:
I think this is one of my better pictures in 2017. Considering that this required almost no preparation at all, the result is very rewarding. Reminded me a lot of my older shooting days, when not every set was a 50 hours build.
Costs of the props:
Same goes for the budget of this picture. The feathers and the clock hands costed about 10-15 EUR and everything else I had on stock. So it’s ultimately a very good looking, yet cheap photo.