Character and Figure Info
Tomoe Hotaru is the sickly daughter of Dr. Tomoe Souichi. Hotaru's condition is believe to be an illness, but it is later revealed in the anime that her body is ill and tired due to fighting off the possession of an evil entity looking to use her powers as Sailor Saturn for evil with the use of the Holy Grail.
Hotaru is 1/8 scale and is a cold cast. She was sculpted by Moriyama Yuu for the company Kyosho, and then released in February 2001 as part of a series that included Hotaru, Ami, Makoto and Chibi Usa. Unfortunately I am unsure as to why they only made these four, and never completed the series, or included the protagonist of Sailor Moon, Usagi.
The best part of the sculpt in this figure is on the front of the figures clothing. It's very beautiful, the folds look natural, and her shoulders hang just low enough to show her small size. Despite how cute and detailed Hotaru is, I think that's where it ends for the sculpt.
Her face is based off of the anime character and depicts a younger age, so essentially it's accurate for the anime style, but the expression is almost completely left to the paint job. The sculpt also loses quality in the back where it's a little looser, and there is not as much detail given to the folds. Despite that she has adorable little fingers and toes still.
Painting on the figure itself is fairly flat at first appearance, but Hotaru has a small amount of soft airbrushed shading and colouring. Most notable is the spot on her chest (her right, our left), where she appears to have a stain. This isn't a stain, it's actually shading that is also on her legs. I personally do not like this because it appears to be a SLIGHT stain in proper lighting, but it's not too horribly noticeable.
Another rather disappointing detail in her paint is in the white stripes and details on her PJ's. They're cute, but not refined, and feel a little rushed.
The best painting is, of course, in her face. Hotaru's eyes give her nearly all of her expression. They suit the child version of the character very well, and are cleanly painted.
Hotaru's black hair also contains hints of purple highlights.
Packaging is a very 90's (omg the green) printed cardboard slip cover over a white box and Styrofoam casing. It's not particularly beautiful in todays standards, but it's attractive enough for a collector of memorabilia that's over a decade old, especially if it will be packed away while the figure is on display.
Although it's not the most attractive packaging it IS sturdy and will take a beating if need be. Shipping conditions would have to be extremely poor for me to worry about this figure being mailed to me in it's original packaging.
This figure and series will definitely be one of my top favourites for a while in regards to "retro" or "vintage" Sailor Moon figures. They're rare, pretty, and "anime-esque" on my shelf, and she's a wonderful find for any Sailor Moon or Sailor Saturn collector.
Despite good, but low ratings on this figure I think overall it's a new vs old thing. That quality today is MUCH higher than quality 10 years ago, and figures smaller, or comparable in size TODAY are definitely higher quality. In regards to Sailor Moon figures that are pre-painted and available for under $150 (at this point in time) she is a wonderful addition to your collection.