Embrace Japan: Diabolus Ungulate

NSFW Warning!  Embrace Japan is a relatively new company in the anime figure market as far as I’m aware, I don’t think they were all that “embraced” until the release of their Demon Squeezer figure.  Granted they screwed up the initial batch, the figure was still very well received and adored by many, including yours truly.  But I’ll save that for another time, for the moment let’s take a look at the follow-up figure, Diabolus Ungulate.

Embrace Japan has been coming out with many interesting figures, mostly original characters from what I can see in their line-up.  There are collectors who only collect figures of known characters, then there are those like me who don’t really care.  I like original characters for the fact that they are, well, original.  Usually, you don’t have any background info for these figures, they are what you see – while this may lack certain meaning or sentimental value towards the figure it doesn’t bother me as most of the time I have no clue about a figure’s character background anyway.  I tend to prefer looking at the figure and judging it by the sculpt and quality – which is what I try to accomplish in the reviews.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it when there’s a figure of one of my beloved anime (or game) characters, it makes writing the reviews so much easier, but it’s easier to lose objectivity and scrutinize those figures a lot more due to familiarity with the character.

That said, Diabolus Ungulate is an original character based upon the illustration of Soushi Hirose, who also illustrated Ungulate’s “predecessor”, Diabolus Inclinatus.  I don’t think there are any relations between the two characters aside from the fact they are both Succubi, designed by the same artist and have the common theme of “Diabolus” in their names.  Diabolus Inclinatus is based upon Soushi’s Demon Squeezer doujinshi while Diabolus Ungulate is just based upon an illustration.

When I say that Diabolus Ungulate is based upon an illustration, I mean that loosely.  The original illustration of Ungulate, as I’ll call her for the remainder of the review, has a completely different pose and facial expression than the figure.  I’m not sure if the figure was changed by Embrace Japan or re-done by Soushi for the figure production, but as you can see while there are similiarities, the overall emotional response is vastly different.

For some reason, when I look at the original illustration, I keep thinking of Phoebe Buffay from Friends.  She has this dumbfounded look about her, staring into blank space and standing ever so nonchalantly.  She appears to be looking at you, but is emotionless – what exactly is she thinking?  You can’t tell.  The drawing is powerful, in that sense, but in a figure, the look may be a little stale.  The figure version has a slightly more aggressive stance, she still stares at you, but her stare feels like it has more intent.  It’s a really cold stare, as if she’s daring you to approach her – yet you don’t know if you should with that huge warhammer by her side.

I find that the figure’s pose is much more seductive than the original illustration, which is a good thing as she is a succubus afterall, temptation is in their nature.  Some look dangerous, because they are, but that’s not always necessarily the case.  Some are there to lure you in without any indication that it could be your doom while some may actually be helpful (or tries to be, like Catherine).

Most succubi figures (and art) feature wildly huge breasts and asses, and typically in some slutty pose.  I find these depictions lack the appeal of what a succubus should be – then again, everyone has a different taste in “beauty” and what’s seductive or not.  Ungulate, for me, is what defines a succubus – albeit a more dangerous one.  She’s got the body, the look and “almost covered” in the right places; she shows off enough of her body to make you think naughty thoughts, yet doesn’t show you everything which tempts you to want her more.

Ungulate presents a very interesting contrast to Inclinatus, visually and emotionally.  Ungulate’s presentation is dark and uninviting – as if she just crawled out of the gates of Hell.  In a way, you can say she also looks battle-weary with a gauntlet equipped in one hand and leaning on her weapon.  Her outfit is also armour-like, though I still can’t tell if it should be patched leather or some sort of bark skin – at worse, some sort of skin from animals or humans.  Eeek.

When I first saw Ungulate’s prototype, I wasn’t a fan of her facial expression – it seemed lifeless – but now that I have the figure, the more I look at her, the more I like the expression on her face.  It just matches the aura the rest of her body language is giving off.  Her eyes pulls off that “thousand mile stare” perfectly.

The biggest gripe about this figure, however, is the fact that she came up short of the details the prototype had.  The finer detail of her leather patches, her horns and wings appear to be missing – this could be due to the mold.  But the worst part is the inaccurate “bras” on the production version – many people have a hard time being able to cover the breasts properly, particularly the left breast.  My Ungulate suffers from the same issue (though not as bad as some others) where you just can’t seem to cover up the left nipple and areola – it seems like the breast cover wasn’t molded long enough.  This is very bad QC from the factory – I think Embrace Japan should’ve fixed this error like they did with Inclinatus, or at least issue proper breast covers to customers.

It’s funny to see that even the product photos on Hobby Search’s site has her censored, and those are pictures with the breast covers on!  You know this figure is definitely “not safe for work” when you have to censor parts of her body that are already supposedly censored.  LOL

Also interesting of note, the collar of my Ungulate is a little bit different than the one shown on Hobby Search’s site.  I’ve also noticed that it’s slightly different than those of other collectors on MFC – but I think it may be because there’s too much paint on my collar, which covered up the buldges in the middle of the collar (thus hiding the details).  Not a big deal, but little things add up!  The collar is removable, however, I think I prefer her with that collar on.  It feels a little empty without it, though the sculpting detail of her neck and collar bones isn’t bad.

Ungulate’s breast covers remind me of coconut shells - in the prototype, the details on the breast covers were more pronounced; the production version that I have seems a little flat.  Maybe too much molding compound was used or the mold didn’t have deep enough grooves?  This loss of detail is evident throughout Ungulate’s body that has the leather cover.

Also, this is probably the only angle where Ungulate’s left breast is somewhat covered up – no nip slip here – that is unless you look a bit more from her right side.  =P

The body sculpt is very nice, with her waist slightly turned adding a little more depth to the body shape.  Her body feature is very feminine, without overly large breasts.  I love the subtle detail of her hip bones; looking at these photos, I couldn’t help be reminded of an ex-girlfriend as Ungulate’s body and hips shape is very reminiscent of hers.  ^^’

Embrace Japan did a great job with Ungulate’s arms, particularly the guantlet – it is a very nice contrast to her left arm.  The dry brushing effect on the gauntlet is done well, with a little hint of rust – the gauntlet look used, a veteran of many battles.  Minor complaint would be that when looked at up close, it seems like the amount of paint used was a little excessive.  The hand part of the gauntlet looks “thick” – though this will be a variable on each figure depending on the paint application.

The warhammer receives a similar paint treatment as the gauntlet, it looks cold, hard, rough – much like Ungulate herself.  You can rotate the head of the warhammer to either point outwards or inwards, I found it looked better when the nail end is pointed outwards.  When pointed towards the inside, the warhammer doesn’t sit as flat on the base.  Some collectors (on MFC) has also indicated that their warhammer doesn’t touch the base at all, or is angled improperly in her hand.  I wonder if this is a manufacturing fault or they didn’t insert the warhammer properly (as the little stub that goes into her hand is on an angle).  Maybe they put it in backwards?

When I saw Hobby Search’s inital stock photos of Ungulate, I was a somewhat disappointed with how the production model came out.  It lacks the finer details of the protoype as I’ve said earlier, but here’s another example of said production fault.  Notice the grooves in her horn, it’s almost faded but the Ungulate I received isn’t nearly as bad as the one Hobby Search had.  I mean, compare that (and mine) to this, the prototype.  You can see how much difference there is in the details of her horns.

The same lack of detail can be said about her legs, which the majority of the “leather armour” is located, particularly the stitching detail.  Again, just compare it to the prototype.  I can’t say I’m completely disappointed by this, but I’ll be honest and say that I am, just a little.  After how well Inclinatus turned out, and the fact Embrace Japan took it upon themselves to fix the initial manufacturing error, I had high expectations for Ungulate.

But it’s not the end of the world, some of the details are still there, though you loose the sense that the armour is “patched” together – it just looks like one big piece of legging with black lines running through it.  Even with the flaws, I still adore this unique design – it’s definitely original, particularly when it comes to anime figures and succubi characters.

 

One of the things about Ungulate that I don’t like is her tail, I found that her tail was too long and too many twists and turns.  It looked like a mess – Inclinatus had a cute, decent lengthed tail – as did Ungulate’s original illustration.  I don’t know why the figure version got her tail extended so much.  In the prototype images, her tail zig zags to the right of her legs and doesn’t wrap around them.  I’m glad they changed that with the production models so the tail wraps around Ungulate’s leg now.  I find this more pleasing to look at, as now there’s a reason for the length of her tail and why it’s twisting round and round.  Embrace Japan even included a little instruction sheet that shows you how to position the tail around her legs.

The funny thing is, in the instructions, it says the tail is supposed to wrap around Ungulate’s left leg.  But when I put her tail on, it fit better on her right, so I left it there for the review.  I perferred the right leg anyway, as it doesn’t block her left “forward leg”.  You can see her long sexy (crossed) legs without being distracted by the tail.  In the back of my head, however, I kept wondering why my tail didn’t fit properly on the left leg – which I found out soon enough.

The feet are also interesting in that they’re hoofs with heels?! o_O  In case you’re wondering why she’s called Diabolus Ungulate, this is why – ungulate is just a fancy way of saying a mammal that has hoofs.  Well, more like a mammal that balances their weight on the tip of their toes which usually have hoofs.  I guess that’s also another reason why she has heels – so that her weight is balanced on her “toes”.  I’ve seen a couple photos of other Ungulates where the feet (or hoofs) don’t attach properly to the base (leaving a gap), but I didn’t have such problem and both her feet are securely planted.

Note to self, I gotta stop breaking the figures while doing my photo shoots.  I’ve been working rather roughly with my figures lately and have been breaking pieces here and there.  Ungulate’s tail is extremely prone to breakage – so be very careful when handling her tail!  If you’re going to fiddle around with her cast off features or to remove her head, make sure you remove the tail first – otherwise you might snag on the tail (like I did) and break it in half.

After breaking Ungulate’s tail and having a small panic attack, I took a closer look at it and noticed the tail is actually made up of three segments.  They’re then assembled together via a tiny peg and glue.  My tail broke at one of these joints, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other collectors out there suffer the same fate.  I wouldn’t be surprised if someone received Ungulate with a broken tail in the box.  The good news is that this is easily remedied with super glue.

It was after fixing the tail that I realized why my Ungulate’s tail wrapped around the right leg instead of the left.  It seems whoever pieced together the three segments of my Ungulate’s tail during production, he or she probably didn’t align the tail properly.  So depending on how the tail is pieced together, the way it wraps around Ungulate’s leg may be different on each figure.  So if you don’t like the way your Ungulate’s tail is positioned, you can probably break it at one of the joints and re-glue it to a position that ou like – since it’s in three segments, you can cut out the middle segment to make the tail shorter.  I thought about doing that, but decided to leave it be.

So now my Ungulate’s tail wraps around her left leg, as per the instructions, but I’m not sure if I like it as much as the way it was before.  But c’est la vie, it’s not going to make or break how I much I adore this figure.

Ungulate’s hair is pretty cool, with the lighting I had, it almost feels like water flowing down her back – then again, I’m not that keen on how it’s bundled together at the end.  It looks a little bit like a towen or a mop.  Her head separates by pulling the hair towards you then lifting her head off the neck, this is because there are two pegs on the wings which locks into her hair.  I’m not sure why Embrace Japan did this, it makes removing her head much more difficult and more chances of scratching her body or rubbing paint over her back and breasts.  Sure, the head is more secure, but it’s not like it’ll just roll off.  This was also the reason I managed to snap my Ungulate’s tail in half, when I was trying to remove her head.  Reminder again, remove the tail before you try to handle the rest of the body, it’ll make your life much easier.

One of the defining features of Diabolus Ungulate is the unique design of her wings – they look rough and torn, definitely not angelic by any means.  I can’t tell if the wings are supposed to be burnt or torn, or even melted – fallen angel, perhaps?  But one thing is for sure, they are very cool – though the production model came out slightly shy of the details of the prototype again.  The figure version also deviates from the original illustration quite a bit, giving the figure a darker and grungier presentation.  Me likes!

Like Inclinatus, Ungulate also has a very nice back side, albeit less “in your face”.  It’s got the right amount of perk and not too big – the sculpt is somewhat reminiscent of ALTER’s KOS-MOS v4 (though KM still holds the title, IMO).  The tail plugs into the back of Ungulate’s hips quite loosely – too loosely if you ask me.  The top of the tail keeps falling out on my Ungulate, leaving a small gap between the tail and the body  - I might use some glue again just so the tail will sit more securely, it is annoying and unsightly - it detracts from the image of her beautiful backside.

Here’s a clearer picture of Ungulate and what I was talking about earlier – and why she still needs to be censored even with her bras on.  Her left nipple has a hard time remaining behind cover and whoever painted my Ungulate made her left areola way too big.  It’s a little silly, as the left areola is bigger than the right – it’s not that noticeable when her breast covers on, but it’s there.

Embrace Japan includes the more releaving “under bra” on a little piece of sprue, which I found interesting.  Usually figure manufacturers give you these extra parts ready for attachment without having to do any work.  Then again these pieces are fairly small, so it was probably better to be left on a sprue during packaging and shipping.

These “under bra” pieces are fairly soft and malleable, I found that I had to bend them into shape to follow the contours of Ungulate’s breasts.  The pieces are really small, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re easily lost.  They also sit somewhat loosely when attached to Ungulate, unlike Inclinatus (which has the same cast-off feature).  Maybe Embrace Japan heard how much bitching people had with taking these little pieces on and off.  While we’re in this region of the body, be careful with her blue pig tails when removing the head.  It fits rather tightly against her chest, so it will paint transfer some of the blue very easily.  On the bright side, when you put the head back on, any transfer should be covered by the hair – still, be careful!

As I’ve said earlier, my Ungulate’s left breast has a larger (and darker) areola than the right, which you can see more clearly below – that’s kind of a turn off.  LOL  The nipples are perky though, and are also what “clips” into her breast covers to help hold them in place.

The pelvic cover is attached via friction and a very tiny double-sided tape.  I was rather surprised to see that tape was used, since the adhesive would lose “stickiness” over time.  But there’s really no way to hold that pelvic cover in place, friction can only do so much.  They could’ve made a little peg in the cover which sticks into Ungulate’s vaginal area – but maybe that’d be a little too ecchi?  ^^’

The vaginal area is typical of anime figures, where it lacks anatomical detail.  It’s just a slit, like on most Native figures – which I don’t mind as I usually don’t display the figures fully exposed.  I didn’t realize (or have forgotten) that the cast-off feature on this figure included the pelvic area – so it did come as a surprise to me when I took her out of the box – but a nice surprise nevertheless!

Diabolus Ungulate is a non-scaled figure, but I think she’s equivalent to most 1/7 figures, standing at roughly 27cm from the tip of her wings to her feet.  She’s a decent sized figure which doesn’t take much display real estate, and that’s a good thing!  Her wingspan shouldn’t present much of a problem either as it sort of wraps around Ungulate’s body.

Admittedly, I was worried when I saw many user photos of Ungulate popping up on the Internet with the lack of details the prototype had.  I didn’t know whether if it was bad production or just bad photography (no offense folks, just meant that the photos I’ve seen so far are very general point & shoot shots).  I came to the conclusion that it was probably both, though more so the latter.  When I received Ungulate, I was ready for a big disappointment which didn’t happen.  Maybe it was because my expectation for the figure was already low, so I didn’t expect much, but I’m glad I followed through with her pre-order.  She’ll probably end up in the bargin bin, but I don’t care – I admire her originality and the cold yet seductive vibe she has going on.

I really hope the photos here help do her some justice as she is a great figure, despite the final production changes.  I was wondering if Embrace Japan would issue replacement breast covers and issue them to the vendors, but so far I have not heard of such news, which is a little disappointing.  While I usually like to display my figures covered up, Ungulate displays quite well with her breasts exposed and in this case where her nipples are barely covered anyway, might as well display her with full headlights on.

As of this writing, I haven’t seen any other reviews for Diabolus Ungulate, at least none that I found in my searches.

For those that are interested, she can still be picked up at Hobby Search, AmiAmi and HLJ as of this writing – but if you wait, she’ll probably go in the bargin bin.  Embrace Japan is also releasing a limited exclusive for WonFes Summer 2012, White Ungulate.  Normally these are just re-paints, but it looks like Embrace Japan changed the eyes and facial expression of the white version, she looks a lot happier and is probably the “good twin”.  I wonder if she’ll have the same breast cover issue as the standard Ungulate – I’m almost tempted to pick up the white version just for the Hell of it.