Just don’t insult his hair
Welcome again to Plastic Love! This anime season, “Jojo Fridays” are back in full swing with the current installment of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure anime, Golden Wind, so I thought I’d catch the wave with a JoJo figure myself. As this cult series has always inspired extremely passionate fans, it’s spawned its own cottage industry of figures dating back to long before there was an animated version.
Series as popular as JoJo typically license out characters to just about anybody, like how you can get LoveLive figures from Bandai or Good Smile or any number of small PVC manufacturers. This isn’t so for JoJo, which has had one company—Medicos and its label Di Molto Bene—crank out all of its high-end figures for the last decade or so.
Medicos’ Super Action Statue line of movable figures and Di Molto Bene’s Statue Legend line of statues boast stunning quality for their modest price points. Their sculptors bring author Hirohiko Araki’s famously stylized characters to life in 3D with exacting detail and the kind of bold coloring you’d see in Araki’s own illustrations. Medicos works on few properties other than JoJo, and their intense focus on this particular subject has earned them a superb reputation.
The figure we’re looking at is—and this isn’t a knock, it just isn’t possible to be polite about it—a ripoff Nendoroid. Good Smile’s line knocked the doors open for cute miniature figures of anime characters, and everybody in the business is trying to capture the magic. This includes Medicos/Di Molto Bene, who debuted the “Minissimo” line with Josuke a year or so ago, when there was still a lot of momentum behind the recently animated Diamond is Unbreakable arc. Golden Wind is on the air right now, but the figures for Giorno and Gold Experience probably won’t go back into production for a while. That Josuke is my favorite JoJo has nothing to do with it, I assure you.
The Minissimo figure is occupied with recreating “JoJo poses,” the gravity-defying fashion-model contortions for which Araki is known. Here, for example, is a pose approximating Josuke on the cover of volume 36 of the manga. The figure includes two replacement arms and hands for for this one very specific visual reference that a lot of fans aren’t even going to recognize. What do Josuke’s hands say to us in this moment? Nobody knows.
Similar to early Nendoroids, this figure is a bit more “customizable statue” than “action figure.” Every piece that comes with the Minissimo is meant for a specific pose, with very little articulation and hardly any visible joints or seam lines.
Based on the anime Josuke rather than Araki’s original manga, this cute lil’ Josuke looks, deliberately, quite a ways off from his source material. The sculpt shrinks and rounds off his body and uniform just so, leaving important details like his heart and peace sign medals crisp. The most identifiably “JoJo” features are his eyes, still intense and instantly recognizable. Compare to the upcoming Nendoroid of Jotaro Kujo, which has a much softer gaze.
Let’s make particular note of Josuke’s spectacular pompadour hairdo, which is its own separate piece. Especially in mini form, Josuke’s hair really stands out. It might be in-character that this is the most detailed part of the figure—Josuke even comes with a comb. Don’t you dare speak ill of it, lest you face some terrible comeuppance.
Perhaps owing to his rough delinquent personality, Josuke got in a bit of a scrape on the way over here from Japan. This figure got shipped out, sent back to the warehouse due to a pricing error, and then shipped out again. Unfortunately, it fell apart—inside the box!—in the process, and most notably I’ve got some spots around Josuke’s chin where paint from his uniform rubbed off onto his face.
Let’s use this as a teaching moment. I removed the stained part and rubbed it down very gently with a very small amount of hot water. The next step after this for any remaining stubborn spots is generally a dab of nail polish remover, but for the purposes of this column I wasn’t willing to take the risk of damaging the original paint job along with the black spots.
It’s actually really hard to get an action figure to cross its arms. Hard plastic obviously doesn’t have the give of a human body, so even if the arms can reach across the front (this is rare in and of itself), the arms just crash into the torso and each other, and it never looks natural. This figure uses arms deliberately molded for the pose, with space cut out of one arm to tuck the other underneath. This is of course another famous “JoJo pose”, from the cover of an Araki artbook. Or it’s “Wakanda Forever.” Do you.
What you don’t get from this very particular package is any of the experimental “Mr. Potato Head” feeling of a posable figure like, say, the Lina we looked at the other day. The options are laid out pretty directly on the figure box, and you’re meant to decide on a pose and then prop Josuke up immediately on your shelf. I’m partial to the arms-crossed pose myself.
This figure is not a new release and Medicos is not a gigantic company, so you may have a tough time finding one. I paid about $60 and I am pretty sure I bought the last one that Amiami had, so if you find it you’ll probably pay more than I did. Medicos does pretty frequent reprints and recolors of its Super Action Statue line, but the Minissimo line is young—this is the very first one—and it remains to be seen whether the same will hold true for it. On the other hand, if you’re into Stands, a little bitty doe-eyed Shining Diamond is still available.