The Year of the Toy Photography

“A trip to Japan during New Year’s celebrations is quite unrealistic, the only thing left is copium in the form of painstakingly crafted dioramas.”

Although we still have to wait a fair share of lunar cycles until the next “Year of the Dragon”, Kanna is still excited to visit this year’s Ōmisoka celebrations.

About the figure:

Since I already did a video review about this figure, I will keep this segment brief.  This 1/7 figure of Kanna was released in late January 2021 and therefore almost fitted perfectly into the New Year’s theming. Although the sculpting and paintjob is quite good you still have to like her facial expression. Like almost all Kanna figures this one looks a bit droopy with those relatively big, flat pupils. But on the other hand, if you are a fan of the character there are currently not many figures to choose from.


I especially like the base design and the two main accessories you get with her. The Kadomatsu as well as the Daruma are very detailed and have a good scale. Interestingly both items are held in place on the base with magnets. To further sweeten the deal, they included a second hand with a fan and another one with a red lucky bag as part of a pre-order shop bonus in some cases. Since release, aftermarket prices have already increased but of course it’s still a much cheaper option than the upcoming Ningyou one with a 1/4 scale from the same manufacturer.

About the series:

Finally, a character I didn’t already made a picture with! Also, this time I did watch the anime for a change. When I first heard about the series, I was quite reluctant to check it out, because the premise sounded too much like your typical fanservice, harem show. Eventually I sat down and gave it a try and I was genuinely surprised how wholesome and clever the writing was. Also, the characters were all very likeable and I do now understand why they are so popular. I also watched the second season that premiered this year and it was also quite enjoyable.

Kanna003If you are a fan of the “slice of life” genre, give it a try. I’m almost certain that you might like this show and even if the character design isn’t your cup of tea, at least check out the music, especially the opening and ending songs. They are super catchy and instantly make your day a bit cuter.

Thoughts about the picture:

I consider myself very lucky that a few years ago I was able to visit Japan during New Year’s Eve and Shōgatsu season. Experiencing a nightly matsuri with all the treats and decorations was such a special occasion. Now, almost five years later I got this cute Kanna figure in a festive kimono and I instantly knew that I had to recreate such a scenery. 


The basis for this set are three in-scale matsuri booths, made out of plywood and colored paper. Getting the right dimensions was kinda tricky because Kanna herself has a canon height of only 120cm. Had I made the stands as big as they would be in real life it might have looked silly in comparison to her body height. As usual when in doubt I made a mockup model first and then crafted the final pieces. The banners on top are a few layers of colored paper where I cut out various Japanese characters. It took quite some time and in the end it’s once again one of those things you don’t even see that much in the final picture. 

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In addition to the booths, I also made a few traditional street food flags and some paper lanterns glued to a light string in order to get some ambient lighting going. In general, most of the light in this picture came from the light strings and little to none from directional light sources.


I was quite happy that with only a few props I was able to recreate a packed scene that looked somewhat convincing. It was nerve-wracking to wait for the delivery of all those small miniature accessories like the grilled food and toy dispensers. I ordered them from China mid-November, and I knew it was a gamble. But in the end they all arrived in time and the risk paid off. 


Sony Alpha 7R II, 55mm Sony lens / ISO 100 /exposure time 1/2 sec. /aperture: f/7.1


Time and effort: The base plate is the one I already used for my Megumin photo therefore I only had to build the matsuri stands, where most of the workload came in form of the banners. The remaining props are either bought or pretty basic.


Costs of the props: All the miniatures I ordered cost me around 100 bucks, of which a significant amount was taxes and shipping. But of course, they are versatile and therefore might be featured in other photos as well. All the other materials I already had on hand or were leftovers. 


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