Sunday, January 7, 2018

Kabuki Agents - SCARAB & AKEMI!

David Mack's Kabuki Agents: Scarab - Scarab & Akemi - Diamond Select 2004

I often gripe about comic life in the nineties. The big companies were just so gimmicky that I viewed 90% of comics in that decade unreadable. But one really positive thing was all the weird esoteric independent and foreign comics that suddenly had room to flourish. I fell headfirst into all the interesting manga titles that were now being translated, but another genre that really caught my eye was the artfully painted indy comics like Joseph Lisner's Cry for Dawn, Dan Brereton's Nocturnals, and of course David Mack's Kabuki. Kabuki followed the story of an assassin struggling with her identity in an alternate-future Japan. Honestly, I was in high school at the time and the stories were too intense for me. (I needed upbeat stuff to offset my moody teenage years). But years later I got really into several spin-off series like Kabuki Agents: Scarab. Unfortunately, David Mack wasn't providing much more than an occasional cover for these stories, but they did expose me to the pencils of Rick Mays (who I still follow to this day).

This 1999 spin-off series inspired the creation of these unexpected action figures: the titular Scarab and the former assassin Akemi.

Bio Courtesy of Wikipedia:
Scarab/Keiko - Considered the secondary character of the series, the codename "Scarab" was given to her because it is her duty to clean up the scenes left by the other Noh assassins, very much like the scarab beetle. Initially a street orphan alongside close friend Seiko, she encountered a young motorcycle hooligan named Yukio and quickly fell for him. Yukio's involvement with the Yakuza results in him and her friend Seiko being killed. Keiko was granted amnesty for her part by a government agent named Kenji in exchange for the infiltration of various underworld social groups. Alongside this she was also given combat and weaponry training, ultimately leading to her placement as a Noh assassin. Following Kabuki's betrayal, she and fellow agent Tigerlilly inadvertently form a deep friendship whilst in pursuit. Her Noh costume is a spiked, dominatrix-like bodysuit based on one of Yukio's drawings, and her mask bears a swirling insect-like pattern.

Both these figures feature the trademark dragon tattoo of the Noh Assassins.

Scarab and Akemi each come with the same set of accessories (with minor deco differences). Extra hands, four different blades, two handguns, and a scarred stuffed panda.

Bio Courtesy of Wikipedia:
Akemi is a veterinarian/artist who works at the Little Friend Animal Clinic. A former Noh agent, the original Tigerlilly, she is Kabuki's fellow inmate at Control Corps, and helps her to survive and escape the institution. Is it suggested to the reader that either she and Ukiko are closer than friends, or is perhaps she is an alter-ego of Ukiko herself. Her name is a semi-homophonic similarity to the word "Alchemy."

Akemi and Scarab have the same body and accessories. The only difference is that all details on Scarab that were painted a matte gray are painted a glossy black on Akemi.

Time for some Group and Comparison Pics!


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