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Scanning Frequencies Open: A Review of Kotobukiya’s Vulcan Science Officer

If you’re a fan of Star Trek, the Kotobukiya brand, or bishōjo figures in general, rejoice!

The Vulcan Science Officer 1/7 scale figure based on the look of Star Trek: TOS is now readily available across international markets after its announcement and preorders early this year.

I recently received her myself, and she’s—say it with me—fascinating.

Given Star Trek’s successful renaissance in the last few years with Star Trek: Discovery at its vanguard, it’s only logical that they would push into new horizons in merchandise as well. The exquisitely crafted VSO is solid proof that the IP is diversifying into broader markets while leveraging what is now one of Star Trek’s most evocative qualities: nostalgia.

[Photos c/o Kotobukiya]

Even as today’s iterations of Star Trek have been blazing new trails in terms of storytelling and representation, it remains firmly grounded in its past. There are callbacks aplenty in practically every episode of Discovery, Strange New Worlds, Lower Decks, Prodigy—all of them. The VSO, in turn, is a direct reference to the fashion, props, and style of the original 1960s TV show.

The Star Trek Universe-branded VSO is at once familiar and brand-new. She bears prop-accurate accessories that reinforce her overall attire as a science officer, while also sporting the signature ears and haircut known for her race. Rounding out her visual identity is the iconic Vulcan salute, in case we somehow didn’t make the connection yet. All that, portrayed in the now-classic Kotobukiya bishōjo style and mounted on a similarly TV-accurate base, presents a gorgeous tribute to Trek aesthetics.

While the VSO is technically generic in that she isn’t based on a specific character from the Trek universe, she’s by no means ordinary. She could ostensibly be a gender-swapped TOS Spock, but I imagine that wouldn’t do either the figure or the legend any justice. It’s better to appreciate her as she is: a full-bodied template of someone right out of a Trek lookbook or fashion bible.

Should you buy your own VSO? Clocking in at approximately JPY 16,000, with some wiggle room depending on where you order her from, the VSO is a worthwhile purchase for franchise fans that also have a hobby for display-case figures. She’s made of PVC and ABS plastic, as is the norm for Kotobukiya figures of the same line, standing at a height of 218mm. She’s a straightforward figure as well, with no extra props or accessories in the box that need to be attached to her for display. Her box does come with a cardboard transporter-room background in case you want to display her that way, but it’s a bit at odds with her planetside-themed base.

(As an aside: while I would love to show you the product box and background panel, there was a mishap with the box and one of my cats. Apparently, he is not a fan of the franchise, and decided to express that disdain. Fortunately, the figure was unharmed thanks to its internal plastic packaging.)

The VSO’s overall slim footprint doesn’t take up a lot of horizontal space, so she’d be perfectly at home standing alongside other figures in your display case. If you elect to have her in a standalone display, though, you may want to use one that’s relatively close to her dimensions so that she doesn’t look diminished in the larger space. Another thing to note is that while she’s declared to be 1/7 scale, she appears to be on the petite side; other 1/7 figures can come across a smidge bigger by comparison but it’s not a jarring difference.

The VSO beside a 1/7 scale Ganyu figure from Genshin Impact

When the VSO was first announced, it was mentioned that she was the first in a series, with no news of what the succeeding figures would be. Now that she’s been released, though, Kotobukiya has also announced the second figure in the series: Uhura!

If you’re not keen on the VSO because she’s not based on someone in particular, you can definitely set your sights on Uhura, who’s expected to be released by mid-2024.

Live long and prosper, fellow Trek fans!