Cats,  General

Photo Competition for Anime Figures

Here’s a somewhat different blog post. It’s about a photo contest with anime figures organized by Tsoto. In itself, the ‘staging of anime figures’ is nothing new to me. I’ve seen such photos for years in various forums and on other platforms. However, I never had the idea to take such photos and edit them with Photoshop myself. This was partly because I didn’t have many anime figures or simply didn’t have the inspiration to edit such photos. That changed with the competition, combined with the many large and small figures that have already accumulated in our apartment.

Since photos in the apartment would be quite boring (and would also be rejected in the competition as ‘shelf photos’), we decided to go out and take the photos during a walk around Schloss Belvedere (or that’s the only way I could motivate Nathalie, who was rather skeptical about the whole thing). I packed a selection of about 10 figures in my backpack, and we took some photos in the park at the Ilm, at the Roman House, and at Schloss Belvedere – more details can be found in the descriptions of the individual photos. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great. It was quite cloudy on the weekend at the beginning of the year when we took the photos, and since we only started in the afternoon and spent some time at a few photo spots, it was already a bit dark for the last photos.

A second photo session took place in Schwanenseestraße at Nathalie’s workplace in the university building. Here, there is a lot of technology, so we took photos with technology-oriented figures or with figures where the backgrounds simply thematically matched better. So, enough of the prelude for now: here are the edited photos of the anime figures, sorted with headlines according to the figures or franchises.


Actually, the photo that chronologically came last. However, this was my first photo idea, and that’s why I want to present it first. It is also the only photo that was taken at home.

“Although we have many figures, most of them are rather small because we brought them as souvenirs from various trips. Often, they were plushies or extras from specific games and their collector’s editions. So, I came up with the idea to simply create a ‘chaos picture,’ and who would fit better than Aqua from Konosuba. At the beginning, I had also planned to include the Halloween pot that I had already used for other photomontages, but it just didn’t fit compositionally with the plushies that were supposed to be in the background. So, I took that out of the photo and added a few more small plushies, making it a total of the following (from left to right): Magikarp (from Pokémon), Bubble Tea, ‘This Is Fine’ Dog (Meme), Milk Carton (plushie from Nathalie’s stay in the USA, from San Francisco), Scapegoat (from Catherine Fullbody), and P-Chan (from Ranma ½).”

To add a magical touch to the whole thing, I added the lettering and blue bubble patterns in Photoshop. It looks somewhat like a photomontage from the mid-2000s, but I didn’t want to invest much more effort into the individual image. For what it is, I actually find it quite okay.

Black Hanekawa

Black Hanekawa, the Cat Girl from Bakemonogatari (actually from Monogatari 2nd Season), is an anime figure we actually bought in Japan. She was particularly convenient for photos as her leaning pose allows her to blend well into various backgrounds.

The first photo was simply taken at a ruin in the Ilm Park and didn’t become particularly spectacular, but it already shows well how beautiful you can experiment with portrait mode and depth of field. The significantly better-executed second photo was my favorite among all the photos for a long time. Here, the figure sits on a bench in front of the Orangery in Belvedere. Appropriately, the foot almost leans against the little tree in the background. Unfortunately, it was quite tight to take the photo through the bench with the smartphone, and the sky was already quite dark and cloudy. I might want to take the photo again in summer and submit it to another photo contest.

The probably best photo, where I also hope it wins one of the prizes, is the third one with our cat Yuri on the red couch. Although it was just one of many photos I tried to take with the figure and Yuri, as you can imagine, it’s always challenging to capture photos with cats. Another one is number four, where the figure’s foot touches Yuri’s paw, which is also quite cute. Taking a photo with our female cat Iva was out of the question because she would have immediately bitten the figure (otherwise, she’s very sweet!), but Yuri’s white-gray fur matches well with Black Hanekawa. Fun fact about this: there are already bite marks from Yuri on the Black Hanekawa figure – precisely on the upper right foot. I had to retouch them out for each photo 😅


Christa Renz from the first seasons of Attack on Titan is a figure I bought at the Leipzig Book Fair. With her, I mostly thought that the forest and ruins in the Park an der Ilm would suit as her background. However, the figure’s stand was challenging to hide, making it difficult to achieve a good composition. Nonetheless, a well-staged photo, I think.


I acquired this Cloud figure at a convention. It’s from Kingdom Hearts (not the actual Final Fantasy VII game) and depicts him on a pedestal in the Hercules world. Naturally, a monument or something Greek would suit as a background. Fortunately, we passed by the Roman House in the Park an der Ilm, where similar columns are located. One can be seen in the background while the figure stands on the edge of a fountain. However, capturing the perspective was challenging, resulting in similar issues as with Christa. Additionally, the light was overexposed, as seen on the sword. Overall, I still think the photo turned out decent, which is why I wanted to present it here in the blog.

Wolf Link

Wolf Link with Edna is a Nintendo Amiibo figure from the Zelda title Twilight Princess. Due to Wolf Link standing on stones, it was possible to integrate this figure nicely into backgrounds despite the pedestal on which Amiibo figures always stand. In the first photo, the figure is standing on a rock ruin and is, in my opinion, nicely integrated into the background.

In the second photo, I allowed myself a bit more creativity. Here, the figure is standing on a pedestal with a stone sphere in front of the Orangery in Belvedere. I believe the actual stone sphere is supposed to represent a globe, which, however, is completely weathered. I deliberately took a close-up so that I could adjust the sphere in the background to represent the falling moon from ‘Zelda: Majora’s Mask.’ For this, I used a render image from a Zelda wiki. Even though the perspective and lighting are not perfect, I still find this photo very successful. It could also have good chances in the competition.

Princess Mononoke

Actually, this is not a figure but a simple plushie, which, if I remember correctly, I bought at an artist’s booth at an anime convention. So, it wouldn’t be eligible for the photo contest, but I still took the photos because it thematically fits with nature, which we were walking through. In the first photo, the plushie is simply placed on a tree, and we also took other photos where the plushie was on various tree stumps. Each time, I had to clean it afterward because the dirt stuck to it. Nevertheless, all the photos looked more or less the same, which is why I chose only this one.

The second photo was meant to be a bit more unusual. On the way to Belvedere, we saw some common snowberry bushes, also called popgun shrubs. I thought it would be good to have the Mononoke plushie in front of them because the white berries with added faces could resemble the forest spirits from the movie. So, on the way down (when it had already become quite dark), we took the photos. Well, adding the faces looked rather silly, so I left the photo as it is. I find it atmospherically quite decent, even though you can tell that the interpolated blur of the smartphone in portrait mode didn’t work well at every spot.


R.O.B., short for Robotic Operating Buddy, is also an Amiibo figure that we own among many others. Although the figure appeared for Smash Bros. because it’s a fighter there, it actually originates from the 80s and was used as a kind of additional controller for the games ‘Robot Series: Gyromite’ and ‘Stack-Up.’ A somewhat strange story. But with him, we thought that a server room would fit well. This resulted in the first photo in the university. Color-wise, R.O.B. blends well into the background, and we found some parts lying around that could be used to cover or integrate the stand. Not the most creative picture, but thematically fitting.

Little Nightmares

The last three photos feature figures from the Little Nightmares game series. Both were part of their respective small collector’s editions and depict Six with her lighter or Six and Mono together as they escape from a television set. Since these are horror games, the environment had to appear rather gloomy. So, we used the slightly messy tangle of cables and boxes to create atmospheric photos.

In the first two photos, we initially had Six standing alone with a lighter, and we photographed her in the dark room only with flash. Normally, I would never use a flash (because it creates unnatural light and colors), but here it was appropriate because the rest of the room should be barely illuminated. Nevertheless, I naturally touched up the photo in Photoshop and darkened the out-of-focus areas significantly.

The photo with Six and Mono wasn’t much different, but since they are on a stand, it was more challenging to create a meaningful photo in the room. Nathalie suggested placing them in the cable box. With a close-up shot and only light from a second smartphone, the photo turned out quite decent.

Nevertheless, we realized that it’s not quite easy to create a ‘creepy atmosphere.’ Perhaps it would have been more sensible to take the photos at home and use stuffed animals or other objects as elements in the dark. But the cats probably would have jumped in… although they are certainly good ‘spooky monsters’ at night. However, it’s generally challenging to take photos in low light conditions, as the focus objects quickly become blurry or grainy if there isn’t enough light on them. However, these could be photo subjects to test in a new photography competition.


It was fun to go outside and set up the figures in different locations. In doing so, we also learned how important the perspective is and how the figures, in conjunction with background elements, create interesting motifs. If one were to do this ‘professionally,’ there would, of course, be many more possibilities. For example, you can buy small rooms and pieces of furniture, Nendoroid figures with interchangeable body parts, or even freely poseable Figma figures to create as fitting scenarios as possible. For the photo shoot itself, a professional DSLR camera, reflectors, and other equipment can certainly be helpful. However, we took the figure photos with the means available to us and are very satisfied with the results.


Unfortunately we didn’t win, but here is the post of the winners.