A few days ago, I received an e-mail from regular reader Kith DeCuir telling me about some great new red hair he had found.Â His directions led me to Z#road Men’s Shop in Ikebukuro, a new venture by designer Yukimaru Koba.Â Two casual hairstyles are currently available, bothÂ clearly influenced by contemporary Japanese culture as well as anime and manga, and designed with this appeal in mind.Â While theÂ underlying hair texture is realistic, theÂ color and shading are more stylized, with gradations that suggest an artfully applied salon process.
Both styles are fully moddable, but helpfully come in three sizes for ease in fitting.Â I’m a big fan of this practice, as it allows anyone to start with the size that fits best “out of the box” and customize from there, rather than having to resize and tweak the “one size fits nobody very well,” which isÂ usually what you get.Â Here I must once again thank Jesse for making his head almost the same size as mine.Â
Yukimaru’s “L010″Â style is long, almost carelessly maintained, but this look is a meticulously constructed illusion that belies the care with which the style was designed.Â There are no flexi strands, so the hair is completely static, butÂ the style isÂ so well balanced that I honestly don’t think you’ll miss them.Â The color-on-black shading suggests the type of hair coloring often seen on animeÂ characters.Â This style is priced at L$100.
The “L020″ style is a little more controlled, not exactly punky but still with an almost spiky look.Â ThisÂ shorter cut doesn’t fall over your eyes and ears, so there’s perhaps a bit less mystery, but it frames your face attractively andÂ conveys more than a little attitude.Â There are no flexi sections in this style either, but no matter–it looks as though you’ve made generous use of styling products to make every hair do exactly what you want it to do anyway.Â The coloring is, if anything, even more striking here.Â This style is available for L$140.
Yukimaru’s hair styles are available inÂ Brown, Red, White and Gold.Â The color selections are more stylized than the hairstyles themselves, again influenced by anime, but it seems clear that 100% realism is not Yukimaru’s designÂ goal.
I am also wearing Yukimaru’s “ML020″ skin, one of a handful currently available in different tones.Â Although I’m not formally reviewing it here, this is a nicely detailed skin for smaller, less “pumped” avatars.Â Options are somewhat limited–there are no facial or body hair variations, and no bald versions are available.Â But at just L$500Â for a single skin, it won’t break the bank if you’re on a budget and looking for something less muscular, or if you just want to add some variety to your skin wardrobe.Â Each skin comes with a suggested shape.Â Â Â Free demos for both hair and skins are available in the shop.
Thanks to Kith DeCuir for the tip!Â
Available atÂ Z#road Men’s Shop (Ikebukuro 182, 240, 21).