Design Philosophy of Figures – Why do panties have to be white?
If you are a figure collector, try to look under the skirt of one of your figures, perhaps a scale figure, or a figma. Do not worry, we are not trying to be perverted here, we are being analytical. Now, what do you see? White, I assume? A curtain of whiteness known as, well, panties. But still, it begets the question, why does it has to be white?
There are a few prerequisite for a figure to wear a pair of white panties, or at the very least, heighten the possibility of so. First – skirts. If they are wearing other kinds of outfits that involve a pair of hot pants, denin pants or shorts, you wouldn’t be able to see anything, obviously. I don’t think bikini technically counts either, even if it so happens to be white. To that end, a skirt is definitely a prerequisite. Next, school girl age. Most predominantly, the figures had to feature characters with high school age – girls in the middle of adolescence. For some reason, these types of figures have a very high chance of donning on a pair of white panties.
If the character had NEVER expose their panties even once in the anime, it ironically increases the possibility of their figure counterpart wearing white panties. Incidentally, the color “white” is also usually associated with words like “pure” or “innocence”, and that’s a very coincidental connection. Earlier, I mentioned that skirt is a prerequisite, and indeed, with skirt having a partial coverage on the panties, it provided the slight needed fanservice, while still maintaining the image of innocence. From my observations, this usually occurs for characters originating from non-ecchi/harem shows; although this still does not apply to all generally, but enough to form a pattern of sorts. Some examples from my very collection includes the Natsume Rin Cat Days figure (Little Buster!) by Kotobukiya and the Yui figure (K-ON!) by Banpresto, both wearing a pair of “concealed” white panties.
Additionally, I assume the sculptors themselves know about the shows the characters are from, and since they knew the panties never were the main visual subject even in the anime, they focus less on the design of the panties – thus, making a simple pair of white panties in the process for the figures to wear. There are also possibilities of white panties especially for scale figures with flashy and avant-garde designs, I would assume the makers here were attempting to trap our eyes to focus on the flashiness of the figure, so much that we never even once thought of scrutinizing the figure in every corner – even from under the skirt. Indeed, human eyes and curiosity are easily satisfied when we gaze at something flashy and attention-grabbing, and it could be that the sculptors are taking advantage of this observational part of our human psyche… or perhaps it’s just one big coincidence.
Incidentally, there are also figures where the panties are one of the main focal points of the figure. This applies to figures featuring characters from more ecchi anime, or even R18+ visual novels. The figures, following their original sources, are also sculpted with a more erotic appeal; said panties for these figures are usually more intricate. Furthermore, strings, frills, flexibility and so on; the sculptors actually make quite an effort to make these panties look very real and dynamic. A number of them can even be cast-offed *coughOrchidSeedcough* This is a very clear contrast to the former type of figures where panties weren’t the main focus, and thus, white and plain design were used.
At the end of the day however, all these are just speculations – observations I made using my own figure collection, and some figures I had seen in the internet. In order to know why white panties are seemingly such a common sight is probably something we need to ask the maker of the figures themselves. If you’re a figures collector, have you try looking under the skirts of your figures? What color do you see?