Conjoh Komine is one of SL’s many niche avatar designers. In his little store he sells a variety of avatars, from mermaids and fish, to nagas, to dogs, and several things in between. It’s one of his dog avatars that I’ll be reviewing. He sells several breeds and each available in at least two different varieties. Two of the breeds are large dogs, two are small dogs, and the last one are puppies. I bought the adult Japanese Akita avatar in black fur, so that’s the one I’ll be reviewing.
One important thing to note about his business model is that he sells the body and the AO separately. There are two AOs, one for the large dogs and one for the small dogs and puppies. This means that if you want more than one variety of large dog for example, you’ll only pay around half price for the second variety. Just don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking the avatar only costs half as much as it really is when you buy your first one. The total cost for the Japanese Akita is thus 1650 L$: 950 L$ for the dog AO and 700 L$ for the avatar body. You can also buy both items as one on XStreet.
Out of the box:
Build and textures:
The look of the avatar was the original reason I was interested. I saw someone wearing the Siberian Husky version of this dog to a fishing contest, and fell in love with it at first sight. The sculpted body feels organic, with seams not visible unless you zoom up close or already know which spots on the body to look at precisely. The fur is well shaded, resulting in that typical almost layered look of dogs like these. The style of the avatar may feel a bit cartoony at first because of the very smooth curves, but when compared to the Akita in real life, it is clear that the creator did a great job at making them close to their counterparts.
There isn’t really anything negative to say about the dog’s looks. It’s by far the best looking quadruped I’ve seen during my life in SL.
The dog’s AO contains dog versions of all the basic moves, including flying and running, which are sometimes forgotten about in other specialised AOs. It also includes a whole bunch of bonus animations for actions such as scratching behind ears, chasing your own tail, holding out your paw, lying down, eating, digging, and nearly every other dog activity. Two special ones are pee and poop, which have an animation-only mode for no-build land, but can only rez prims and/or particles on your private land or other land with build enabled. Lastly there’s a superjump mode in the AO, which makes the avatar jump up for almost 200 meters high.
A leash is also included. This leash does not have any active follow functionality like the slave leashes that are all too common in SL though. The leash is simply a visual thing in the case of this avatar, for when the dog feels like being walked by his owner pet. Other than that the avatar also has a remote function and a talkjaw function built into the head. These seem to work as expected.
Overall the features are just what should be expected, and even a little bit extra.
The avatar is copy/mod and as such you can do with it pretty much whatever you want. Additionally, the separate selling of the AO and the body parts allows you to get the avatar at almost half price in case you feel you already have a dog-like HUD/AO; or feel like you already have another dog avatar that you want to equip with this HUDs abilities. As the Lindens say, it’s your imagination.
Quadrupeds are still a niche market in SL, therefore it sometimes seems there isn’t much choice available and definitely not much work of quality. This avatar proves to be a wonderful exception however. While the somewhat cutesy look may not be to everyone’s taste, the Akita definitely deserves all the credit it gets, and can rightfully be seen as one of the leaders in the pack of quadruped avatars in Second Life. The total price might be a bit steep for some, but in this case you definitely get what you pay for.