In my All-in-One Guide to Freebies in Second Life, I wrote:
Akeruka has been giving away freebie or dollarbie Bento mesh heads (both male and female models) twice a year for the past couple of years. If you had joined the [AK] Heads News & Support group for L$150 two years ago, you would have picked up no less than nine fully-featured, fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads by now—which works out to less than L$20 per head! A truly outstanding bargain! So join the Akeruka group and watch the notices for the next announcement.
Actually, 150 divided by 9 works out to about 17 Linden dollars per head. Well, today Akeruka announced yet another group gift, a Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible head for male avatars called M02, so that makes it ten heads in total, or L$15 per head!
The old saying goes that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. So I really have no business complaining about an inexpensive mesh head. But I also happen to write a blog giving out advice on the best high-quality freebies in Second Life, so with that in mind, I am going to give a review of the Akeruka M02 head.
I hate it. Why?
Well, to test it out, I paired it with the dollarbie Meshbody Classic male mesh body, which also supports Bakes on Mesh when that it enabled in the included HUD.
From a distance, the head looks fine (I used an BoM skin I already had in my inventory, as no skins are included with this head, like the previous Akeruka group gift of the W08 female mesh head):
But it’s when you scroll in for a closeup that problems in the craftsmanship of this head start to appear. To start, the included eyelashes in the HUD are rather problematic; all four options are too feminine-looking for a male avatar for my personal taste (eyelashes have tended to be a problem area on most of the Akeruka head group gifts).
But that’s not the worst part about this head. Take a good look at the area of the brows where the red arrows are pointing in the following picture:
Here’s another angle to give you a better view of what’s going on:
No, you eyes do not deceive you—the brow area actually covers part of the upper eyelashes! Even worse, I was unable to make any adjustments to the head sliders on this Bento mesh head to correct the problem. You are stuck with the prominent, Neanderthal brow on this male avatar head, which will doubtless interfere with any eyelashes you choose, whether you like it or not! Yes, it’s extremely picky of me, but I am very picky about my freebies!
So I regret that I cannot recommend this particular group gift (although I have certainly enjoyed and appreciated all previous nine heads, and used them successfully on various alts). And, in light of the excellent, free Alain male mesh head group gift from LeLutka that is being offered this Christmas, I certainly can’t recommend you join the Akeruka group for L$150 just for this group gift, and pay a Linden dollar for the M02 head. It’s just not worth the L$151, even though that is significantly cheaper than a regularly-priced Catwa head or its equivalent.
The M02 head is available at the Akeruka store until December 31st, 2020.
P.S. I’ve also received a few complaints about the recent W08 female mesh head group gift. One commenter weighted in with this opinion:
Tried it on, to me not the best looking head! looks better only with the face light on and I don’t do face lights. To me [it] looks very manly. Would love to know how you got it looking like you did because I tried and got no way close to that look. Not my cup of tea, sorry!
Actually, while I was playing around with the sliders, I also thought it was a rather odd-shaped female head, very tall and rather thin-faced by default, and I found I had to squash the W08 head a fair bit, then adjust the chin, to get the images I used for that blogpost.
When Akeruka started giving away dollarbie group gifts of male and female Bento heads, about three years ago, they were pretty much the only vendor that was doing it, so at that time, it was well worth spending the L$150 to join the Akeruka group, as I have said up top.
But in 2020, now that brands such as Catwa, Genus Project, LOGO, and now LeLutka have given away beautiful, fully-featured, high-quality free male and female Bento mesh heads, the game has changed somewhat. Akeruka seems to be just a little bit off on the design of their most recent line of heads, both male and female, and I just thought you should know about the problems I encountered, up front, before you spend any money—even if it is only L$151!
UPDATE Dec. 19th, 2020: This morning, a thought got me out of bed to try something: that perhaps I should just turn the eyelashes on the M02 head off completely. I think the HUD was a multi-purpose, unisex one, so perhaps that would do the trick?
Nope. There is no such thing as “default eyelashes'”. So your only possible option, for a head with such a pronounced, protruding brow, is to find some extremely short male eyelashes…and even then, live with the fact that the brow will cover part of them, anyway. And my eyelashless avatar looks like he survived a kitchen fire 😉
And yes, in the harsh light of morning, I do full well realize that this is yet another one of my infamously cranky blogposts. Sorry, Akeruka!
SECOND UPDATE December 19th, 2020, 8:36 p.m.: Well, after a couple of commenters suggested that I make some adjustments to the eyebrow shape, I pulled the eyebrow thickness slider all the way to the narrowest possible eyebrows, and I finally got a somewhat more aesthetically pleasing look (not 100% perfect, but a damn sight better than before).
But frankly, I am still not that crazy about this head. I feel that the completely free LeLutka Alain head is, by far, the far better head of the two male mesh heads that are available as group gifts this holiday season. Sorry, Akeruka!