Figure Name: Gisen Yagyu
Figure Maker: Alter
Retail Price: ¥7,800
Available at: HobbyLink Japan
I haven't bought an Alter figure in a while - I think the last one I got was one of their Strike Witches figures from a year or two ago. Their offerings over the last year have been underwhelming to me.
This 1/8-scale Gisen Yagyu isn't terribly ambitious either. It certainly doesn't recapture the glory days when Alter would just go all-out on a sculpt. Those days may be returning, but Gisen will not be part of that push.
That said, I don't live my life hating everything that isn't as outright magical as, say, Alter's Mercedes. Gisen's design appeals to me in many ways; otherwise I wouldn't have requested the figure for review.
One of the design elements I like is the sword. It's not just a simple sword, actually. It's a giant double-bladed scissors-like thing, articulated around a peg near the hilt. The elaborate pattern adorning the blade is very cleanly printed.
My only gripe about this figure is with the way the sword sits in Gisen's hand. Her grip is extremely loose, so the fit isn't snug at all. The sword is big and heavy enough that it'll slide down Gisen's hand on its own; you need to brace the blade up against the back of her head.
Gisen's outfit is pretty liberally decorated with flowery patterns, from her stockings to her gloved hands. All of these patterns are cleanly printed on.
Although Hyakka Ryoran draws upon Edo Period folklore, Gisen's outfit is pretty contemporary. The color scheme is a little too muted for my tastes, but there's no faulting Alter for their paint application.
Seeing as she's from a fanservice show, it's no surprise that Gisen's stockings have the crotch cut out.
An alternate face comes with the package. This shows off Gisen's evil eye ability. Swapping faces is pretty simple. You have to pull off her right forearm. This makes room for her head to be detached. Then you can remove her hair fringe and face, and put on the alternate one.
Gisen has a very cute face and Alter did a great job translating it to the sculpt.
Except for the sword issue I mentioned earlier, this figure has the highest tier fit and finish. Every piece that can be detached does so painlessly, and sits snugly the rest of the time. Even the base, with its shallow pegs, holds the figure securely enough that I have no misgivings moving it around or tilting it at an angle.
While Alter's Gisen Yagyu is not the type of figure that will make it onto people's "Holy Grail" lists, I'm sure fans will be more than happy with it. You can still count on Alter to set the standard for craftsmanship if nothing else.
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review sample!]
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