If I told you that I liked Persona 4, you'd probably say something like, "Yeah, and water is wet. We know." I don't really tend to hide my fandom of both the game and anime series very much, but you may not know that I'm also a fan of papercraft. A big part of my original collectibles collection was indeed papercraft designs I'd printed out, and while I've put some of them into storage since they're fragile, Cospa's Graphig line caught my attention. In part, that was due to the low price and the number of characters being offered.
So, when given the chance to review a Graphig, I jumped at it, being naturally curious as to how they worked. Chie is my first foray into the Graphig line, but is it one I'm really going to remember fondly?
Figure Name: Graphig No. 99 — Chie Satonaka
So we begin with ... uh ... ummm ... there's no box. Instead, Graphig Chie comes inside of a plastic bag, safe and secure from water ... I think. I didn't dare test that out.
However, what you can see is the backing that Chie is on is rather colorful, and that there aren't any actual instructions with her. More on that in a little bit, but on the "front," you can see all the information about the Graphig ...
... while the back just has more of the pieces you'll need to build her body. Her feet are actually located on a third tiny flap that's on the inside.
There's not much keeping Chie inside her papercraft casing, though; she's attached to the papercraft equivalent of a plamo kit's plastic part trays by a bunch of little thin points, and these all separate relatively easily. Still, be careful not to be too aggressive, or you might tear her. She is just paperboard, after all.
Perhaps I'm being a little too cautious in saying that, though. The paperboard Chie is made from has a bit of weight and thickness to it, but not enough to, say, cause her to topple over. Just enough to make her sturdy, but foldable.
You'll also notice that the tabs and slots have numbers on them. Remember when I said she didn't have any instructions? These are actually the instructions; They're numbered in assembly order. Just put them together the right way, and boom, you're pretty much done.
Assembly of the Graphig is rather quick and painless. Having played around with papercraft before, I know even some of the basic ones like the Cubeecraft characters can be a pain from time to time. Chie's larger size (she's 10 cm tall) and pre-creased lines make folding properly a much easier experience. Give me about two minutes ...
... and we're done! The whole head holds together pretty well without any big gaping seams, and you can see how they've made it so the face slides in under the bangs to give them an impression of hanging out in front of Chie's forehead. Technically, they do ... but they don't look flat is what I mean.
The other parts that are on the sheet are for Chie's body, arms, legs and her optional parts. Again, same basic set-up as the head with the numbered tabs for the body; just fold in order and you should be good to go.
The legs are a simple fold, and then you're done. As you can see, they're also labeled L and R for left and right, so you know which body slot to put them in.
Now here's the completed body! Again, this didn't take long, maybe 5 minutes or so. The arms are threaded through a hole on either side of the neck, and that's about the trickiest part, as it's a tight fit and the fingers are the most "fragile" part of the Graphig. Once the arms piece is centered, bend at the shoulders and hands, and that's all done.
The legs do have a tendency to pop off when the Graphig is moved about, though, just as a word of warning. I'm not sure if it's because I somehow folded wrong or it's just the fault of the design.
The last thing to do is to pop the head onto the body, which fits via a small slot on the bottom. The shape of the neck piece keeps her head stable and balanced pretty well, instead of wobbling around loose.
We're done! It's odd to talk about the finished product at the end of the review, but when you are building your review subject, you don't have many options!
So let's talk about that, shall we? Chie is, of course, stylized with the blocky, basic look of the Graphig line. All of the papercraft in this line have the same shape, after all, but what really makes her look nice is that the folks at Cospa have incorporated as many possible elements of her look from Persona 4 as possible into the Graphig. Her green jacket has the little buttons on it and the right yellow striping; her shoes somewhat match the ones she wears in the game and anime; and most importantly, the style of her face matches up considerably well with the official art used by Atlus, albeit tweaked a tiny bit to fit the Graphig line stylings. It's not some crude, cheap attempt to make something that resembles Chie and bilk you for it; it's an actual papercraft representation of her, and I can tell you I'm quite pleased with that.
There's two more optional accessories to talk about, though:
First, we have Chie's smiling face, which is an alternate part and nothing more than a face with two tabs at the top. You'll have to open up Chie's head again to get it in there, then slide it around the two tabs bent forward (which hold it in place due to the power of friction!) and close her head back up again.
Here's Chie with her smiling face! What's great is that the alternate face fits right over the existing one, so that you can't really tell the difference.
The other optional piece is Chie's yellow pair of glasses for when she travels into the world of the Midnight Channel. They slot into the tiny little slots on the side of her face, but fit quite snugly in there once lined up. They also rest right against her face, so no worries about them drooping or looking otherwise off.
Cospa portrays the Graphig line as a relatively easy-to-build and cheap-in-price papercraft collectible. That's pretty much a spot on assessment in my book, because Chie took a grand total of 10 to 15 minutes to build from start to finish, without glue or tape needed if you so choose. The actual construction of Chie is fairly stable and rigid, with the paperboard she's made from being lightweight, but not necessarily prone to tearing if you're careful with her. They don't really photograph too well, though,as I found out shooting this review.
They're a nice way to add something to your collection (though for shipping cost's sake, it may be easier to order her or other Graphigs in large numbers or with other figures). Furthermore, since all the Graphigs use a similar design, it should be easy enough for me to build any other ones I have ... like the Kaito one I just got in the other day. If you have somewhere safe to store her, like papercraft or just like the design and know how to fold, you can get yourself a relatively nice little addition to your collection with Graphig Chie.
[Thank you to HobbyLink Japan for sending Graphig Chie along for this review!]
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