From the moment I saw Enterbrain's latest Pleinair design, I knew she had to be a part of my collection. I'm a sucker for figures with extravagant bases, and I've always loved the character herself.
For those of you who don't know Pleinair, she was designed by Takehito Harada, the mastermind behind the character designs in Disgaea and other such games. She appears in a number of his titles, sometimes as an unlockable/downloadable character, and sometimes just in a cameo, in the case of the game Phantom Brave. Pleinair has a habit of eating the ears of her (stuffed?) companion Usagi-san (Rabbit-san) unless her shark Same-san (you guessed it, Shark-san) gets to them first.
Enough exposition, right? Well, join me after the jump as we discuss the merits of her latest incarnation as a figure!
Figure Name: Pleinair-san Hero
Normally, I try to get the box shots out the way pretty fast or just skip them, but in this case, Pleinair came in such an awesome box that it would be a shame not to give it some focus. All sides (and the top) wrap around to create some awesome visual effects, not to mention the ample window space for viewing the product.
The back and sides continue the theme from the front and top, including view-holes, the original illustration, and shots of the figure itself.
The other side continues the illustration from the front, with the name "Braver Pleinair" emblazoned on the package. Honestly, I'm not sure what anyone decided the final name of this figure is, as she is listed as something different on pretty much every site, but I'm going with Hero Pleinair since that seems to be the most common choice. Just overall, it's a beautiful box, even from the top. How often do we get to say that?
Pop it open and the motif continues even inside, with a mirror image of the illustration from the front. It's just so classy that I'm having a hard time getting started reviewing the main focus of this article, Pleinair herself!
... Well, not yet. First, let's get started with the base. Not only is it extravagant, it's also almost exactly like the original illustration pictured it. A bunch of usagi litter the floor; a sign with some text translated "Let's go Pleinair!" is affixed to some rocks. It's colorful, and an indication of the quality we're about to see on the figure itself. But first, let's take a quick look at the back.
Again, flawless. Where the creators could have just neglected the rear, there is almost as much design work going into it here than in front, with some rocky stubble sticking out of the base and a number of lightly-shaded rabbits piled on top of each other.
Next up: The sit test. Whenever I purchase a figure in a sitting pose, I like to see if it works outside of the base. In Pleinair's case, she passes with flying colors. While I wouldn't recommend dangling her from anywhere too precarious, she does manage to hold her own.
But how does she look on the base? Having seen both the figure and the base by now, you should have a pretty good idea, but here's a shot:
In a word, magnificent. In a case where I'm not sure whether I love the base of the figure more, they seem to add to each other, the final product resembling more than the sum of its parts. The figure, the base, and everything actually look much better than in the pre-production shots, which makes the three-month delay more than acceptable (if any of you are like me, you probably welcome delays anyway).
Her eyes have an awesome, mischievous look to them, her eyebrows are more pronounced, and the colors are much more vibrant, a big plus in my book.
That's not to say I don't have a few small complaints. Mainly, she doesn't exactly sit on the base the way she's intended to. Most won't notice this, but when attaching her to it, it's fairly obvious. When I was first attaching her, I didn't think I had the peg in her foot just right, but this is simply how she rests. Her hand doesn't make complete contact with the rock, either, but that's even less noticeable. If you look closely, you can see a bit of paint transfer from the sign to her butt from when I was trying to force her down. I'm expecting her to settle into it in time, though, so I'm not too worried.
The metallic accents on her armor look excellent. There's a bit of a worn feel to it -- not too much, but enough to make it believable.
I love it when static figures include loose pieces; such is the case with Pleinair's belt. It dangles from her side, although chances are it will end up in the position you see above.
Zooming in a bit, you can see her shield, which has an adorable smiling sun etched into it. There are so many details adorning this figure it's hard to catch them all at first, especially when some are in such out-of-sight places such as this!
Pleinair's bow and hair look great, matching her overall minimalistic character design. There's a little shading on the bow, but none on the hair. No complaints; it all fits!
From behind, the hair has a bit of a (and I hate to say it) Sonic the Hedgehog look, but I don't mean that as an insult. It fits the feel of the rest of the design.
Now would be an apt time to point out that for a figure showing so much skin, Pleinair doesn't come across as "sexy" at all. Part of this could be the fact that she appears at first look to be no more than a small child, and part might be that she really doesn't exhibit any "human" qualities. She's not realistic; she's a straight-up cartoon character -- heck, she's chewing on a rabbit ear and wielding a shark for a sword.
Here's a look at that sheathed shark sword. Regrettably, not much of Same-san is shown, although I did try to remove it from its sheath until I was afraid it would break. If anyone had better luck than I did, please let me know!
Again, the details really make this figure. I love how one of the rabbits is being crushed by Pleinair's boot. It's not all that significant, but it's a cute touch.
Overall, Pleinair was a huge surprise for me. I wasn't sure how Enterbrain was going to pull her off -- they've had some serious QC issues with some of their figures (Fate/Stay Night's Rider's hair was enough to destroy everything good about her), but after pumping out a number of so-so Pleinair figures, they finally got a winner.
As the first completed figure the company has released since their gorgeous Selvaria Bles (released over a year ago), I'd say Enterbrain has set a new high-water mark, and at an incredibly reasonable price as well. I hope the quality continues and we get to see some more Disgaea love from them as well! Hero Pleinair adds something completely original to my collection, and receives my highest recommendation. If you're still on the fence, I'd advise you pick her up now while you still can!
And while you're at it, check out the gallery for any pics that didn't make this article -- Pleinair was simply a joy to shoot, and I'm loving her new position next to me on my desk!
[Thanks to Hobby Link Japan for the review sample]
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