Spread your wings and fly
For the last week or so the weather has been glorious over here in traditionally rainy Britain, and that inspires me to go outside for some spontaneous garden figure shoots. But what to review? Fortunately, the perfect figure showed up at my door just before I was heading out. GSC have made a figure of Tenshi from Angel Beats! before, and it's a lovely one which I already owned, but when I saw this new version I knew I had to have her. So, after a long wait, does she live up to her angelic image?
Figure Name: Tenshi (Kanade Tachibana)
Let's start with something pretty unusual - this is a windowless box. It's a very pretty windowless box, in lovely shades of white and purple with a clean, elegant design, but the fact remains that there's no way to see the actual figure without opening it up. There are two possible reasons for this. Firstly, this figure was exclusive to the GSC Online Shop, and thus was never going to be displayed on a store shelf.
The second possible reason is a little more intriguing. Back when she was first announced, GSC advertised Tenshi as possessing a dress which could be cast-off. This was near universally noted as a pretty weird move, since ero-figures are not normally in GSC proper's wheelhouse (they have sub-brands like FREEing for that) and it's completely out of character for Angel Beats!, which was not a fanservice show in the slightest. GSC quietly dropped all talk of the feature in subsequent showings, but this windowless box might well be a lingering remnant of that.
As you'd expect, Tenshi's headline feature, her wings, are removable and are stowed separately in the packaging to save space.
I absolutely hate Tenshi's base. The sandy yellow-brown is completely at odds with the very pale palette the rest of the figure adopts, and the plastic has been given a nasty stippled effect that is presumably meant to replicate earth or gravel, but just ends up making the whole part feel cheap. Chances are I'll take a white spraycan to this when I have the time.
Out of the box though, Tenshi herself fares far better. I love her pose, it's very shy and demure, and yet her confident smile saves her from the frightened look that many figures suffer from. She looks happy and relaxed, yet still very adorable.
Tenshi's dress is beautifully sculpted. It might not have the grandstanding look of a bigger skirt or a cape, but the detailing is spot on. All the little ruffles and folds really help seal the illusion of real cloth, aided by some subtle shading work with blue and grey tones. Keen eyed among you will notice that she's missing half of her bow on this side - alas, that's how she came to me, so that's how she'll look throughout this review.
Round on the left side we find another reminder of Tenshi's previous life as a cast-off, namely this nasty great seam line. Her dress is most definitely an entirely separate piece and not attached to her, so be careful not to pick her up by it. For what it's worth other owners have proven that you can cut the dress away entirely and she's complete and, um, 'correct' underneath. Naturally this is a no-going-back option and I can't see why you'd permanently damage such a lovely figure for a cheap thrill, but hey, different strokes etc.
Like many figures of this size, Tenshi's head comes clean off, leading to this rather scary picture. This does however give us a good chance to see the two large, horizontal slots that her wings pop into. It's a little unclear why her head comes off however - it doesn't really help with putting the wings in since the head can't easily go back on once they're in.
So, let's move onto those wings then, since they're undoubtedly what the eye is drawn to. As I mentioned, they slot into her back with simple friction pegs. In my case this was an extremely tight fit, and I eventually needed to grease them to fit them properly. Conversely, I've heard tales of people whose pegs were way too loose. As ever, this is bound to be something which varies from example to example.
As you can see, the wings have to fit through some pretty tight gaps in Tenshi's hair. I wasn't able to fit her head back on while the wings were in place (although it looks like it should be possible) so I had to carefully maneuver the wings through the hair and into the slots. This was an exercise in frustration, especially since because of her loose dress you can't use your hand to brace her directly, so set aside some time and have a little patience. The wings themselves are magnificent though - the sculpt, particularly the feather texture, is fantastic and that combined with some clever paint shading makes the wings feel alive and prevents them from just turning into big slabs of plastic.
Tenshi stands one legged on her base held by two pegs. Her rear leg isn't attached to the base, just the front one, but there's no issues with stability at all. Note the lovely detailing on her toes and toenails, with the nails separately painted with a glossy finish. You'll also see this on her fingernails.
From here you can see some more of the great detailing on her chest, such as the visible wrinkling of the fabric where the drawstring would be. Lovely paint detail on the buttons too. If I've got one complaint it would probably be the bows, which as you can see are one piece molds and therefore don't have hollow centers. It's a minor nitpick, but they do look a bit cheap compared to the dress itself.
Overall though I'm pretty thrilled with Tenshi. She's proof of that classic adage that 'less is more'. You don't need a super flashy paintjob, massive accessories or a gimmicky pose to make a great figure. All you need is care, attention to detail and reverence for the character. She's not perfect, but Tenshi has all of those qualities in spades.
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