Figure name: Saber Extra
Figure maker: Gift
Retail price: ¥9,333
Available at: HobbyLink Japan
It looks like Gift's thing now is producing 1/8-scale Satoshi Toda-designed Saber figures; they've done the regular Saber and Saber Lily in addition to Saber Extra. Actually Good Smile Company and its affiliates seem to love pumping out Saber figures in general. This Saber, however, is a little different from the pack.
The box she comes in is a cool blue, contrasting with the red in her outfit. There are windows in front and on top of the box, but they don't give you a full view of this figure's magnificence.
Unpacking and assembling Saber requires minimal effort, but be careful when putting her on the base. I immediately broke off one of the ankle guards above her shoe (and then really wished I could edit->undo in real life).
The mirrored base comes with a protective film. Unlike with Saber Lily, Gift included a little piece of paper reminding you to peel off the (very thin) film. Although the protective layer was very scratched up, I found the base itself to be in perfect condition. The last step is to put the blade of her sword, Aestus Estus, onto the hilt. The hilt comes attached to the hand, so all you have to do is put the blade on the peg - no fuss at all.
When you're done, stand back and admire! Gift didn't shy away from sculpting an insane amount of detail into this figure. Her metallic red outfit looks brilliant as well, almost fiery. The skirt is partially translucent, with the paint job giving it a frosted look. It looks light and airy instead of outright clear like in the official art.
I love the design of this outfit. Some areas don't look great up close, though. I think the various buttons in front lack definition. The gold trim on her outfit is all sculpted, which is really impressive.
Saber's sleeves end in frills and they look excellent. The look is very feminine as well, with the shoulder and wrist areas accenting her slender arms.
Here's a look at Aestus Estus, a crazy wavy-bladed red sword that looks like it would be as dangerous to its wielder as it would be to the enemy. The actual piece is about as long as Saber herself. Like the shirt, it has a bit of a glossy, metallic sheen.
You can see here that, unlike the other incarnations of Saber, this version wears minimal armor. Her legs aren't even armored all the way up, which makes me wonder why she bothers at all.
I did find one thing awkward about this figure, and that's the pose. Head-on it looks great, but if you look at its right side, the pose seems very strange. Saber has her hip bent at a strange angle, and is leaning forward just a little too much. The body language suggests she's about to charge forward and maybe attack with her sword, but the legs are just kind of awkwardly bolted in place.
Toda's facial designs have been the subject of some controversy among Saber collectors. As you can see, this design isn't very faithful to the official art. I think it's okay, but maybe more of an acquired taste. Close up you can see a look of determination, but from a normal viewing distance she tends to look spaced out and vacant.
The Tomopop credo is "provide a panty shot if one is available" (this might not actually be the policy, I'm not sure), and Gift conveniently provided a mirrored base for me to do just that. Yes, even her panties seem a little bit fancy.
To wrap up, this is an impressive effort by Gift. For me, the color scheme stands out above all else; the glossy semi-metallic red really holds my attention. Its manufacturing quality is great, as I got through the shoot noticing nary a blemish. The price might turn off all but the most dedicated Saber fans, but if you do plunk down the cash I say she's well worth it. That said, I think I'm done with Saber figures for the time being. If Satoshi Toda and Gift have more in the pipeline, though, I'll be all over it.
[Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing this review sample!]
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