If you're a fan of side scrolling beat-em-ups, you owe it to yourself to try out Odin Sphere. While I enjoyed the gameplay, the thing that elevates Odin Sphere far past the typical rabble of its genre is its artistry. It's known for combining 2D sprite graphics by George Kamitani with an epic story featuring a cast of memorable characters.
For this review we'll be looking at Alter's Velvet, who serves as one of the game's five protagonists. This figure comes just in time for Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, following a long hiatus in Alter's Odin Sphere lineup.
Figure Name: Velvet with Cornelius
Figure Maker: Alter
Retail Price: ¥13,800
Available at: Big Bad Toy Store
I'm going to be totally honest: I really haven't been interested in Alter's releases as of late. They used to be the gold standard of the anime figure world, but have in recent years been releasing rather boring designs. Every once in a while, though, they reach for the stars. The result is a figure that ends up selling out everywhere.
Velvet (and Cornelius) is the third of Alter's Odin Sphere releases. The first was Gwendolyn which came out way back in 2008. Gwendolyn came during a time when figures really were limited collectibles, and as such became a grail figure for many. Luckily she's gotten two re-releases (the latest happening just last month). Next came Mercedes in 2010, which has also gotten a recent re-release. So now, hopefully, die-hard Odin Sphere fans can have the full set of gals.
Trust me when I say, you do not want to miss out on Velvet. I collect figures to keep as mementos of stories and characters that I love (or sometimes because their butts are shiny). This one is such a memento, but it's also an extraordinary piece of craftsmanship. Its design, sculpt, detailing, and paint job are all a tier above what you'd see in an average anime figure.
What's crazy is that this probably isn't even the best figure Alter has ever made. But it takes you to the old days, when you knew that if you got an Alter figure you'd be getting the best. That really says a lot about its construction.
It's also surprisingly user-friendly. For a figure with two bodies in leaping poses and a swinging chain, the assembly process was way easier than expected. Velvet and Cornelius attach via metal pegs to the base. Their weapons are pretty simple to attach, with Velvet's Psypher not even needing to hook or peg into anything.
In the game, Velvet has a number of mid to long range attacks owing to her weapon being attached to chains. Cornelius is a more straightforward sword fighter who uses his small size and agility. Their contrasting styles are reflected in this figure, with Velvet's chains forming sweeping arcs while Cornelius is in mid-thrust with his sword.
I thought Cornelius would me more of a throw-in - maybe just a cool detail on a really elaborate base. He kind of is, but you wouldn't be wrong to call him a full-fledged figure either. You're basically getting two figures for the price of, like, one and a half. You can see the same craftsmanship and attention to detail on Cornelius as you do on Velvet. His armor looks weathered. The leather parts look like leather. His Psypher is translucent just like Velvet's. Despite Velvet being the main attraction, Alter spared no effort in properly painting and detailing Cornelius.
Alter has done a remarkable service for Odin Sphere fans. Yes, other manufacturers have tackled the property from time to time. But none of them ever got as ambitious or straight-up beautiful as Alter's figures. There's just something about the way they handle the translation from 2D that's uniquely pretty. It even extends to figures from other Vanillaware titles.
Velvet, like her sister figures, is a centerpiece. You can put her on a shelf and even folks who are leery of anime figures will pause and admire her. It just makes me so happy that Alter didn't go with a "standard" pose. It shows that they aren't making figures just to cash in on an upcoming game. They went all out, and the result is a magnificent love letter to the fans.Photo Gallery: (16 images)
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