On Saturday, we brought you the NSFW stylings of Yamato's Fantasy Figure Gallery Luna. Today, we've got a second review from the Fantasy Figure Gallery series, featuring Luis Royo's Ritual. Those of you who have a keen history of Tomopop reviews will probably remember we've reviewed two other Luis Royo figures in this line — Black Tinkerbell and Touch of Ice — and enjoyed both of them, but the more recent Luna struggled with a few issues.
Does the bigger Ritual figure suffer from the same faults as Luna, or is she more in line with the Yamato I've come to know and love? The answer is the latter, and if you follow me after the jump, I'll explain a bit why.
So to start with, let's take a look at her box. Like Luna, we have a front that shows off the figure in a big window with info about the illustrator (Luis Royo), sculptor (Shin Tanabe) and painter (Yoshinori Yatake). One side features a photo of the figure and info about her, while the other side features the original illustration and her backstory. The back of the box also features the other releases in the Fantasy Figure Gallery series up to the release of Ritual.
Though the illustration is called Ritual, the character's name is Yelena, so if you hear me refer to her by that name in the review, don't be confused.
Out of the box, the first thing you notice about this figure is she is HUGE. At 13 inches tall, she is now one of the largest figures in my collection, and her sword adds another 6 inches of width. That did make doing the turn around shots a bit of a hassle (the sword kept poking my backdrop), so make sure if you pick Ritual up that you have quite a bit of space to display her.
Like Luna, I find that this figure has a very natural look to her body shape, and her pose — staring straight ahead, sword drawn, hand on her hip — is less sexy and more impatiently waiting to fight whoever (or whatever) stands before her. She looks like a warrior, from the dragon tattoos adorning her body to the tattered clothing she wears that blows in the wind. As with Luna, there aren't seam lines on her body to deal with, giving her a very clean look.
Perhaps a great deal of the credit here belongs to Luis Royo for his original source illustration, but make no mistake: Shin Tanabe and Yoshinori Yatake have done very well to make Ritual's Yelena feel like a real warrior in her pose and coloring choices for her outfit. Like Touch of Ice, she is a warrior who has some soft touches to her, and Yamato did a good job of being able to draw out both.
The base is circular and quite tall. It also has a very nice stone pattern to it, painted in black, that adds a bit of definition to the piece.
Here, you can see the only peg holding in the figure to the base. Because of how her foot is flat against the base's top and her other foot offers some support, leaning doesn't feel like much of an issue. However, and you'll see this better in a second, her other foot is not as flush with the base, leaving a tiny gap.
You can see a little bit of the gap on her left foot and the base if you look close, but thankfully, it's only a millimeter or two off the base.
Even her toenails have been painted, once again a nice little bit of attention to detail from Yamato. Unlike Luna, there's a tiny bit of paint bleed on the silver bands of her ankle guards, but no mysterious spots or paint that's well outside the lines. I like the darker brown color that gives the feel of a seasoned leather, and the sculpting folds only add to that appearance.
Working up her legs, we reach her ... well, her butt. Here, we get to see some of the translucent PVC castoffable clothing she has on. It's well textured with lots of individual folds while it simulates silk fabric flowing in a breeze. Like with Luna, the choice to use translucent PVC simulates silk pretty well, albeit with a bit more shininess than real slik might have. But it is plastic, after all, and it looks good twisting in the wind like that.
And here she is from the front:
The translucent white PVC looks good again here, with the gold accents giving a bit of contrast. Again, the plastic looks a bit fragile in those long, folding, twisting fabric-like strands. I imagine it would break if you put pressure on it because they are thin pieces, but they feel sturdy enough that if you're not throwing Yelena around, nothing should be breaking on this figure.
Now, as mentioned, she is castoffable, but you won't be seeing that in this review. Not because there isn't anything to show besides nipples ... but because of this:
If you can't tell, that's the part where things are supposed to fasten together, and I spent two hours trying to fasten it back together properly to get back to this point, at which point I kind of gave up. It's not the first time I've had a problem with castoffable clothing on figures (see: the SFW Santa Yui and her Santa suit) and I'd politely ask all PVC makers: in the future, please do not do this unless you can get it to work right every time. It's not a Yamato problem exclusively, mind you, but it annoys me when I have it pop up.
Zooming out from that little point of contention, we see her leather arm guard/bracers. Again, like on the legs, a bit of paint bleed in the silver areas, but that's about it. The folds of her leather and silk attire look very nice, and the hand pose seems very natural. Also, as a nice note, her bottom does castoff to show off her panties, which you can pretty much see through the translucent PVC anyways. The part that latches together rests under her hand, which can be hard to put back into place but with a little practice, it goes in without an issue. Also take note of how when the tattoo has a fade on the translucent part, which looks pretty cool.
Like Luna, Yelena has a natural look about her, though for this figure, her appearance more closely resembles Luis Royo's original illustration. The biggest changes are that she has more color to her overall compared to the original drawing and her eyes and lips seem to be a bit darker silver color. However, she otherwise looks faithful to the drawing, with the same tattoos and facial jewelry, all of which have been cleanly applied or painted. In my photo, there is what appears to be a scratch on her cheek, but having looked over again, it appears to be something with how the light reflects off my Ritual figure and not an actual surface scratch.
The side of her head features more silver jewelry, as well as the rest of her silvery blond hair. Some of the detailing on the braid could be a little cleaner, and you can see a bit where the seam for her braids attach to the rest of her head. But there's some nice sculpting on her neck and collarbone that makes up for it, which you can also see in some of the other shots.
More importantly, the rest of her big, flowing ponytail looks just fascinating. Not only does it catch the light well and create this shimmering silver glow, but the sculpting on the individual strands and the way it feels in motion like the other parts of Yelena are. Shin Tanabe has done a magnificent job throughout the figure, but perhaps the hair stands out as the best part of the sculpt.
Her sword slides easily into her left hand, and while there's a nice bit of detailing on the blade with weathering, the true eye-catching part is that hilt. It's three dragons or serpents, weaving to create the actual hilt itself. The paint job gives it a weathered bronze look without seeming too much like it's cast from the same PVC mold as the rest of the sword.
Here's a close-up of the crossguard (and if you didn't know that's what this part of the sword is called, you've learned something new today). The coiled dragons/serpents on the hilt end here with their heads forming the crossguard itself, and it looks awesome. There's not massive amounts of super-high detail here because this is such a small part on a mass-produced figure, but the detailing is enough to clearly make out the dragon/serpent heads.
Ritual is pretty much everything Luna was not. Despite a few small paint bleeds and the castoff clothing issue, there's little I have to complain about. She's an all-around gorgeous figure and very big one, to boot, with tons of detailing in her hair, her figure, her clothing, her sword and her face. Still, she's something I'd recommend mainly to fans of non-anime, fantasy based figures. Ritual doesn't come cheap, but she'll stand out in your collection for more reasons than her massive size.
Of course, if you're really digging her, you can go for the 1/4-scale resin Ritual statue at US$349.99 ... but if you're not quite that hardcore, the PVC Ritual should suffice.
[Thank you to Yamato USA for providing the review sample!]
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