Astro Toy Chogokin Saber
by David Cabrera,
I know what you guys are thinking: “Why the hell would he buy Chogokin again after the debacle of the last month?” I know, I know. Listen, it's just how the schedule went. Speaking of last time, the Mazinger story has finally, finally ended with the happy delivery of replacement arms that work just fine. Thanks, Bluefin. The arms are still the figure's weakest point, but I am at long last without regrets. Now I have to figure out where to put this thing...
Anyway, we're moving along! The Chogokin line isn't entirely dedicated to robots or superheroes these days: in fact, this piece breaks out into the Type-Moon fantasy universe with one of T-M's most popular characters, Saber. If you follow anime figures at all, you know that there is never any shortage of Saber figures in posable or statue form: she's one of those perennial favorite characters who seems to always be in demand, like the Eva or the K-On girls. Saber's represented in nearly all of the major lines from figma to Real Action Hero. Go take a look sometime. Now we can't afford Real Action Heroes (I love to mention them despite this, because you never know what could happen one day...), so this is probably the highest-end Saber you're going to see here.
I ask of you, are you my Master?
It took about five minutes from when I took the figure out of the box to say to myself, “this is a pretty figure”. From her battle armor to the hair bun, every detail is dead on. The only weird point is a noticeable gap in the waist for articulation, which is only about half hidden by the dress. The figure is short: of course, Saber herself is short, but I believe there's been an effort here to put the toy in scale with Figma (and thus, other Type-Moon characters) rather than Bandai's own SH Figuarts line. (This comes from an informal study of my shelf.)
The armor is in solid metal, as is expected for Chogokin figures. Chogokin, as a product name, comes from the fictional “Super Alloy” of which ol' Mazinger Z is made. For Saber, this means the body armor, the skirt armor, and the legs (from the knee armor below) are metal. The gauntlets are silver-plated plastic. Did you ever notice that they're asymmetrical? I didn't.
Here's an aside: a recent ad for this figure has Saber's voice actress (Ayako Kawasumi) saying that “the weight of the armor is the weight of Saber's pride”, which is a more poetic thing to say about plastic and zinc than I'll probably ever manage in my time writing this column.
All parts of the skirt are segmented and can move: this goes for the individual metal plates as well as the plastic dress. They were definitely going for “windswept” here. There shouldn't be any problem at all moving Saber around, but standing her unassisted will take a little work: the slight, skinny feet and their particular balance remind me very much of the Saint Seiya figures that we've looked at before. You may want a Tamashii Stand: though this figure comes with its own special display, it is... unorthodox.
There are three replacement faces (one smiling, two battle faces), ten replacement hands, and replacement hair and ribbon pieces to give the illusion of blowing in the wind... in either direction. Now that's some attention to detail.
There are three Excaliburs in the package: the first is the Invisible Air form in transparent plastic. Another has a transparent gold blade (imagine your own giant laser), and the other is silver-plated plastic, like her gauntlets. Scabbards (Avalon) are supplied, of course.
The effect part pictured on the box, a wave of magical energy, is also included. Couple this with the extra hair pieces and you've got a pretty dramatic display.
But that's not even the most impressive display piece! The display stand for this figure is something out of a Type-Moon work itself: you can actually assemble a massive pedestal for Saber, topped by a magic circle. Note that she doesn't actually stand on the pedestal, but rather the plastic magic circle. She's basically suspended over it, as though just summoned. A big posing arm like those on the Tamashii Stand does the heavy lifting. It's quite a creative stand, and very much in the style and spirit of Fate.
I'm sure they'll make great friends. They're family, after all.
You know, this is a great damn figure. Looks fantastic, feels good to handle, I've got no complaints. There are quite a lot of figures of Saber, but I don't think there's a better action figure of her than this. Saber fans should buy without regret.
Saber cost us $80 preordered on Amiami. That's about $30 more expensive than a Figma, and the figure's about $30 better than a Figma, so it's all good. Also in this line is that King of Heroes Gilgamesh, in his flashy golden armor.
When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.
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