Mid Day Caster

Howdy! I hope everyone is doing well~
It was surprisingly warm today, so I thought it a good opportunity to play with one of my newest figures: Caster!

I’ve wanted a Caster figma for years, so finally having one is a dream come true! I plan to get the nendo as well when I can.

I take most of my pictures outdoors, so winter is always a dry spell since there’s not much interesting out(snow comes not until January and February–if at all). However, the colorless grass and bright sun do make for an interesting backdrop which worked just fine for Caster. Winter light also has a uniquely pure brightness to it.

Caster is on my list of top favorite characters, so I hope I made her shine!

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The figma very pretty, but her elbows are a pain to pose. Her arms are also very limited which is a shame since she’s a mage who performs magic mostly by moving…

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Gluing Things Together

I’m not afraid(although slightly ashamed) to say that I’ve been slacking off in terms of photo taking lately. It has been raining for the last few days and I’ve also been sewing for Tamaki and Kagura a lot, but the truth is that I’ve just not been doing much, and without the photos I usually rely on, I’m scraping the barrel for posts. But the good thing is that I actually like scraping the barrel every now and then. Not only does this allow me to stretch my imagination and venture out of my comfort zone for new content, it hopefully gives you all something different to read. So today I have a special post in line. A post about…glue?

That’s right, glue. Whether they have bad luck or just really big hands, those who collect regularly are eventually brought face to face with the misfortune that is a broken or loose figure and the sadness that comes with it. I’ve run into this problem several times within my collecting life, and after finally procuring the glue needed to fix my many breaks, thought it would be fun to show just what’s broken over time and celebrate that it’s finally fixed. So I hope you enjoy this tidbit from the bottom of the barrel!

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We’ll start with the most important part: the glue!
The glue I used is Elmer’s Krazy glue. Why do they call it Krazy glue? Because it sticks to everything within seconds! O_O’

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Review: Fate/Extra CCC Virgin White box with figma Saber Bride

Today I’ll be looking at the limited Fate/Extra CCC Virgin White box and the included Saber Bride figma!

Fate/Extra CCC is the sequel to the previously released Fate/Extra(duh) for PSP. As with all other forms of the Fate series, Fate/Extra chronicles the Holy Grail War. But unlike previous wars, this one takes place in the virtual Tsukimihara Academy and involves many more masters than the traditional seven. The game itself is a dungeon RPG with visual novel aspects. The battle system resembles rock paper scissors.

I purchased the first Fate/Extra, and even after having it in my possession for over a year, have yet to complete it. You could blame anything from the length of the game, my choice to use the hardest servant(Caster) on my first try, or a simple lack of enthusiasm for this, but I’d say my main reason for not completing the game yet is that it is very difficult. I’ll admit that my since gaming repertoire does not expand far beyond Pokémon, I may not be the best person to ask, but I’m sure many others who have played can identify with my frustration.
Fate/Extra recreates the life or death nature of the Holy Grail War by immersing the player in an environment where one wrong move can truly mean death(and by death, I mean hours of grinding wasted because of one wrong move). Simply put, opponents fight based on a varying set of patterns specific to the opponent and fights are split into six move bouts where you have the chance to choose your moves based on what you think your opponent will do. Once you’ve chosen you moves, all you can do is watch while your servant fights their way to victory, barely escapes with their life, or is destroyed before your very eyes thus ending the lives of both Master and Servant and presenting you with the dreaded GAME OVER screen. I don’t hate the game, but hastily scribbling down attack patterns without certainty that my work will even pay off does not exactly provide the relaxation I’m looking for when I play a game.
Fate/Extra CCC retains the battle aspects and main cast of it’s predecessor while introducing a retro vibe complete with sailor uniforms, an old fashioned school, new costumes for servant and master, and a few new characters. As is typical of Type Moon, it also seems to have moved farther into mature territory(in fact, it’s described as the Fate/Extra equivalent to the Heaven’s Feel route of Fate/Stay Night and is very Sakura centric).

The Virgin White box is of course a limited release, but it includes numerous one of a kind goodies. The first benefit to purchasing this limited release is the box itself.
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The box features a beautifully drawn illustration showcasing all of the servants in their alternative costumes.
Both Saber in her new Bride costume and Gilgamesh(who is a new addition for CCC) grace the front of the box.

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Caster’s gothic style outfit(complete with tiny hat) adorns the side.
*Please excuse my crooked photos by the way. For whatever reason, I seem to have trouble photographing boxes on tables…*

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General information regarding the game and its contents is on the back.

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And Archer’s smexy muscles are on the other side.

Packed alongside the stunning box is the Virgin Bride magazine which acts as a preorder bonus.
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The cover is illustrated by Wada Arco who is the Fate/Extra series’ character designer.

Here are a few pages from the slim magazine.
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Unfortunately, I am unable to read the magazine, but apparently it is a parody bridal catalogue featuring the game’s characters.

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A very vibrant piece. Too bad it’s impossible to remove the art from the magazine without destroying it. I’d very much like to display this somewhere.

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Just because the concept of Archer’s Kitchen made me laugh.
And this may seem like an odd comment, but couldn’t they have found a better picture to include on this page? That food does not look especially appetizing…

Opening the box reveals even more goodies!

First is a limited CD!
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The CD contains character songs sung by Sakura Tange who is Saber’s voice actress(I should add that in spite of their uncanny resemblance, the Saber in Fate/Extra is not the same Saber as in Fate/Stay Night).

The full track listing is as follows:
1. Blossom.arranged( A version of Blossom that was composed to be without vocals)
2. Blossom.(on vocal)
3. 暴君Majesty (on vocal)
4. 此方ノ詩~Jupiter~ (on vocal) ( This is actually a vocal rendering of Holst’s Jupiter)
5. Blossom. (off vocal) ( Essentially the karaoke version of Blossom.)
6. 暴君Majesty (off vocal) ( Karaoke version of 暴君Majesty)
7. 此方ノ詩~Jupiter~ (off vocal) ( Karaoke version of 此方ノ詩~Jupiter~)

For me, this CD is an excellent bonus. Aside from the oh so satisfying(if not a little juvenile) feeling of having “limited songs”, I love getting new music, and obtaining something unanticipated adds some well appreciated variety to my library.
So far Blossom. is my favorite song. My only gripe is that the game’s theme Sakura Meikyuu(which is performed by Kanon Wakeshima) could not be included.
And as cute(?) as naked Sakura is, I wish they’d put Saber on the cover because the songs always make me think of Sakura instead.

Moving on, the CD case is of high quality! It bears an attractive design and has an art booklet on the inside.
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I like my CDs chained.

There is a total of five illustrations in the booklet. Below are my three favorites:
visual works photo
Sadly no Caster, but I love Rin and Rani together! Once again, my heart weeps that I cannot display this art.

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Bonus shot! I think this really conveys the quality of the bonus goods.

Next is the game itself which should be the crown jewel of the package, but with the way it’s shoved inside with such great bonuses, feels like an afterthought.
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More sadness accompanies the fact that I cannot play this game due to my nonexistent Japanese abilities. Whether or not the game receives an English version, I’d rather not venture to play it since I’m an all or nothing kind of person, and having only a vague understanding of the scenario wouldn’t feel right to me. Besides, it’s not like I even finished the first game XD.
Since I have no intention of playing this, I’m currently looking for a buyer. Anyone interested can send an offer to YamiUsagi1@yahoo.com .

As if there wasn’t enough awesomeness, popping open the game’s case yields a sheet of adorable chibi stickers!
stickers
When it comes to special stickers like these, I’m never sure what to do. Frivolously use them to decorate something like my laptop, or save them forever due to their exclusivity but never fully enjoy them as a result? Decisions decisions…

With the amazing extras out of the way, it’s time for the moment you’ve all been waiting for! The real reason I bought this! Put your hands together for Saber…
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Box?

Ok, maybe that was too soon. Being an exclusive bundle figma, Saber Bride is packed in a rather plain white box. But this is all for her protection.
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Now we have Saber Bride!

The original Fate/Extra came bundled with a figma of this Saber in her original red dress(which I still haven’t gotten around to getting), so it’s only natural for CCC to have the newly designed Saber Bride!

Perhaps “newly” isn’t the right word. This bundle was announced back in 2011, but received multiple delays for everything from rewriting the scenario to enhancing the…assets of female characters. As with most of my wished figmas, I ordered the bundle ASAP, but after six months of waiting and some financial concerns(I was convinced it would be out in March 2012 which was very pricey due to delays), I cancelled the order. Then, after realizing that the bundle would not be out so soon and evaluating the insane aftermarket values of the previous Saber Extra, I decided to order the bundle again and still had time to wait. Needless to say, I’m quite happy to have secured a preorder(again) and finally have this Saber in my possession.

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As I mentioned earlier, CCC introduces new outfits for the playable servants. I found the previous costumes to be rather attractive and relevant to the characters’ backstories, but these new designs seem more like random fanservice to me(Caster’s other optional outfit is a rather skimpy bikini). And although the new designs are neat, I don’t feel they are as timeless as the originals. Even now, I’m wondering what kind of wedding dress this is supposed to be.
Then again, looking at Archer, I can see the appeal…

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So yes, this is indeed a wedding dress(or maybe a wedding suit?). Complete with a veil and…chains? this outfit really gives off a bridal vibe!

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Saber’s signature bun is now covered and enhanced with a veil and lovely flowers.
I really love the flowers~

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From the back, we can also see a white ribbon and flowing opaque veil. Until the new Deadmaster is released, this is the only figma with a veil, and I’d say they did a good job.

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The trim of the veil is excellently detailed with gold decals and an accompanying gradient.

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As with all figmas, her head is articulated which makes the veil look a little awkward, but I don’t see why you’d want to put her head in that position anyway.

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On Saber’s chest is a gold lock with a chain collar and buckles for…you know, stuff.

zipper body
Saber’s white costume is accented by a yellow belt and zippers which cover her torso and legs.

Nicely sculpted and painted with a metallic sheen, the zipper looks great
zipper weirdness
but as is unavoidable with figmas of this design, moving the chest joint creates bizarre discontinuation.

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The belt is a nice shade of yellow(reminds me of cheddar cheese) and is covered in more buckles.

Also attached to the belt are the joints for her skirt.
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Unfortunately, the belt can only move upwards which makes the articulated skirt practically useless and creates an awkward picture since the belt moves but the buckle cannot.

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I’m very impressed by the precision with which the chains and lock on her glove are painted.

I wish I could be entirely pleased with Saber’s hands, but there is one little issue
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Her right hand was not glued on, and falls off all the time. It’s practically impossible to move her without the hand falling off, and I almost lost it during a photoshoot. Glue would fix this, but since I don’t have any right now, I’ll just have to keep an eye on it at all times.

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The back of Saber’s costume is well defined. It gives the appearance of some very nice curves.

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Yet hidden among the mass of chains, lace, and zippers is something that cannot be ignored. Yes, the butt window. I’d venture to call it tacky, but this is a defining feature of Saber Extra(the first one had it too), so I’ll just leave it alone.

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Saber’s skirt has a very nice gradient which reminds me of an old sea map. Another interpretation is that the skirt is singed which could very well be a reference to Nero’s burning Rome(although I’ve heard the Fate/Extra backstory does not include that event). Or maybe I’m overthinking it. Either way, the skirt looks great!

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Even more zippers on Saber’s legs. Poor Saber must have awful zipper marks on her skin when she takes that outfit off…

shoes
Last is Saber’s shoes. I cannot fathom why she was designed with blue soles, but they’re there. I’d recommend being careful when putting Saber on her knees, as the blue can rub off a little on her skirt.

Being a figma, Saber Bride comes with a reasonable amount of accessories.
First is two faces
saber faces
Default and smiling

The default face feels rather pouty and lifeless to me, but I adore the smiling face. Not only is it looking to the side(I love me some sideways glances), the blush is adorable and full of life. This face is a great contrast to the stern Arthurian Saber and comes closest to accomplishing my desire for a tsundere Saber face. I also love how the mossy green eyes brighten up her expression.

Also included is five pairs of hands
saber bride hands
spread out, fists, gripping,
open, and sword holding

Notice that each hand has the chains painted on it.

Although few, Saber also comes with character specific accessories, both of which no Ssber could be without!

First is an alternate hairpiece showing her hair not being blown by the wind
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Almost every Saber has an alternate hairpiece…

Next is something far more important.
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Her sword!

Saber’s outfit wasn’t the only thing to receive a redesign. Her sword, Aestus Estus, also got a new look.

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Aestus Estus is now white and has a gold stripe running down it.
On a side note, look at Saber’s hand! “When in doubt, pinkie out!”

sword
Weapons for Fate/Extra were designed by Huke. That’s rather obvious once you know it.

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I would not want to meet this sword in battle…

That’s the last of Saber’s accessories. I’d say they’re sufficient, but it would have been nice to have an optional chest piece with an open collar. Especially since most Saber Bride art shows her with the collar open.

Now that we’ve seen Saber Bride and everything she comes with, let’s take her outside for a photoshoot!

I had a blast photographing Saber Bride. Not only was it a nice day, my yard is currently a flowery wonderland!

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bride portrait

forest bride

glowing

vivid lily

Final Words
This is one of my most satisfying purchases in a while! Not only did I get lots of goodies, I got a lovely figure with one of my favorite figma faces(I even had fun writing the review)! Saber Bride is compatible with other Sabers too, so she’s beneficial to have as part of a collection. I’d say it was well worth the limited price. Now if only they’d make the other Fate/Extra servants…

Figma News Fridays 3/29/13

It’s that time again, Figma News Fridays! The weather this week was absolutely crazy. Monday there were snow flurries, and now on Friday, I’m wearing sandals. But the trees are beginning to bloom, and hopefully the warm weather is here to stay. We have some wonderful blossoms in the figma world as well including one preorder and two releases that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. So let’s get started!

EDIT: Added Henrietta. Thanks to Neil for catching that!

Thursday

Akane Isshiki Preorders Begin
akane preview page
The first figma from Vividred Operation is here…Akane Isshiki! Akane comes with three faces. Two to express her joy and another for a bad day, but the most exciting accessory is her bike which has been perfectly shrunk down into figma scale. Akane retails for 3810 yen and will be available in August.

My my, Akane, those are some tight shorts. Akane is cute, and her super happy face is adorable, but as with many recent figmas, I do not know her character and will subsequently be passing. I do have to mention that she reminds me of Nessa from the anime version of Fractale though. That bike is pretty neat as well, I believe she’s the first figma to come with a vehicle.

Ultimate Madoka Released
ultimate madoka preview page
Yippee! Mine has been shipped, so my review will be up in a few weeks.

Saber Bride Released
saber bride picture
Finally! I’ve been waiting for this Saber for a year, so I’m really happy to be getting her. I’m also looking forward to those lovely limited edition goodies!

Friday

Henrietta Released
henrietta preview

And that wraps up this week! For this next week, I’m on spring break, so hopefully I’ll be able to finish up some of those reviews I have waiting. You also might have noticed that the blog has gotten a little makeover! I’m so happy to have rotating headers again… Anyway, I’ll see you again next Friday for more Figma News Fridays!