With the release of all four volumes of the Fate prequel, titled Fate Zero, the path is now clear for figure designers to tap upon the newly introduced characters as well as new designs of older ones to further burn our willing pockets. In fact, with no delay, Max Factory brings us a never-been-seen-in-real-life-plastic-form version of Saber from Fate Zero – her in a sleek black suit.
Released in January 2008, Saber stands at 20 cm tall and is retailing for 4800 yen. Her base is shaped such that another figure, that of her master Emiya Kiritsugu, can be aligned together for a back-to-back look. Emiya’s figure retails for 6800 yen.
Saber, as revealed in the original series, is actually King Arthur. But in the story world, Arthur, similarly to Joan of Arc, was a woman disguised as a man. Thus she is constantly clad in armour. The woman-in-armour look is always an attractive one for most viewers, because of the stark contrast it makes between her feminity and power. I would dare say if Saber had been some regular anime chick in a short skirt, her popularity would not be one percent of what it is today. Thus, figures which show her in girly clothing like dresses and maid costumes are a lot less interesting than those of her in armour.
Another thing is, in the Fate Stay/Night game scenario Heaven’s Feel, Saber turns into an evil version, Dark Saber and she wears completely black clothes. This version of her has quite the large following, as black is always a favourite colour for many.
But how do these relate to the latest figure?
In Max Factory’s newest Saber, she is wearing a nicely-tailored black suit, something you would associate with men. Everything is black, her shirt, tie, gloves, blazer, trousers, shoes and even the base. I would compare the status of the well-cut suit in the modern world, to what a shiny suit of armour was in ancient times, both symbols of masculinity, power and ability. Which is why this is by far my favourite version of Saber to date. Yes, I might have a suit fetish and black might possibly be my favourite colour.
Saber is armed with her Caliburn. Strangely, the vast majority of people call this sword the Excalibur, even though the Excalibur is a rather much larger broad sword. This is because most people have never played the game and thus have little idea. The vast majority of self-professed Fate fans actually started liking the characters based on their designs and profiles, rather than through the actual game as it was never translated officially into English. But I digress. Caliburn is slightly translucent and nicely detailed. What is cool is her right hand grip, it is flexible enough to grip the weapons of many other figures. For example, I have made her hold a scythe, a rapier and various other types of weaponry just for variety’s sake.
Saber comes with one optional part, an extra right fist to let her clench her fist rather than the standard sword-gripping pose. Otherwise, she stands pencil-straight with sword by her side. While not seemingly an intriguing pose, I do like the prim and proper nature of it. After all, suit-wearing people give the impression that they should be standing tall and firm right?
Her face is an accurate portrayal, featuring a stoic, warrior-like expression. I never liked those girly smiley faces on Saber anyway. Look, she’s a warrior king with a tragic past, why would she be all smiles and laughs?
Paintwork-wise there are no complains, typically of Max Factory. Everything is clean and smooth. Saber is attached to the base by only one peg, but her uprightness makes up for it and is thus rather stable. The base itself is modeled after cracked asphalt, a reference to the urban city area that their Holy Grail War, which wrought much destruction, was set in.
Overall, a great figure of a great character. To fully complete the set, you might want to get the Emiya figure as well, though I did not. Men figures are just a waste of money to me.