This figure is by Alter and released in July 2006 for 4000 yen. Sculpted by Kawahara Takayuki, it’s a rendition of the Dark Saber character found in one of the Fate/Stay Night routes, Heaven Feels. The normal Saber turns into Dark Saber after her ahoge is pulled off.
Unlike the normal regal Saber blue and gold colours, Dark Saber raises the cool factor x 100 by being, well, donning a black dress with elements of gothloli and holding a black sword. Black pwns other colours. DS also has a mukuchi face, unlike the tsundere/amazon face shown by the normal version. Mukuchi is what makes Nagato Yuki tick of course.
The setting for this photoshoot was one of the estates close to my home. I realised that within my neighbourhood, there must be at least 20 styles of architecture and horticulture. The only issue would be sneaking past the security guards. This was shot about 2 weeks back, after the Black Kasumi shoot at 4 pm. I used a reflector and this pictures have not been photoshopped.
The main issue plaguing this set of photos is the overexposure of the hair and skin, no thanks to the black costume tricking the metering of the camera. But somehow, I like this ghostly effect. It makes her feel that much more dark and emotionless.
The top three pictures are:
A straight-on angle and vegetation framing the sides of the picture. A pathway recedes into the background. The pale stone matches her pale skin and hair while the vivid greens offer a sharp contrast to her dull palette of colours.
To take this set of pictures, I had to crawl in the bushes. It was also beside a busy bus stop but luckily, a Sunday meant that there wasn’t much human traffic. While this set turned out fine, I was too preoccupied with the itch and forgot to take fancy angled pictures, so most of what you’ll see is just standard fare.
The figurine comes with an ABS base, a transparent dark yellow one attached to her via the new fangled square peg design. There are two rectangular pegs and two more usual circular ones. Otherwise, there is nothing special about the base. She is able to stand, albeit rather unsteadily, without the base so I didn’t use it for the shoot.
Other option parts are: a black sword, her skirt and her skirt’s inner lining.
The black sword is shaped like her usual one but the designs etched on it are very different. It now has four roundish marks on the blade only, making it a whole lot simpler than the Caliburn. Black swords are about 200x more sexy than metallic ones too and the tip of this was made translucent too. The only area I have concern with is the grip – it’s just too smooth and unrealistic. Besides, the smoothness also makes Saber not able to grip it that tight.
The colour of Saber’s hair isn’t quite accurately reflected here but it’s a pale yellow similar to what you get when doing science experiments with chlorine and white precipitations. It’s made of four pieces – the fringe, main portion, bun and bow. The fringe is well done, with a decent amount of sharpness and numerous bangs. The middle portion is also textured by lines to mimick tied hair. The bun is most detailed and perfectly sculpted to look like one. Finally, the black ribbon has the same high quality as the rest of her outfit. I like these shorter figure hairstyles sometimes because it’s fresh and neat compared to the tornado swirls that seem to be rampant these days. Variety is good.
Her face is devoid of expression save for a rather shallow smile. I like how her eyes were decalled with such emptiness using no white spots. Anime eye white spots are light reflections which show how alive a character is. The nose is sharp and cute. Great face.
Her clothes are probably the best part. Each and every wrinkle (and there are lots of them) is skilfully and perfected crafted and moulded to look like fabric. The gothloli cum neo-Victorian design is sexy without having to show excess skin, so the only traces of her skin visible would be Saber’s hands, a bit of her chest and face. She’s wearing a high-necked, long sleeved dress with a rather high hemline. Her sleeves and skirt have a large A-line cut at the ends, revealing her lacy grey inner dress. The inner dress is beautifully shaded and the edges frilled. While only the front has the appearance of four layers of frill, the other parts aren’t visible. The outer black dress is toned with shades of white with such subtlety, it looks like its a black shimmering silk. Saber is also wearing a corset.
Saber has on her legs, black lacy leggings and a shiny pair of boots.
The pose reverses the norm in that it utilises a power stance contrasted with a conservative upper posture. This is opposite to Yurika, who has a conservative bottom and uninhibited top. Saber’s feet are spaced far apart with knees straight and symmetrical, for the stability this gives. But it isn’t lady-like at all. In contrast, her body is pencil-straight, with back slightly arched and chest protruded, very prim and proper. Her right hand is grasping her sword but in a rather docile position, with elbow straight such that her hand covers her groin. It’s a rather unnatural position to hold a sword actually. Her left hand has its wrist bent and covering her chest. Her upper posture screams docility and conservativeness really, with such a closed nature of both arms tucked in.
The paintwork is one of the best I’ve seen, especially on her dress. Flawless. The whole figure is pretty much that, but I did spot a line running down her right foot but this isn’t visible unless you really stare at it.
As I mentioned, her skirts are removable. But the side effect is the looseness caused to the torso, you can’t pick Saber up without ripping off the upper body. Without the skirt, the fancy leggings and pants are revealed in their great splendor.
For 4000 yen, this figure is an awesome buy. It’s still available at most stores so go get it!