Ebcraft’s HyperFate Collection Saber is just about the twentieth PVC mass-produced figurine of her to be released but it still caused quite a stir upon its release in March.
Sporting 17 points of articulation, this is a 18-cm tall action figure. Sculpted by Andoh Kenji who is famed for his detailed work on Bandai’s Super Imaginary Chogokin (action figures of Sentai Heroes mainly), HyperFate Collection Saber is markedly different from her competition. Her face is completely redesigned, for a grittier, more realistic feel. By keeping her eyes closer to real-life proportions and sculpting her cheeks, nose and lips the way humans actually look like, Andoh succeeded in making his creation stand out. She also gets a dusty gold colour for her hair. The hardcore purist fans of Saber may protest vehemently, but personally, I was hooked the moment I saw the new facial sculpt. I got huge Joan of Arc vibes from Andoh’s vision of Saber, and it is a breath of fresh air from the run-of-the-mill big-eyed anime designs. She also resembles the characters from the new anime Claymore, but with a lot more bulk. However, It takes a bit of getting used to, and some angles make her look fat. Oh yeah, she also reminds me a lot of Chris Lightfellow from Suikoden 3.
Part of the reason this overhaul is so refreshing is because of the sheer number of Saber figures already out on the market. But to appease those who prefer the more orthodox anime face, Ebcraft included an extra anime-styled head in. This extra head is really ugly and bears no resemblance to the original character. The weird smile on her face also made it difficult to match any aggressive poses with this head and I promptly put it back into the box.
Her two swords, the Excalibur and the Caliburn, are faithfully replicated along with their scabbards. This is rare, for the other versions of Saber normally came with either one but never both. The Excalibur is the larger blade while the Caliburn’s scabbard is intricately detailed. One area of disappointment is the lack of neatness on the swords’ more complicated paint patterns. My Caliburn was also a bit bent for some reason. Nevertheless, the ability to put Saber in dual-sword poses is awesome and sets this action figure apart from the others. There’s an extra open right hand palm part as well, but why would anyone use it?
But the best feature of this new Saber is no doubt the souped-up armour. Both in the game and the anime, Saber had plate armour bereft of any fanciful designs. Andoh takes her outfit to a whole new level with elegant patterns on her armour and dress, all amazingly detailed. The metallic silver armour and regal blue and gold dress are all expertly painted.
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect and this Saber does have its flaws. The level of articulation is pretty poor, especially for her legs as they are constricted by the long dress. She does not come with any base or support, so Saber is pretty much stuck in a wide-legged stance to keep her balance. Her head joint is also quite loose and falls off easily. And strangely enough, the elbow pivot joints are black, which makes them very out of place. But these are minor issues.
Retailing at a massive 7800 yen (100 Singapore dollars), HyperFate Collection Saber is quite expensive. Especially since similar-sized and armoured action figures like Final Fantasy Playarts’ Judge Gabranth are retailing for almost half the price. But don’t let the price deter you, for this is probably one of the best versions of Saber on the market. Get it now!