Anyone worth his salt in gaming, especially of the Japanese kind, must have heard of Sakura Wars. The franchise was created back in 1996 by Ouji Hiroi for the Sega Saturn and mixes tactical wargaming with dating simulation. It has since spawned several game sequels, a TV anime, a movie and several OVAs. Beyond media, Sakura Wars has a large number of character figurines and mecha model kits as well.
One important reason for the series’ popularity is its beautiful character designs, created by Fujishima Kousuke (creator of the famous You’re Under Arrest anime series). Unfortunately, due to limitations in technology in the past, there has not been any worthy PVC figurine of the heroines from the original cast. So when esteemed figure maker Max Factory announced the release of Shinguji Sakura, the main character of the original game, as a 1/10 scaled PVC figure, there was much joy in the fandom.
Yeah, we were all happy until we actually got the figure. More on that later. Let’s first get to know Sakura!
Shinguji Sakura is from a prestigious family with demon-slaying powers. She is skilled in the Hokushin Ittouryu, a style of sword fighting. Naturally, Sakura’s weapon of choice would be a katana. And everyone loves girls with katanas. Being the newest addition to the team and hailing from the countryside, Sakura is at first ridiculed as a country bumpkin and useless girl but later becomes strong through sheer hard work and determination. I like her because she’s cute too.
Max Factory’s version of her stands at about 15 cm tall, which is excruciatingly tiny for a figure which costs 3990 yen (S$50), the usual price for a full-sized figurine. The figure has nothing extra to justify this high price, especially when it is just slightly larger than a trading figure. There is no optional part, no fancy posture, no weight, no size…. I think it’s a rip-off.
Nevertheless, there are still some good qualities. The pose is not too bad, and suits her character. Sakura is the midst of drawing her sword gracefully, with the movement stirring up her traditional Japanese outfit. The motifs on her top, her family crest it seems, are cleanly printed on too. Painting-wise, everything’s decent, with no runs. The base is rather large and contains a diorama, with cherry blossom petals on the ground and a bit of weirdly bright green grass. Sakura is attached to the base via pegs and there is much stability. This, and her light weight, makes leaning quite impossible.
So those were the good points. For the negative aspects of this figure, there are quite a few, all of which arise from the small size.
The painting may be clean, but it is lacking in detail and depth. There is totally no colour graduation and it is painfully flat. This is particularly apparent on the hair and the skintone. Do not let these pictures fool you as what appears to be gradients are actually the sun’s doing. Beyond the flat painting, there is a lack of sculpting detail. Sakura’s sword looks cheap and her face plain as well. There are also issues with the seamlines, as the head, shoulders and trousers have very obvious connection marks. And of course, the tiny size is the worst part.
I do not understand the rationale behind making Sakura a 1/10 scaled figure. The most common size for figurines is 1/8 and many figures of that size are being sold for the same price Sakura is. So my take on this figure is, even if you’re a big big fan of Sakura Wars (like me), do not get Max Factory’s Sakura. It is NOT worth it.
If by some crazy chance you still want her, I recommend
Treasure Land by Toyntoys
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China Square Central
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