Wednesday 26 November 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Satsuki Kiryuin

Nendoroid Satsuki Kiryuin

Just over a year ago studio Trigger burst onto the anime scene with their first full-length series Kill la Kill, and instantly won over fans with its signature brand of over the top craziness and homages to the hot-blooded shows of old. What the show has received in terms of poseable figures since has admittedly not been a whole lot, but what has come out so far has certainly left an impression. Perhaps most notably has been the entries in Good Smile Company's Nendoroid line, which continues with its third Kill la Kill release - Satsuki Kiryuin. As a huge Satsuki fan, it's about damn time she had a figure.

Box front

Box backInsert tray

As a I speculated back in my Nendoroid Mako review, Satsuki's packaging in indeed done up in her Kamui's signature white and blue colour scheme! Despite this much brighter look than her fellow Kill la Kill figures, the box still retains the series-specific design flairs such as the thread lines running through the text/image backgrounds and the bold red text across the plastic window. The back only features three images of the figure in various poses, but there are also two on each spine - bringing it to a grand total of seven different images spread across the packaging. I just wish they wouldn't always photoshop the stands out of these images, because sometimes it can be rather frustrating to work out how they manage them.

Satsuki right at home

Figure frontFigure back

Weapons posingMore weapons posing

Pint-sized Satsuki comes in her standard attire - the Junketsu Kamui in its non-battle state. It's a particularly nice shade of white plastic, which makes all the gold and blue livery stand out all the more. The gold shoulder pads are made of a soft plastic, so while the prevent the arms from rotating a full 360 degrees at the shoulder (something that the head prevents anyway) they will bend in order to accommodate a pose. Another interesting fact is that the front bangs of the hair have pegs attached to them to slot into the back, giving the face section a bit more security since there's so much hair. Unlike her fellow Kill la Kill Nendoroids she lacks a waist swivel, so articulation is limited to the neck, shoulders, hands, and hips. And of those areas, its only the neck and hips that are ball-jointed - the rest being basic plugs that can rotate.

All in all it's a lovely sculpt, but certainly not one without it's problems. The most notable of these is Satsuki's lengthy hair, which covers so much of the figure that it requires a slightly different sized stand arm to get under it and attach to the body. It's not so much a huge problem for the figure on its own, but if you're going to play about with Satsuki on different bodies (most notably Ryuko's, for obvious reasons) things start to get a little tedious. The hair just doesn't want to agree with standard Nendoroid bodies with arms sticking out of them, making the figure an incredibly difficult thing to balance. Her tiny feet pretty much rule out any chance of getting her to stand unaided. In a line that once previously adopted magnetic stands to cover the issue of giant hair (the Panty & Stocking Nendos), I find it bizarre that GSC haven't used that neat little trick again and just stick to the arm method no matter how unsuitable it might be.

Climbing the stairs

Atop the towerCalling out to the students

Accessory-wise Satsuki comes with a fair little haul of goodies, but considering this is a Nendoroid release (a line that usually goes the extra mile when it comes to accessories) she does feel a little lacking in some areas. Altogether she comes with two swappable faces (a standard unamused face and a shouting one), six swappable arms, six hands, an alternate skirt piece with bent leg and two versions of her beloved sword Bakuzan (sheathed and unsheathed). It's worth mentioning that the unsheathed Bakuzan is particularly fragile, with the bladed piece snapping clean off just from me trying to place the sword in her hand. A little glue has fixed that up since, but a break is rather annoying regardless.

So what's missing? Well most notably is the lack of an extra face. It feels like three faces should be pretty much the standard for Nendoroids - most come with that many and there are also a fair few that are lucky enough to come with four. Considering the poses this chubby little figure is capable of (not to mention the other bits I'm yet cover), a face with her trademark smirk seems like a massive oversight. A cup of tea she could casually sip wouldn't have gone amiss either, but at least with it's the kind of thing that wouldn't be difficult to pick up elsewhere.

The tower stand pieceTower with stairs piece

Satsuki's special stand backdrop

But then, Satsuki also comes with three stage-piece accessories which perhaps semi-justifies the lack of a third expression. The first two of these are pieces of the Honnouji Acamedy tower, where Satsuki can usually be seen looking down upon her students. The tower edge features a plug at the bottom to securely connect it to a Nendoroid stand base, with the stair piece able to clip on as an additional extra. Although adding the stairs does lose the flair of it being the edge of a building, I feel it to be a much more "complete" look thanks to it covering the empty clear plastic space in front of the building piece. The building as an additional peg hole on top for the stand arm, so posing the figure on top isn't any different from if you were using the basic stand base.

Finally there's also a thin plastic backdrop for the base, which can be clipped onto one of the holes in the stand via an additional piece (the building has a gap at the back to accommodate this so you can use both). The backdrop is just a sheet of clear plastic, with "Student Council President" printed on it in bold red kanji. If you've watched Kill la Kill, you'll know that giant text suddenly appearing behind Satsuki is a pretty common occurrence so having this is a really cool extra. Those who bought Satsuki from the official GSC store will have also received an additional two backdrops as a bonus, which read "Tri-City Schools Raid Trip" and "Naturals Election". I love the fact that these extras reference events from the show, but since you only can display one at a time didn't particularly see the need in spending extra to get pieces I'd probably never use.

Ryuko challenges Satsuki

Satsuki and SenketsuSatsuki with Mako's body

Satsuki Kiryuin is a figure that's extremely close to being a perfect Nendoroid. The sculpt looks superb, she comes with a fair amount of accessories (nothing exceptionally special for the Nendoroid line, but impressive nonetheless) and a ridiculously cool stand set up. With it being a favourite character of mine she had all the makings of being a firm favourite, but her fiddly nature combined with flimsy accessories soured the experience somewhat for me. What's most annoying about her flaws are that they're not only ones that could have been avoided, but ones that HAVE been avoided elsewhere. Taking that extra bit of care could have made Satsuki a perfect release, but instead sticking to the basics have made just a "slightly-flawed but still very good" one. However Kill la Kill and Satsuki Kiryuin fans should be sure to pick this up, because right know god knows when the Figma release of her battle version is going to hit...

1 comment:

Hudson said...

My nephew is very interested in anything related to robots and robotics. Great reviews, especially since I am trying to find him something really different this year.