The girls-with-melee-weapons trope is one of my favorite themes in anime. My very favorite? No, that would be tentacles. But it’s close, I cannot deny that. There have been a bunch of figure series centered on this concept, with the Queen’s Blade franchise perhaps being the most successful – though personally, I will always regard that figure line as an abject failure until someone makes a figure of Irma. There’s also the Shuraki series, though that ended without a figure of Monicadred, the white-haired loli girl. Now we have the Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls series. I don’t know what a Hyakka Ryoran is, but it’s plainly obvious by the second half of the name that the originators clearly understand what audience they’re going for.
Senhime – not to be confused with Alter’s other Senhime – is sculpted in 1/8 scale and stands about 19.5 centimeters tall. The figure feels solidly built, its heft giving an impression of quality construction. She stands on a white oval base similar to Yagyu Jubei‘s.
I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about Senhime at first. Part of that is due to the fact that I have a big anime crush on the Sengoku Rance Senhime, but it was mainly because I felt her face looked a bit off. In the promo photos, her eyes seemed a bit dim and her chin appeared overly prominent. And to be frank, those aspects are still there since, as usual, Alter’s prototype doesn’t look that different from the production figure. However, after seeing the figure in person, those problems aren’t all that apparent to me anymore, and I’ve found that there is a whole lot to like about brunette Senhime.
Let’s start with the pose. Senhime’s hips are flared to one side and her torso is subtly tilted backwards, giving her just a hint of an “oh no you didn’t” attitude. One of the things I really like about this figure is the way her stomach bulges just a bit over her skirt, where her hip is cocked; it’s certainly not fat enough to be called a muffin top, but it adds a realistic touch that is often missing in anime character designs. I also like the way she’s extending her weapon’s rope; it emphasizes her attitude and gives the viewer something to focus on. It’s a real cord, by the way, not a plastic facsimile. As such, it drapes loosely over her hand; her fingers are curled in a way that it looks like you could thread the rope through, but I’m not sure how you’d push it in with that spiked weight tied to the end. I just looped it over her fingers and it stays in place well enough; I might try to tie a noose into the end for a more dramatic presentation.
When I saw those prototype pictures, I thought that she was pouting petulantly, and I didn’t think that expression worked too well given that her weapon and body language spoke more to her being dangerous rather than irascible. However, up close, it looks more like a scowl to me, which fits perfectly. Speaking of her weapon, it slides into her grasp quite easily without provoking concern about scratching her up or scraping paint.
Like the other Hyakka Ryoran girls, Senhime’s sartorial style synthesizes traditional dress and contemporary sensibilities. Her open robe with its draped sleeves effect a magisterial presence, while her ribbed crop top and pleated low-rise skirt are reminiscent of a cheerleading uniform and give her a trendy, feminine look. And of course, she’s wearing the ubiquitous thighhigh socks, which can be seen everywhere except real life. One nice touch is the orange details on those socks, which are raised, sculpted highlights rather than simply painted strips. You expect that sort of detail from an Alter figure and they certainly do not disappoint.
Her overall color scheme is very eye-catching, the pink and muted violets of her robe being complemented by brighter reds and oranges. The floral print on the back of her costume is absolutely gorgeous; it’s intricately patterned but blends beautifully into her outfit. I can’t find anything to quibble about from a technical viewpoint – Senhime’s quality is obvious. Well, maybe I can complain about her polearm’s blade; it looks quite plastic, and I think Alter could have given it more of a metallic finish, like they did with their Kanu Unchou figure.
One stylistic thing I can complain about is her choice of footwear. She’s wearing some drab brown boots with chunky heels, and I don’t think they match her outfit very well. Given her Japanese and American cheerleader fusion fashion, I think she’d have looked better wearing either traditional sandals or some Chuck Taylor All-Stars. No big deal, though.
I usually develop a good sense of how I feel about a figure well before I actually get it. There is always a lengthy wait between a figure’s prototype unveiling and release, and if my initial impression is inconsistent with my final sentiment, it’s usually because I’m disappointed with the figure rather than because I find that I like it more than I thought I would. However, with Senhime, I’m happy to say that my first thoughts were incorrect – this is an exceptional figure, one that I am very pleased to own. She looks fantastic and I’m hoping that Alter continues to produce figures in the Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls line.