I’m a big fan of corrupted girls in fiction. Kerrigan in Starcraft, Seven of Nine in Star Trek Voyager, Yomi in Ga-rei Zero – love them all. The eroge Fate/stay night has a couple of corrupted female characters who have deserved figures for a while. Dark Sakura has a cool design and Gift has recently released a fine figure showing her in all her evil glory. But as a fan of armored girls wielding big broadswords, I really wanted a good figure of Saber Alter. Good Smile Company has finally obliged, and their rendition of Saber Alter is set to redefine the meaning of badass.
Saber Alter is the latest in Good Smile Company’s line of 1/7 scale figures from the Fate/stay night series, joining Saber Lily and Saber. They will soon be joined by Rin Tousaka, who is scheduled to drop in just a few days. She stands about 16.5 centimeters tall, 24 centimeters including Dark Excalibur.
As I mentioned, I really like Saber Alter’s character design, but she has not gotten a lot of love from figure manufacturers. Up to this point the definitive Saber Alter figure had her working as a maid. Sure, it’s a great-looking figure but it’s hard to look badass while scrubbing toilets in a little frilly black dress with pail in hand.
Saber Lily was an elegant figure, so much so that Good Smile Company dolled her up in lipstick and high heels and she still looked dignified rather than ridiculous. This version of Saber Alter, however, is nothing but badass. Saber Lily conveys determination, class, perhaps even a bit of delicacy; Saber Alter, in contrast, manifests raw power. There is nothing elegant about her glare, which is a mask of anger, of ruthlessness, of utter disdain for whoever stands before her. Nor is there anything subtle about her stance, as she clutches her sword like a club. This is not a warrior who is concerned with style; Saber Alter’s singular focus is cleaving her enemy in half.
And yet, Saber Alter does retain a certain measure of grace due to her connection with Saber. Her outfit comprises armor plating over a matte black dress, adding a strong sense of femininity that balances the martial nature of the sculpt. Although Saber Alter is sheathed in armor and her dress is billowing freely, it’s still easy to discern the litheness of her body.
Her color scheme is very attractive, the flat black of her dress and gleaming blue-violet armor clearly marking her as evil. I also like her yellow eyes; I’ve been a big fan of yellow eyes since seeing Unknown in Tekken Tag Tournament. They’re often used with evil characters and such is the case here.
However, there is a curious issue with her left eye; the pupil is not centered in the iris. The pupil is always supposed to be centered in the eyeball; otherwise, it looks like the character is looking off in two directions at once. It’s not as significant a problem here as it was with Compact Hog, but it’s still an unusual oversight. Her right eye is properly centered though, so I don’t think it detracts very much from the figure’s overall look.
Saber Alter comes with a few accessories. The first is a mask, which is easily installed by pulling her bangs from her forehead. The mask emphasizes her inhumanity, and it also provides a cute touch in how a small forelock drapes over it.
The other pieces she comes with are her weapons. She comes with Dark Excalibur, which looks great, and also Vortigern, an absolutely gigantic weapon. It’s supposed to be made of magical energy and I think that sculpting special effects out of plastic usually doesn’t turn out very well. I prefer the look of Dark Excalibur, as Vortigern reminds me of an oversized broom; then again, that reminds me of how the Mavericks swept the Lakers clear out of the playoffs and that’s a very pleasant memory, so my opinion of the weapon has improved as of late. Regardless, it’s clear that Saber Alter was meant to hold Vortigern; the position of her hands is perfect for Vortigern’s long haft, but is a bit awkward for Dark Excalibur.
Saber Alter comes with a detailed oval base meant to look something like a cave floor. It’s stamped with the Fate/stay night emblem and is covered with red stalagmites. So many anime figures have static poses with single-color plastic bases, but Saber Alter’s stance and her base come together to present a story.
Her pose is reminiscent of Saber Lily’s, with her legs set wide and shoulders turned, albeit to a much greater degree. Her best viewing angles are from the front or with her left side turned towards the rear, I think; these perspectives emphasize her triangular stance, which gives her such an impression of strength.
A large part of my collection is composed of warrior girls, and Saber Alter is one of the best among them. She exudes drama and strength, and her razor-sharp glare is intimidating and captivating all at once. Her sinister aura gives her palpable shelf presence. Good Smile Company has done a fantastic job with Saber Alter, who is surely one of the best figures to come out this year.
Saber Alter is an evil lady, and evil ladies often wear sexy, racy, blood-heating underwear. Unfortunately, this dark knight wears some poofy black pajama pants under her skirt. A real shame, that.
Ahh, not even a powerful lady of death is immune to the slithery, implacable seduction of the mighty tentacle stand! Run, little evil girl, run!