A brief perusal of the preorder listings at any figure retailer will confirm that the Fate/stay night merchandise machine continues to hum unabated. And by that that we really mean the Saber merchandise machine; once upon a time there was just a single blonde British girl in a blue dress with a big sword, but since then the one has been cloned into a veritable multitude, with at least a hedonistic Roman emperor, a late shogunate-era swordsperson, a teenager in a Japanese school uniform, and a delinquent-looking girl with a ballcap comprising the products of this mitosis (and I’m sure there are more). There are so many that I’ve sometimes thought about featuring all the oddball Saber figures I own in a series of reviews which would be dubbed Weird Saber Week – though given both the languid pace of reviews here and the sheer quantity of qualifying figures, Weird Saber Year might be a more appropriate name.
Meanwhile, most of the remainder of the expansive cast of Fate/stay night has scarcely received any attention from figure manufacturers. Rin Tohsaka is certainly a victim of their disregard; she appears to be the number-two girl, and perhaps the number-two character (Archer and Lancer fans might dispute this) of the franchise, and yet as far as the figure hobby is concerned, the distance between Saber and her is so vast as to render her runner-up status irrelevant. Over the last half-decade or so, she’s basically gotten one notable figure (which would seem due for a re-release by Good Smile Company any day now) and a few nondescript swimsuit figures. But now, with this figure we can add one more to her insubstantial score. However, I would guess that it’s not the figure that many Rin fans might have been hoping for. I certainly don’t feel that way, though. I mean, if I were to wonder what sort of outfit I’d like to see Rin in, this is pretty close to what I would have imagined.
This figure is distributed by Aniplex, the company involved in the production of the Unlimited Blade Works movie and television anime. The actual manufacturer is listed as Stronger, which is a company I have absolutely no familiarity with. Rin is sculpted in 1/7 scale – as was the old GSC figure – and stands about 21.5 centimeters in height. A helpful instruction sheet is provided to show how to get her set up for display. (As an aside, it’s hard to believe that it’s already been five years since I reviewed that GSC figure. It really doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.)
Rin is presented wearing an indecent version of Archer’s outfit. The basis of this figure is an illustration drawn by one of Type-moon’s artists, though I don’t know if Rin can ever be seen wearing this outfit anywhere else. It’s a little curious that they would use a somewhat obscure picture as inspiration for a figure, versus her normal appearance which obviously hasn’t received a great many figure adaptations.
Not that I’m complaining, of course; I think Rin’s outfit is lovely. She’s wearing a crop top, black panties, and thigh-high hooker boots; it’s not a particularly classy ensemble but Rin makes it look great anyway.
One of the most interesting aspects – at least to me – is that her skirt is removable. This isn’t particularly unusual but it’s notable because as far as I know, very few Fate/stay night figures have some sort of castoff system. In fact, of the dozens of Fate/stay night figures ever produced, I can only think of one other, and it’s also an Aniplex figure, which strikes me as curious as anything distributed by Aniplex is about as official as they come.
So here she is, without her skirt.
Aside from the obvious debauched motivations for seeing her without her skirt, another reason to remove it is that it simply doesn’t fit all that well. It doesn’t fall particularly close to her body, which is nice in one sense in that it might reduce the chance of paint transfer to her body, but the downside is that it looks as if it’s levitating off of her torso. Further, it’s disruptive to her sleek body line.
On the other hand, Rin is sculpted as fairly slender, and clad in basically just her underwear, her skinniness is readily apparent. The best thing would have been for her skirt to fit more closely to her body, but that’s not an option with this figure.
But looking at the bright side, we get a great view of her pinup pose, back arched and ass thrust out. It’s an unexpectedly sexy look for her. Type-moon usually treats the mainline Fate/stay night properties with a great deal of comportment and dignity; it’s actually kind of a refreshing approach given the level of fanservice that pervades so much of contemporary anime. However, it seems that insofar as their spinoff projects are handled, anything goes.
One other negative to seeing Rin half-naked is that one might notice that this is a fairly plain figure. One might recall the lovingly-sculpted magnificence of the way the Good Smile Company figure modeled her hair; here, her tresses just limply zig-zag their way down. The paint finish is mostly flatte, except for her boots, which are given a glossy finish that does look quite nice.
Her facial expression is similar to that shown in the source artwork; she has an uncertain, quizzical expression on her face. It’s not an expression that projects strength or confidence. Similarly, her pose – with her legs splayed-out and pigeon-toed, with her head turned diffidently to the side – demonstrates passivity and anxiety, which makes me wonder how this figure has been received by Fate/stay night fans.
I don’t particularly number myself in that group so personally, I think this is a fantastic figure. It certainly doesn’t come close to the level of quality of the older GSC figure, but this figure has a number of charms all to its own. It’s a different take on Rin, one that ramps up the sexuality considerably and makes her look rather more timid and docile than she usually does. That in itself might be cause to displease Fate/stay night fans, and if that’s the case it only improves my opinion of this figure. Hopefully we’ll see more of Rin from figure manufacturers – it’d be nice if she got at least one more figure to go with all the various Saber clones getting the PVC treatment – but for now, this figure will do nicely.