Sometimes when you first see a figure, you know right away that you’re going to get it regardless of price or difficulty of acquisition. You religiously scan all the figure news sites for the latest scoop, you load up Japanese pages and run them through Google Translate and do your best to interpret the results, you count down the days until its release date, and above all, you fervently, feverishly pray to all the gods above and below that the manufacturer please, please, please doesn’t screw it up. How many times have you’ve seen a figure’s prototype shots, excitement building unabated, and then, when the production sample photos come out, felt anticipation displaced by distress, lust metamorphosing into ire as you wonder, “How the hell did this happen?”
Then, when you get your shipping notice, you hope that maybe you overreacted, that your concerns were unmerited, and that your pretty little anime figure will rekindle the love for it that you first felt.
Seena comes from the game Shining Wind, a PlayStation 2 action RPG by Sega. She’s gotten several other figures, most notably from Max Factory and Kotobukiya. The former figure features a rather goofy grin and a blatantly immodest pose, while the latter has her brandishing her sword with a cocky smile. You can easily fit her into a standard anime character archetype just by looking at both figures. However, Orchid Seed’s figure dispenses with presumption and presents her in a manner quite at variance with its predecessors.
When the finalized figure shots came out, a lot of people – including myself – felt that familiar rush of disappointment. Seena was one of my most-anticipated figures, and the new shots didn’t look as appealing as the older pictures.
The major difference seems to be her eyes, which are darker in the production figure. It also appears that the second photographer knew how to set the white balance function on his camera. All in all, though, the difference doesn’t seem to be as great as I had initially thought; the sculpt is still the same, the remainder of the paint scheme seems to be the same. One of the clock hands has strangely moved back a bit to an earlier time of day. It’s interesting to note how a simple change like darker eyes can incite panic, although I guess if you look at a figure like Kotonoha, you can see how such a change can make for a very different-looking figure.
The Shining series comprises some of my favorite games of the 16 and 32-bit eras, and I’ve played and beaten Shining in the Darkness, Shining Force 1, 2, and CD, and Shining the Holy Ark. I own a copy of Shining Force III – the first part of the trilogy, anyway – but I never did get into it, the Saturn being in its twilight at the time, and I know nothing about the later PlayStation games.
I take that back – I do know that the PS2 games feature character designs by renowned artist Tony Taka. In fact, this figure’s pose is taken directly from Tony’s artwork:
Tony is one of my favorite Japanese artists, but I don’t think this is an example of his best work. Something about Seena’s face doesn’t look quite right; maybe it’s her left eye, which looks like it’s twice as far from her nose as her right.
However, Orchid Seed’s sculpt takes considerable liberties with the source artwork. In Tony’s picture, Seena’s expression is a bit difficult to read; if you stare long enough, her mouth might be fixed in a small, worried frown, or in a completely neutral expression, or even in a small, mysterious smile. She also appears to be taking inordinate interest in the viewer, eyes wide and locked in an intense, somewhat scary stare.
In the figure, Seena’s expression is downcast, her mouth set in an unmistakable frown. Taken with her slight slouch and her carelessly spread legs, it gives her a weary, melancholy visage. Her pensive elegance is a marked contrast from her other figures.
Her cheerless appearance is enhanced by her base, which is a battered platform supporting a damaged clock. The original illustration sets the time at around 12:30 but being that a quarter of the clock face is destroyed in its three-dimensional incarnation, it is set to just past 9:30 instead. With its ruined look and its muted, earth tone colors, the base lends an aura of bleak desolation to the overall effect of this figure.
Nominally sculpted in 1/7 scale, Seena is actually quite small. Using my trusty tape measure, I’d guess she’d only measure around twenty centimeters tall standing straight up, which puts her right around 1/8 scale. Her sword does not attach to her nor does she attach to her base; there is a vaguely buttock-shaped depression in the base where she is meant to perch, and the sword just sort of loosely leans against her. She’s rather prone to falling over, and she face-planted a few times while I shot pictures. Her weight seems to be concentrated towards her right side and she doesn’t sit up on her own very well but if you wanted to display her off her base, she can sit without toppling if you lean her backwards, feet up in the air.
Seena’s given a very slender body build, which I think looks very attractive, particularly with her short skirt and dark thighhighs. While most of her other figures give her short hair, her hair is long and flowing here and I like it much better.
Paintwork is generally pretty good, with some very nice detailing on her uniform blouse and her plaid miniskirt. Her color scheme is understated, alternating from red hair and bow tie to dark jacket to red skirt and dark hold-ups and shoes.
My Seena figure does have a curious scratch on her right thigh, and it comes to mind that I have another Orchid Seed figure – Lala (the Comic Aun cover girl) – that has a scratch on her leg. How odd.
She detaches at the waist so that her skirt can be removed, revealing her undergarments:
Now I make no bones about my status as a pervert, but in this case, I prefer to leave her fully clothed. For one, the Tar Heel blue and white stripes hideously clash with her clothes. Her panties are also cut rather conservatively; looking at Seena, one would think that she’d favor more risque drawers, but that is not the case. And really, my favorite aspect of this figure is Seena’s quiet dignity, so she’s keeping her skirt on.
I had some reservations about this figure, but in the end I think she looks absolutely fantastic. Sitting in somber repose, there’s a strong sense of personality with this version of Seena that presents a very different side of her than evinced by her other figures. Orchid Seed has done an admirable job capturing her wistful attitude, and the result is a remarkable figure.