This year has seen a profusion of Tamaki, Sonico, and Miku figures, but Fate Testarossa has quietly staked her own claim as an It-Girl of 2011. Alter has already released an astonishing three figures of her in this year’s first four months, joining the Fate T. Harlaown figure they released two years ago to great acclaim and also the 2006 figure that was one of their earliest products. I had planned to skip this figure – she was rather expensive, her head seemed overly large and her angry scowl is a bit generic. But then Hobby Search tossed her in their bargain bin and I reversed my decision. I’m very glad I did because this is a spectacular figure, no doubt.
This particular version of Fate Testarossa comes from the film Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha the Movie 1st and is named after a song performed by Nana Mizuki, Fate’s voice actress. The movie is a condensed alternate telling of the television series, chronicling how young Nanoha Takamachi’s unremarkable life takes a turn towards the extraordinary following a peculiar meeting with a rodent. She swiftly develops into the mightiest sorcerer of the lands and along the way, encounters the sullen, enigmatic Fate Testarossa. Fate is a young girl whose combat prowess is matched only by her diffidence, and much of the movie’s plot revolves around Nanoha’s attempts to befriend her putative adversary.
This Fate figure is sculpted in 1/7 scale, but this is no ordinary 1/7 scale figure. Indeed, it is an epic figure, with Fate’s cape measuring nearly a foot in breadth. With a weapon, her length can extend to nearly two feet. The figure itself is about twenty centimeters tall from her right foot to the top of her head, but make no mistake; Fate demands several cubic feet of shelf space for proper display.
Many of Alter’s figures are straightforward, without much in the way of castoff options, alternate faces or swappable weapons. That is not so with Fate: she’s got a swappable right arm, a swappable left hand, and an entire arsenal of weapons so that you can set Bardiche in whatever configuration you desire. Alter also thoughtfully includes a weapon stand to store the Bardiche forms that Fate is not holding.
Unlike their StrikerS figures, Fate’s base is a simple black disc with the standard magical circle shapes and characters painted on it. It looks quite nice and I like it a good deal more than the white, Engrish-laced rectangles supplied with Fate T. Harlaown and Vivio. Fate attaches to her base via a pair of metal rods that suspend her in midair, giving her a powerful and dynamic look. They are quite solid and I haven’t had any fear of Fate falling down, despite moving her all over the place while taking these pictures.
The Nanoha characters have distinctive eye shapes: they are relatively narrow, sometimes rectangular, and feature heavy use of black in the upper half of the iris. Alter has gone their own way with Fate’s eye design, and her eyes are a bit wider and not quite so boxy as her anime counterpart. They’re locked in an expression of loli rage, her small pout also conveying her steely determination. It’s not a very emotive expression, to be frank, and it doesn’t express the inner strife that rends her whenever she does battle with Nanoha. Nonetheless, it looks attractive and gives a feeling of cool detachment, which is appropriate for the way she approaches her work.
Alter also deviates from her character design by giving her twintails that are nearly as long as she is tall and a majestic cape worthy of Batman. It’s all in the name of looking good.
Fate is a martial girl and Bardiche is a protean weapon system, and Alter properly models that by allowing five weapon combinations:
Bardiche in axe form, extended.
Bardiche in axe form, held close.
Bardiche in sealing form.
Bardiche in scythe form. The fifth way to display her weapon is in sealing form without the fins; a separate shaft part is provided to display it that way. And I suppose there’s nothing stopping you from having her hold Bardiche in sealing form over her shoulder or in scythe form with the weapon extended out. I haven’t tried having her hold it either way so I don’t know if she balances properly, though.
I felt that her head looked far too large for her body when I saw Alter’s promo pictures, but now that I can see her in person, it’s not an issue to me. In fact, I didn’t once notice the size of her head while taking her pictures. Her cape helps to pad out her shoulders, providing some separation between her head and her body and that helps to mitigate the size disparity.
Fate’s battle outfit consists of a shiny black leotard and thighhighs, a fetching ensemble that showcases her nine-year old body to its best advantage. A couple of slender red bands wrap her budding breasts, accentuating the fetishistic nature of her costume. Her outfit is modeled perfectly in this figure, her white skirt providing a youthful and innocent contrast to the more erotic aspects of her clothing.
A weapon stand is provided to store unused Bardiche forms.
There isn’t any mangled Engrish on the stand’s base, unlike the StrikerS figures, but being unapologetically dirty-minded, I have to raise an eyebrow when Bardiche is described as “Fate’s Personal Device.” What sort of device and just how personal is it, pray tell? Inquiring and lecherous minds wish to know.
Alter’s Fate Testarossa is a gorgeous figure, one of my favorites of this year. She looks not just great, but amazing. Her shelf presence is regal and the myriad ways she can be displayed are almost intimidating. And she came at a reasonable price. Her 7670 yen price tag isn’t quite as good a deal as the $64.98 I paid for Alter’s first Fate figure, particularly since I padded that order out with a bunch of Zone of the Enders: delores,i DVDs to get free shipping, but it’s still a great price relative to its peers. Admittedly, with an international shipping bill close to 5,000 yen, her discounted price becomes less attractive. Even so, she’s well worth the expense – Alter’s expected quality is evident in every aspect of this figure and she should be a welcome addition to any figure collector’s shelf.
Here are the loose parts for Bardiche.
New Fate Testarossa with the old Fate Testarossa, the latter covered in four years’ worth of dust.
The old Fate Testarossa had her wearing an attractive, girlish thong, but Fate’s barrier jacket has curiously become more conservative with the passage of time.
Fate Testarossa with Fate T. Harlaown. The time paradox portrayed here also suggests that Fate’s head will shrink as she gets older. Does the Time-Space Administration Bureau keep a voodoo shaman on staff?
Three Fates. I’ve got two more Fate figures – one from Volks and one from Cobra Kai. I’m saddened that Daiki Kougyou hasn’t picked up Toshirou’s sculpt for mass production; I’d seriously think about double-dipping if they did, just because I like Cobra Kai’s work and I like Fate. I’ve also got Good Smile Company’s upcoming actsta Fate preordered, though if it’s anything like their Nanoha actsta I’m not expecting much from it. I never did review that actsta, did I? Hmm.
You knew this was coming.