The internet is a pervasive force in everyday life. One of the things the internet is good for is finding reviews of stuff. In particular, I find movie and video game reviews to be helpful because people whose tastes are similar to mine generally view games and films in a similar way that I would. Not a long while ago I asked a friend what he thought of the film Sucker Punch and he said he didn’t really like it, and I knew I probably wouldn’t like it much, either. Our subjective tastes significantly overlap, and on top of that, there are objective criteria that one can use to assess a game or movie, such as plot coherence, the quality of dialogue, the quality of graphics, and so on.
Figures, however, are a funny thing because their appeal is so personal, at least to me. Take the Black Rock Shooter figures, for instance. On the surface, they seem to match many of the things I like: cute girls, fearsome weapons, and not many clothes. And yet I don’t particularly like them very much. Or take Miku Hatsune, whose character design I don’t particularly care for either. Certainly her design looks very similar to many characters that I do like and yet I don’t have much affection for her. Or take Yuri from Angel Beats. She’s cute, has a short skirt, and packs a big gun. Okay, I heard Angel Beats got a mixed reception but I haven’t even seen it and don’t plan to, so that doesn’t affect me at all. Why didn’t I buy the figure? Beats me. I’m thinking maybe I should check whether she’s in stock anywhere.
Basically what it comes down to is that every collector is going to decide for him or herself whether a figure is a worthwhile purchase, and that decision is going to be influenced by very nuanced and very personal factors. It’s a decision that really can only be made by the individual.
I’m guessing that a large majority of people reading this post have no idea where I’m coming from with this intro. That’s okay. I wish I were among you, to be honest. But enough of that, we have a figure to look at. This is my opinion of Rin Tohsaka.
Rin Tohsaka comes from Good Smile Company and is sculpted in 1/7 scale, standing about 29.5 centimeters tall including her base and hair. This rendition of her is derived from her appearance in Unlimited Blade Works, the movie adaptation of part of the visual novel’s plotline. Like the other figures in Good Smile Company’s series, Rin comes with several accessories, chiefly weapons and alternate hands. She also has a detailed base which is meant to look like a pile of dirt. Three swords are provided to replicate the Unlimited Blade Works setting created by Archer; no gears are provided, though. The swords stick into slots in Rin’s base, though they fall out a bit easily.
A unique aspect of GSC’s Fate/stay night series is that I can compress my assessment of my figures to one word. With Saber Lily, the word “elegant” is foremost in my mind. With Saber Alter, I think of “power.” And with Rin, I think “regal,” both in her appearance and her bearing. Her outfit is not exceptionally distinctive – thighhighs and miniskirts are de rigeur for anime schoolgirls – but her dress and her pose and her distant gaze impart an aloof, resolute, and royal quality to her look.
Incidentally, I can’t think of any one word to describe GSC’s jumping Saber figure, and perhaps that’s why I never bought it. Unless “jumping” counts, and that is not the most flattering descriptor.
Rin’s outfit has sparked some controversy, most of which I’ve tried to ignore, though curiosity often gets the best of me. You’d think I’d know better by now. Criticism has been leveled against the sheen of her shirt and socks, both of which feature very glossy finishes. I like it, myself, being that I have this thing for cute girls in shiny clothes. Rin’s shirt is loose where it needs to be and impossibly tight where it needs to be, snug against the contours of her lithe body. Her stockings are a more straightforward affair, though they look as if they are made of latex, which is rather cool.
A scandalously brief skirt wraps around Rin’s hips. Flared out just above her socks, it is somehow molded to the form of her buttocks, which seems utterly unrealistic but looks absolutely fantastic. Indeed, Rin’s rump is glorious, and while this figure has numerous good points, her shapely backside is one of the best.
While her outfit accentuates the exquisite sexiness of her body, her flowing hair accentuates the power and grace of her pose. Extraordinarily detailed, her tresses writhe in midair like tentacles. From certain angles, they can be a bit distracting as their sheer implausibility overwhelms their grandeur, but there is no denying that her hair is amazing.
Another interesting thing about her hair is that Rin is usually drawn with black hair, and many of her earlier figures color it that way. This version of Rin, however, is brunette, and some of the preview pictures shown on hobby websites made it look like milk chocolate rather than a darker hue. Her hair looks reasonably dark under normal room lighting but looks quite a bit brighter under photographic lights. The lighter tone bothered me at first but now that I see her, I think it looks great; it allows for a varied amount of shading in her hair, and that really gives it an additional layer of depth.
Rin’s canonical character design is very pretty, but figure makers sometimes struggle to get her head and face right. For example, Alter’s upcoming casual clothes version looks nice, but people point out how prominent her ears are, and the old Kaiyodo figure just looks unfortunate. Good Smile Company has done a fantastic job making their newest Rin look beauiful. Her head retains its characteristic heart shape, and while her ears are still obvious, the tilt and angle of her head make them less conspicuous.
Her eyes shine defiant, and her expression evinces commitment and strength. I think that’s one of my favorite aspects of this figure: Rin is beautiful without calling attention to her beauty, as the most obvious traits I notice are her determination and gravity.
A curious thing is that like Saber Alter, Rin’s left pupil is not centered in her iris. This can make her look cross-eyed close up and at certain angles. This isn’t very obvious during normal viewing, as you can’t even really make out her pupils from more than a foot away, but it looks odd in up-close pictures.
Wasp-waisted and long-legged, Rin’s sculpt is gorgeous, diverging significantly from the typical female anime design. She has a slender but womanly body, with very pronounced curves. Her breasts are not particularly large but factor prominently into her sex appeal. Her legs do as well; their exaggerated length and the exposed bit of flesh between skirt and stocking hit all the right notes for that particular fetish, and her strongly arched back is highly erotic without being overtly sexual.
Rin comes with an extra left and right hand, and replacing them is as simple as tugging out her current hand and slotting in the new one. Her right hand holds either a pendant or a dagger, and her left hand is either empty or holds several magical gems. You’ll have to pardon me for forgetting the significance of her knife or pendant as it’s been a while since I’ve seen the anime and I have absolutely no desire to revisit it due to my intense loathing for the main protagonist. I’m told that the anime is a very poor way to become acquainted with Fate/stay night, and yet I can’t bring myself to play the game because if I do, I know I will do nothing but attempt to get Shirou killed in the most painful and hilarious manner possible.
Rin Tohsaka is an absolutely stunning figure. She’s come a long, long way and has endured criticism and courted controversy, from her awful initial painted prototype to concerns over her outfit’s paintjob to questions about her fidelity to the source art. She was definitely worth the wait, however, as she is gorgeous, beautiful, and certainly one of my favorite figures in my collection. Good Smile Company has received a good bit of negative publicity in recent times – and rightfully so – but credit should be given where credit is due. Rin is a great figure and the other figures in their Fate/stay night lineup are also amazing. Hopefully they’ll continue to make more, as there are still several characters that would make good candidates and their work is too good to stop now.
For another review of Rin, check out foo-bar-baz.
I know Rin is a powerful magic user, but I kinda think broadswords beat zappy if you let them get in this close.
As does the girthy, slithery seduction of the mighty tentacle stand! Ahhhhh!