Curiously, I have no scale-size Nanoha figures in my collection. I have six Fates, but no Nanoha. This imbalance must be amended – Fate is a lonely girl and she needs a friend. Somebody who will stand by her and give her a big hug. Somebody who will liberate her from a life of thralldom and unrequited love. Somebody who will occasionally Divine Buster her ass when she needs it.
Like many recently-released Nanoha series figures, this particular figure is based off of Nanoha’s movie appearance. The film shows off Nanoha’s impressive homewrecking abilities as she sunders the Testarossa family, utterly obliterating the relationship between mother Precia and her children.
Another major theme of the movie is Nanoha’s enthusiastic embrace of gunboat diplomacy, which she demonstrates to convincing effect as she secures Fate’s compliance and friendship through superior firepower. Nanoha also abandons her friends on Earth to meddle in interstellar politics. And she keeps a ferret as a pet – très à propos. The white devil magician girl’s hair even looks like Diablo’s horns. And if all that weren’t enough, her origin is rooted in porn! Shame, shame. Everything but the porn, that is – that part is pretty cool.
Alter and the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise go hand in hand. Their Fate Testarossa from Nanoha A’s was among their earliest figures and is still well-regarded by collectors. They’ve made figures of almost all the principal cast members of StrikerS – not Ginga though, curiously – and they are set to release yet another Fate later this year as well as another Vivio figure, this one from the ViVid manga. Another Nanoha was exhibited at Wonder Festival a few months ago and it would hardly be a surprise if Alter makes figures of the Force characters as well.
There is no shortage of Nanoha figures from Alter or other makers and on the surface, this figure does not look like one that I would select. After all, the great part of my collection consists of either action girl figures or female figures that aren’t wearing many clothes, and while Nanoha is certainly an action girl, this particular figure is rather lean when it comes to visual excitement. Alter recently re-released their Stand By Ready version of Nanoha, which evinces tension and loli determination, and Good Smile Company is re-releasing their supersized swimsuit version, which combines a winning smile with a fetching butt crack, all in 1/4 scale – God’s scale. But this Nanoha figure – banally named the “School Uniform Version” – is only 1/7 scale, and at 18.5 centimeters in height, isn’t even particularly tall for that size.
However, I still like this figure a lot. First of all, it’s an Alter figure, and that means technical quality that is second to none. Second, I have a lot of Fate figures and I wanted a Nanoha figure that could complement them. In particular, I wanted one that would provide a set of contrasts. Contrast is an important concept in photography – one that I don’t pay nearly enough attention to – and it’s also a trait I like to see in my figure collection. Nanoha’s size works well with most of my Fate figures, being that most of them are 1/7 or 1/8 scale, and though she isn’t that tall, she actually looks quite large because of her youthful build. She works particularly well with Banpresto’s Fate, I think, as they are of similar dimensions and embody similar themes. Both figures are unmistakably childlike, both have them holding their intelligent devices, and both wear serene, placid expressions. However, contrast is still evident. Nanoha holds Raising Heart loosely while Fate clutches Bardiche close to her body. Nanoha’s hair is short and orderly while Fate’s tresses whip wildly about. And Nanoha’s outfit is quite modest and light in color while Fate’s clothing is very revealing and dark in tone. They make a very attractive pair, both in the anime and on the shelf.
Although this figure appears at first mundane, Nanoha actually comes with a surprising number of display options. Among them is a swappable head; Alter supplies an entire extra head if one wishes to display her with her hair undone. She also comes with additional black hair ribbons for her pigtails, though I did not play with those. And of course, Nanoha comes with Raising Heart, which is rendered quite well, though admittedly, I’ve never seen a Nanoha figure where Raising Heart was poorly done. She comes with two left hands – one curled in a fist and another that can hold her staff, and she comes with a pendant, which is actually Raising Heart in standby mode. Certainly nothing is stopping a collector from having Nanoha hold two Raising Hearts, one in each hand, which isn’t exactly consistent with the anime but the idea of Nanoha dual-wielding Raising Hearts is just too good to pass up.
Nanoha also comes with rodent buddy Yuuno Scrya. It’s odd how Nanoha figures get bundled with Yuuno but Fate figures don’t get bundled with Arf.
I think I like this Nanoha best with her hair long rather than tied into pigtails. The movement of her dress and hair impart a breezy, carefree atmosphere – something one doesn’t often see in a Nanoha series figure.
Her school uniform may be reserved, but the clean white and black color scheme is appealing. It’s a simple and minimalistic design that provides an effective contrast to Nanoha’s better-known barrier jacket outfit.
This may not be the biggest or most exciting Nanoha figure around but it works very well for my purposes. It’s a good time to be a Nanoha fan, with Alter and Good Smile Company re-releasing figures of her and Cospa’s figure in the bargain bin – or at least, it was in Hobby Search’s bargain bin a few days ago, but they seem to have removed it again – and with Kotobukiya offering a couple of figures of Nanoha in casual wear. Me, though, I’m happy with this figure, as I usually am with Alter’s products.