Strength from Black Rock Shooter (Animation Version)

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

As we get older, it seems that time moves quicker and the world changes more rapidly. However, there are some constants that do not change. Death and taxes are among the less comforting, but for figure collectors, there are at least two happy certainties: Good Smile Company will continue to make exceptional figures of the Black Rock Shooter characters, and those exceptional figures will invariably find their way into Amiami’s bargain bin. I initially waffled on preordering Strength and then decided to pass on her. However, after seeing some reviews of the figure, I changed my mind and thought about buying it for full price. I felt a price cut was likely, though, and the maxim that good things come to those who wait sometimes holds true in figure collecting – more so with the BRS stuff. So it happened that Strength got her price slashed by more than half; not quite the 2,500 yen or so that Black Rock Shooter herself went for, but still a very welcome discount.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Strength is the latest Black Rock Shooter character to receive the PVC treatment courtesy of Good Smile Company. Like the other figures in the lineup, Strength is sculpted in 1/8 scale and, with her base included, measures a bit over 15 centimeters tall. Unlike the Animation Version of Black Rock Shooter, Strength is straightforward to assemble. An instruction sheet is provided but isn’t really necessary.

Strength is ostensibly the alter ego of Yuu, the cheerful manager of Mato Kuroi’s basketball team. If I remember correctly, Strength shows up for a few seconds in the OVA but doesn’t do anything, and while there isn’t an explicit link between Strength and Yuu, they seem to have the same eye color and body stature. Perhaps a more definite explanation will be provided in the Black Rock Shooter TV anime, which is scheduled to air next season – albeit with only eight episodes. There’s a preview available on the official website. It seems that the anime will carry over the insipid plot points of the OVA while degrading the visuals – though, of course, it’s too early to draw conclusions. Hopefully it’ll be good.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Strength is a surprisingly small figure – surprising because her box is so large. Her shipping cost exceeded the cost of the figure, somewhat mitigating the value of her discount. She still has a powerful visual presence, however, courtesy of her gigantic Ogre Arms. Her hood and cowl also attract attention by directing focus towards her impassive, inscrutable stare. Less conspicuous but no less interesting is her tail, which brings up a curious and seldom-discussed aspect of figure promo photos: pantyshots. Figure makers sometimes take exquisite care to avoid panty flashes in their official pictures, and so I didn’t even know Strength’s underpants were visible. However, when viewing the figure it is nearly impossible to avoid catching a glimpse of her panties, and that directs attention to her tail. Otherwise, her tail might go unnoticed; I didn’t even know she had one until seeing some figure reviews.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

The Ogre Arms are the main attraction of this figure but to be honest, I thought they looked silly and that was one of the reasons I didn’t preorder the figure. They’re obviously huge – too huge, I felt. I’ve since changed my mind, though. Seeing the figure in person, I really like the juxtaposition of Strength’s massive, mechanical arms with her tiny, waifish body.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

One thing that surprised me was that her Ogre Arms actually are her arms; I thought they were some kind of power armor but no, her natural arms appear to be amputated below the shoulder. I think this is the first figure in my collection equipped with prosthetic limbs.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Her arms conform to the industrial motif of the other Black Rock Shooter figures, with a satin-like metallic finish and faint wear marks. There’s no articulation provided with the limbs or the fingers, which would have been fun to play with but I suppose might not have been very practical.

I love the fist logo painted on the arms. It conveys a sense of power, of confidence, and even of menace, and yet it is also blocky and rather cartoonish and childlike. Of course, it features only three fingers, so the fist unmistakably represents Strength’s fist, as if to simultaneously say that she stands resolute, unbowed and undeterred in the face of resistance and opposition – and also that she wants to punch people in the nose.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

This figure is tagged the “Animation Version,” though there is no regular version of Strength and while the Animation Versions of the other characters depicted them in mid-charge or leaping like a psychopathic ballerina, Strength looks like she’s leaning comfortably, seemingly content to lounge on some rocks. Of course, she’s probably actually leaping backwards, but her placid expression and relaxed body language make it difficult to think she’s doing anything but chilling out.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Strength’s face is pacific, with no discernible emotion on display. Curiously, Huke’s distinctive eye design is subdued; a bit of a departure from the other figures, all of which prominently showed his trademark styling. Specifically, Strength’s eyes show a single semicircle of color as the iris, while the other figures featured two semicircles, which gave them a very recognizable look. It’s a small difference, maybe, but it’s enough for Strength to stand out quite a bit from her compatriots.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

She still has a very appealing look, however, despite her apparent impassivity. Her sedate expression contrasts sharply with the latent aggression manifested in her mechanical arms. Her cowl hides her mouth, adding a sense of mystery to her visage. As does her hood, which also serves to exaggerate the size of her head, thus emphasizing her youthfulness. Her slinky black sheath dress belies her age, however; it is cut dangerously short and clings to her body, and would add a large dose of sex appeal if she had the frame to properly fill it out. She does not, however, and so it gives the effect of a young girl experimenting with her wardrobe, trying to sex herself up – and failing completely. Nonetheless, she still looks adorable, and though her clothes are perhaps designed to tantalize and arouse, one would rather scoop her up and give her a big hug.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Less open to interpretation is her underwear, which is plainly visible. She wears standard-issue white panties. Maybe black panties would have been saucier and less obvious.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Like many anime characters Strength wears a pair of thigh-high socks. A humorous touch is added by white bowties that are placed along their tops. They have a shiny, latex-like look, adding a certain fetishistic element to her design.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

She also has a tail which curls back behind her. It’s segmented with vertebra-like sections and calls to mind the tail of a xenomorph from the Alien films. There’s something vaguely reptilian or insect-like about it, adding an aura of disquiet and perhaps even aversion to her look. I don’t mind it, though; I did dislike tails on characters for a while, but a couple of years playing a draenei shaman in World of Warcraft and my unabashed affection for Dizzy have in large part cured my previous disposition.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Like the other Black Rock Shooter figures, Strength comes with a stylized base. Again in keeping with the motifs of the series, Strength’s base comprises a series of black and white blocks arranged in an abstract manner. Despite the breadth and heft of this figure, Strength is quite stable.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

I waited a bit for this figure and I wasn’t certain I was going to like her, but now that I own it I’m quite pleased with Strength. She manifests a number of interesting and attractive contrasts, and she possesses a very appealing design. Her apparent youth and cryptic stare give her a sense of cuteness that is unique among the Black Rock Shooter characters. Among all of the Black Rock Shooter figures, I think Strength is my favorite.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

For some additional reviews – which got me to buy this figure – and great pictures of Strength, check out Neath Grim and Visual Fanfare.

Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
Good Smile Company Strength from Black Rock Shooter Figure Review
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23 Responses to Strength from Black Rock Shooter (Animation Version)

  1. feal87 says:

    Definitely a great figure, but prepare that as soon as the tv anime will be out the bargain bin will be a dream…:P

    • Tier says:

      Man, after watching that preview, I kinda think maybe it’s more likely these figures will hit the bargain bin. I mean, I said it’s early to draw conclusions, but those action sequences look like they were done in Macromedia Flash or something. I’m not a big fan of the BRS franchise, but I do like the figures, and I hope this show doesn’t kill them off or anything.

  2. Ashlotte says:

    Really wanted to like this figure because I love her chara design, but yea the whole vaguely floating pose just doesn’t do it for me. Would have been nice if they just went with something simple and straight forward to suit her name instead of whatever this is. Oh well.

    • Tier says:

      A name-appropriate pose would’ve been cool. Like maybe a bodybuilder pose, that would be awesome. They could pick from a whole range of /flex poses from World of Warcraft or other MMOs; how awesome would that be, seeing Strength do a Mr. Universe pose?

  3. It was definitely a kick to the nuts seeing this figure go into the bargain bin so quickly, but I guess I’m used to that fact now so I try not to think about it much.

    From people’s comments floating around the Net, it seems like many purchasers say they didn’t like Strength at first but after they got her they became a fan. I think I was somewhat like that – I didn’t dislike her, I just didn’t know if I wanted to buy another BRS figure. lol GSC does produce them very well though, quality is top notch.

    I really like the composition and lighting on picture 26 – I think it adds a little flair to the somewhat static nature of her pose. =)

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, it’s kinda how I felt a month or so ago, when Hobby Search and Amiami both put a ton of figures into their bargain bin. I remember seeing Raquel Gothic and Kotobukiya’s Blanc Neige in there and I’m like, I paid full price for those figures and I still haven’t even taken them out of their boxes yet. It does help that Strength is a very nice figure, though; it bugs me a bit more when I could’ve saved some money on a figure of lesser quality.

      I was looking through my pictures recently and I was sort of struck by how seldom I shoot horizontally. Part of that is the nature of what I shoot, and part of that is because my backdrops usually aren’t large enough for me to comfortably shoot in landscape mode (kinda thinking I ought to use my old zoom lens more to get around that), but I think it’s mainly because I don’t know how to compose a shot horizontally. I tried to spend a bit more time doing that with Strength but in retrospect, I probably should’ve shot more shots horizontally, since I like them better than the vertically-turned ones here.

  4. Wieselhead says:

    As I saw this figure on promo pictures I thought, “omg what lame one”. Well, after looking at several reviews, including yours ^^, it changed my opinion a bit to the better, not that I want her for myself now, but I do appreciate her look more.

    Her petite body is definetely a trace of cuteness and her eyes look not as empty as the ones from the other BRS figures. The ribbon like things at her stocking are an interesting detail, I would say. The big arms look quite cool with the paintjob and stuff, it would have been funny to see this figure with normal spare arms as optional parts.

    The warm colortone suits the figure very well in your pictures.

    • Tier says:

      Haha, it sounds like the BRS shine is wearing off a bit. You know, I’m not sure if I saw a single review, English or Japanese, of the Black Gold Saw girl. I hardly even remember seeing any photos of it on Tsuki-board. I wonder if GSC will continue chucking them out or if they’ll be moving full-time to Madoka or Boku wa Tomodachi figures or something.

      Speaking of that BRS shine, that reminds me, I still have to stick that star decal on Black Rock Shooter’s ass. I did actually get the sticker sheet but I keep forgetting to work on this.

      • Wieselhead says:

        haha, well I wasn’t a big fan of these figures to begin with, albeit I bought the BRS anime version. From all the BRS related figures I actually like the Black Gold Saw figure a lot, but she hadn’t many fans out there, even though she was quite cool looking and had boobs ;D

        Aside from Madoka and Sayaka Im not that interested in the Puella Magica figures GSC made, I expected more interesting poses. I would prefer to see Boku wa Tomodachi figures soon ^^

  5. super rats says:

    I really liked Strength when I first saw it up for pre-order. Seeing as the price got slashed a bit, I could have waited, but I don’t know…if I’m not willing to pay a normal price for it, I kind of feel like it would be a waste to buy at any price. Granted, that’s not a very wise position, but probably why I never do the smart thing and wait. OTOH, there have been enough figures I thought I ordered, didn’t, and totally missed out on.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, when a figure I really like gets a price cut, I’m usually not too bothered because I know I value the figure at full price anyway. There are more marginal figures where I’d be more appreciative of saving money through a price drop but then again, if I didn’t like it at full price, I probably shouldn’t buy it anyway, since figures are still expensive as hell even if discounted.

  6. Break says:

    i, too, didnt really like her a tthe beginnign but now shes my favourite xDD also, i actually finsd her clothes quite sexy, well tis probably a matter of taste sicne i like them with a build like hers, while you on the other hand prefer the more curvy ones it seems.
    didnt know her arms are amputated, kidna weird considering they were just an equipment and her arms were intact in the figma version.

    • Tier says:

      I do! I can appreciate a cute loli, though. Though I don’t think I’m gonna do a review of the loli dakimakura cover I got a couple weeks ago. Not because I dislike lolis but because I value not going to jail.

      Hmm, that’s curious about the Figma; I guess maybe placing the struts that connect her Ogre Arms to her shoulders might make her arms too easy to break, particularly since I hear a lot of people say they’ve broken Figmas in various ways.

      • Break says:

        ah, thats good to hear^^ you know, as an obsessive fan of ilya (fate/stay night) id just hope theyd stop making a million different sabers and make some interestign ilya’s alreay.. there are only three ilya figures, one of them is old and not very well made, one is incredibly boring (its just he rin a swimsuit) and one is..a little less borign but still meh (her in gym clothes) and all arent too well-made.. but there are so many great poses you could do her in, like in the heavenly dress she wears while sacrificing herself in the true end of heavens feel, or in the archer-clothes she wears in an instance in her spinoff-manbga (its basicall the same clothes as archer, but the ches armor is shortened to leave the stomach area free and the trousers are shortened too. it suits he r surprisingly well.)

        yeah, now i wodner which of the two versions is the official state of her arms.. well, it s not THAT easy to break them though..

        • Tier says:

          Yeah, she doesn’t have a great number of figures. Nor does Caster. Nor does Rider, which is something I wish would change, since Rider is awesome. Fate/zero Rider is pretty cool too but he just doesn’t have the mysterious sexiness of Fate/stay night Rider. And I know there are more than a few people out there who wouldn’t mind an Archer figure. It’d be nice if Good Smile Company or somebody took a shot at making some figures of the other characters.

          By the way, let’s keep the number of spoilers in the comments to a minimum. I might still play Fate/stay night one of these days – it’s on the backburner, at least – and somebody reading this website might be intending to play it. Yeah, it’s old, but it’s not really necessary to reveal all the details of the game’s plot.

          • Break says:

            well, caster recently got a pretty well-done nendoroid petit ( it recentl arrived here. you can put off her cape, therefore having waifucastre liek she is in hollw ataraxia (and carnival phantasm); put on the cape to have a mixed version, and put on the hood ot have the traaditional caster..)
            wellyeah, but rider at least has a figma.. though i wonder, which is more popular, rider in eh rfighting clothes (how we see her most) or rider in her normal life clothes (in hollow ataraxia and the end of heavens feel–she wears a pair of glasses.

            an archer figurew as planned, and they even already put otu a prototype a logn time ago; it kidna got forgotten.. btw a gilgamesh and a zerobersekrer figma would be quite epoic huh? i mean we have the weapon collector with gil, the weapon thief with zeroberserker (spoiler: lancelot) and the weapon faker with archer…

  7. Asa says:

    I pre-ordered her early, though came very close to cancelling her when the yen spiked really high (low, however you want to look at it) as I didn’t really dig her enough to pay that full price (and shipping, but I always get a few figures at once so shipping always stings). However, I’m glad I didn’t. I like having all four of them together; I only wish I had a cannon version of BRS instead of the Black Blade, as BB’s base is flat and plain, all the others have more interesting bases so BB stands out being so boring.

    I do, however, regret getting the four nendos too. Though lined up together in their defeated poses, under the scale figures, is kind of cute, I hate myself for ever getting sucked in to the nendos and want to sell all of mine off, but since they’re so common they’re worth bugger all, so I may as well just keep them and let them be a cute contrast to the serious scale figures.

    You seem to have used rather warm light for most of these shots, why is that? I think she looks better in a cooler light, darker and colder. All the BRS girls do really, since they’re dark and emotionless figures. Though I’ve yet to do any real shooting of any since I lack a wide angle lens that satisfies me. My zoom’s wide end is very disheartening and produces terrible results. I only have one shot of her; http://myfigurecollection.net/picture/283382&ref=user%3AAsako and boring plain coloured background is boring and doesn’t suit these girls.

    I’ve had no luck at all finding any nicely patterned backdrop paper that isn’t in huge industrial rolls. Even giftwrapping paper I had considered despite glossiness, has no patterns I like. All balloons, ribbons and other useless stuff. What did you use for this shoot? Looks kind of cloudy. I want clouds or marbled type stuff for my shoots. 🙁

    • Tier says:

      OMG nendoroids. I agree that selling them off is a good idea. Buying no more nendoroids is a good idea. We’ll disregard the inconvenient fact that I’m contemplating getting those Orchid Seed Queen’s Gate figures which resemble nendoroids.

      I went with the warmer tone (which is actually a Lightroom adjustment, the original photos were taken with ordinary white light) partially for variation, since looking at twenty pictures taken with the same light is sort of uninteresting. I didn’t mix up the background much since I didn’t build one for this figure and didn’t really have any great ideas for her. The other reason is because yellow is Strength’s identifying color and I wanted to have some yellow-toned pictures (I used a lot of blue for Black Rock Shooter’s shoot since that’s her color). I went with a warmer orange or amber color since in my experience, yellow gels tend to remind me of piss and that’s definitely not the mood or look I’m trying to get. I did spend a lot of time thinking about which one I wanted to roll with for the header image, though. I think I actually liked the neutral-toned photo better than the warm-toned one, but I went with the warmer one since I hadn’t seen anyone shoot Strength with a warm look.

      That’s a nice picture XD Okay, yeah, the background is boring, but you can do some interesting things by mixing up lighting placement. I’d recommend moving your lights around to see what you get.

      The backdrop here is the fake rock background I’ve used in a lot of shoots; I think I’ve used it for Alter’s Nanoha, Volks’s Rei Ayanami, Emaretta-chan, Risty, the Phantom Minds Fate Testarossa figure, and a bunch more … I get a lot of mileage out of it. I’m glad I didn’t pitch it out like I was planning to.

      • Asa says:

        I know you loathe nendos, but I was of the mindset of “well, they’re cheap. So why not” and now they’re worth nothing to resell, so instead of trying to sell them on, I set them up thusly:

        http://myfigurecollection.net/picture/308259

        If I could get a decent price/trade for them, I would, but so far I’ve had no interest in them as a set, only individuals; and I kind of want it as an all or nothing deal. I don’t want to be left with 1-3 of them if only one or two sell.

        Anyway, that aside, it’s true people don’t use warm tones much… generally because it doesn’t suit most figures. 😀 I think the Treila shoot you did are the best warmer toned shots I’ve seen. Most of it just ends up looking weird. Though with this it looks like she could be sitting in a dawn or sunset scene or something I guess. I’m not sure where you get yellow as an official colour, though? I didn’t know they “had” colours. Though it doesn’t surprise me I suppose.

        • Tier says:

          I do! Loathe is perhaps not a vigorous enough word. For many years I have been hoping somebody would fly an airplane into the nendoroid factory … though then again, I am guessing that factory probably also produces scaled figures so probably that would be a bad thing.

          I think warm light is appropriate for figure photos depending on what the photographer is trying to do. I have an alternate explanation for why a lot of people don’t use it often for figure photos: a lot of people have no idea how to light a figure XD Or more delicately, a lot of people don’t seem interested in experimenting with lighting, which is a bit of a shame.

          It’s not really her official color but it’s an identifying color and it comes from their eyes; they all have different eye colors which they retain in their alternate forms. It’s also used with some of their characteristic features, like BRS’s glowing eyeball and Dead Master’s glowing eye sockets.

  8. BioToxic says:

    No, I will not be sucked back in to wanting BRS figures, I refuse!

    I’d originally wanted to get Strength in Nendo form but that desire was soon quenched by the long wait time to pre-order. Strength is probably my favourite BRS character design. She’s got a neat looking black hoody, partially hidden face and white hair. All she needed was a cape and she’d be perfect. The giant hands are a bit goofy looking but I can live with that.

    As expected from GSC she looks top class. I like how they’ve mixed together different paint textures to create an awesome looking set. Glossy stockings, metallic hands and stone blocks. I too thought her pose looked more relaxed than action orientated, which feels a bit at odds with the other BRS characters from the “animation” line-up. But I suppose taking into account her base and the way it’s breaking apart it does look as if she’s jumping back from a powerful attack. With those big hands surely blocking would be better? 😛

    Lucky you picked her up in the bargain bin. I recently picked up an awesome figure from Hobby Search during their half price shipping. She only cost £26 inc shipping which is great deal.

    • Tier says:

      WTF nendoroid form. I saw that those Queen’s Gate figures I was looking at are only like six centimeters tall and I don’t think I want them anymore.

      I’m not sure whether I like BRS or Strength better. They’re my two favorite BRS designs, sort of by default – I don’t really like Dead Master’s capri pants or Black Gold Saw’s Viking horns. I think there are more characters in the franchise but I’m not too familiar with them. Even so, I like both of those characters a lot – their designs, anyway. The OVA was fairly forgettable but the character designs do stand out quite a bit.

      That sounds like a good deal indeed. Both Amiami and HS had some attractive bargains a couple months ago but I didn’t take advantage of most of them; I already got most of the figures I wanted that they discounted. Could’ve saved some money by waiting, but there’s that old saying about hindsight.

  9. Break says:

    on a side note my own strength arrived last friday, and your right she is a nice figure but small and the box is just ridiculously oversized..

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