Alter kicked off 2011 with Fate Testarossa and yet another figure of the blonde mage is among those that will close this year. In fact, Alter released five figures of Fate in 2011 alone, demonstrating that she is one of their favorite characters. Their love affair with the lightning wizard will surely continue unabated, as Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force is still untapped and more significantly, the second movie is on the way, with a new costume for Fate. Admittedly, it looks quite like her old costume with just a few changes but that certainly will not deter figure makers and Fate’s fans will certainly not object.
All of Alter’s recent Fate figures have been sculpted in 1/7 scale and this one is no different. The distance between the base and the highest part of Fate’s hand is about 23.5 centimeters, so the figure is reasonably large. She comes with a white plastic base that lacks the famous Engrish that Alter provided on the StrikerS figure bases.
This figure is labeled as coming from the first Nanoha film. It’s been a while since I watched it but I really don’t remember Fate ever wearing a bikini in the movie. Nor do I remember her smiling much and to be honest, it’s a bit strange seeing Fate smiling here. She’s a gloomy girl and for good reason – she goes to work and gets beat up by Nanoha, and then she comes home and gets beat up by her mom. She doesn’t have a lot to be happy about. And she certainly doesn’t have time to be going to the beach.
Apropos or not, she’s wearing a swimsuit, which is quite cute. It reminds me a lot of Alter’s old swimsuit Saber figure, with the same white color and even a similar low-rise style. I would’ve taken pictures of them together except my Saber figure snapped its base pegs years ago and I haven’t fixed that yet.
While her bikini is cute, I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly flattering on her, since she’s got the body build of a very young girl. That’s no surprise, of course, being that Fate is nine years old here, but she doesn’t have much in the way of a sharply defined waist or curvy hips. Strictly speaking, neither does the Phantom Minds figure, but although both Fates have the same physique, that figure has a sleeker look, probably because she’s wrapped in glossy black latex.
Curiously, her bikini buttom is cut more conservatively than her usual barrier jacket outfit. It kinda feels like it should be more revealing; Fate’s backside is one of the reasons people watch the show in the first place and maybe it should have been given more prominence here.
Alter almost never offers a castoff option on their figures, but Fate is an exception to the rule. She comes with a shawl – a pareo, I guess – that fits around her hips. She separates at the waist, right at the waistband of her swimsuit. It’s a very common castoff method but Alter thoughtfully provides an instruction sheet just in case anyone is unfamiliar with the procedure.
Although happiness doesn’t seem to fit Fate, it’s still a pleasing look. Perhaps it marginalizes some of the distinguishing – and attractive – aspects of Fate’s personality, but I suppose a sad frown and a bikini don’t mix all that well. Her pose complements her happy look as well; I’m not sure if she’s jumping or hovering but whatever she’s doing, she looks energetic and lively, with Bardiche in one hand. It’s a good thing she’s flashing Bardiche for everyone to see, since a cynic might note that that’s the only way you’d be able to tell for sure that this is Fate, with many of her characteristic qualities removed.
I really like the way Fate’s hair is sculpted, with her twintails splayed out and sinuous like tentacles. It enhances the effervescence and vibrance of her appearance and generates a bit of excitement that is otherwise hard to find in a swimsuit figure.
But not a lot of excitement and I have to admit, this is not the most dynamic or visually impressive Fate figure around, particularly compared to Alter’s barrier jacket Fate figures. Regardless, I do like this figure – principally because I like Fate, to be sure, and I am predisposed to like every Fate figure that exists, but I think it has a good deal of appeal on its own merits. Fate is quite cute, she seems happy, and her pose is interesting. It would’ve been nice if her bikini were a bit more alluring, but I suppose we can’t have everything. I think Fate fans will be happy to own this figure and non-Fate fans – or Fate fans who feel no compulsion to buy more than one or two figures of her – will be happy to skip this one, and thus everyone will be as happy as Fate is.
It’s curious that Alter released this figure of loli Fate, and then scheduled a swimsuit figure of Nanoha from StrikerS. One wonders if they’ll do a matching loli Nanoha or adult Fate; I’m guessing the latter is more likely. It’s going to be sort of strange having a swimsuit figure of nine year old Fate next to a swimsuit figure of nineteen year old Nanoha.