One of the first anime figures I ever bought was Alpha’s Motoko Kusanagi Hard Disk Version. It’s cheaply-made and primitive by today’s standards, and it’s not a scale-size figure, but even so, I still like it, mainly because I like the character design. Scantily-clad female combat androids are a staple of science fiction anime and video games and, having grown up on that stuff, it’s a theme I like a lot. I hesitated for just a moment on ordering Lacia, since Good Smile Company sold this figure only through their online store and I always consider twice when it comes to paying for a figure up-front. However, after seeing her preview pictures, I felt that this was going to be a fine figure, and now that it’s here, my esteem for Lacia has only grown.
Lacia is a character from BEATLESS, a light novel written by Satoshi Hase and illustrated by redjuice, who also designed Good Smile Company’s Racing Miku figure last year. The name of the series may refer to the fact that Lacia is an android who presumably lacks a heart and circulatory system. I think this figure was the first scale-size figure to be sold through Good Smile Company’s online store and this was my first shopping experience with them. Happily, the ordering and shipping process both went smoothly, unlike some customers’ experiences with one of their earthquake relief nendoroids.
Lacia is a 1/8 scale figure, albeit rather on the small end of that size. She’s about 18 centimeters tall but still takes up a large amount of space due to the impressive device she holds. In total, the figure is around 27 centimeters tall and 23 centimeters long.
The figure comes mostly ready for display, with just four pylons needing to be attached to the device. I had a good deal of difficulty fitting them, but they do stay secure if you attach them correctly, and I probably wasn’t lining them up correctly in the first place. Lacia herself attaches to her base via a single socket in her right foot, which is worrisome since she’s the heaviest part of the assembly. Hopefully that won’t develop into an issue in the future.
Lacia has a lot of cool points about her. Let’s start with the outfit: some thigh-high socks and a high-tech leotard adorned with panel lines comprise her costume. Her socks and sleeves are less elaborate but are painted in a high-gloss black, lending some fetishistic appeal to her image. Accentuating the sensuality of her design are her high heels, which seem grossly incongruous but look fantastic anyway.
Her face does not reveal much, as might be expected for a combat android. She’s quite pretty regardless, with a cold, intimidating, hypnotic gaze. I wonder if it would have been better if they had given her lips, though; her mouth looks a bit like an open slash through her face and maybe lips would’ve softened the comparison. Also, Lacia is plainly similar to Inori Yuzuriha, another of redjuice’s creations, and that character’s anime design has some very sexy lips.
Her base is a faceted piece of matte black plastic, which calls to mind the shape of a stealth fighter. Her device – called the Black Monolith – comes attached to it. Set behind its wielder, it delivers an ominous impression, its sharply-raked angles and abstract formlessness contrasting with the femininity of Lacia’s softly curved body as well as her impassivity.
And though Lacia’s pose is in itself collected and imperturbed, the angles of her body and the Black Monolith effect a dynamic look that generates a sense of energy about her. This is a common theme in redjuice’s artwork as well; for example, in Stupid Missiles – the first picture of his that I ever saw and still one of my favorites – the diagonal lines of the terrain and in the sky and the slant of the structures in the distance establish a feeling of tension and dynamism, even though the main subjects of the work are just sitting or standing around.
The ornate mechanical parts encircling her hips can be removed if desired; her left leg detaches so that they can be pulled off. Normally I would remove them, as I do with most of my figures where the opportunity exists to expose their crotches or backsides, but in this case, she seems less special somehow without them, so she’ll be keeping them on.
As befits a figure sold exclusively through Good Smile Company’s shop, Lacia’s packaging gets the VIP treatment; she comes in a neat black box which also includes this handsome book, ostensibly her owner’s manual. It contains some artwork by redjuice, including concept sketches for Lacia’s design, some background information regarding both the BEATLESS project and the design process of this figure, and an excerpt from the BEATLESS novel, which unfortunately is the only thing an English translation isn’t provided for.
The book of course includes the artwork which this figure was based off of. It also gives some explanation regarding Lacia’s history, her status as an hIE – or humanoid Interface Element – and some miscellaneous trivia about her – such as the fact that she needs to be kept moist and that ownership is established by inserting a finger into her Owner’s Recognition Unit. I like where this is going.
This is her device, a “huge black lump.” It is said that only her owner can unlock the full potential of this device. I think I’ve heard that before …
Lacia and buddies … that dude looks like someone I may have seen before … maybe in a recent anime …
Some preliminary sketches of Lacia. I kind of like this design; the long sleeves are pretty cool, as is the long hair.
Also included in the book is this image of Lacia. It’s very cool, particularly how Lacia’s wings are emerging from her ass rather than her back. Nothing wrong with upending convention from time to time.
And one last note: Lacia’s backside is really cute. No wings are provided, though.
Lacia is a great figure, one that I’m very happy to own. Her design is one that fans of sci-fi anime will find familiar, and combined with redjuice’s prowess, is very appealing. And while her youthful appearance is captivating, the Black Monolith is eye-catching in its angular menace and balances Lacia’s attractiveness. Though Lacia’s design is reminiscent of other characters from the genre – particularly Motoko Kusanagi, whose color palette she shares in large part – there aren’t many figures that look like this one, and this distinctiveness combined with her excellent design and Good Smile Company’s quality make this a fine figure indeed.