We’ll take a short respite from reviewing hentai figures and instead look at this figure of Black Heart – not the demonic villain from the Marvel Comics universe, but the Sony-themed goddess from the Hyperdimension Neptune video game franchise. Compile Heart and parent company Idea Factory have made a number of anime-themed RPGs, most of which have languished in obscurity, but they hit it big with the Neptune series, which has since spawned numerous games, a mediocre television anime, but surprisingly few figures, meaning that any time we get to look at a figure from this series is a special moment.
Black Heart is the alter ego of Noire, one of the central characters of the Neptune series. She is the personification of the Sony PlayStation console and is unsurprisingly amongst the most popular characters of the series. She has even starred in her own spinoff game, which debuted on the PS Vita and was later ported to PC.
The original Neptune game was generally panned for its frustrating game mechanics but the series has survived that criticism, and I suppose that is also unsurprising as the main draw of the series is not found in its gameplay but in its quirky and deliberately self-conscious sense of humor, its appealing, scantily-clad all-female cast, and a shamelessly unrepentant commitment to providing a prodigious portion of fanservice to its players. Strangely, though I feel like the Neptune series is something I should have gotten into, I’ve never played the games, even though I own the first three games (and then bought the remake of the first game on Steam). I’ll admit that a major reason for this circumstance is that although I’m as much a sucker for fanservice as any anime fan – this website is ample evidence of that – I really don’t have the inclination to spend so much time playing unremarkable games. That said, I am fond of the character designs. I hope that Green Heart will get a figure someday, as I’m something of an Xbox fanboy and more significantly, she has the largest and best rack of any of the original characters.
This figure is manufactured by Alter in 1/7 scale. Counting the wings, this figure is about 30 centimeters in total height. Somewhat unusually for an Alter figure, Black Heart has two detachable right hands, one holding a sword and one clenched in a fist.
It’s fairly plain that Black Heart is a high-quality, good-looking figure, as most Alter products are, but the initial impression after unboxing her is a profoundly negative one as she has a profoundly irritating assembly procedure. Four of her wing blades slot into notches in her hair, which is a bizarre way to do things, but the real trouble stems from the difficulty in getting those wings securely placed, which I was not quite able to do; just getting them slightly inserted requires a great deal of force both on the wing and on the figure’s hair, and more than once I found myself hoping that I wouldn’t snap either.
Moving past that, she is a very nice figure. She is reminiscent of a number of older Alter mecha girl and magical girl figures, such as Shin Sonic Fate and Exelica with her energetic midair pose, aggressive expression, and complex design.
The Neptune series is noted for embracing fanservice, and Black Heart’s costume is in keeping with this philosophy. She wears a leotard with a prominent cutout that displays her cleavage, thigh-high boots, and a pair of long gloves that end in talons. While sexy, her costume isn’t quite as revealing as it could be; I’d like a higher leg cut, personally.
As is typical for a mecha girl, she comes with a constellation of machinery that sprouts out of her body, her outfit, and orbits around her. They do a nice job of providing a hard, mechanical contrast to her lithe, half-exposed body. One odd thing I noticed is that the left antenna-like thing that emerges from her head doesn’t quite fit in all the way, although its right-side counterpart does. I’m not sure why that is but it bothers me more than it probably should.
Her wings do look nice as well, adding a touch of color to what is an otherwise monochrome design.
Alter did a nice job with her eyes, which feature power symbol-shaped pupils.
Black Heart comes with two right hands, one holding her gigantic sword and one clenched into a fist. Without the sword, the balance of interest is wholly centered on the figure, and I think I prefer to display her this way. This mode also doesn’t take up nearly as much valuable shelf space.
I like that Noire has a fairly serious expression here. That’s a fairly common thing for Alter and I haven’t really thought about it, but perhaps that’s another reason why I like their products so much; they’ve made figures from series like Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls and while those shows are generally happy-spirited and lighthearted, their figures generally evince a sense of determination and solemnity rather than the gleeful open-mouthed smile that a different manufacturer might go with.
The paintwork is superb, which should come as no surprise. The metallic accents of Black Heart’s leotard are a particularly nice touch, but every technical aspect of this figure impresses.
That is, except for the required assembly, but aside from that, this is an exceptional figure. It’s in keeping with Alter’s history of producing ambitious and dynamic action girl figures, and it’s nice to see that they can still make figures like this, after having recently produced quite a few figures that look rather staid in comparison. It’s a great figure of a character with a lovely design. Hopefully they do Green Heart someday, too.