Occasionally we look at figures that are aimed at the Western audience. Or in this case, made from a Western property; one would think that this figure is targeted at the US market but it’s actually manufactured by XM Studios, a relatively small company based in Singapore. As such, it’s not actually widely distributed in North America. Another odd thing about this statue is that while comic book properties are wildly popular these days, most of the most lucrative products are derived from movie adaptations, such as Wonder Woman and Deadpool. Witchblade – the figure obviously depicted here – is essentially a retired title at this moment, as it completed its 185-issue run in 2015. And one more unusual thing about this figure is its price; at $780, it is likely the most expensive figure in my collection.
Witchblade has been an enduring franchise; never the most well-known or best-selling comic but popular enough to have received a modestly successful television series on the TNT network in 2001 (cancelled after two seasons largely due to the lead actress’s acute alcohol addiction) as well as at least one movie pitch, though it seemingly never got off the ground. The adaptation most familiar to this site’s readers will likely be the anime version produced by Gonzo in 2006, which starred the likes of Mamiko Noto and Nana Mizuki. That show spawned a number of figures, including one reviewed on this website years and years ago (I have a size comparison picture further down).
There were actually two more Japanese adaptations; a manga titled Witchblade Takeru which starred a Japanese schoolgirl named Takeru Ibaraki (whose Witchblade suit was rather more like the version seen here on Sara Pezzini than the one Masane wore) and a light novel (of all things) titled Witchblade Lost Generation which focused on a girl named Yuri Miyazono. The manga did receive an official English publication (with the predictable graphic quirk of placing the Witchblade on Takeru’s left hand, as the images were all reversed for the American release) but as far as I know, the light novel has not.
The Japanese anime and the American comic book ostensibly inhabit the same fictional universe. While seemingly unlikely given their vast differences in plot and tone, this arrangement offers a modicum of plausibility due to the anime being set in futuristic Tokyo whereas the comic book occurs mostly in contemporary New York City. And while the supporting characters in each series are quite different, the protagonists are quite alike in personality. The comic stars Sara Pezzini – a New York policeperson and the lady depicted here – and the anime features Masane Amaha, an unemployed mother. Each character is kind, hard-working, intelligent, a bit compulsive and hot-blooded, and willing to battle the forces of evil and injustice. Both also struggle with living with the Witchblade, and their attempts to find normalcy within extraordinary circumstances is a major theme of both works. And both also try to cope with unexpected motherhood; Masane’s parenthood constitutes the most important thread of her series, whereas the birth of Sara’s child leads her to divest herself of the Witchblade to a blonde millennial named Danielle Baptiste for a time and leads to the events that conclude the comic’s story.
This statue is manufactured by XM Studios in 1/4 scale. It stands at least a colossal 52 centimeters in height, including the base (I measured the height with the hair-down head; the alternate head – with the hair flowing upwards – would be even taller). Just to repeat, this figure is over half a meter tall. The manufacturer lists its weight as 7.9 kilograms (or a little over 17 pounds), and while I don’t have a scale to verify that, I can certainly believe it after moving it around.
The figure includes two different heads – one with hair up and the other with hair down – and two different left arms, one with a large polearm and one without. A bound full-color instruction manual supplies steps for assembly, and a large print of the source illustration (credited to Studio Hive rather than a single artist) is provided. 600 units of Sara were produced; mine is #399.
I purchased this statue from Secret Compass, a specialty retailer in Colorado. I had never ordered from them before and I always feel a bit of trepidation when I drop this much money at a store that I’ve never shopped at, particularly when I have to place a deposit to secure my preorder (which was not surprising or unusual to me). Happily, my order was processed and delivered with no problems and I’d have no worries about shopping there again.
Sara mostly owes her appearance to the talents of the late Michael Turner, one of Top Cow’s best-known artists and the comic’s original penciller. Later artists (such as Stejpan Sejic, who drew nearly a quarter of the issues in the series’ run) would put their own spin on her look, but her brown hair, massive right-hand gauntlet, and skimpy armor were hallmarks established in the first issue. (Michael Turner died in 2008 at the age of 37 due to cancer. Having been a fan of his work on Witchblade, Fathom, and Soulfire, I was very saddened when he passed away.)
When Witchblade was started up, the Bad Girl era of the 1990s was in full swing, and no doubt Turner’s design sensibilities were informed by the trends of that time. Witchblade earned a reputation for sexualizing the look of its main character, though the interior art was usually far more tame than the cover illustrations. A decade later, film adaptations of comics became a hugely profitable enterprise and the online social justice Taliban found a welcoming (and echo-prone) home for their screeds on Tumblr and Twitter; comic book heroines in abbreviated outfits subsequently ceased to be a big thing (Sejic drew the Witchblade armor as an elaborate and complex bodysuit that covered everything but Sara’s face).
You wouldn’t know that from looking at this figure (or, frankly at most figure adaptations of comic book characters), though. Here, Sara is dressed in the most well-known version of her Witchblade outfit, the one that bares most of her torso and upper legs. An ornate pattern of green-tinted metal comprises her suit, resembling organic lingerie designed by a fashion house in Mordor. Her right shoulder is covered with a big spiky pauldron and her legs are sheathed in high-heeled thigh-high boots.
The Witchblade itself is not actually a blade but the gauntlet on her right hand. It is also quite spiky and features a few gems in primary colors, the blue and red ones being larger than the gold one.
The sculpting is done really well; the larger size of this statue allows the detail to be easily visible and while some 1/4 scale figures skimp on this type of complexity, XM Studios does not.
The left hand can be posed holding this large pole axe. I don’t actually recall Sara using a bardiche of this type but she has one nonetheless. It has the same green color as her suit and the base which makes it a little less visible than I would like, but it is impressive once you notice it.
She comes with two heads, one with her hair down and the other with her hair billowing out and with her lips parted. I like the hair-down option better, but the hair-up head has its charms, too. This head reminds me a bit of a Cindy Crawford poster I had when I was younger.
The standard head features an affable demeanor, with Sara flashing a friendly smile. She is wearing a good deal of makeup, which might look a little trashy to some people. Personally, I think she looks great. I should note that the seam in her neck where her head detaches is not disguised in the least, though I don’t find it too noticeable in real life.
A more conspicuous sculpting quirk is the massive arch of her back. From the front, she appears to be standing upright but the profile view shows that she’s actually striding forward, and so her back is strongly curved to keep her upper body straight.
This anatomical quirk has some unusual ramifications. It tilts Sara’s head down quite a bit – though again, this is mainly noticeable in profile. It also makes her ass look smaller than it really is.
Speaking of which, her backside is fully visible should the viewer be behind the statue, thanks to the largesse of the Witchblade design. Her armor tapers back to a thong, fully in keeping with the design sensibilities of the rest of her suit.
The base is an impressive affair, with Sara stepping on the skull of some type of demon thing while green tendrils writhe around her body.
There’s a magnet in that skull which keeps Sara steady while she lords over it.
To further emphasize how big Sara is, here we can see the two Witchblade wielders, Sara and Masane, meeting up. Keep in mind that Kotobukiya’s Masane is a big figure, being 1/6 scale and about 26 centimeters in height. Nonetheless, she looks like a Nenderoid when placed next to Sara.
This statue was expensive as hell but I have no regrets. On the contrary, this figure is now one of my favorites. I’ve been a Witchblade fan for a long time and seeing this statue is a delight. Sara looks very sexy and the rendition of the Witchblade suit is perfect. The large size of this statue is highly impressive and the optional parts make a fantastic product that much better. This really is a superb figure, one of the best in my collection.