For a site without a whole lot of content, we have already reached the fourth Saber-related review here at Hobby Hovel, and boy is it getting hard to rub out an introduction. It’s not as if there’s anyone who hasn’t heard of character before, because with the recent BD/DVD release of the Unlimited Blade Works movie, even the newest of the newfags would know who this blonde chick with a big-ass sword is.
But as ridiculously popular as Saber is, I gotta give it to the old girl – she is a great character. Saber is strong-willed and mature, yet her appearance as a petit teenage girl and the tender/funny moments in the plot allow the reader to emotionally invest in the character with startling ease. Unlike her tsundere and kouhai co-stars, it is hard to place Saber neatly in a trope. Instead, author Nasu Kinoko put the character of a respectable heroine into moe-friendly packaging and fully embraces the seemingly paradoxical nature of the combination right down to the ahoge sticking out of her head, and I think this absurd matchup is the key reason behind her charm as a character – after all, what’s cuter than the King of the Britons getting flustered over a home-cooked meal?
But enough of this wannabe aniblogger nonsense and let’s get down to Good Smile Company’s highly-anticipated figure. Long story short: if you have procrastinated on deciding whether or not to order this figure to this day, it’s time to stop dicking around, because despite the presence of a significant flaw, Saber ~Triumphant Excalibur~ is without a doubt the definitive Saber figure out there – and that’s saying a lot, considering the sheer number that has been produced to this day.
As a 1/7th scale figure, Saber is 23 centimetres (9 inches) tall. However, like the GSC Saber Lily that came before it, the mass of this figure is amplified by its immense width. Expanded by her dramatic leap, Saber’s battle dress makes this figure quite the space-hogger.
Back in my Saber Lily review, one of my few reasonable complaints was against the lack of depth in the hair. Fortunately, GSC avoided repeating the same mistake by giving Saber’s hair a full-fledge paint treatment. The seam line between the front and back half of the hair is almost indistinguishable, and the sculpt of her bangs and side locks is sharp and crisp. Personally, I would have preferred a richer tone blonde like the figma version, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with what we have here either.
Anyone with a pair of working eyeballs should know from the promo shots of the figure that Saber’s face is exceptional. The final product stays true to what GSC promised – a fierce pair of emerald eyes and a mouth brimming with two rows of pearly whites. I can’t stress enough how much well-sculpted teeth enhance the appearance of a figure’s face – it worked wonders for GSC’s Canaan, and Saber’s no exception.
However, there is a significant problem: as nice as Saber’s face may be, it is very difficult to see the lower half of her face due to the obstruction from her left arm. The clear angle as seen in the promo shots does not exist in reality, so whereas you can almost make out Saber’s chin in the promo shots, you’d be lucky if you can even see her lower lip on the final product. Needless to say, the face is a crucial part of any figure, and have such a crucial spot obscured to such a degree is a serious misstep.
Thankfully, the position of Saber’s head is the only real flaw she suffers from, and virtually everything else about this figure is superb. Let’s start with the armour; the metallic finish applied to Saber’s plates carries a strikingly realistic appearance. This is especially the case with the side tasset plates, on which darker tones are applied around the rivets and the division along the centre. The design of the armour may not be as complex as Saber Lily’s, but there is definitely an enhanced sense of depth to be found here.
The big blue dress Saber wears underneath her armour is by no means complicated, but GSC definitely did not spare any expenses in making it as pleasing as it possibly can be. The gold edge is painted with crisp precision, the stretches of cloth are shaded, and even gold oval-shaped ornaments on the edges of her inner white skirt are admirably executed. The rounded sculpt of the outer layer carries an impression of weight, while the ruffled inner skirt conveys a sense of motion. Together with the tasset plates, the lower half of this figure has a superb multi-layered look that is not only pleasing on the eyes, but is also a haven for dust to settle! …Okay, maybe the latter isn’t so great, but is that really going to sway your opinion of her dress?
One interesting thing I found about the dress is the pattern on the “loincloth”. When I first opened the figure, I thought I was the victim of some terrible quality control – the loincloth looks like it’s got scratches all over it. Upon closer inspection, however, I soon realized these so-called “scratches” are actually deliberately made to reproduce the pattern as seen in the original art. While I appreciate the attention paid towards accuracy, I gotta admit – it’s not a very appealing pattern.
There’s not a lot to see under Saber’s hood, since Saber is clad in a conservative pair of pantaloons. But alas, no figure review would be complete without an obligatory upskirt shot.
Saber’s oval display base depicts a tiled surface that has seen some servant-related vandalism. While it’s far from the focal point of the figure, GSC did a great job with the busted tiles and the blasted concrete. The only thing connecting the base to the figure is an inconspicuous metal rod. While it definitely feels sturdy, doesn’t reach all that deep into Saber’s foot. Some may wonder whether the figure would bend in the future, but personally, I have faith in Good Smile Company – after all, bending is one of the most commonly-known pitfalls of the bishoujo figure world, and it would be pretty mind-boggling if the folks at GSC somehow completely neglected this concern.
Saber comes with two weapons: a normal Excalibur and a semi-transparent Excalibur. The former is exactly what you’d expect, along with some metallic gradient effect running down the center of the blade. When compared side-to side with the Excalibur that came with Saber Lily, you would find the new Excalibur to be longer and noticeably thicker.
Revoltech Saber, GSC was nice enough to throw in this incredible effect part by combining a coloured transparent sword and a foggy wind components detailed with hints of blue at the tips. Needless to say, it looks absolutely fantastic.
Those who also own GSC’s Saber Lily may be pleased to know that the weapons of both figures are interchangeable.
I mentioned earlier in the review that this is the definitive Saber figure. Do I mean this is the best Saber figure? By no means. “Best” is a very subjective term, and different people have different tastes. Some may prefer Saber in a maid outfit, while others may prefer her in a lion suit, and so on. But as far as the essence of the character is concerned, I can confidently say Good Smile Company’s 1/7th scale Saber ~Triumphant Excalibur” is without equal, because at the end of the day, the king of the Britons is a professional ass-kicker, not a bikini model or a domestic servant. Not only is this figure well-produced and beautiful to behold, it also captures the character in an “IMMA HIT U WITH MY SWORD” moment, which is more than enough to overcome the disappointing flaw of the obstruction over her lower face – and then some. No matter how many other Saber figure you may already have, if you are a true Saber-phile and do not own this figure yet, then you’ve got a 9,800 yen mistake to correct.
- Superb rendition of “Invisible Air”
- Dynamic pose captures the essence of the character
- Virtually perfect quality control
- Impressive depth in the paint work
- “I can’t believe it’s not metal!”
- Mouth is excessively obscured by clothing and her left arm