Let me tell you about my favourite video game. Once upon a time there was a game called Valkyria Chronicles, a strategic RPG from Sega that featured a unique mix of turn-based and real-time action, an appealing storybook aesthetic, an amazing WWII-meets-medieval art design, and a riveting story that took me on a variety of missions, from small skirmishes, to fighting in the trenches, to avoiding night-time patrols, to fending off some of the most oversized pieces of war machinery you’ll ever see. Part of me want sequels to the game, yet another part of me is grateful for that fact that none exist — I mean, imagine if the franchise ended up on the PSP! Gee, what a nightmare that would be!

My favourite character is definitely Selvaria, one of the antagonists of the story. In many ways she is akin to the Ayanami Rei from Evangelion — they both have blue hair, red eyes and pale skin. In fact, Selvaria was supposed to have virtually the same haircut as Rei before it was decided that she had to have long hair to show off the hair physics in some of the scenes. The similarity between these characters extend even down to their personalities, as they are both “empty vessel” characters who are devoted to an exploitative figure because they are the only people they have. For Rei it was Gendo, and for Selvaria it was Maximillian, the power-hungry Imperial prince with way too many toys at his disposal.

The art design in Valkyria Chronicles is outstanding, and like the rest of the main characters, Selvaria has a really cool outfit — a sleek black military outfit that brings out her womanly curves and her no-nonsense sensibility simultaneously. Alter has made a figure with her in that outfit, and sadly I missed the boat for it. Luckily for me, Alter decided to take another stab at the character, I wasn’t about to pass it up.

I know quite a few people who have been excited about this figure, and I’m sure they have their own explanations on why Selvaria appeals to them, but to me, the reason is that she’s maximum woman. Virtually all of the feminine characteristics have been cranked up to 11, and while this might have been a disaster, character designer Raita has the know-how to make it work, and by extension, Alter was also able make such an exaggerated image so appealing.

Back in sociology 101, I watched a video which suggested that much of the gender-specific fashions and practices found worldwide revolve around the idea of emphasizing the differences between the sexes, from breast implants, to wearing high heels, right down to neck rings and foot-binding. It was a convincing argument, and the character design of Selvaria really goes a long way to reinforce that.

Starting from the bottom, Selvaria’s got a pair of dainty feet (for a woman her size, at least) wrapped by high heels and attached to a pair of long legs. Ever vigilant, Selvaria’s packing a large pistol and a dagger on her right leg, the holster digging ever-so-slightly into her thigh.

Above the legs rests Selvaria’s mighty child-bearing hips, which are barely contained by the belt and bikini bottom combination. In case the dagger and pistol doesn’t drive the message home, Selvaria’s also got a full-sized sword slung from her hips, presumably reserved for drunken subordinates who are foolish enough to get fresh with the commander. I’m a big fan of the belt’s ornate and exotic look, and the handguard on the sword is pretty stunning. the belt and the sword are the only parts retained from her original outfit, and I’m glad for that fact, as they are definitely the highlights.

Now we arrive my favourite part of the figure — Selvaria’s torso. The first thing you’ll notice is her bounteous pair of breasts. Each one rivals the size of her head, and I just love the way her bikini top bites into them, creating some serious side-boob and under-boob. I do wish they went with Raita’s original swimsuit design for Selvaria, as it frames her chest in an more appealing manner even if it shows less skin, but there’s nothing wrong with what we got. Another detail I enjoy is the way the strings on her bikini are suspended like slingshots, while the fabric does a spectacularly poor job at concealing the shape of her pointy nipples…yum. Did I mention Selvaria is 1/7 scale and 24 cm tall? That’s nothing to scoff at.

Selvaria’s breasts aren’t the only thing commanding attention on her torso, though — she’s also got a killer midriff. Her back is arched like a drawn bow, revealing the outlines of her ribcage below her chest — a rare bit of detail on a figure. A fleshy yet tone midriff lies below, and together with the natural (if oversized) contours of her breasts, they create a potently erotic feel.

Because I tweaked the colours on these photos during post-processing, I should mention that Selvaria’s skin is consistent with the source material, meaning it’s very pale. Personally I prefer tanned skin on characters, but in Selvaria’s case, he pale skin contrasts very well against her black and gold swimsuit.

By contrast of her voluptuous torso, Selvaria’s arms and shoulders are remarkably slender. The small binding on her left arm to which a tiny knife is attached to is a far cry from the chunky sheath and holster on her right leg. The delicate appearance of her arms reinforce the feminine nature of her design.

Finally, her Selvaria’s head sits atop of a long, swan-like neck — yet another feminine characteristic touched upon by the design, much like her hip-length head of light blue hair. The hair is made of a flexible and rubbery material, so it won’t break off without some serious effort. The glossy finish looks a lot like Alter’s Aigis (which I still have to write about…), but it unlike Aigis, the glossy finish works a lot better here, since Selvaria’s hair is actually supposed to have that almost-glowing effect.

At first I was taken back by how pronounced Selvaria’s nose is from the side view, but I’m not so sure now. I still can’t say I’m a fan, but Raita is known for large pointy noses, which looks fine on paper, but a little odd in three dimensions. From the front, Selvaria’s nose is hardly visible, yet from the side her nose seems gigantic. I’m not sure if there was anything that the sculptor could’ve done about it, since it’s just a matter of art style. I do like her expression, which seems to capture the moment she snaps out of an absent-minded daydream. It’s a very natural and relaxed expression, which really suits a swimsuit figure.

Of course, there’s also Selvaria’s base, which is a bit of an interesting piece. For whatever reason, the commander has decided to spend her day off at some beachside rubble. It might’ve been nice beach house at one point, but judging by the rust and shape on the water pipes, it has seen far better days. What’s also interesting is that Selvaria is resting her sizable bum against the corner a wall, which looks very uncomfortable for her and very hot to me. There are some pretty visible seam lines near the bottom of the base, which is odd considering that it’s an Alter figure, but asides from that it’s a very nice and unique base.

 

Final Say

Selvaria is a whole lot of woman. High heels, long legs, large breasts, slender arms, long neck, long hair — she’s got it all. The end result is a character who looks a little unnatural, even alien, yet it’s for this exact reason that I like her. Anime and manga art is rarely about realism, but rather it’s the pursuit of idealized elements, and in true Raita fashion, Alter’s Selvaria rides pushes the limits of those ideals. I love how her gigantic breasts are able cast noticeable shadows, I love the details on her midriff, and I love her impossibly long silhouette. I imagine for some people, the culmination of all of Selvaria’s exaggerated characteristics might be too much, and to those people I say: sucks to be you!

Besides that, there’s really not much to say. It’s an Alter figure, so you pretty much get what you see, which puts into question the entire point of this review…oh well, hope you enjoyed my essay on plastic tits!

On the photos: whew, getting back into the groove has proven to a little difficult, but I’m glad to be back to my old shenanigans after…nine months?! Fuck me. Anyways, I did away with the old light box and went with a work lamp + paper towel setup. I do like the seamless pure black effect produced by the fabric back drop and black glass, but I wish the hard backlight effect was more pronounced. Still, I’m moderately happy with how these photos turned out — now comes the hard part of having to figure out how to actually make something creative.