Time for my first photo review! (Yay!) It took numerous sessions, much trial and error, and seeking photography tips online before I came up with a set of photos I was (mostly) happy with.
I chose Alter’s 1/8 Yagyu Jubei figure to serve as my first review. It was released relatively late in 2009; right around the time I was trying to launch this new figure blog. From the moment she was announced, Jubei became one of my most anticipated figure releases of the year. Combining Alter’s vaunted quality with a dynamite character design should be a recipe for instant win, no?
- Character design — Jubei has a very unique and eye-catching character design. She would appear to be something of a mix between a ninja and samurai archetype, but she doesn’t look like a cookie-cutter variation on either of those themes. Her outfit is sexy, but not shameless. She has curves, but they’re not outrageous or distracting. The warm colors of Jubei’s outfit and hair complement each other well and provide a nice contrast against her eyes.
- Pose/sculpt — I frequently associate Alter with dynamic or action poses. While Jubei is presented in a fairly static pose by their standards, I think it’s one that is visually interesting and complements the character design well. The sculpt is detailed and well-proportioned. Some people have suggested that Jubei’s legs look too long on this figure, but I think they look fine.
- Fit and finish — Alter has a well-deserved reputation for creating some of the highest quality figures anywhere and their Jubei doesn’t stray far from the basic formula. The paint work is neat and uniform with good gradation enhancing the details. Jubei requires minimal assembly with only the base and her “rope tail” requiring attachment out of the box. Everything fits together snugly and there are no obvious gaps where there shouldn’t be.
- Dull colors — This is my single biggest knock against this figure. When viewed in person, Jubei looks decidedly less vibrant (color-wise) than she does in photos. I initially thought this was just a difference between the pre-production master and the final PVC until my own photos produced similar results. It’s not a huge issue, but the discrepancy is one of the first things you notice when viewing the figure in real life.
- Bland base — Alter went with a plain white base emblazoned with a gold Hyakka Ryoran logo. While the base is functional and holds Jubei securely, it looks positively pedestrian next to the elaborate bases that Good Smile Company has done recently with their 1/7 Saber and 1/8 Black Rock Shooter figures.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with my Jubei and I think Alter has hit most of the right notes with this figure. I noticed that foo-bar-baz gave Jubei only 3/5 stars. I’m not sure why they awarded the low score, but I definitely feel she’s a better figure than their score would suggest.
On a related note, I also have Alter’s Hobby Japan exclusive version of Jubei clad in a swimsuit on preorder. I liked what I saw in the promo photos enough to order the figure despite the added cost the HJ exclusivity brings. ^_^