Remaining loyal to the North American anime industry is an exercise in perseverance. One must repeatedly endure the inevitable time lag between a series airing in Japan and seeing it licensed, localized, and ultimately released on domestic DVD and/or Blu-ray. At best, this delay is measured in months; at worst, years. Shakugan no Shana is a series that had it worse than most. Its fate was tied to the sinking ship that was Geneon, which was responsible for releasing the first season of SnS on DVD years ago. Despite the apparent transfer of numerous Geneon licenses to Funimation back in mid-2008, which presumably included the Shakugan no Shana rights, the second SnS TV series from the Fall 2007 season did not make its NA debut until December 2012. The 2007 feature film and Fall 2009 OVA series followed in January and the third, and final, TV series is promised for next month. At least Funi is making up for lost time by releasing all of SnS in rapid succession.
As part of the NA Shakugan no Shana (re)launch, I have been re-watching the series starting from the first season, which I already had on DVD from the Geneon days, and proceeding through the newer content. As such, I thought it would be a good opportunity to dust off one of my figures of the eponymous loli-tsundere heroine for review, while the series is still fresh on my mind.
Max Factory originally released this 1/8 scale PVC rendition of Shana back in late 2007, which makes this a pretty old figure–one of the oldest in my collection. At just 175 mm tall, she is also easily the smallest–a bit disappointing if you like your figures as large as possible.
Shana is depicted in full Flame Haze mode, with the Nieto no Shana slung casually across one shoulder, flaming red hair fanning outward, seifuku billowing in the wind, while wagging a defiant finger at some unseen foe. It’s a pretty solid pose that captures Shana’s essence as a confident, in-your-face fighter.
Size and detail are often inversely proportional, but this figure retains pretty good detail despite its diminutive size. Shana’s voluminous red hair is easily the centerpiece, as it is Shana’s most striking characteristic when in battle. Max Factory used a semi-transparent plastic that is an almost fully opaque dark red near Shana’s temples and transitions to a translucent orange at the tips of each strand. The light refracted through the translucent plastic gives the hair a faux glow when viewed in the right light and does a reasonable job of approximating the signature look of Shana’s flaming hair.
The sculpt also features an Easter egg in that our heroine can be displayed sans-skirt by separating the upper and lower halves of the torso via a seam cleverly hidden by the overhang of the blouse. The effect is fairly innocuous in that Shana’s panties are not overly detailed and the undulating hem of her skirt, as sculpted, doesn’t do a particularly good job of hiding her unmentionables even when in place.
Overall craftsmanship is respectable by modern standards, but it’s still a noticeable a step down from Max Factory’s contemporary scale offerings. Everything is just a tad bit rougher and less refined in terms of both sculpt and paint quality. The most obvious flaw worth noting are Shana’s hands, which I find to be unnaturally awkward at certain angles–particularly, her sword hand when viewed straight on.
The display base is a completely unadorned, perfectly circular slab of glossy black plastic. It is appropriately sized for the figure and holds Shana securely, but provides little beyond the bare essentials. Scenic (or diorama) bases were hardly the norm or even a trend back in 2007, though, so I guess I can’t really fault Max Factory for this design.
All in all, Max Factory’s Shana is a pretty good interpretation of the most adorable Flame Haze out there. Shana, as a character, has been blessed with a good many figures, but very few are particularly memorable and I think this particular piece is as definitive as it gets in terms of scale Shanas. This figure is showing its age somewhat, but more so in terms of Max Factory’s own work than the industry at large. As such, I think this Shana, when moderately priced, can still be a sensible pickup for dedicated Shana fans. Individuals less invested in her character will probably be better served by sticking with newer designs.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout-out to super rats over at HappySoda for providing the definitive review that made me want to pick up Shana in the first place. I distinctly remember scouring Yahoo Auctions Japan after seeing that review, because, prior to that point, this figure really wasn’t on my radar.
- Dashing, character-appropriate pose
- Dazzling hair
- Excellent craftsmanship (circa 2007)
- Still pretty good craftsmanship (circa 2013)
- Small for 1/8 scale
- Prosthetic hands
- Still showing some age
Details are a tad sparser than usual as this figure came before I started meticulously budgeting my figure purchases.
- Purchased from: Yahoo Auctions JP (via Celga)
- Order date: 23-Oct-2008
- Base price (USD): $77
- Shipping cost (USD): $24 (EMS)
- Total cost (USD): $101
- Package dimensions (width): 168 mm
- Package dimensions (height): 233 mm
- Package dimensions (depth): 168 mm
- Shipping weight (figure): 124 g
- Shipping weight (figure + display box): 347 g