When GoodSmile Company sent a stall to the first HyperJapan event back in 2010 to sell Black Rock Shooter merchandise they did something a bit unusual. Alongside their stall they set up a couple of display cabinets to show off forthcoming figures, figures that you weren't actually able to buy even though they had prices on them. In Japan this is quite a common thing at trade shows, but in the UK - where figures trickle through months after their Japanese release - it was incredibly frustrating. We're not used to seeing merchandise first hand that is not for sale, and what made it even more annoying was the fact that the premium statues on display were awesome.
Eventually things followed their usual course and this year
the Black Rock Shooter statues we were drooling over last year have started to
come through to the UK. The first round of figures are of the titular Black Rock Shooter and her main rival Dead Master, with two different premium
figures of each character available to tempt you. Of the two characters I
prefer Dead Master and the one I picked up was the standard figure rather than
the 'Animation Version'. With the high price of these figures combining
with the current crippling exchange rate buying both was never on the cards, and
I much prefer the design of this one.
As with most figures of this type Dead Master comes ready painted and only requires minor assembly, mainly consisting of slotting her onto the supplied stand, attaching her wings and resting her scythe in her hand. At first glance the figure seems really delicate, with lots of fine detail and pieces that look like they'll snap off if you so much as breathe at them. However, it's surprisingly sturdy and although I'm sure it could easily break if knocked over, that's not going to happen in a hurry. Cleverly Good Smile have made the large base the figure connects to heavier than the figure itself, this means that it's very stable once connected and with no fears of it falling and breaking you can really appreciate the full quality of the sculpt. The picture to the right doesn't do it full justice, from every angle the finesse and level of detail is truly impressive. Simply put, this figure looks like a statue, with the delicate folds of her shirt and curls of her hair being far beyond what you normally get with plastic figures, even those in this price range. Black Rock Shooter illustrator Huke's distinctive artwork is perfectly captured by this figure and the fine detail is matched by an equally impressive paint application which is both clean and sharp, with excellent detail on the eyes and the scythe. The sculpt and design is superb, and the only real downside to the figure is the visible join lines in the hair and
down the side of the shirt. This is the only giveaway that this isn't a £150 statue, and even then these flaws are more than outweighed by the figure's plus points.
Close inspection reveals even more impressive detail, including a slight metallic green tint to the hair and a pitted effect on the scythe blade contrasting with the skeletal design of the shaft. Everything about the figure oozes quality, from the tousled hair to the shattered tiles on the base. As you can guess I really like this figure, but what I like most about it is that it's not a typical anime figure. Any time you see this level of delicate detail on a figure, it's usually on one depicting a scantily-clad and buxom character. But not this time. I love how conservative the figure is, it's rare to get figures of female anime characters who are pretty much fully clothed and don't have boobs the size of their head. This figure isn't overtly sexualised, and it makes it look pretty classy as a result.
I really can't recommend this figure highly enough, it's simply one of the best currently available and if you want it you'll need to grab it as soon as possible. A figure this good won't be around for long.
As well as the impressively sculpted stand the figure comes with a length of chain that can be hung on or wrapped around her and an alternative finger that allows a 'floating' skull to be attached to her hand. There's a small instruction leaflet explaining how to do this as it is pretty fiddly, but it looks good when done. Pretty decent overall.