Firstly planed in June 2009, delayed in August 2009... Saber Lily by Good Smile Company was finally truly available in late September 2009 in the Japanese Archipelago. I got mine last week o/
Name: Saber Lily - Distant Avalon.
Manufacturer: Good Smile Company (page of the figure).
Official price: 9,333yen excluding taxes / 9,800yen including taxes
RRP in Europe: 100 Euro.
Release (Japan): September 2009.
Original: Fate/Unlimited codes (official website).
Scale: 1/7 - Height: 23 cm
Type: Figurine PVC
Sculptor: Takayuki Kawahara
Box size: 27.4 cm x 27.3 cm x 21.8 cm
WHERE DOES SABER LILY COME FROM?
Saber Lily is an extra costume that Capcom made up for the video game Fate/Unlmited Code (I wrote some lines about this game on my blog). If you want to play with her, you will have to unlock her... but don't worry it's easier than unlocking Miku's swimsuit (Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA). This outfit is really different from the usual armored Saber: we've got the feeling to rediscover the character. According to the name, the design is inspired by a lily: the shape of her dress reminds us the petals of lily.
Nonetheless this new version has the same protections as the classical Saber: she wears a breastplate, gauntlets, greaves, and protecting stips that are attached on a waist belt.
The nudity of her shoulder and her back makes her much sexier ;)
Artworks of Saber Lily.
In the video game Saber Lily has exactly the same moves as Saber, de facto she's got the same noble phantasms (super moves)... especially Avalon. In the move list of my PSP, it's written "Avalon : the everdistant utopia" but it seems that the manufacturers shortened it with "Distant Avalon"... I will shorten more with "Avalon" ;)
In fact Avalon is a counter. In fight video games, counters are defensive moves: if you hit your opponent while he/she's doing a counter, you won't lower his/her lifebar... on the contrary, he/she will strikes back. Baiken of Guilty Gear is a good example a such defensive way of playing.
In Fate/Unlimited codes, when Saber does the Avalon noble phantasm, she makes appear Avalon the scabbard of Excalibur... right after that, if you hit the scabbard by mistake or by unluck, a blinding light will come from Avalon and then Saber will hit you with Excalibur :o
Saber makes Avalon appear.
It's finally easier to understand by watching a video: on this vid of a-cho qualification at 8min40 (you can directly watch it using the scroll bar if you do not like Gilgamesh :P ), Saber succeeds in doing the Avalon ^_^
For me it was really important to undestand that because when I saw the first time the prototype, I did not understand why the scabbard was levitating this way... I even thought it was ugly and I was wondering why Saber wasn't holding the scabbard in her hand like if she had just unsheathed her sword. Since I understood this super move, I really like this scabbard: it reminds me the Saber says "Abalone" and "Ekusu... kaliba!" :D
THE PACKAGING, THE CONTENT.
The box is big: 27.4 cm x 27.3 cm x 21.8 cm. Nevertheless it is smaller than some boxes of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS figures by Alter. The 2 vertical front edges have drawn my attention because they are beveled. It is the first time I see beveled edges on a figure box :o
The box is decorated with golden lines that are similar to engraved details on Avalon the scabbard of Excalibur. It has 4 windows: 1 front window, 2 side-windows and 1 above. The main colors are blue and silver. In fact the blue color has been used by the kings in France (the blue color on the French flag should symbolized the kingdom). There is also a Fleur-de-lis under the name written on the front face of the box: the Fleur de Lys was also used by French kings. All this details about the kingdom reminded me that Saber is Arturia Pendragon inspired by King Arthur.
The cardboard of the box is thick like Shuraki's boxes, on the contrary to the boxes of some GSC products : Nendoroids, Hatsune Miku, etc. Most of times the windows "weaken" the box, but the thick cardboard makes that this windows do not influence so much the box structure. So you can put this box at the bottom if you use to stack up your boxes to keep them ;)
Comparison of the cardboard thickness (Saber Lily vs Nendoroid).
I really can't imagine anything more for the box... so 10/10 for the packaging ;)
The figure was really well-protected: it is the first time that I see bubble wrap inside the thermoformed blisters. Ok, we don't care about bubble wrap :P the most important is
- Saber Lily's figure,
- the customized base,
- Caliburn, the thin sword,
- Excalibur, the big sword,
- Avalon the scabbard of Excalibur and
- an additional hand to hold Avalon.
Note that the pommels of both swords can be removed in order to place the hilt in Saber's right hand. Avalon is attached on the additional hand with a square part without any poka yoke: there is 4 possibilities for assembling.
Let's start with the base because Saber can not stand without it, on the contrary to Kallen Bunny girl. It has an elliptic shape: the lengh of the major axe is about 2a=225mm and the minor's one 2b=155mm... you can right now calculate the area :P The chessboard of the hall of Einzbern castle has been chosen to customize the base: some of parts of the tile start to crack and there is a zone that has been completely burnt... well, Archer and Berserker! Come to fix what you've broken!
In comparison with the prototype, the logo of the video game Fate/Unlimited codes has been added. I would have liked it to be removable in order to have the choice "with or without the logo"... it does not matter so much because it is really well-made ;) 10/10! Who is going to bid more? :P
Logo of Fate/Unlimited codes.
Saber Lily has a very dynamic stance: it's a fighting stance, she is going to hit with her sword in her right hand... oh, by the way there are 5 configuations for this hand! No, I am not mad, here are my explanations: of course there are Caliburn and Excalibur, and it is also possible to invert the direction of the hilt in the hand. This way the blade is behind Saber's back. The last possibility is to let the right hand empty! Do you remember? xD According to my memories Shirou has not completely invocated Saber, that's why her sword is invisible at the beginning. According to the visual novel, Saber is hiding her blade in order to not let opponents know the real length of her sword. Anyway it is also the case in the video game Fate/Unlimited codes ;)
If you like to mix series, why not grab another sword from another figure? :P e.g. “Laevatein” of Signum by Alter *-)
Excalibur on the left and Caliburn on the right.
As said above, there is an additional left hand to hold Avalon. In my opinion, "with or without Avalon" changes a lot the look of the figure. Without the scabbard, Saber looks like going to shot a topspin like Federer. With the scabbard I've got another script on my mind: Saber makes Avalon appear and uses it as a shield, and then her right hand is going to quickly strike back... it's finally a bit similar to the noble phantasm that I described above but the time to strike back is longer in the video game: that's probably the time to blind the opponent :P
By the way there is not only 2 possibilities for this left hand... there are 7 ones! No, I am not an illusionist. Listen up: 1 possibility for the empty hand, 4 for attaching Avalon on the extra hand... and 2 for sheathing Excalibur in Avalon (I do not account the 2 positions where Avalon is turned upside down because Excalibur would fall by gravity). Neither will I take into account the 2 possibilities where Avalon is empty and upside down because it is ugly: noone is going display the figure like this :P
Avalon can be held vertically.
What's on the bill? 5 choices for the right hand and 5 for the left hand. But some choices are incompatible because if Saber has Excalibur in her right hand, Excalibur can not be sheathed in Avalon in the same time... unless doing an astral projection like Prue Halliwell.
Number of possibilities n = 5 x 3 + 3 x 2 = 21.
I was right to rename this paragraph "Stances" with an S, wasn't I? ^.^
Saber earns another 10 for posing.
I have thought of holding the scabbard vertically 'cause it is held like this in Fate/UC. I also like when Avalon is put aside like on the official shots and the "Einzbern Forest" picture above: the sword and the scabbard are lined up.
For my part at the beginning, when I saw the pictures of the prototype, I prefered Caliburn in the right hand and nothing in the left hand, because I had a feeling of lightness: Saber looks like very winged. Then after having understood the noble phantasm of F/UC, I guess I prefer Excalibur in the right hand and Avalon in front of the left hand: on the one hand Excalibur is bigger than Caliburn and gives me the feeling the hit will do more damages, and on the other hand, Avalon is used as a shield and not to unsheathe like I thought before.
Quality / details
The figure is very detailled :) I took notice of the ahoge, the beautiful green eyes, engraved details on Avalon and the swords... and of course the motif of the master's command spell is on the breastplate. There also are the black knots that tighten the sleeves, etc, etc, etc.
The dress is made of 4 real "PVC layers" : a white fabric... kind of underwear, the Lilium dress with petals, a transparent lace and the armor... It is very faithful to Saber Lily's design (see artworks above). The sculptor could have, for example, inlayed the lace into the Lilium dress in order to reduce the costs. That's not the case o/ And this outfit has has been sculpted with lot of fabric folds and painted with nice color gradations.
The attention to detail goes as far as the fold on her pantsu! If you place a mirror on the tile of the base, you will be able to enjoy it xD
It's easier to recognize the Lily flower on a high-angle shot.
Pantsu shot ftw on the right :P
The gauntlets are well-made: each finger protection looks like made of several metal parts.
And the ponytail is gorgeous too: each hair each streak is detailled. It is quite amazing.
Besides I guess that the heels are higher than the ones on the original artwork. Nevermind because I like high heels =)
At the end I will summarize by saying there is an excellent work for the sculpting and the painting, and a special care about details (I didn't deal with all of the details, I let you notice them if you will get this figure). 10/10 for the sculpting and 10/10 for the painting too ^_^
Little disappointment: there are some marks like if some parts had been rubbed. I guess it could be because of the assembling: maybe the operator rubbed the ahoge on the shoulder while he/she was sticking the head on the neck. This marks are not always seeable: it depends on the angle of view.
Is she well worth the price? I guess yes and I would add "it's worth it". 100 euros is really expensive for a standart run figure. But I suppose that the licence of Fate/Unlimited codes is not costless because theoretically the 4 groups Type Moon, Cavia, Eighting and Capcom should receive money from the sells of this figure... and I've just remembered that the Saber Lion nendoroid (Fate/tiger colosseum) had a classical price, so my explanation can be wrong. Well, it's just to say that the price is the single flaw :P
When I order a figure in Japan, there is sometimes a "gap" between the moment I pay and the moment I receive the parcel, someway my desire decreases: I am already waiting for other figures that I've ordered in the meanwhile. That was not the case for Saber Lily ~Distant Avalon: I always passionately desired this Holy Grail! ^_^
If you read some of my reviews, maybe you noticed that I care about the packaging and the base. For that points I am completely satisfied with what GSC did... I did not have this feelings since the time when I got the Shuraki's figures (once again manufactured by GSC). I tried to imagine what does exactly the machine that folds the cardboard of the box to make the bevel. It's been a while that I wasn't so excited by a figure xD So I am going to give a good score for the "enjoyment" but I am hesitating between 9 and 10: I finally rate 9 because of the price. In fact my only 10/10 rated figure is Akatsuki Mishiro: for me she has a better quality/price ratio than Saber Lily's one.
In my opinion, Saber Lily will be the figure of the year 2009. It will be hard for her 'cause there are other great contestants: Black Rock Shooter by GSC, Yoko Bounty hunter by Alter, Moka Akashiya by Gift/GSC, etc... Anyway Saber Lily is one of my favorite figures! =)
I am already looking at the future by hopping that Saber ~The Promised Sword of Victory Excalibur by GSC (her prototype has been seen at the WF09S) won't be canceled. But I can wait right now, because I have my Saber Lily ;)
I also created a poll to know what kind of Sword/scabbard configuration people would prefer. You can vote or view the results by clicking right there.
GSC published a page to recognize the bootlegs and the genuine figures. Nonetheless that's strange 'cause I didn't see lots of bootlegs. Click here to view this page.
Saber Lily vs Archer
Blue Saber Lily