Figma: Black Rock Shooter

Say my name Bastian! Say my name or the Black Rock Shooter wins!

AAAaaaarrryyyYYYeeeeeAAAAAHHMIKUHHHHHATSUNE!

Yea or Nay?
A really cool looking figure, albeit not perfect. She has some very wise design choices in her construction, and a decent amount of extras. A Recommended figure.

Origins
Black Rock Shooter is the pinnacle of nothingness. In 2004, Yamaha came out with a singing synthesizer program called Vocaloid. A few years later, after a series of upgrades and mascot characters, Vocaloid hit it big with the mascot character, Miku Hatsune. Miku became the net idol that Japanese tech companies have been trying to create since the late 90s. She became popular on a combination of her design, some savvy marketing… but mostly for being in Japanese memes and fan made scenes and music videos. In essence, Hatsune Miku became popular for nothing.

And Black Rock Shooter is derived from that nothingness. She started out as a fan art of Miku. A darker, and much more goth emo version of Miku, which caught on with the internet. Eventually, they even made an official music video for her, and the rest as they say, is history.

Review
When you get BRS, you get her for the character design. I’ve mentioned it before, she’s derived from nothing. What you see is what you get. But y’know… she does have a darn nice character design.

I was initially looking forward to her, but then I saw the one shot episode they made for her. It… wasn’t all that good, so I was prepared to skip this figure… until I saw it in person. So now that I’ve opened and messed with the figure, what’s my verdict? Well…

Character design-wise, BRS is pretty cool. One reason I picked her up is that she has smaller-then-usual-for-anime eyes. Despite being a fan of anime and manga and cartoons and comics in general, I’m not a huge fan of giant googly eyes. So for me, the fact that she has smaller eyes that might let her fit in with western style designs (if you squint hard enough), is a notable plus for me.

Otherwise, she looks great. The shading on her hair’s great, and the gloss for her coat is terrific. And those stitches on her torso are hawt. There’s even some texturing around the stitches, to show that they’re the result of wounds, rather than glorified tattoos.

But I do have a couple gripes.

1) Despite promotional and packaging art, BRS’s skin tone is a healthy beige. I for one, would have preferred if she were more pale and corpse-like.
2) Her face is a bit more rounded than I’d have liked. I would prefer for her to have a more narrow, gaunt look. As opposed to the “cute” chubby stylings of Lucky Star.

So character design-wise, BRS is very good, but she could have been better. I feel the decision to give her a healthy skin complexion and a face with cuter proportions, to be a marketing decision that renders the figured somewhat nerfed. But overall, it still looks very good (though not balls out awesome)

Figure design-wise, BRS is notable for one particularly great decision. I’m not talking about the articulated coat, which is very well done by the way. Nor am I talking about the solid articulation she enjoys. Not exactly… what I want to applaud the designers for doing, is BRS’s hair.

Her hair’s articulated, which is nice, but nothing special in this day and age. What’s special is that the designers articulated her hair with Figma joints. In past Figmas, and most figures with articulated hair for that matter, they used ball-joints to articulate the hair. This not only meant the hair usually could barely support their own weight, but they had a tendency to be prone to breakage as well. But by using Figma joints for BRS’s hair, not only are her hair pieces easier to pose, but they’re much more durable now. This is a design decision deserving of a bravo. So there you go, Good Smile Company, bravo!

A final note in regards to the articulation is that they do a good job in hiding the joints. Sure, the inner elbows are noticeable, and the knees are Figma knees, so they’ll forever be conspicuous, but they’ve done an exemplary job in hiding the joints on the coat, the torso, waist and hips.

Accessories for this figure is moderately plentiful. She gets 4 extra pairs of hands, 2 extra faces, an extra hair piece with her flaming-Cable-ripoff-eye-effect, a katana blade, a BFG, a little plastic baggie to store that stuff in, two articulated stands with bases (one for her, one for the BFG), and some chains for S&M action. Oh, and she comes with a DVD of that one shot episode I mentioned, subtitled in 7 languages, including English.

OVERALL
This is a solid figure from a standalone perspective. Since there’s relatively little media surrounding BRS, it means you’re getting the figure on the basis of its character design and it’s strength as a figure. In both categories, Black Rock Shooter passes with flying colors. However, if you’re someone who usually grabs figures based on your attachment to their related media, BRS might not be your cup of tea. Ordinarily, not being super familiar with a figure’s source material doesn’t matter that much, but since this is an imported figure, it’ll probably run you up a pretty penny. So unless you’re super keen on the design, you might want to give Black Rock Shooter a miss. Personally, I really like this toy, and think it’s a good gateway to Figma. But I wouldn’t say it’s an essential purchase. Still, this fig’s Recommended.

Pros: Really cool design. Well constructed. Nice set of accessories. Surprisingly well balanced.
Cons: Nothing in particular.

Grade: B+












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