S.M.S. Shizuru Viola

Here’s a bit of background on both the toy line and the character; don’t worry, not enough to kill ya.

Okay, so Atelier-Sai’s the toy company which brought us Duel Maids; which consists of “maids” who carry an assortment of weapons. The trading figure versions are fairly simple figures which use the same basic body, but differ in color scheme and weapon accessories. While the full versions of Duel Maids have busier designs but are pretty dang expensive. Here’s a couple links with pictures of a trading figure Duel Maid (obviously, the maid looking one).

Now as for Shizuru Viola… some years ago, there was a pretty good anime called Mai Hime. The first 3 eps were crap, then there’s a good and somewhat infamous 4th episode, ep 5 was overly dramatic way too early in the series… but after that, it gets better. The ending might kill it for some people but it’s an otherwise really good show. And then the second season happened, and that’s where Shizuru Viola’s from. Along with Natsuki Krueger (which I sadly couldn’t get), Shizuru was renamed and redesigned for the epically boring and sub-par second season. At least Shizuru herself was one of the brighter points of the otherwise horrible Mai Otome series.

So, backgrounds aside, let’s get to the toy.

A 1/10th scale representation of Shizuru from Mai Otome, this figure’s rather large compared to most other articulated girl figures in the market right now. I suppose she could pull off being a 6 foot plus amazonian though.

The sculpt’s okay. The big draw to this from a figure perspective is that it uses the Sai Moving System. Which basically means it has the same articulation as most Duel Maids. Which at the time this was released, was pretty decent. This figure was released a lil’ bit before or during the dawn of S.H. Figuarts and Figma. At the time, the S.M.S. brought a pretty reasonable amount of sculpt and articulation to the table. Unfortunately, both in terms of sculpt and articulation, S.M.S. is dated. Like Shizuru’s sculpt, her level of articulation is only okay by today’s standards.

No, I tell a lie, her poseability is actually sub-par because Shizuru has a FATAL flaw. Her feet keep popping off. As a result, she’s a pretty frustrating figure to deal with. She has enough articulation that she could be played around with, but her ankles are so loose and suffer from such a high degree of leprosy that personally, I don’t even bother. Her hair also limits her head articulation greatly.

Oh, and she’s got somewhat limited accessories, but nothing I’m dissatisfied with for this character.

Despite her flaws as a figure and the dated-ness of the S.M.S. right now, Shizuru’s not actually all that bad per se. She’s a decent representation of a decent character. She isn’t so dated that she can’t fit in with modern figures despite her amazonian scale. And well, character design wise, she has an aesthetic that hasn’t been seen much. The closest we’ve got to this design style recently is probably the Symphogear girls.

Anyways, overall, Shizuru’s not bad. Not great. And depending on your collection, she may or may not even be “good”. But she’s still a worthy addition to any collection.

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