Released in June 2006, this is Lunamaria Hawke from Bandai's Voice I-doll Superior series. It's more than just a large-sized fixed figurine of the character, as a display base with electronic function is also included. ^^ As with the other releases in the series, the base contains 10 spoken phrases of Lunamaria Hawke, voiced by her seiyuu, Maaya Sakamoto (坂本真綾). Interestingly, the 10 phrases are not only recorded specifically for this figurine (not cropped from some of the episodes where they were first spoken that is ^^;), two of them are actually original lines that are only available to this figurine. ^^ For that, there's certainly a sense of exclusiveness to this figurine. ^^
The Voice I-doll series was once a figurine line with frequent releases from Bandai. Started in early 2005 during the airing of "MS Gundam SEED Destiny" in Japan, characters from that Gundam series were the original focus of the series, and the coverage was certainly very impressive - pretty much all the major characters including some of the male cast members were released. ^^ In between "MS Gundam SEED Destiny" releases, characters from other Gundam shows and anime series were included as well, for example Quattro Bajeena, Haman Kahn, Emma Sheen from "MS Zeta Gundam", Renton Thurston, Eureka from "Eureka Seven", Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric from "Fullmetal Alchemist".
The Voice I-doll series features shorter figurines (160mm tall) of the characters in plain-looking standing pose and just three spoken phrases each; the "Superior" sub-series on the other hand features larger figurines (200mm tall) in dynamic poses with 10 phrases included each. The price is of course different between the two series: it's 1,890 Yen (inclusive of tax) each for the normal series and 3,990 Yen (inclusive of tax) each for the "Superior" sub-series. ^^ Because of its "exclusiveness", the "Superior" sub-series was established for more popular characters I guess. Beside Lunamaria Hawke, Lacus Clyne and Meer Campbell were also released. Interestingly enough, Ayanami Rei and Soryu Asuka Langley from "Neon Genesis Evangelion" became the only two characters who skipped the regular series to be included directly into the "Superior" sub-series. ^^
Having reviewed a couple of Transformers action figures this year, I think it's not too outrageous to associate the main product line and its sub-series to say, the Deluxe Class versus Voyager Class. ^^ Generally speaking, the former is smaller in size, covers releases of more characters, and are lower in price; the Voyager Class features bigger releases and focuses on more popular characters. Their prices are of course higher as well. ^^ For the more direct Gundam merchandise-related connection, the HCM-Pro versus Super HCM-Pro relationship can be used to describe the Voice I-doll series I think. ^^ Sadly, its decline not too long after the "Superior" sub-series was introduced is unfortunately similar to the HCM-Pro line's demise after it branched off into the "Super" sub-line. ^^; After Meer Campbell, Voice I-doll went off to become more or less a gashapon series. Called "Chibi Voice", the new series featured sets of much smaller figurines of Gundam and non-Gundam characters in deformed scale. Special display bases with audio function were still included for the figurines, but they were limited to just one spoken phrase for each base.
The large size of the figurine herself, the audio function of the base and the original character phrases available to just this item make its price quite a bargain in my opinion, especially when the sculpt work and detailing of the figurine is actually very well done - you'll get to see more of that in subsequent parts of this review. ^^ There's certainly no loss of quality in any aspect for the figurine when the base seems to be emphasized upon more due to its uniqueness. I managed to pick this item up from a local seller a while back at a bargain price some time ago, so I considered that great deal as another positive point about this figurine, albeit a more personal one. ^^
(Left) Merchandising seal of "MS Gundam SEED Destiny".
(Right) The production year of the figurine is shown.
The special display base can be seen beneath the figurine's feet.
Also, the base's dimension defines the width and depth of the figurine box it seems. ^^
Top and bottom views of the box.
The transparent box allows the figurine to be viewed very clearly from the left and right sides.
Introduction of the item and a list of the 10 spoken phrases are shown on the back of the box.
More images of the figurine through the clear box:
Closeups on the details:
Focusing on just the figurine and not the special base in this first part of the review, it's actually a very beautifully designed and detailed figurine of Lunamaria Hawke. ^^ The face sculpt depicts a lovely smile on the character, which I like very much. ^^ The overall paint work and detailing is simple, but very well executed nonetheless. The accurate paint work for the various parts of her ZAFT uniform is just as nice as some of the minor details like the folds of her skirt and wrinkles on her uniform and around the ankle area of her boots. The slightly raised left corner of her skirt is quite a beautiful touch to the figurine to add on to the character's relaxed look. ^^ I certainly appreciate that design as it helps to reveal more of her thighs. ^o^ There are visible shades of gradient paint work nicely applied to the uniform and boots as well.
Still, the loveliness of the face sculpt from the expression created for her is what I really love about this figurine. ^^ It's a very beautiful image of Lunamaria realized on a large fixed figurine in that sense. I think the only complain I have about it is the more-than-obvious parting line above the head. ^^; It's clearly there for the convenience of the paint work during production process. It's probably unavoidable, but it's still an obvious flaw to point out.
Comparison with the last reviewed figurine of Lunamaria on this blog, RAH DX Ver. 2 from Megahouse:
Without its box, the smaller size of RAH DX Ver. 2 as compared to this Voice I-doll version can be seen very clearly. ^^
A wide smile versus a cool look between the two figurines. ^^
Its box gives RAH DX Ver. 2 a more "compatible" look with this Voice I-doll version. ^^;
A look at the special display base in the next part of this review series. ^^
After obtaining his Bachelor of Business (Information Systems), Ngee Khiong pursued his post-graduate studies in Master of Multimedia from Swinburne University. Prior to joining as a full-time teaching staff, Ngee Khiong has worked on the design of several commercial web projects, as well as teaching as a part-time lecturer in Swinburne Sarawak. After ending his near eight-year teaching career, Ngee Khiong is now working as an administrative staff at Sarawak Energy Berhad.