Sunday, December 1, 2013

MS Gundam Seed Heroines 9: Lacus Clyne

The not-anime version

A single-posting gashapon review to kick off the last month of the year. ^^

Released in mid September 2006, this is Lacus Clyne from MS Gundam Seed Heroines 9, which was one of the last Gundam Heroines gashapon sets to be released by Bandai. Much like Shiho Hahnenfuss from MS Gundam Seed Heroines 8 reviewed in late August, Lacus was the only figurine I got from her set. However, unlike Shiho, I originally wanted to get the entire set, but it was out of stock when I placed my order. ^^; Out of the few individual items from that set, the seller was kind enough to include Lacus as a free goodie along with some of the other items I purchased from him. Thanks to him, this figurine of Lacus holds the unique status of being the only gashapon in my collection which I didn't pay anything to obtain. ^^

The design of all the figurines in MS Gundam Seed Heroines 9 was a huge improvement as compared to its most immediate previous set in my opinion. The character selection were more diverse, the colors and design were a lot more vibrant, and creative too. ^^ Meer Campbell in bikini as shown on the box art is very enticing to get, ^o^ and there are Lunamaria and Meyrin Hawke in what I believe to be original costume design, plus Abbey Windsor the communication officer on Minerva who received her first and only gashapon realization through this particular set. Even Miriallia Haw in Orb costume seems interesting, as she would be a great compliment figurine to Captain Ramius from Series 7. ^^ These characters and their design made Series 9 a very interesting set to get, definitely much more interesting than Series 8 which featured two very similar designs for Meer Campbell, and an overall dark tone for the different characters' design. As a result, despite being single items from their respective sets, there are very different stories behind Shiho and Lacus. ^^

All six types (Lacus Clyne, Meer Campbell, Lunamaria and Meyrin Hawke, Miriallia Haw, and Abbey Windsor), made in 2006.

All six types are shown on the sides and back of the boxes.

Top and bottom views of the box.

Box open.

No knife is needed to open up the boxes since all of them have easy-to-tear edges.

The top and bottom sides, along with all the flaps are cut away to create a collection card out of the figurine's box.

The standard questionnaire behind the front cover.

Like the other figurines from the MS Gundam Heroines series, different parts of the figurine are sealed in dedicated plastic packages.

A little bit of assembly is required to get the completed figurine.

Despite its generic-looking oval opening, the interior of the skirt forces the legs to be assembled in a specific way, so there's no risk of mistaking the rear side of the skirt as its front, and vice versa. ^^

More images of this gashapon figurine: ^^

Closeups on the details:


[Body & arms]


Despite having seen and reviewed a couple of figurines based off the character in the past, the design of this particular gashapon is very intriguing in my opinion. Apart from the seemingly original costume design - not featured in the TV series if I remember correctly, the face sculpt and details of the figurines seems to depict a slightly more "artistic" look for the character as well. ^^ It's a very refreshing design in my opinion, as it's different from the more conventional, almost generic-looking cutesy anime design on all the other figurines of Lacus that I have. Apart from the face sculpt and details, the design of her hair is evidently different from the other versions as well. There are fewer curves, and all the tips are a lot sharper too. Even the hairpin seems to be longer than the same accessory on other versions of Lacus. ^^

Personally, I like the redesigned image of Lacus as depicted through the face sculpt and details on this gashapon figurine. ^^ With so many different versions of the same character in this entire gashapon series, it's good that there are elements other than the costume design, poses and flow of her pink hair that help distinguish between the versions, which add intrinsic display value to each and every one of them. ^^ Then again, is this the best face sculpt for Lacus? It's definitely unique, but my personal favorite would still be the chubby design on the white dress version from MS Gundam Seed Heroines 4. ^^

Apart from the unique face sculpt, other details on this figurine are equally impressive. Gradient paint work can be observed on the hair, skirt and boots, and they are tremendously beautiful. My favorite component in terms of sculpt work and detail treatment is the boots, easily. The original brown color of the boots is inherently beautiful to depict their seemingly stretch fabric nature, but there are obviously more to them than the color alone. The wrinkles around the knee and ankle areas are nicely realized through sculpt work, and are further enhanced through gradient painting for shadow effect, giving the details a natural look. They are incredible details for a gashapon figurine. ^^

Like Gundam Heroine History Special: Relena Peacecraft, Flay and Lunamaria from MS Gundam Seed Destiny Heroines 3, or Cagalli from Series 7, Lacus has a "cast-off" feature that allows the figurine to be displayed without the skirt. ^o^

The really short blouse section of her costume suggests that the skirt is most probably linked to it in actual design, and isn't meant to be separable. However, for the sake of fan-service, ^^ the "cast-off" feature is incorporated, and it's definitely a much welcomed design in my opinion. ^^

As a matter of fact, I think all releases in the Gundam Heroines series should come with this feature, even if it means the cost (and selling price) for each of them would be higher. XD

Comparison with other gashapon Lacuses in my collection:

With the white dress version from MS Gundam Seed Heroines 4.

The distinctions between the two versions' face sculpt, hairpin design and even the flow of the hair can be clearly seen. ^^

With the MS Gundam Seed Destiny EF Collection 3 version.

There are more gashapon Lacuses in my collection that weren't featured in the comparison above, mainly because the work of getting them out and lining up the figurines for the group photo seemed a bit troublesome during the process. ^^; Since I do have other gashapon sets that contain Lacus as one of the figurines that are yet to be reviewed, there are still opportunities to have a ginormous gathering of pink-hairs. XD

Like Shiho Hahnenfuss from MS Gundam Seed Heroines 8, Lacus represents the only figurine from Series 9 to be reviewed. For that, she gets to have her own photo gallery. ^^

View full gallery:
MS Gundam Seed Heroines 9: Lacus Clyne


LEon said...

You are very gracious in your review as the face of the toy is totally different from the photo of the box. If you use the photo of the face and ask anyone, they may not even know it was her. Something is very wrong with the eye painting or sticker of this figure. Are you sure this is not the bootleg version that maybe someone deceived you for? :P

Ngee Khiong said...

It's definitely not a bootlegged item:
(1) Comparison with the larger box scan ( shows that the face detailing is consistent between the figurine and that on the box image
(2) If it's a bootlegged version, the rest of the figurine should also reveals signs of sloppy craftsmanship and detailing (including the box itself), but I don't see that.
(3) It's from a trusted seller I deal with multiple times.

I think it's just a different character image adopted by the designer, as mentioned in the review. Many of the gashapon figurines in my previous reviews feature face sculpts that are vastly different from their anime images as well.