When Ignis the White was first revealed back on February 14th of this year it really did feel like Valentine’s Day had come a day early. I was instantly smitten by the figure, the likes of which had previously existed only in my wettest of dreams – we had seen several figure incarnations of the Jingai Makyou heroine already, but none that dared challenge the monumental intricacy of her “undying flame” incarnation. Would the craftsmanship of Orchid Seed rise to the occasion and prove equal to the task of replicating this truly epic sculpt? Read on for the opinion of one humble fan…
Original Design: Niθ (blog)
Sculptor: Ishiyama Satoshi, Hiroman
Source: Jingai Makyou (eroge)
Scale: 1/7 (29 cm tall)
Release Date: October 28th, 2007
Production: Orchid Seed
Price: 11,700 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: Play Asia (Hobby Japan limited black ver.)
Ignis is the fiery heroine of Nitro+’s summer 2005 smash hit eroge Jingai Makyou. While it’s now been more than two years since I played the game and a lot of detailed recollection has faded, the scene at the end when she returns from the dead like an avenging angel in a wedding dress to kick asses and take names accompanied by this BGM is unforgettable. Despite the game’s shortcomings in the plot department Ignis stands out as one of the most iconic 2D heroines of the decade, and the version of her depicted here shows her in her ultimate form.
source image from Jingai Makyou
When beginning to assess this figure I have to start by commenting on the sculpt. This is the most epic sculpt of a bishoujo figure that has been mass produced this year, and perhaps in the past few years, requiring the combined efforts of two experts (Ishiyama Satoshi on the main body and Hiroman on the dress) to realize, and it is essentially a flawless victory. One could comment on the telltale Ishiyama traits in the face (slightly pinched nose and thin-lipped mouth), but they’re a known quantity I don’t think detracts from the overall scheme. They read the Niθ illustration like a book and produced what is sculpturally a perfect representation of Ignis in all her glory, and from that perspective this is one for the history books.
Before moving on to assess Orchid’s production a note should be made regarding the castoff process, which is truly an engineering marvel. The entire dress is held together by the bunch of flowers at the base of her back, which pins the two side plates together. Remove the pin and lift the two sides of the dress vertically and they come right off, pulling pegs out of slots that are holding the front and back together, which in turn fall away naturally. It’s an amazing feat of design, and another superlative element of the sculpt (though putting the whole thing back together again is admittedly a bit of a chore).
In terms of mass production the kit is more of a mixed bag. I have to hand it to Orchid Seed for starters for having the balls to attempt her PVC reproduction; the fact that they were able to manipulate the medium in such a gravity defying way and keep the whole thing from falling down around them is a testament to their proficiency with the raw materials involved.
I also have no quarrel with their rendering of the dress. There’s a bit of shoddy trim work visible on the many buckles and circular discs that intersect the straps on the front and back of her torso, but it doesn’t detract from the overall impression.
The biggest issue with the kit when it comes to production is the face. The Ishiyama face sculpt was mentioned earlier, but I don’t really think it’s the culprit; the sallow color of the PVC chosen for the skin, accompanied by a lack of shading, overly pronounced paint on the mouth, framed by the solid nearly neon shade of red they chose for her hair, all works together to convey an air of cheapness in the face production that is truly unfortunate.
This is all the more vexing because none of these issues are new. We saw the same problems in the last Ishiyama-sculpted Orchid kit we reviewed, as in those prior – an inability to capture the subtleties necessary for a truly knockout face, mostly due to the crap color of PVC chosen for the skin. All signs point to Chichinoe 2 suffering from the same vulnerability, and it’s almost to the point now where I feel like lodging a formal complaint. Could it be that hard to simply replace the PVC stock with something more like that used by the competition?
Overall this is a kit that is practically perfect in every way. Aside from a few production foibles in the face Ignis the White lives up to the anticipation I had for her, and ranks easily among the top five bishoujo kits of the year from any objective standpoint; a technical marvel that could only be improved by some tweaks in the paint department. Sadly those deficiencies keep me from rating the kit with the truly epic status it deserves – it’s a hallmark of Orchid Seed’s lineup, but not of PVC manufacture as a whole.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
+ epic sculpt accurately captures the essence of Ignis the White
+ ingenious castoff system allows for painless dress removal
+ looks phenomenal both cast on and off, like buying two different figures
o color palette is adequate, but not outstanding or particularly subtle
o some questionable trim work on buckles and discs
– Orchid continues to fail on PVC selection for skin
– tragically cheap-looking face as a result
This is a kit I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to any figure collector if you can come by her, though with the limitations of the paint job I wouldn’t advise paying much more than retail if at all possible. If anyone knows a place where she can be had for a reasonable price I’d be happy if you would post it to comments.