Our Shuraki figure review series continues in this third installment featuring French-themed villainess Char Rhousemann. The Shuraki frenzy that consumed figure fans through much of 2007 had cooled somewhat by the time she came out in January of this year, but with Needa recently released and Rize coming at the end of the month it’s high time to get back into the thick of things. Check out our Mishiro Akatsuki and Riu Meifeng reviews first (if you haven’t already, or need a refresher on what the Shuraki series is), and then continue the saga with our look at the contents of Char’s multimedia package:
Original Design: Itou Ben (伊藤ベン)
Sculptor: Akeji (緋路) (ASCI L.E.D)
Source: Shuraki (multimedia figure series)
Scale: 1/8 (22 cm tall)
Option Parts: rapier, damage version dress, blouse
Extras: Illustration Book, Drama CD (73 minutes)
Release Date: January 10th, 2008
Production: Goodsmile, Red Entertainment
Price: 6,800 JPY (tax included)
Current Availability: [HS] [HLJ] [TL]
Related: Shuraki vol. 1 Mishiro, Shuraki vol. 2 Meifeng, Shuraki vol. 4 Needa, Shuraki vol. 5 Rize
Translated from her official Shuraki page:
“A French Shuraki. 17 years old, 158 cm tall. Hails from the Limousin region of France, a daughter of the distinguished Rhousemann family. The Rhousemann family is an ancient noble lineage of dukes, and it is unknown in what epoch the Shuraki blood was introduced into the lineage.
Char was born as the daughter and heir to that lineage. In this position, never subject to a single inconvenience in her environment, she was raised with a pampered upbringing. Perhaps due to this she is selfish and prideful, and unable to show consideration for others. She shows an outward dislike for socializing in groups, but is actually quite lonely and timid.
When she reached the age of six, she was wrapped up in an incident that became a major turning point for her. From that point on it was as if her fate as a Shuraki radiated out from her, as she embarked undeviatingly on a path smeared with blood.
It’s this person who appeared in front of Akatsuki and the others, blocking their path. In combat she fights with a rapier thrust forward, using fencing-style stabbing attacks. She blocks enemy attacks with her gauntlet and executes lightning counterattacks as well.”
Drama CD Description
Shuraki Drama CD Vol. 3: Paradise Ville d’Frau
Starring: Tamura Yukari as Char Rhousemann
Translated from her official CD page:
“Mahiro, a boy wrapped up in the Shuraki incident, headed toward the Kouryuu shrine in search of his childhood friend Akatsuki. As he approached, the Shuraki Char appeared before him. Mahiro persisted in following her. As they walked through a fiercely blowing storm in the mountains near the shrine, they get pulled through a rift in space-time into another world.
There Mahiro meets a young girl – in fact, the childhood version of the cruel Char. In this paradise a calm, gentle, and bittersweet time is passed.”
Char’s release continues the precedent set by her peers, containing a similar A5-size 24 page staple-bound “secret file” with original art depicting scenes from the accompanying drama CD, which is once again professionally performed by a cast of Japan’s A-list voice acting talent. I haven’t listened to much of the CD yet, but from what I’ve heard Tamura Yukari pulls out all the stops with a smashing performance as the haughty but emotionally vulnerable Char. As with past Shuraki releases the sticker price of 6,800 yen truly undervalues the content of this set.
Character designer Itou Ben and sculptor Akeji make a surprisingly good pairing in the production of what I think a compelling case can be made is the strongest Shuraki figure yet. The angularity and impressionistic distortion of features that characterizes some of Itou’s design work is tempered by the rounder features that typify Akeji’s sculptural interpretation, resulting in a balanced compromise that retains the best of both.
Just about any way you cut it this is an impressive sculpt. The fine detail work is spot on, and while the pose itself is rather rigid the flowing lines of the dress and the extreme spiral of the hair give her a dynamic flow that is truly astounding. The rigidity itself makes sense in the context of the character, both in terms of her personality, fighting style, and the construction of the costume – it’s hard to imagine how else her legs could be positioned while wearing those heeled boots.
Simply put, Goodsmile at their finest. The casting is crisp and accurate on the details without visible mold lines; seams are only visible when required as part of the castoff, and the castoff itself is produced with superb precision that looks equally impressive in any of the three provided states. Markings that appear on the kit when fully cast off are entirely the fault of my clumsiness.
The paint job is also fantastic. Barring a few minor trim issues the detail work is consistently high fidelity, and the choice of colors is superbly fiery – one gets the impression of the character as a whirlwind of flame, as if she’s practically in motion while standing still. The usage of a full compliment of shading and paint textures from gloss to matte to metallic chrome brings the figure alive in a way matched by very few others in the industry.
Goodsmile / Red Entertainment’s Shuraki Trinity Box vol. 3 Char Rhousemann is a delight to behold via multiple senses. The accompanying drama CD is top notch, but the primary concern of this review is the figure, and Goodsmile has done essentially everything right – the few minor paint issues don’t detract in the slightest from a sculpt that is near epic in terms of design and mass production helmed by a team that knows exactly what they’re doing. Combined with the added mini-artbook and CD this is an item that’s easily a few thousand yen undervalued, and a cinch to recommend in the highest possible terms.
Overall Score: 10/10
Char is currently unavailable at most online locations, and a reissue has yet to be announced. One is expected shortly however, so we’ll bring the news as soon as she’s scheduled for re-release. In the interim, the other figures in the Shuraki series can be found below: