Rider – 1/7 PVC/ABS [FrenchDoll (CerberusProject TM)]
The very first time I encountered this figure was at Anime Expo back in 2007, where it was just chilling with several other sculpts presumably not for sale and only for display. Anyway, I’m not too wholly familiar with the history behind this release, so I’m thinking that the version that I saw back in 2007 was actually a resin kit and this is its much more affordable, slightly downgraded, release for those not inclined to putting together and painting their goods. Either way, I’d say that this rendition of Rider is probably the most exciting one on the market, especially if you, like me, have been choked off on the prospects of getting her in her vanilla Servant attire rather than something like a swimsuit or a maid uniform.
Previous releases for this character haven’t really done anything with her trademark lush purple hair, which is pretty surprising since it’s probably her number one defining trait (well, other than those eyes I suppose). In fact with the exception of a previous 1/8 rendition by Good Smile Company, every sculpt I’ve seen has chosen to keep it tied back and out of the way, choosing instead to draw more attention to her trim figure or whatever novel attire they decided to throw on her. This brings me to the most striking point of this release by FrenchDoll: those awesome, dynamic, windswept locks!
There aren’t many PVC figures that will opt to go for something so exquisite given the soft consistency of the material. You take figures like this and place them in a hot environment and their structure is done for. Instead of maintaining their rigidity, these streams of hair will likely end up wilting into a weak-looking tangle. So, in an effort to try and avoid that potential problem with this structurally fragile design, it looks as if the manufacturers are introducing the much tougher ABS material to keep her looking her best. Or… I could be completely wrong about the hair being made out of ABS and in truth that material’s actually reserved for her weapons.
All right, now that I’m done gushing about Rider’s hair, it would only be fair to point out some of the more unsightly features that I hope aren’t characteristic for most of the final pieces sent out to retail. First off, what is up with her hands!? Those FINGERS!? Having giant clodhoppers like those for hands isn’t really something I’d describe as graceful and thankfully the main offender (her right hand, pictured above) is oriented to the rear of the figure, safely hidden away from view. However what isn’t necessarily hidden away from view is the slipshod paint job for her face. There’s something a little unsettling about her eyes, Cybele, and how they really don’t have any striking depth at all. That and well, they look sort of bloodshot to me carrying a scarlet tinge when they should really be something closer to a light blue or silver. And those wormy lips… it’s just plain wrong.
All in all, if Rider were a bit cheaper, she’s set to retail for 9,240 JPY (~92 USD), I’d consider buying her since those disappointing eyes can easily be hidden with the Breaker Gorgon visor. But yeah, I choose only to reserve the big cash for releases that are relatively free of such dealbreaking flaws… Still, if you’re a diehard fan of Rider or are otherwise in love with purple in your figures this is an investment you’ll probably want to do more research on as we get closer to her October 25 street date.