With the second season of Shokugeki no Soma airing currently, it doesn't seem like there is a better time to have Nakiri Erina's figure released than now!
Despite the large "FRAGILE" print on the box, unfortunately, my cardboard box still arrived scuffed. One side of the box was a little squashed and although I didn't take a photo, there was a hole in the body of the box had a hole as well.
Fortunately, there were no damages on either the figure or the box. In fact, both of them came out almost perfectly. Bravo! (If there are damages, do read my post on how to go about dealing with it)
This Erina is based on the very first impression we have of her, which is something akin to a noble queen who is far out of reach. Her refined taste and dignified air makes her look like she is someone of far higher social standing than other humans. This figure aptly captures just that. The way she is dressed, the throne base, her expression and angle of her gaze each tells a story that ties the entire figure together to give us a solid perception of her in this series.
However, this might not always be a good thing because focusing too much on one aspect of her personality might outshine the rest. From the series thus far, we know that this is just one side of Erina and thus focusing solely on this 'elite' side of her washes out the more delicate side of Erina, who is also portrayed to be the "real" her on several occasions.
The box itself seems quite lackluster. I felt like there was a lot more that Good Smile Company could have chosen to do for Erina, such that this simple design that she ended up with has such a huge gap from the actual figure that it pales far, far in comparison.
With regards to her blister, as usual, it's sturdy and taped together to improve stability. None of my pieces were loose and free to move inside. Furthermore, adequate quality and placement of small plastic sheets were also included to prevent pain transfer during transport.
This is the first area where this figure shine, because by base I mean the throne and pedestal.
First, let us start with the pedestal. It is covered with a red carpet-like material, which is not sculpted, but an actual cloth material. You can actually already see the material differences from the image itself! This makes it soft to the touch, but if you expose your figure to the air, you might wish to refrain from.
The gold lining at the base of the pedestal adds to it and makes it seem more like a detailed piece which royalty would use. Also, it ties in better with the throne as well as the tiara on Erina.
However, a shortcoming of this pedestal is that marks are left on it easily. After placing my Erina figure on it for about 2 days, there are already marks from the legs of the throne on the pedestal material. And yes, I have not places anything else but the throne and Erina on this pedestal.
Next up is the part where most are waiting for, the throne. First off, let's analyze the gold frames for the chair. Differing from a normal chair in our everyday lives, I don't think that there is anyone who would disagree when I say that this fits with our perception of thrones.
There are intricate carvings (or in this case sculpting) around the frame, save for the armrest. However, to make up for it, an unusual design of a ball-shaped ending of the armrest is sculpted instead of using a smooth angular finish. Little details like the indents on the armrests also aids in lifting up the quality of this throne.
Cushion for the throne is up next. We see that it is very detailed for the back of the chair, where Erina's back will be resting against. However, there is next to nothing for the cushion portion under Erina, which is likely to be mostly covered by her skirt anyway. Though it'll be nice to have some detailing there (considering how much the rest of the throne has), I do understand the drive Good Smile Company has for doing this.
However, we also see that this obvious lack of effort doesn't only stop there. The back of the cushion part of the chair looks printed on, and I wouldn't actually doubt it is, judging by how 2-dimensional it looks. Surprisingly, the rest of the chair frame is as intricately sculpted as they are at the front side, which just makes it look more silly that the cushion part looks so 2-dimensional...
Posing and Assembly
Posing is generally fine for Erina as it already gives a very good impression of how she is in the anime. Assembly is also easy, which includes placing Erina on the throne and then placing that whole thing onto the pedestal. Do note that there are no pegs in this figure at all and while slight movement would likely not cause anything to topple, precautions might be good.
Some collectors also found it difficult to get Erina into the exact same position and angle as on the official pictures. Users have mentioned that quite a fair share of turning and arrangement is needed to get her into the correct orientation. Even in my copy (which hasn't been corrected to the right orientation), you see a slight difference in the positioning of Erina's hand (resting on the ball part of the armrest) in my copy from the official pictures.
However, this is good enough for me and I have no desire to forcibly alter her position lest Erina gets damaged.
Sculpting and Painting
Sculpting and painting is done really well for Erina. All the gold accents in her figure are cleanly painted and they all have unique shapes and positions, enabling her air as a nobility to be futher enhanced in this figure. The gem at her chest is another excellent way to show how awesome the sculpting and painting went.
The red portions and yellow stripes along her torso area are clean and crisp. There are no paint spills on my copy whatsoever. Also, because her top half is so tight, there are not many creases whatsoever.
Erina's unique hairstyle is accurately depicted and sculpted as well!
Following her hair sculpt to the back, we see that her hair is clean and neat. This helps her tie back to her noble birth, where cleanliness, hygiene and looks are probably very important to portray herself as someone of honorable birth.
Though the strands are not that distinct at the top of her head. they definitely diverged near the ends, giving it that high-quality sculpt, with sharp and defined ends for the hair strands that most scale figures have rather than the hair clumps that prize figures sometimes come with.
In this image, we see how clear Erina's eyes are and how sharp the violet is. Her tiara is also well-sculpted where the shades of gold and red meld well together. Neither color is stealing the limelight, such a perfect harmonic mix!
When we look further down the outfit, here i when we finally see creases coming in as the skirt portion billows out.
Her skirt is long and almost touches the pedestal, and the sculptor definitely didn't cut any corners when it came to sculpting the folds and creases of her skirt. The appropriately placed folds make the material look extremely lightweight and comfortable.
And from the skirt, we look lower down towards her...
Heels! Red ties in well with the pedestal which it lies on, but the glossy finish sets it well apart from the base material. A gold bucle is also there for extra detail, because no aristocrat wears plain old red heels. At least, not anymore!
Let's not forget about the translucent hand which Erina comes with, for holding her shoe. The fingers are all well-defined, with none of them looking too long/short or fat/thin. The angles of each finger are appropriately distanced too, and the hand posture doesn't seem difficult to maintain either!
Here's the full view of all Erina's parts assembled, with the hovering hand equipped! Nakiri Erina, all ready for war!
Though I must admit that I am not a huge fan of the translucent hand and will be doing without it in my display for now.
For shortcomings about this figure, there are 3 things I realized. Firstly, her chest area is slightly too huge, to the point that it is defying gravity. It makes me wonder what kind of high level corsets they had that would help to hold her massive chest so stably upright in that pose. Not to mention that her chest definitely didn't appear so huge to me in the series itself.
Next in line is the size of her feet which are definitely a tad larger than most other 1/8 scale figures I have. I'm not sure if Erina was said to have larger feet than other females in the series, but I highly doubt so. It might have just been so so it'll be easier to slot the translucent hand in.
And lastly, flat butt syndrome. I still don't understand why they can't give the figures proper butts then carve the extra out from the base so the figure can sit comfortably in the crater created. I think it has something to do with it being easier to create a flat surface as compared to digging a crater out from a flat surface and hoping everything fits together well at the end of the day.
This figure is definitely highly recommended even if you don't know the character, because of the sheer amount of details she comes with. Not to mention that figures don't usually come with this aura around them that this figure portrays impeccably. Though this might mean that she'll be difficult to mix and match with your other figures on display. But if you aren't short of space and would like something you'll feel good about and show your family and friends, this figure is definitely the way to go!