Tuesday, 10 May 2016

1/8 Sorey (Kotobukiya)

Tales of Zestiria (the game) might have gotten a lot of flack in Japan, but the characters at least are quite likable.  Before the game was even released, it was announced that Alter and Kotobukiya were collaborating to create two figures. Alter did Alisha while Kotobukiya got Sorey.   I ended up purchasing the first print of Sorey and I have quite a few things to say about him.

To be completely honest, I had very little interest in Tales of Zestiria when it was announced. The character designs are quite nice this time around, but the trailers didn't astound me. I did, however, decide to check out the OVA, the live streams and some gameplay videos. It didn't take long for me to be sucked into it all.

Credit for the right image goes to neylakiiroisenkou

The OVA piqued my interest first, because it was done by Ufotable and because it's Tales. Although Sorey is a carrier of many shonen cliché traits, I find his character to be fun and endearing. What sets him apart from many other JRPG male protagonists is that he's a nerd who loves reading and exploring ruins. Sure, he's naive in some ways, but he's not very hot headed and he's definitely book smart! Also, he didn't get coincidentally sucked into his journey. He chose to become the shepherd!

I found myself liking his character a lot more than I initially did by the end of the promotional OVA. I decided at some point that I actually wanted the figure. I originally waited it out, hoping for a price drop since it's a 10 000 yen Kotobukiya figure. I was reluctant because Jenn and Ash don't often say good things about Kotobukiya, but the problem is that I like Sorey and wanted a figure of him. To my dismay, Sorey sold out pretty quickly in a lot of shops, or his price kept rising. I ended up shelling out a good $120.00 CAD after shipping costs and while I do like him, a part of me really regrets paying as much as I did for him.

If you're not a Tales of fan or a big Kotobukiya fan to begin with I can tell you without hesitation that Sorey isn't worth the 10 000 yen price tag that's slapped on him.  I hardly see Kotobukiya figures at this price.  In all honesty, it's most likely because Sorey is part of a collaboration between Kotobukiya and Alter.  They really have Alter to thank for this and it irks me because the quality of many Sorey figures out there aren't great.  Mine included.

The Sorey figure definitely looks good from afar, or when he's grouped with other figures.  His dynamic pose and charming little smile are eye catching, but be warned, when you get up close you'll notice he's flawed in many areas!

The box is wide due to Sorey's base and pose, but the overall design is colourful and eye catching.  It uses some of the concept art that was shown when the game was announced.

Considering how colourful Tales of Zestiria's world appears to be, I'm surprised Sorey's base is so plain and boring compared to his box.  It's based off the Celestial Records book in the game but for a base, it's still uninspiring.

It compensates for Sorey's wide pose, sure, but it definitely consumes a lot of space.  It's essentially just a plain diamond with his name front and centre.  Unfortunately, my Sorey figure is more or less stuck to his base now.

When I was placing him on his base for the first time, I struggled.  I believe the holes in Sorey's feet weren't wide enough for the pegs so I had to force him in.  I've attempted to remove him a couple of times since, just to see if I could, but I was afraid he would break.  To that end, I'm severely disappointed in Kotobukiya for this.  I have never had this issue with any of my 1/8 scaled figures. 

There were many complaints online regarding Sorey's base being creaky.  So if you end up adding Sorey to your collection, you may end up with a base that could get stuck to your figure or one that makes nerve wracking sounds.  If you're really unfortunate, you'll have both issues.

If you plan on collecting the rest of the Tales of Zestiria figures, keep in mind that this base is going to be the one used for all of them.

Sorey is slightly propped up on the base due to his dynamic pose. There are no complaints regarding his boots, except for the hole for the peg at the bottom.  The paint job is surprisingly clean but lacks some much needed shading.

It would be wonderful if Kotobukiya cared more for the quality of their figures.  Sorey's cape is riddled with sloppy paint spills, and unfortunately, you can see flaws on every angle.  While I was taking photographs all I could wonder was whether or not the painters knew how to keep within the lines.

Evidently, they were incapable of this.

Be sure to click and enlarge the photographs for a better look.  Even if you don't, you'll notice that some of the spills are so painfully obvious they're cringe worthy. Some of the blue lines overlap or spill over the embosses, and they're prominent under certain light.   Even on the white portions you can see the extra brush strokes or globs.  It looks like a complete rush job and it's severely disappointing.

Clearly Sorey's cape alone was too much for them to handle...

Yes, that's a paint spill beneath Sorey's belt...
Next up is this ridiculous seam line I discovered beneath Sorey's cape.  I understand that pants have seams but not only is this line deeper than it needs to be, but it also literally split Sorey's belt in half.  I honestly had a "Wait, what?" moment.  I have no idea what Kotobukiya was thinking but this discovery disturbed me.

I kept my expectations low for this figure. I did, because I was very aware that the quality of Kotobukiya's figures could never match up to Alter (all of the other 1/8 figures I own are done by Alter).  But to split Sorey's behind and belt in half really makes me question their sculpting abilities.  The more flaws I found, the more irked I was with the fact that Kotobukiya slapped a 10 000 yen price tag on this figure.  His value, in my mind, kept going lower and lower. Perhaps Kotobukiya should stick to basic designs.

At one point I felt the need to squint for some positive points, because, again, I did pay a lot for this figure.

I suppose if I disregard the orange paint spill beneath the belt, and the absurd seam line in the back, the pants aren't too shabby.  I actually thought the colour was a bit dark at first, but I changed my mind after comparing them to the concept images a few times. I'll at least give the sculptor credit for including several creases on Sorey's pants. It really works with the dynamic pose.

Every time I find something remotely positive about this figure, I'll find what feels like five problems shortly after.

The sword and sheath are unimpressive.  I will admit that they're shaped nicely but both are definitely flawed in their own ways.  I think the sword could have been a bit darker, or the painter shouldn't have used gold for the pattern.  The combination isn't aesthetically appealing and makes the sword look quite cheap.  The gold reflection is very unflattering and distracting.

Unfortunately the sheath hanging off of Sorey's belt is sealed up.  It doesn't seem necessary to do that in the first place and it also makes the sheath look cheap as well.  I can't put Sorey's sword away thanks to this. If I remove his sword, it just looks like he lost it.  I would have preferred sheathing it so he could at least look armed.

Some areas on this figure, aside from the split pants and belt, are strangely constructed.  On the right side of Sorey's cape I found extra blue paint filling the gap between a prominent fold. I don't particularly hate it but I also don't understand why that was necessary.  There should be a wider gap but I almost feel as though the painter or sculptor didn't care enough to fix it.

Also, yes, that's a white paint spill on the inside of the cape of the right image.  That drizzle...Why, Koto? Why?

It would have been nice if Sorey was a cast off figure.  He certainly looks fuller with the cape on, but the cape itself is rather unsteady.  A simple touch could actually make it wobble.  Although, the split belt would be far more obvious if the cape were to be removed...

Sorey's head is probably one of the better features of this figure.  He doesn't have clumps of PVC anywhere on his head and the paint job overall is quite smooth.  The only thing I noticed only after taking my photographs is that the painter might have left a tiny brush bristle at the top of Sorey's head... There are a few seam lines that could have been smoothed down but they're in the back and do not take anything away from the figure.  I'm accustomed to figures having seam lines on the head though. I think that's normal for them.

The feather decorations on his ears don't stand out as much, but with the way they're shaped and painted, they almost look like shrivelled leaves.  They would have benefited from a bit of shading or depth.  The ones on Sorey's glove are nice because of the warm gradient at the tips.  The orange actually makes them look pretty.

This may seem like an odd complaint, but I wish Sorey (the figure) had a slightly darker complexion.  I find his skin tone to be exceptionally pale even though he has a slight tan in his status art, and in other official pictures. Sorey is very pale compared to the other 1/8 figures in my display case.  The colours in general seem a bit flat or washed out in many areas, so unfortunately it makes Sorey appear a bit cheap.  Again, his figure would have benefited from a bit of shading.

One of the few positive things I can say about this figure is that I like his expression.  A poor expression can easily ruin a figure, but Kotobukiya did all right with this one.

I personally like that Sorey looks confident but not overly confident, though on the right angle and under the right lighting he can look quite evil! It's actually quite fitting considering the themes of the game revolves around purity versus malevolence.

His dynamic pose also earns a thumbs up from me as well.  I love movement in a figure, especially if it's a male.  Females at least have a lot of movement in their hair, but most males don't have long hair, so it's nice if the sculptors make up for it with a dynamic pose.

I know I criticized my Sorey figure a lot, but I'm actually quite fond of it.  Of course, this is because I like the character, but at least Sorey has a dynamic pose and a decent expression.  From a technical standpoint he has far too many flaws.  I'm certain I lost count as I took photographs.  I bet I even complained about them enough in my review to elicit some groans.  However, if you're a fan of the Tales of series or Sorey, I say buy him at a discount. He's certainly not worth 10 000 yen, but he looks pretty good with the collection.  Especially from afar.  Kotobukiya, you can definitely do better than this.  It's probably best if they stick to basic designs though.

It's a colourful box that stands out. It's also somehow far more interesting than the base.
It's plain, brown, boring, and my Sorey figure is pretty much stuck to it for life.
I'm a sucker for dynamic poses, so I actually like the way Sorey looks.
Kotobukiya did a decent job, but the fold at the back of the cape is awkward and Sorey's belt and bum are split in half...
Paint spills on the cape are painfully obvious, but the rest is...acceptable. A bit of shading would have been nice.
Overall 7/10Sorey is nice to look at from afar, but this is a very technically flawed figure.

Manufacturer: Kotobukiya
Price: 9120 yen (Retails for 10 000 yen)
Shipping method used: SAL Registered
Box dimensions Approximately 21.5 x 19.5 x 24.5 cm
Purchased from: Nippon-Yasan

Thanks for reading!


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