Minamoto no Raikou – Fate/Grand Order (Bell Fine) – Review

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INTRODUCTION

If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews here at Waifu Watch, then you’d know that I’m a pretty big fan of the infamous illustrator Honjou Raita. The subject of today’s review is Minamoto no Raikou, the character most responsible for my appreciation of Raita’s work.

Raikou is a Berserker class servant first appearing Fate/Grand Order. With a twisted motherly air and a fiercely violent temper, Raikou quickly became one of my favourite servants in the game.

This is a figure I’ve been waiting for a while, and I have to say that I am a bit disappointed by Bell Fine’s work. While the figure is solid overall, there’s some obvious weaknesses that really limit Raikou’s overall appeal.



ASSEMBLY AND SPECIFICATIONS

First things, first though. Raikou is 1/7 scale and stands around 25cm tall. The figure comes with a set of interchangeable accessories that allow you to display Raikou in her first and second ascension designs. This includes her sword, a quiver of arrows, and her short tabard, among other parts. Unfortunately, there’s no parts for her third ascension.

Assembling these parts can be a little bit fiddly, but should be manageable with some care. Raikou’s head removes quite easily (perhaps too easily – don’t lift her by her head) which makes fitting several parts more easily. It’s all fairly intuitive, and there are illustrated instructions included if you get lost.

The most difficult part to fit into place is probably the sword, which must attach to two small sockets and then fit onto pegs on the back of the figure. The ropes holding the sockets are slightly flexible, but can still be awkward to get into position, and all of the sockets are liable to come loose if you don’t get things just right. Once it’s all in place, you’ll probably still want to be careful not to knock the sword too hard.



SCULPTING

Overall, the sculpt is pretty good. The details on her outfit are quite well rendered, particularly the ropes, straps and buttons. Accessories like her sword are quite intricately detailed as well. These finer points would be easy to fudge, but they came out pretty nice.

She’s quite faithful to Raita’s illustrations too, particularly in the proportions of her body. Her breasts are rotund and come to a subtle point, and her legs are long and lithe. It’s a very solid job! Unfortunately, the pose doesn’t lend itself very well to side shots, but this is hardly a unique problem.

So here’s where the figure lets me down a bit. Raikou’s head let’s the whole figure down somewhat. The face itself is well sculpted, and the hair is shaped well. Unfortunately, her long hair isn’t very detailed or crisp at the top, which leads to it looking rather flat. It sticks out as looking undercooked, especially compared to other parts of the figure.



PAINTWORK

While otherwise solid, the paintwork doesn’t help to resolve my complaints about her head. Her hair is fairly dull, which does little to help the lack of detail – it all sort of lumps together. A higher gloss paint or more detailed shading could have helped a lot here.

Perhaps the most glaring issue is her face. While the decals used for her eyes are accurate to Raita’s style, they’re a pale shade of purple that leaves the eyes looking faded and at times indistinct.

It’s a shame because, as I said, the rest of the paint job is solid. The shading and finishes are all well applied, and as far as I noticed there are no obvious painting issues. Overall, Raikou comes out looking very much like her illustration.

That said, I think the finish used for her jumpsuit could have stood to be a little glossier. Raita’s art is quite glossy, and I found the highlights on her breasts and thighs underwhelming. Still, I guess it gets the idea across without becoming overbearing, which it easily could have been.


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FINAL THOUGHTS

In the end, I think Bell Fine did a decent job with Raikou. Her head and face are a bit disappointing, but it’s mainly because they stick out compared to the rest of the figure. The noticable difference in quality is a bit weird, and I find it hard to understand what really happened there. Perhaps it was something that worked better in the prototype and didn’t carry over to the final product.

Still, I would say that it’s worth looking into this figure if you’re a big fan of Raikou or of Raita’s work in general. I’m still happy to have the figure, though I’m not fully sure if it’s worth its ¥16,800 RRP. The customisation features might just make up for the quality concerns, though.

That said, I would recommend keeping an eye out for future releases as well. I know that Aquamarine are working on a summer Raikou figure, for example. Raikou is a relatively popular character, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see more of her in the future.



Final Score
4

Summary

Bell Fine have done a solid job of Fate/Grand Order’s Minamoto no Raikou, but the disappointing work on her head does hurt the figure’s overall appeal. Still, the ability to customise her look with interchangeable parts is a nice touch. While it’s a shame that parts for her third ascension were left out, it’s an understandable ommission. This is sure to be a nice get for fans of Chaldea’s best mom.

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