She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes.
– Lord Byron, She Walks in Beauty
My commentary will be kept to a minimum until the last part of this post, partly because I know virtually nothing about the character or the series she came from (here’s a Wikipedia link for the curious) but mainly because the figure should speak for itself.
First image (above) – full body shot, taken from the front.
Second image (above) – full body shot, taken from the rear.
Third image (above) – profile, taken from the left.
Fourth image (above) – profile, taken from the right.
Fifth image (above) – front close-up.
Sixth image (above) – rear close-up. Note the finely decorated openwork tsuba (lower right, just below the hand).
Seventh image (above) – front extreme close up; detail of kimono and obi.
Eighth image (above) – rear extreme close up; detail of obi.
A few vital statistics (mostly from the Good Smile website): complete painted PVC figure, 1/7 scale, approximately 230 mm in height, officially released on 30 November 2008, list price 6500 yen (note – the total cost to me was much higher than this).
I pre-ordered this figure when it was first announced in August. Back then I wrote:
I have never seen Kara no Kyoukai. Until today, the name Ryougi Shiki has never passed within my hearing.
All that changed when, on my usual random browse-through of a certain online retailer, the stunning vision of a sword-wielding woman clad in a kimono appeared in front of me.
And before I knew it, my hands were scrambling to submit an irrevocable pre-order.
Nothing much has changed since then: I still haven’t seen a single frame of Kara no Kyoukai and Ryougi Shiki herself is still something of a stranger to me. I acquired this figure not because I was interested in the character or the series she originated from, but simply because it looked good – and more, because it didn’t hurt my prudish eyes to look at it. In a market dominated by scantily-clad, mini-skirted, bunny-eared portraiture (with some extreme examples featuring fully removable clothing), masterpieces of decent dressing that don’t involve military fatigues or metal armour, while not uncommon, aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. That’s not to say that there is absolutely nothing suggestive about this figure – the kimono, for one, is just a little more close-fitting than any real-life example I’ve seen – but at least there’s no surplus of bare skin and curvature to set one’s eyes alight.
The amount of detail that went into Ryougi Shiki is quite impressive: from the openwork tsuba and gently curving blade of her katana, to the richly embroidered obi and delicate floral elements of her kimono. Around her neck, the collar of her red nagajuban peeks out from under the kimono, creating a very pleasing layering effect that adds to the figure’s beauty and realism. The windswept appearance of her clothes – highlighted by the billowing sleeves and the way the lower section of the kimono wraps around her legs – lends a touch of life to the fairly stiff pose, as does the visual counterpoise of the drawn sword at her side.