Wednesday 17 April 2013

1/6 Velvet (Yamato)

Velvet, why hasn't Alter picked you up yet? Is it because your beauty surpasses their imaginations? Or because Mercedes didn't do as well as they expected? Either way, it's a bummer. I, for one, would have preordered her at the speed of light.

Velvet is from the PS2 game, Odin Sphere (you can also find it on PSN for a ridiculously low price). It advertises itself as an RPG, but is really more of a side-scrolling beat 'em up with a satisfying apocalypse story. Oh, and it's tres delicious eyecandy. I doth recommend it most avidly.

I have a long history of spontaneous buys. On a Likert scale of 1-7, with 1 being zero restraint, I'm a -3. Happily, Yamato's Velvet wasn't a spontaneous buy. I've been waiting for her for years!

I spent Odin Sphere waiting to get Velvet because of her beauty. That she ended up being a great character was icing on the cake. Velvet's animation is smooth, elegant, and all-'round exquisite. I had so much fun whipping her enemies into submission I accidentally overleveled, making the final boss battle a joke. Not that I minded. Nothing feels better than pulverizing the final boss in less than two minutes. Watching her fight is like watching a ballerina-gymnast. Plus she jiggles in all the right places. Such sweet eye-ambroisa just can't be denied (go to 6:10 to watch Velvet beat up a small, fairy child).

I was so sure Velvet would get the Alter treatment that I skipped Yamato Velvet's when she first released. Even after Alter jumped ship from Odin Sphere to Muramasa, I hung onto a sliver of hope. It took me years for to admit Yamato's Velvet was probably going to be the only Velvet available. So when her re-release was announced, I hit the pre-order with enough vigour to sprain something.

The bright side of snagging re-releases is the abundance of existing product reviews in which I can scrutinize my purchase beforehand. I didn't need any persuasion to pick up Velvetthe completionist in me would not stand for having two of the three Odin Sphere girlsbut the plethora of gorgeous pictures online assured me of her high quality. No nasty surprises for Jenn this time. I knew exactly what I was getting into.

Velvet's box does what it sets out to do, but it's not a work of art. The arabesque border is nice, but it's othervise not very interesting. Velvet's box is actually bit flimsy (see the warping on top), but it's light and gets the job done.

I am in love with Velvet's base. It's deliciously chic. Look at that wonderful floral weave, and that delicious simulation marble! I can't remember where the six-point star comes into play during the game, but it sure beats a circle in terms of creativity.

Yamato's Velvet has a bright, Little-Red-Riding-Hood/gypsy costume. She's peeks over her shoulder while drawing attention to her substantial backside. I'm not usually a fan of rear-facing figurse, but Velvet has a "follow me" vibe that I find infinitely attractive.

When it comes to characters, I like my guys all laid-back-puppydog and my girls cutthroat professional. Granted, there are aspects I find attractive in all characters, namely, intelligence and a strong independent drive. As the old saying goes, "I don't want no scrub, a scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me."

Velvet's mature, self-reliant personality warmed me to her immediately, and Yamato did a superb job capturing her character. Velvet's gaze is serene, cool, a little sad, and above all, ambiguous. It's emotionless, but not blank. You can tell she's got a million neurons blazing under her controlled gaze. It has dimensionality.

It's almost inconceivable that Velvet would spent all her time summersaulting through trees without decent support for her breasts, but most girls aren't 2D renders of gorgeous cartoon characters either, so some leeway is in order. Unfortunately, I'm not wholly satisfied with the sculpt of Velvet's breasts. Being oddly stiff and spherical, they look more like two grapefruits stuffed into her shirt than actual breasts (like they're tied at the base rather than "free falling"). And her nipples are so sharp I fear they might poke right through her top. Still, I'm usually too busy admiring the rest of her to really notice, so this is a minor hiccup at best.

Oh hey, a beautiful yellow ruff.

Moving down, Velvet has a simple, wrap-around skirt with beautiful folds. Nothing too complicated. Nothing too modest. You think a girl that traverses through vast sections of swamp, snow, and death would wear pants, but hey, fashion demands sacrifice. Besides, if anything gets too icky, she can conveniently spiderman her way through the landscape using her chains. Velvet's skirt made of soft plastic, and easily malleable in your hand, which brings me to my next paragraph...

Velvet is a cast off! She sheds her skirt to reveal deliciously risque, semitransparent undergarnments. That if, if you can actually get it off her.

Velvet separates at her bosom rather than her waist, so the skirt needs to be shimmied up her torso before coming off. Unfortunately, the contours of her body makes it impossible to remove the skirt without rubbing it against her skin, which puts her at risk for paint transfers. The softness of her skirt doesn't help. I was terrified I would accidentally tear her skirt. Then I would cry and cry...(then I would get up and fetch my superglue, but it wouldn't diminish my heartbreak).

Velvet has wonderful body sculpt, and looks spectacular as a cast off. Yamato did an excellent job bringing her body to life. She's a little thin, espcecially from the side, but she has a wonderfully defined ribcage, belly, back, and butt. What a super butt! I also love the meaty squeeze of her leggings around her thighs.

Overall, Yamato did a good job on Velvet's shading. Her skin is peachy and realistic. If you look real close, you'll notice a birthmark on her right side. Yup, despite having cast her off once for the photo shoot, my Velvet already has a couple of smudges on her skin. It's nothing a good Magic Eraser scrub won't fix, but scrubbing her every time I want to take a recreational gander at her yummy rump does get annoying. Being the only Yamato figure I own, I'm not sure whether paint transfer is a common problem, but I hope not.

I love that Velvet's underwear looks like a little butterfly at the right angles. You'd think a dispossessed, bastard princess from a fallen kingdom would be more impovrished, but nope, lace and pomp all the way. A girl's got to keep her memories of the good ol' times alive somehow, and what better way than to have them plastered to your privvies? Literally. Her underwear seems engrained in her skin. Oddbut who doesn't have a few idiosyncracies of their own?

Moving further down, Velvet has a bitchin' fine set of legs. Yamato gave her a sexy pair of semi-transparent leggings, and the shading around her knees is excellent. I don't say this often, but, dem calves.

Yamato does a tres bien on Velvet's particularities. She has nice nails, nice textures, and neat little lines in the stars of her hood. I'm not too big on the yellow paint they used for the wrinkles in her fingers, but they really only show up on photographs.

In case anyone is wondering how Velvet's chains stay on, she comes with a couple of transparent arm clasps that help keep the chains from slipping. The chains are plastic, not metal, by the way, which is good. It keeps them light and manageable, and less likely to cause warping in the future.

It's not often I consider buying Yamato figures (rumour has it that they're now called Arcadia), but Velvet speaks well of their quality. There are a few small scuffs, but nothing spectacular. Getting real close to her forehead, you can see slight imperfections on her paint, but it's nothing to write home about.

As an interesting note, Yamato also puts some neat textures into her attire. I'd love to see someone work a PVC, fuzzy sweater one day, or some genuine denim texture into a figure's jeans.

I love that they actually detailed Velvet's eyebrows. Who does that these days? Yamato does. Her eyes are glossy and sharp, and her lips are wonderfully shaped.

At 25 cm tall, Velvet is listed as 1/6. Here she is chilling with Samurai and Luka (both listed as 1/7), as well towering over the other Odin Sphere girls. She's clearly on a different scale than Luka but compared to Samurai, I can't be too sure. Scales these days. They're an enigma.

I'm well known for picking up figures on the whim, and appreciating them on aesthetics alone, but I can't deny the extra rush I get from knowing the character. Plus it gives me more to talk about then just the technicalities.

Velvet isn't my favourite character to play (that's Mercedes, with her overpowered machine-gun-crossbow), or my favourite character overall (Ingway, because Liam O'Brien rocks my socks), but I have a swell appreciation of her anyhow. With her pleasing design and elegant battle style, it's little wonder Velvet's the last playable character in the cast. Think of her as encouragement to make it through all six storylines. In many ways she reminds me of Fate Testarossa, with the blondness, the tragic family story, the serious demeanour, which can only be a good thing. Oh, and she's voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro in the Japanese audio, which gives her auto-awesome status.

Object photography is still relatively new to me. I am most comfortable photographing landscapes, because much of the work is already done. Not much surpasses the majesty of nature. I pace around a bit, maybe adjust my aperture, click, and maybe play with some contrasts. Object photography is more work. After so many reviews, repetition becomes an issue. How do I mix up my shots so that I don't flood this blog with waves after wave of flower pictures? Do I journey to faraway places with my figures? Do I throw more money at props? There isn't a day I walk through a store without picking up a neat bauble and thinking, this would be great for a photo shoot, or walk through a park without wishing I had my figures with me. With a finite inventory, it's inevitable I will eventually run out of set-ups, and although that moment is still far away, the need for novelty never strays far from my mind. Fortunately, some photo opportunities appear serendipitously. Like flipping through television channels at 4 a.m. and stumbling upon the Sunset Channel.

So what strategies do you use when taking figure photos? Any favourite techniques, favourite set-ups, favourite props? Personally, I love silhouettes. It's the contrast. Contrast gets me.

Enough photography talk. Back to Velvet.

Velvet's a lovely figure overall. She's elegant, beautiful, mysterious, and sexy without being smutty. Her pose is both delicate and confident. There's a sense of restraint in her character that draws the eye. I groused a bit over not having a more action-oriented Velvet figure, but she works just as well with a subdued atmosphere, especially given Yamato's excellent job on her expression. At 1/6 she's one of the larger figures in my collection. Her size and bright colours give her an impressive status on my shelf.

   If you're a fan of Odin Sphere, or just a fan of good looking girls, Velvet is a must get. Yamato really came through on her quality. I can't recommend her enough! If you missed out on her, she's available in the aftermarket for about retail price, but act quickly! Given her quality, I can see her price rising in the future. 

The Run-Down
Box: 5/10 (Box is box)
Base: 10/10 (Fancier than the figure itself!)
Pose: 9/10 (Sexy)
Paint: 8/10 (Small scratches. Points lost for paint transfer)
Sculpt: 8.5/10 (Bits of roughnesss, odd boobs, super soft skirt)
Overall: 9/10 (Her huge size gives her an extra boost)

Manufacturer: Yamato
Price: 9800 yen
Purchased from: AmiAmi  



  1. Wafu, how cute can this game design be? It looks so adorable with the slightly chibified heads ;D

    Velvet's character design has a few gypsy elements in her outfit, she is a really beautiful figure. I like the video game style of her face, the face is a lot more detailed than other anime related figures.

    She is attractive both ways, but her fancy underwear looks super hot that I love her cast off appearance ^^

    The sculpting of her body look indeed great, theres nothing better than a backside like this, also these little fingers look wonderful in detail.

    The chain weapon is a pretty accessory.

    finding the right props is challenging everytime, sometimes I think that I could get pleasing results with a little bit less effort in that regard. I have a pile of cloth and items at my disposal, but sometimes I have to trash something due to space reasons.

    1. Odin Sphere peppers you with a slew of cute sprites. Even the food is cute. Little, chubby carrots with faces fleeing for their lives and whatnot. Adorable.

      Velvet's figure makes her look older than she does in the actual game.
      She has a mature face to match her fully mature body. Not that cute faces can't work with sexually charged bodies, of course. ;D

      I haven't run into a problem storing props yet, but I haven't had much opportunity to create proper set-ups either. Props versus figure boxes in a territorial battle for storage space: Something to look forward to in the future?


  2. Nothing beats the majesty of nature. I might have had a couple of good tabletop ideas, but they're still nothing when compared to the great outdoors, so much so that it's almost discouraging. Why even try when I can just plop a figure in front of some flowers and get an vastly superior-looking image most of the time?

    Of course, that only speaks to the narrowness of my creative toolbox. I know I should shop around from props and trinkets for the next great idea, but alas, time and money is always finite. Besides, shooting outdoors has always made for interesting stories and rewarding experiences, so I figure I'll do some more of it for the time being, even if I end up doing flower shots over and over again -- I'll worry about it once I get sick of doing it!

    As for "strategies", the only one I have is the "black glass", which is just a piece of plexiglass with black spray painted onto one side. It gives a neat reflection, which I like for normal review shots and the occasional creative shot, but other than that I got nothing, unless you count coloured flood light bulbs as a "strategy". I've been noticing that monitor images can make for some very nice image, and there some genuinely creative examples of them out there. It might be worth a try if you're strapped for ideas.

    By the way, the semi-translucent effect on Velvet's underwear and stockings is a miracle of the universe.

    1. It's hard to follow up nature. She's an overachiever and a perfectionist.

      The challenge of making an indoor shot comparable to an outdoor one is a daunting one (and perhaps a futile endeavour), but I like that it forces me to think creatively. As a side effect, it's also familiarized me with the technical details of my camera. I never really bothered playing with ISO settings in sunlight.

      I recently discovered the usefuless of monitor images. With the right lighting, they're surprisingly convincing. I also recently discovered the fun of light painting, but that has less to do with figures and more with running around with lightbulbs in hand. Personally, I would love to try long exposure photography as well, though how figures would factor into it also remains to be seen.

      Black glass sounds interesting. I have to try it one day.

      Rock on,

  3. Loved your Velvet review! My boyfriend bought her for me as a birthday gift and I can't wait to receive her in the mail! I just teased myself with your review XD

    1. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy your Velvet—no, I KNOW you'll enjoy her. She's a beaut. =P


  4. Hi there, I just discovered this site.

    I regret not playing Odin's Sphere years earlier, because the game has made me fallen in love with Velvet. I've been scouring the web looking for sites that (1) still sell this figure and (2) are willing to make shipments to Southeast Asia.

    Do you know when this figure will be in stock again? Also, do you think you can point me to figure-selling websites that provide shipping (at reasonable costs) to Southeast Asia? I've never bought a figure online in my entire life, but Velvet really wants me to change that.


    1. Hi Pross,

      Your best chances of finding Velvet nowadays is to search sites that sell second-hand items. She went out of print a while back, and I doubt she'll get a re-release. I would recommend buying from legit, Japanese shops like Mandarake, AmiAmi, or Jungle Entertainment Hobby Shop since she does, unfortunately, have a few counterfeits floating around. There's actually one listed on Mandarake right now: A used Velvet should be going for about 9000 yen these days. If you want to get her new, and aren't opposed to spending a few bucks, try Plamoya.

      Since shipping is largely dependent on country, customs, weight, and method, it's difficult to gauge which stores will be the most economic. It's best to find a local store, of course, but I find they're substantially overpriced (at least in Canada they are...). Check out this website for SAL parcel rates from Japan to Southeast Asia:

      Velvet weighs just over 500g, and packaging can take up another 500g.

      Feel free to drop more questions our way. I hope your first buying experience goes well!


  5. Hey, I just want to leave a comment here that I just got her from Ami, finally after missed her many time on manda.

    1. Congrats! She's one of my favourites. =]