GSC Saber Lily -Distant Avalon-

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Good Smile Company has never failed to impress me with their beautiful figures in my 13 months of figure collecting.  They have consistently brought to life some of the best looking figures on the market, always striving to bring us the complete package.  Unfortunately, their Saber Lily -Distant Avalon- just falls short of being the complete package.

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What makes a complete package?  For starters we have the usual cliché: great sculpt, great paint job, great pose, amazing details, and the such.  Slap on some dynamism to the pose, add a great looking dioramic base, give the figure some razzle dazzle and you end up with one complete package.  Easy.

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GSC’s Saber Lily have all that, sure.  But she lacks execution.  That’s why she fell short of being a complete package.  In fact, none of the figures in my collection falls into the category of being a complete package because they all lacked one thing or another.  Saying this doesn’t mean that they’re not great figures, which they are; it’s just that there is still room for improvement.

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The way I see execution is how everything is put together.  Saber Lily is a great figure, no question about that.  But GSC definitely could have done a better job with this gorgeous figure.  You see that clear plastic rod sticking out of her left hand?  That’s something Saber can do without.  And adding that Fate/Unlimited Codes emblem onto the base was a bad call in more ways than one.

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The dynamic pose is something I really liked.  But it’s a double-edged sword because it has a very limited viewing angle before everything starts looking weird.  She only looks good when you look at her straight on, give or take 20 degrees on either side.

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Did the delays affect how I look at this figure?  Yes.  I had high expectations from Good Smile for this figure, especially after the six month delay they imposed on her.

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Would I have given the same review last week?  Probably not.  It would have been a better review if I did it last week.  I had some time to think about what I have been writing and thought that I should be more critical on everything if I want to improve on what I do.

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I hope everyone understands that my reviews are just my thoughts on my expectations vs the final product.  Was I too harsh on GSC’s Saber Lily?  I don’t think so.

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With that said, let’s begin my normal figure review get-up.

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GSC’s Saber Lily -Distant Avalon- was released in late September and retailed for ¥9,334.

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Takayuki Kawahara is the sculptor who did a fine job in bringing this beauty to life.

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Overall, the figure’s sculpt, paint job, and attention to detail is Good Smile quality.  It’s a shame that they missed the mark on its execution.

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I love her pose, which is based on her final move called Distant Avalon – from the PS2 game Fate/Unlimited Codes.  To be honest, I don’t know much about Saber or the Fate series.  Maybe I would give her more love if I was a fanboy?

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She looks lovely.  Absolutely love the determination in her face.  This is one of my favourite pic from the shoot.

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There are four ways you can display GSC’s Saber Lily.

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Guess which one I chose.

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Sexy shot from behind with Saber flashing her Excalibur at 1/7 scale.

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The Fate/Unlimited Codes emblem defeats the purpose of having a dioramic base.  Which is to recreate a scene.  The figure looks much better without it.

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Her dress looks like a lily petal, that’s probably why she’s called Saber Lily.  I’ve also read that there was another reason, but I like this reason more.

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Stunning details for all your viewing pleasures.

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They made sure no detail was left out.  Never knew Saber was this busty.  ^^

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That plastic rod is a real eye-sore.  But I still have her displayed with the sheath.  =_=”

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I had a really hard time putting Excalibur into her hand.  At times, it felt like I was going to break something.

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Another one of my favourite shot.

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Thigh highs + garter belt = yummy!!  I approve of Saber with pantsu. ^^

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Excalibur and what’s the name of the other sword? ^^;;

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Adding the Fate/Unlimited Codes emblem onto the base is a bad call because it defeats the purpose of a dioramic base and the emblem appears slanted when you look at the figure from its best angle.

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Good Smile have outdone themselves once again with Saber Lily -Distant Avalon-.  She is definitely in the books as one of the best figures of the year.  The quality is everything you’ve come to expect from Good Smile, and you definitely won’t be disappointed with this get.  Would I still buy her if I was given another chance?  Most definitely; she looks absolutely stunning!

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You can also find some lovely photos at:

Thank you for dropping by again.

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35 Responses to “GSC Saber Lily -Distant Avalon-”


  1. 1 Guy 10/24/2009 at 17:31

    The chest-shots of Saber are yummy. They’re tasteful and non-exploitative.

    BTW, since I need to make this decision, who would you choose, the new limited Saber Alter Maid, or the figure just reviewed?

    • 2 Guy 10/24/2009 at 17:32

      Also, I don’t think reviewers can be “Too harsh”, unless you want to talk about how it’s delivered, but the actual content? Don’t think someone can be too harsh, that’s what reviews are.

      Are you asking if I agree with what you said? Not with all of it, some.

      • 3 Tommy 10/24/2009 at 18:01

        It’s hard to say which one to choose because I don’t have Alter’s Saber Alter Maid on hand to compare, but I’m ordering. She’s also got a really slick looking dioramic base, plus its an Alter release.

        I think the Saber Alter Maid would make a more subtle display piece. It doesn’t pop and scream “look at me” like Saber Lily, which btw is a real space hog taking up the space of two regular figures.

        The choice is really up to you. If I can only choose one, I’d go for Saber Lily because I like girls in armor more than maids.

        As for the “being too harsh” part, I actually toned it down a notch when I was proofreading it. I want to know where my reader’s tolerance level is at.

        I would never ask if people agree with what I said, because most of you wouldn’t. :P

        • 4 Guy 10/24/2009 at 18:04

          Part of it is implied. When asking whether one is too harsh or not, need to unpack it, whether it’s deliverance or message, and message is basically “Do you agree with me or not?”

  2. 6 Ninjovee 10/24/2009 at 19:47

    The other sword’s name is Calibrun :D
    Saber Lily is total love… she looks so much prettier in this outfit than with her original version *nodnod* /Saber fangirling

    As for your review, it’s actually refreshing to see someone actually not giving total praise to the figure… After seeing countless praises in blogs, I’m pretty sure other people would think “Oh, it’s another GSC Saber Lily review”, so I think yours actually stands out because you weren’t totally blinded by her beauty — I’ve seen probably around 7 reviews for her and they all have stated that she’s pretty, but nothing more than that.

    I do agree that the logo is a bit distracting (and is not in line with the promo shots!) I wish they made an option for you to remove the logo or something… then again, they probably thought of figures being for display first rather than photoshoot subjects

    • 7 Tommy 10/25/2009 at 02:46

      I agree, she does look much better in this Lily outfit.

      It’s definitely too distracting because it creates a focal point, it takes your eyes away from the figure even if you look at her on display. The idea of having the Fate/Unlimited Codes emblem being removable would definitely be a plus.

  3. 8 Lelouch 10/24/2009 at 20:43

    Thank god! a critical and objective review!

    • 9 Guy 10/25/2009 at 00:07

      That it is critical means it is not objective.

      Reviews can’t really be objective, especially once there are opinions and not merely a dry description of what one sees.

  4. 10 lightningsabre 10/25/2009 at 02:32

    Hmm, even though I love this figure I still like my Saber Maid better. Some of what you didn’t like (especially that plastic rod) does sound reasonable. I kinda like the F/UC logo on it though. Perhaps they added that in because they know the bootleg ones don’t have it. Maybe get a bootleg version if you want to have a base without the logo? XD

    Oh btw… I gotta ask, how did you put in Excalibur? Did you just try to push it into the hole? I tried doing that at first, but I had no luck. So I tried to pull it out and then the bottom cap of the hilt came off… It was supposed to come off >_.>

    • 11 Tommy 10/25/2009 at 02:37

      Interesting, I don’t know if the cap is suppose to come off or not…I just forced it into the hole, twisting and turning while I’m doing that. That didn’t sound right…

      Maybe the emblem would be more acceptable if it didn’t appear at an angle? I don’t know.

  5. 12 enrius 10/25/2009 at 03:54

    Actually I like how they put the emblem on the base of Saber Lily and also the transparent rod to hold Avalon… ^^;; And don’t worry, I kind of like how you reviewed Saber Lily. You did bring up an interesting term: complete package. Could it be equivalent to perfect?

    LOL @ “I approve of Saber with pantsu. ^^”. Would you approve also Saber without pantsu? :-p

    • 13 Tommy 10/25/2009 at 16:20

      Saber without pantsu = regular Saber. Nothing to see when you low-angle. ^^;

      I would be more accepting if the Fate/Unlimited Codes emblem was aligned correctly when you view the figure in its best angle. It seems as though they just hastily slapped that emblem on so that it would differ from the bootleg base. I take the alignment of the emblem as a cue to which way the figure should be facing for the best viewing angle. Take a look at your Saber Lily and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

      I haven’t encountered a figure with a complete package yet, I’ll let you know when I do. The closest one is Alter’s Yoko Littner; except the underside of the base isn’t flat…and that crack on her coat in my copy. Just poor QC in my opinion.

  6. 14 Guy 10/25/2009 at 08:27

    I’ve thought of this, and I personally think the floating scabbard is a bit ridiculous, so while it goes against my motto (should like all options, both with and without) that came from cast-offable, I’m not too bothered, as I’d never display her with the scabbard, even if the rod were truly invisible.

    • 15 Tommy 10/25/2009 at 16:27

      So you’re willing to make an exception for her?

      The thing is, you can see that they can make it look right in the promo pics. They used a black rod, which perfectly hides it when set against her hands, instead of a clear one. It makes me think that they made these changes (to the base and the rod) because of the bootlegs that appeared around June. They sacrificed the overall aesthetics of the figure to differentiate their final product from the bootleg. It’s a slap in the face to people who paid big bucks for the real deal.

      • 16 Guy 10/25/2009 at 18:37

        Well, I think it is unfortunate, that it doesn’t meet my highest standards, but in practical reasons, it depends on the figure.

        If I want to display the figure, say, a cast-offable ecchi figure in only one mode, and I think it looks great in that mode, and I think the figure is worth as much to pay for as if she weren’t cast-offable, for this mode, then I’m ok with it.

        Too often though, when you only want one mode, you wish you didn’t have to pay for the other.

        And I prefer the clear rod to the black. The black only became unnoticeable when you took shots on a dark background. Really.

  7. 18 Saku 10/25/2009 at 08:33

    I would assume ‘Complete Package’ means ‘Absolute Perfection’ because imo it’s kinda hard to achieve because I am sure GSC did some research and released figures based on what the general market prefers/likes.

    Another reason would be what perfect for one person may not be the case for others so unless GSC makes a figure solely for you, I don’t think you can ever have ‘Complete Package’ ^^;;

    As for your question whether you are too harsh or not, I would say no considering the price tag + shipping(gosh, I am having nightmare on the shipping fee) + delays, it’s normal to have a very high expectation.

    On the other hand, the F U/C logo is ok me but it would be nice if it’s detachable as you would prefer.

    • 19 Tommy 10/25/2009 at 16:55

      As I was replying to enrius and Guy, I don’t think it has to be ‘Absolute Perfection’; it has to look right. Which it doesn’t in this case. As I was saying in my reply to enrius, the figure that came closest to having that complete package would be Alter’s Yoko Littner. Take a look at Yoko’s dioramic base, it won’t have the same impact if they put a Gurren Lagann logo on it. They could have put one there and people would still like it as much, but it doesn’t really have to be there. The same goes for Saber Lily.

      People like the emblem because, admittedly, the emblem looks cool. But does the target market really need to know that Saber Lily comes from Fate/Unlimited Codes? Chances are, we already know who she is. If we don’t, it’s written all over the box anyways. All the emblem does is distract your eyes instead of complementing the figure. Would you be heartbroken if the emblem was missing in the final design like in the promo pics?

      Another point that I mentioned in enrius’ reply (and falls in line with things looking right) is that I take any lettering/logos on the base as a cue to where the front of the figure is. In this case, it’s a pretty awful angle if you follow that cue. But when align your Saber Lily to be displayed at its best angle, the F U/C emblem looks pretty awkward slanted.

      It’s still a great figure nonetheless; just could have been better.

  8. 20 Wolfheinrich 10/25/2009 at 19:19

    Interesting view, but perfection is circumstantial in my book. The logo on the base doesn’t bother me, because there is no good way to add the logo text and make it look pretty in all possible viewing angle. Let’s suppose a logo must be added to the base to differentiate from the bootleg, how else would you have done it, without having it look all weird in different angle? If let’s say the logo is aligned to your “best angle”, how is that going to prevent someone from complaining that the logo looks stupid from the top?

    • 21 Tommy 10/25/2009 at 21:54

      The logo on the base doesn’t bother me, because there is no good way to add the logo text and make it look pretty in all possible viewing angle.

      If there’s no good way of adding the Fate/Unlimited Codes emblem, then why put the emblem there in the first place.

      Let’s suppose a logo must be added to the base to differentiate from the bootleg, how else would you have done it, without having it look all weird in different angle?

      The power of magnetism. If they used magnets like Hiyori Pixy‘s hat then you can display the figure with/without the emblem without affecting the aesthetics of the base when the emblem is not there. You can freely rotate the emblem as well. The thing is, they probably didn’t give much thought to how the emblem should be added.

      If let’s say the logo is aligned to your “best angle”, how is that going to prevent someone from complaining that the logo looks stupid from the top?

      The emblem gives a sense of direction. If the figure is present, it’ll give a visual cue to where the “front” of the figure should be. Good Smile knows that, and you can tell on the base of Golden Darkness, Hiyori Pixy, and Chu Chu Astram. All of them are aligned to where the eyes are looking, i.e. “the front”. And that isn’t the case with Saber Lily.

      It’ll only look stupid from the top if you are just looking at the base without the figure…which leads back to the question of why did they put the emblem there in the first place.

      Max Factory’s Seena has an oval shaped base, and the Shining Wind logo is oriented so that the logo appears “straight” when you look at the figure from the best angle. It works.

      • 22 Wolfheinrich 10/25/2009 at 23:34

        Not as practical as you think to add a logo on as a magnet and it add higher cost to the product than just having it molded in place, plus small loose piece like that tend to get lost, and god forbid, got swallow by a little kid. It become more of an annoyance than anything.

        They lined up the logo to the tile, that Seena figure doesn’t have those tile as a constraint. It will look stupid from the top with or without the figure because of the tile.

        You’re of course entitled to your own view.

        • 23 Tommy 10/26/2009 at 00:00

          The emblem wasn’t molded in place, it is glued on.

          Like you said, everyone has their own views. Mine is just that they failed to provide the best solution, which is no emblem at all.

  9. 24 Blowfish 10/26/2009 at 18:17

    Great Review!
    I actually tend get more critical the higher the quality of a product is and honestly I cant find anythingw ron with your review.

    I think the Fate Logo was slapped onto the base as a last minute counterfeit security.Its not like Im in love with the emblem but its not that bad for me too.
    this reminds me that I should gte my lazy ass up for my review

    • 25 Tommy 10/27/2009 at 10:10

      Thanks. Yeah, you can tell that the Fate emblem is a pretty sloppy last minute thing they threw on. I wouldn’t have that much of a problem if it wasn’t a dioramic base.

      I’ll link to your review when it’s up. I’m surprised that not a lot of people reviewed her in my blogroll.

  10. 28 Blowfish 10/27/2009 at 11:29

    I actually dont think that the base is that awesome as a dioramic one anyways.Maybe thats why Im not really disturbed by it.
    Thanks for linking me when i get my butt up ^^

  11. 30 Q 10/27/2009 at 21:19

    Saber Lily is indeed a very nice figure. The actual figure turns out to be very close to its prototype, so that’s a great thing to know from GSC.

    As for the rod in the hand and the emblem, I understand how you are not so satisfied with them. Since I do not plan to own one I do not think much of it, but the emblem does feel like a bit of a last minute decision indeed. I suppose the more we expect, the more we tend to criticise it?

    • 31 Guy 10/27/2009 at 23:27

      Or the better looking something is, the more something minor stands out, because it’s oncongruous. “Lipstick on a pig”, as they say.

      Or rather, a small pimple on a model, compared to a small pimple on a pig.

  12. 32 Lylibellule 10/29/2009 at 03:48

    Impressive series of pictures! Very nice review.

    I love this Saber, even if I start to get tired of seeing her everywhere.

    GSC has done an excellent job.

  13. 34 Optic 10/29/2009 at 19:56

    An interesting perspective in how u reviewed her. I can see u put a lot of thought into this review and it kinda makes me happy I didn’t buy her. lol

    Nevertheless each opinion varies and how they look at her determines their final viewpoint.

    What I disagree with u is she lacks execution. I find the execution is just perfect and you can not ask for a better GSC Saber Lily.

    As she fall short in being ur complete package, I hope Alter Fate will be ur FIRST complete package. xD

    • 35 Tommy 10/29/2009 at 20:27

      As I’ve mentioned, I truly believe GSC could do better. But that’s just a difference in opinion.

      Alter Fate won’t come close to being that complete package because we all know she’ll come with that hulking white base full of crappy German (as pointed out by Blowfish) and Engrish. The figure will probably look great, but I’ll leave the hopes for a complete package in the hands of GSC once again. Let’s hope they don’t screw up BRS. :)


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