Ophiuchus Shaina and Cassios
Review by SentaiSeiya
Shaina: a femme fatale who must hide her beautiful face behind a mask in order to serve as Saint of Athena. She is to kill or marry any man who gazes upon her true face (tough choice)! Shaina is not only a Silver Saint, but is also the instructor of Cassios, who competed with Seiya for the right to wear the Pegasus Cloth. Obviously, Seiya defeats Cassios to become the owner of the Pegasus Cloth, otherwise the show would have been called Saint Cassios (which doesn’t sound as good due to the lack of alliteration. Saint Seiya: just rolls of your tongue. Try it!) Although both Shaina and Cassios fade off into the background for most of the series, they do appear at a key point in the story. Shaina and Cassios take it upon themselves to help Seiya clear the House of Leo after learning that the Pope has Leo Aioria under his control. During the Poseidon Chapter Shaina engages Mermaid Thetis, who was impeding Kiki from fulfilling his mission; it is thanks to Shaina’s help that Kiki is able to deliver the Libra Cloth to the Bronze Saints so that they may destroy the sea pillars. So although Shaina and Cassios were somewhat minor characters, they were crucial to the story.
The packaging for the Shaina/Cassios combo is similar to the boxes used for the God Cloths. It is about twice the size of a regular Saint Cloth Myth box to accommodate Cassios, but lacks the signature book-style of Saint Cloth Myth line.
The remainder of the review will be broken down into three parts: (1) Shaina, (2) Cassios and (3) a special treat.
Part 1- Shaina
I found the Object Mode for Shaina to be quite easy to put together, rather plain looking, and a bit out of step with the Greek mythology it was based on. I never quite understood why the Object Mode for the Ophiuchus armor is a girl with bunny ears. The Ophiuchus constellation represents the serpent-bearer, a man who learned how to cheat death by observing a snake. I get that the totem used is female because Shaina is a female Saint and she is holding a representation of snakes, but why the bunny ears?!
Kurumada designed the armor of the Saints as a visual representation of their rank: from the Bronze Saints who have the least armor, to the God Cloths (and Kamui of the Bronze Saints) being the most elaborate and providing the most protection. Ironically Shaina, a Silver Saint, has less protection than the Bronze Saints. Heck, she does not even have armor for her feet or legs. Instead, she has some sweet 80’s leg warmers (made of plastic), and high heels.
To represent Shaina’s armor as it appears in the manga, Bandai has included a separate headpiece, extra hair sculpt to accommodate the alternate headpiece, and bikini bottom armor.
Shaina comes with two sets of chests pieces: one has the training shoulder armor attached and the other has nothing on it so you can wrap the metal chest armor over it. Yes, that is right, she has a total of 4 boobies, for the highest number of boobies in a Saint Cloth Myth release to date (though there isn't much competition).
You also get two arms, from the elbow down: one with the purple long glove and another with a plain hand so that you can attach her arm guard.
Shaina’s green hair drapes nicely over her shoulder pads. The hair, however, also restricts the movement of her head. You can pretty much only get her to face forward while wearing her full armor. It is a shame that her hair and what little armor she has gets in the way of being able to get better poses.
Although Bandai may not have intended it, Shaina can wear the bunny-eared helmet from the Object Mode. As you can see, her head has a better range of mobility without the restriction of her hair.
Most of the armor is made of diecast metal, with the exception of the knee-pad straps, the bikini bottom piece, the headpiece, and the snake shape on her back.
It is a bit disappointing that all of it wasn’t made of diecast considering she has so little armor.
The face sculpt for Shaina does an excellent job at capturing her female side. It is similar to the face sculpt of Andromeda Shun, who is one of the most feminine of the male Saints. I was a bit disappointed that there was only one face and one mask face included. Her human face is rather expressionless, while her mask face seems to be smirking. I have to say, the EX line has spoiled me by including five faces with each release.
Bandai has included an extra hand to hold Shaina’s mask, which is pretty neat, but it can be hard to balance the mask in her hand correctly.
The body for Shaina is a hybrid of the Generation 3 male bodies and the female bodies used for Athena and Pandora (and I am assuming Polaris Hilda). Unfortunately, the high heels make the figure quite hard to stand up if her legs aren’t fairly close. On the plus side, though, she is the first armored Saint Cloth Myth figure that can sit correctly. Although the Generation 3 bodies are about as flexible, they don’t sit naturally. Take my word for it; I inadvertently broke the abs/waist connection to my Pegasus Seiya V3 trying to make him sit correctly, and that was one expensive mistake since he is one of the harder figures to come by now a days.
Part 2- Cassios
Although Cassios is a minor character, he sacrifices his life so that the Pope’s control over Leo can be broken, and thus helps the Bronze Saint’s advance in the Sanctuary Arc. As for the figure: it is a big hunk of plastic! He comes in two pieces, which you snap together and that is it.
There is no articulation. He just stands there looking fairly menacing. I was a bit disappointed by the quality of the figure. While it looks fine from a distance, a closer inspection reveals some imperfections. There are some breaks in the figure from the molding.
The paint application is also flawed. The silver paint for the metal ring on Cassios’ chest ended up on some of the straps.
Also, the straps were not painted completely, so the straps are the same color as Cassios’ skin along the points where they touch his body.
There is also a splotch of paint on his left side, where the figure was cut from the mold . The discoloration around it makes it look like he just got stung by a big-ass bee.
Now look at his face. See anything missing?
No, there isn’t. There should be because Cassios loses his left ear at the hand of Seiya within the first 10 minutes of the very first episode. So, the Cassios we get is prior to the improvisational surgery that Seiya performs on him. Some have also complained about the how Cassios is smaller than he appears in the show and indeed they are partially correct. He was drawn a lot bigger in the first episode; in later episodes he magically shrinks. Which brings us back to my first issue: if he is smaller like in the later episodes, why does he have both ears?
I hate to sound like I am being nitpicky about the Cassios figure, but I have to stress that he was not an extra included with Shaina; the release with Cassios runs about an extra $30. That is why I feel that the quality of Cassios could have been made a little better. I am glad to have Cassios as an addition to my collection, but I am a bit disappointed at the lapses in quality.
Shaina is a solid release in terms of articulation, looks and quality, but is a bit lacking in the extras department. I would still recommend her to anybody who collects Saint Cloth Myth. Heck, she might even be up your alley if you are into anime girl figures. On the other hand, Cassios is an extra add-on only necessary for the diehard Saint Seiya fans that care enough about the character to spend the extra money. Luckily there is a release for both camps should you choose to add this to your collection.
Wait a minute, what happened to Part 3? The final part of the review is more like dessert at the end of a meal. A guilty pleasure if you will; so I leave you with a few cheesecake shots.
|Posted 18 December, 2011 - 21:53 by SentaiSeiya|